– Alan Redpath
The Apostle Peter wrote more about suffering than any other author in the Bible, even more than Job, but Peter explained that it “is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly” (1st Pet 2:19), however instead of moaning or complaining about it, we should “rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (1st Pet 4:12).
If we’re being persecution, James reminds us that “As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful” (James 5:10-11). Imagine being blessed by being persecuted, but that’s what the believer receives as we’re being transformed in the image of Christ, day by day.
Did you know that we can learn obedience through our sufferings? The author of Hebrews, in speaking of Christ, wrote that “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered” (Heb 5:8) and Jesus, “being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:8) so that should keep us humble when we suffer because we’re being transformed into His image, however that transformation is typically painful.
Through the Spirit
The Apostle Paul reminds us to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom 12:2), and this transformation is not by human might or will but it’s by the Spirit of God Who makes us new creations in Christ (2nd Cor 5:17). This means our old nature and desires will be transformed into things that are pleasing to God and not just to please ourselves.
Mr. Redpath, in saying that God “will transform you into His likeness” and all we do is “do the beholding–He does the transforming,” is saying that we don’t do the transforming; God does. If it’s by our effort alone, we’re doomed to fail, but the very power of God, through the Spirit of God, can transform us into the image and likeness of the Son of God and we all should desire to be in the likeness of Christ.