Thursday, January 20, 2005

Spiritual Metamorphosis

Who does not like butterflies? They are beautiful. However, I bet if you answered yes to the question you will answer no to the question, Who likes caterpillars? No one would believe that such a beautiful insect could come from that ugly looking leaf eater. But,upon carefully observing the life cycle of this insect, we realize that the creator formed the larva to enclose itself into a cocoon. There it metamorphoses or is transformed into a butterfly. Thus the reviled becomes something beautiful.

The word metamorphosis means:

1. A marked change in appearance, character, condition, or function. This is
also known as transformation. (The scripture refers to this as transfiguration.)
2. A change in the form and often the habits of an animal during normal
development after the embryonic stage. Examples of Metamorphosis include,in insects,
the transformation of maggots into adult flies; caterpillars into butterflies and,
in amphibians, the changing of tadpoles into frogs.

Meta is a Greek prefix for beside or after. Morph is a suffix which means form, shape or structure. So in essence the word metamorphosis points toward the form an object will take after the transformation. The word trans, is a prefix that means
across, on the other side or beyond. It can also mean to go through a Change or make
a transfer. So, in the case of the caterpillar, it changes form and structure, so
much so, that its appearance and function change beyond recognition; how like Christ
when He assumed nature 4,000 years after the fall.

Isaiah 53:2 says, "For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him." When Jesus became a man, it was a big change for Him, and perhaps for others who had seen Him before the incarnation. Whatever physical characteristics God has, Jesus no longer had. He was transformed into a human being, small and weak, in comparison to God. He had the same frailties, needs and weaknesses we have. Accordingly, He covered His divinity with sinful humanity, yet did not sin, and according to Ellen White, "He was afflicted in all the afflictions of humanity." It is this combination of natures that qualifies Christ to be our Saviour.

Furthermore, Ellen White says of Him:

To save fallen humanity, the Son of God took humanity upon Himself, laying
aside His kingly crown and royal robe. He became poor, that we through His
poverty might be made rich. One with God, He alone was capable of
accomplishing this work, and He consented to an actual union with man. In
His sinlessness, He could bear every transgression ... Christ did in reality
unite the offending nature of man with His own sinless nature, because by
this act of condescension, He would be enabled to pour out His blood in
behalf of the fallen race. (E. G. White Notes, page 29.)

Christ assumed the human nature of sinful man, the nature which is defined through
Sin as self-love. This human nature, united with His divine nature of selfless-love
did not Sin in word, thought or action. In Him the battle was fought, and selfless
love won out on the cross. In Himself, He redeemed the corporate life of humanity.
What a wonderful Saviour, willing to condescend to the depths of degradation to save fallen human beings.

In Philippians chapter 2, from the NASB we read:

Phil. 2:5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
Phil. 2:6 Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with
God a thing to be grasped,
Phil. 2:7 But emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in
the likeness of men.
Phil. 2:8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient
to the point of death, even death on a cross.

So when Paul says, "Let this mind be in you" or as it is said in the NASB, "let this
attitude be in you," He meant that just as Jesus submitted to the Father even unto
the death, so should we be willing to submit to the authority of God's indwelling Holy Spirit in us, as we die to the death of self.

The mind of Christ, or the attitude of Christ was that of self-denying love. This
form of love (agape) is the only true love. It alone is willing to lay down its life
for another, and in Christ's case, for His enemies. The principles of God's kingdom
are those of His nature and character: that of un-conditional, self-denying love. It is the desire of the Father for us to have the mind of Christ, and He is more than willing to give it to us. What do you say, let's be about our Father's business-- shall we?
Raul Diaz & Maria Greaves-Barnes

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