Q&A: Marks of a Transformed Life

Marks of a Transformed Life

Question

What are the assurances and marks of a transformed life? What does it look like in church (especially church), family, and work? I know it is all interrelated, but what are some of the things to look and strive for?

Answer

There is no way to give a thorough answer to this question because we attend different churches, have different families, and work at different jobs. But here are some general things, however briefly.

An answer to this multifaceted question involves the assurance of salvation, which God desires his children to have. In Hebrews 6:11 we read: "We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure." This involves self-examination (2 Cor. 13:5) as assurance will diminish if concealed sin is present (Ps. 32:3). Assurance comes with continual hearing and responding to the Word of God (Rom. 10:17; John 20:31), focusing on the sufficiency of the Cross (Heb. 10:21-22), and prayer (Eph. 1:18-19). Assurance is a gift of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:16; 1 John 5:10-11). Assurance is properly maintained in community (Heb. 10:25) and not in personal isolation (1 Cor. 12:21). Assurance is not destroyed by God's displeasure and discipline (Mic. 7:8-9), but temporary absence from its presence leaves a void (Ps. 51). Assurance of salvation is therefore something to maintain and to fight for (Eph. 6:10-18; Phil. 3:7-15; 1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim 4:7), all the while relaxing in the grace of it (2 Thess. 3:3; Jude 24-25).

What this looks like in everyday life will be different for every individual. However, in general, the transformed life will include the following in varying levels of maturity (adapted from the University Presbyterian Church, Orlando, FL, Discovery Class):

1. Enjoying God in Worship.
  • Attending church services.
  • Practicing personal and family worship weekly.
  • Living with an attitude of worship which permeates all of life.
2. Engaging in God's Word.
  • Having a meaningful, consistent, prayerful, and relational devotional life.
  • Growing in knowledge of the Bible.
  • Learning and sharing the Gospel with others.
3. Living by God's Promises.
  • Preaching the Gospel continuously to oneself.
  • Continually demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Finding joy and security in one's relationship with God.
4. Applying the Gospel of Grace in Relationships.
  • Understanding and loving others - where they are.
  • Resolving conflicts with others biblically.
  • Reaching out beyond one's comfort levels to love others.
5. Investing Time in the Local Church and Community.
  • Participating in the ministries of the church, being careful not to overextend.
  • Helping others experience authentic community.
  • Serving in our church according to our gifts.
6. Fulfilling Our Church Membership Vows.
  • Living as a faithful follower of Christ throughout the week.
  • Supporting the church with time, spiritual gifts, and tithes.
  • Submitting to the government and discipline of the church.
7. Exercising Your Gifts in All of Life.
  • Being knowledgeable of strengths and weaknesses.
  • Serving the church, family, and community with our gifts.
  • Exercising gifts with a kingdom perspective.
8. Practicing Biblical Principles of Financial Stewardship.
  • Living on a realistic budget (supporting the family).
  • Giving generously to the church and other kingdom causes.
  • Using all resources responsibly.
9. Sharing Our Faith and Hope in Christ with Others.
  • Ministering (within our giftedness) in the mission fields of the world.
  • Praying and sharing one's faith.
  • Investing in others' lives and inviting them to Christ, into the family, and church.

I would point out that one is not a Christian because one engages in these works. Rather, one should engage and have an excitement to serve Christ in these areas because one is saved (Eph. 2:8-10).

A healthy Christian would shine forth with their brightest light in a healthy church (Matt. 5:13-16). Mark Dever, in Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, says a healthy church would consist of, but not be limited to:

  • Expositional preaching
  • Biblical theology
  • The biblical understanding of the Good News
  • The biblical understanding of conversion
  • The biblical understanding of evangelism
  • The biblical understanding of church membership
  • The biblical understanding of church discipline
  • Promoting biblical discipleship and maturity
  • The biblical understanding of church leadership
  • I would add to these, as they are not apparent in the nine marks list, a biblical understanding of prayer, the family, gifts, stewardship, the sacraments, serving the community (the homeless, nursing homes, etc.), and foreign missions.

    Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

    Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).