The Way of Transformation

After Jesus called Matthew to follow him, he went to his house and ate with him and other tax collectors. The Pharisees were offended by Jesus’ action, because they operated on an Old Testament paradigm that they would be defiled if they associated with sinners. With the coming of Jesus, that view became upside down. Jesus willingly associated with sinners; he touched lepers and others who were sick with fevers and other diseases with no fear of being defiled or becoming sick. Jesus’ example revealed the right-side up view of the Kingdom of God. It is never wrong to care for the needy or the sick, there is no longer any fear of being defiled by another person, because the only way we can be defiled is if we defile ourselves. This is what Jesus addressed in the Sermon on the Mount, that we are only defiled from our own hearts that generate wicked behavior. When Jesus addresses our hearts, then we no longer have to worry about our behavior, because our behavior flows from what is in our hearts.

Solomon advised wise counsel when he wrote to guard our hearts because it is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23). This is also why Augustine would later write, to love God and do as you please. While Augustine’s statement is counterintuitive is does reflect the transformation of Jesus’ Kingdom in our lives. Our love for God changes our heart’s desires so that what we please is also what pleases God. We can do what we please, because what we desire is what God’s also desires, because his Spirit has transformed and continues to transform our hearts. The Pharisees followed an outside to inside mode of transformation, which doesn’t work, because our behavior cannot transform our heart. On the other hand, as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in heart transformation, our behavior is also transformed. Jesus revealed an inside to outside transformation, which then transforms our life and impacts those around us.

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