“Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:11 NASB95
“Such WERE some of you” -this indicates a change, which is transformation.
The definition of transformation according to the Oxford Dictionary is, “A thorough or dramatic change.”
According to Webster’s, the definition is, “The act or process of changing completely.”
We see a lot of examples in the Bible of people struggling in sin, but then being transformed by the power of God. In the book of Hosea, Gomer, who was an adulterer, was reconciled to her husband, Hosea, and transformed into a godly wife. In the book of Exodus, Moses was identified as a murderer and hid from Pharoah because of what he had done. Yet, this murderer was later transformed by God into the leader of His people, and would stand up to Pharoah rather than hide from him. In the Gospel of John, chapter 4, the woman at the well was transformed from adulterer into an evangelist because of Jesus’ kindness and authority. Saul of Tarsus went from being known as the one who persecuted the Church to being transformed by Jesus into the Apostle Paul who wrote 13 of the 27 books in the New Testament.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
When a sinner turns from their sin, towards God in true , we begin to see the manifestation of transformation within them. We see this by way of the fruits of the Spirit as mentioned in Galatians 5; and in John 15 it mentions, “remain in me” and we will produce fruit. This shows us that we cannot make this change on our own. To achieve transformation, our part is repentance and obedience, His part is the sanctification*and transformation. Our part is faith, His part is grace.
Ephesians chapter 2 tells us, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the Kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following it’s desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved.”
Later, the Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:8-10, “For you were once in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.”
The Bible clearly tells us that transformation is a changed life, and that life will bear new fruit. One who once lived a life contrary to what pleases God, bearing evil fruit, will change into a life that no longer conforms to the ways or the “pattern” of this world (Rom 12:2). This transformation occurs through the renewing of our mind and our flesh, and will then manifest itself through new actions, which is the bearing of good fruit. John 15 tells us that Jesus is the Vine, and we are the branches, IF we remain in Him, and He in us, we will bear much fruit–apart from Him we can do nothing. It is Jesus who causes fruit to bear.
More examples in the Bible can be found in places such as Colossians 1:9-10, which shows us that it is the Spirit that gives us wisdom and understanding in order that we may bear fruit in every good work; and this is a life that pleases the Lord.
Philippians 1:6 says, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” God never stops working within us. Those who were once in darkness and now are light in the Lord, the Spirit is constantly working in them to make them more in the likeness of Jesus. The veil in the temple was there to protect the people from the holiness of God; but when Jesus died, that veil was torn and that makes it so that we can come into His presence. We who come with “unveiled faces” are being transformed into Jesus’ image. This happens because of the Spirit and “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor. 3:12-18). No chains. No condemnation. Freedom. Transformation. Hope!
If God is constantly at work in us, then this is a continual process until the day of Christ Jesus. This process starts with the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom 1:16). It is in the Gospel that we see that we need to put off the old nature, which belongs to our former way of living, and now put on our new nature (Eph 4:22-24). Other places, it says we are to “walk in the Spirit.” Transformation in the Bible is very much described like taking off old clothes. We take off, or as the Bible says, “put off,” or do away with our “old self.” If the old self has died, we cannot put it back on. We can only “put on” the new and learn to live in that new self.
Paul tells us that the Lord said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, My power is made perfect in weakness” (2Cor. 12:9). We cannot be changed or transformed on our own. WE cannot “will” it in our own strength. It is by the power of the love of God through the constant work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a repentant heart that we will experience transformation.