REFORMATION OR TRANSFORMATION J.B. Stoney

The word “transformation” occurs twice in Scripture with reference to Christians (Rom. 12:2, and 2 Cor. 3:18). Every believer tries to be reformed, but very few apprehend the great moral difference between reformation and transformation. As a rule believers rejoice that they are saved, and aim to be up to the language of Micah 6:8, “to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.”

There are increasing numbers who have accepted the truth that by the grace of God they have been transferred from Adam to Christ, and that they are clear of the old man in God’s sight; yet they have no true understanding of what it is to be “transformed.” Reformation is improvement, and refers to what already exists; but transformation means a change of being. This, it is feared, is little known.

In Romans 12:2, we are exhorted not to be “conformed to this world,” but to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind.” This means a new mind, something altogether new; so that you are not to walk before men according to this world, but according to the mind of Christ, your life. Hence, at the end of this exhortation, the Apostle says, “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof” (Rom. 13:14).

It is not a question as to whether the order of this world is good or not, but you are not to be conformed to it any more: you are to be “transformed” according to a new mind, and thus be able to “prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Everyone who knows anything of his own heart must know that he has tastes and desires connected with this earthly scene, and the more they are gratified the stronger they become. But as he walks in the Spirit he finds that what he likes most in the natural order of things is the very thing he must avoid: “No man . . . having drunk old wine straightway desireth new; for he saith, The old is better.” Very slowly do we learn to be altogether non-conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of our mind.

As to the transforming of 2 Corinthians 3:18, the blessedness of it is that it is by beholding the Lord Jesus’ glory with unveiled face that we are transformed into the same image; that is, we are brought into moral correspondence with Himself. It is not merely a new course outside and apart from the world as in Romans, but here we are in conscious union with the risen Lord Jesus Christ in glory.

It is true that every convert does not enjoy the light of His glory, because many are dwelling more upon the work than upon the Person who did the work. The fact is, the nearer you are to Him in glory the more assured you are of being in the righteousness of God, and that you are there without a cloud; and it is as you behold the Lord Jesus there, you are gradually transformed into moral correspondence to Himself. Many have been misled by thinking that by reading the Bible you become like Christ—transformed; but you will find diligent students of the Word, who may never say anything incorrect in doctrine, yet who never seem to grow in grace and walk in spiritual reality.

When we learn that we are united to Him who is in glory, we can come forth in the new man to manifest His beauty and grace here on earth. This transformation is of the highest order. The Lord lead our hearts to apprehend the great contrast between the old man, however reformed by law, and the new man growing by grace into the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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NEEDED NEEDS…..J. B. Stoney

The circumstances in which we learn most are those which most expose our weaknesses. As a rule we are placed in circumstances which demand that which we are most defective in. We are set in such and such situations, not because we can handle them, or behave in them better than anyone else; but on the contrary, because we need to be invigorated by grace in the defects which they are fitted to expose. They disclose to us where we need grace, so that constantly we are failing where we are expected to excel. We are put there to cast us on the Lord, and to teach us that we can do nothing of ourselves.
If we could excel there, we should glory in our success, but when we find that we are placed in the very circumstances that, perhaps, more than any others expose our weakness, we then see that we have no hope of being able to stand or succeed, unless we obtain grace to do so. I am not placed where I could excel most, but subjected to those difficulties in which I can best know my need of grace, and best learn dependence.
If I could get on without grace, I should grow elated with myself. But when I find that unless the Lord maintains me I shall surely fail, then I am humbled as to myself while at the same time deepened in dependence which the demand of my circumstances has, in a way, forced on me; and having learned the blessing of dependence, instead of regretting the difficulties which made it necessary to seek help, I am the more cheered and encouraged to go on in them.
For learning or service every one is placed where there is demand on him. The boy at school is not in the easy circumstances of home or the playground. The horse in harness is not in the ease of being in the stable or at grass.
The situations we are subjected to are the ones in which we can best learn and be most useful. It is not because we have nothing to learn or nothing to do for others. If we had naught to learn, there would be no difficulty in the lessons required of us every day. The fact that there is difficulty in them proves that we are not proficient, and that it is necessary that we should be subjected to that which discloses to us what we require to learn, or to draw from us what we can render.
Your weakness is exposed that you may acquire strength, and having received of the Lord, you will then be called on to render unto others — to comfort others, as you have been comforted of God; so that whether learner or servant, you are always set in circumstances where there is exaction, and not ease. If the learner were to keep at the same lesson always he might feel his difficulty over, but so would his learning be over.
Are you learning? Are you useful? Whenever you are either, you will find that you are in exacting circumstances, and therefore not those where you are most at home and at your ease; but the more you turn them to profit, the more you are learning of grace, and the more useful you are in sharing what you have acquired.

IN COMMUNION WITH HIM…..J.B. Stoney

“We are not in heaven, but we are going on to get possession of it.
The Holy Spirit is down here, and we are highly favored. We must
be captivated by Him ( Jesus Christ). He is not One who will not
attend to our small matters. No, He comes down to the smallest
thing, and helps us out that we may be in company ( communion)
with Him, and now I shrink from anything that would hinder my
communion with Him. I am acquainted with Him now, and having
got the taste of heaven, then I come out in a new way to face every
obstruction between me and heaven, and the only thing I dread
is myself; therefore I have to lay aside every weight and sin which
doth so easily beset (Hebrews 12:1). I do not doubt the power. The
Lord grant that we may be as attached to Him as Peter was (Matt.14).”

QUOTE

“Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will
flee from you.”  James 4:7
“If ye continue in my Word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And
ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  John 8: 31-32
“It is not wickedness to be harassed by bad thoughts if you resist them.
It is satan’s effort to get you to adopt them, and thus you are sifted.
You will find, if you keep near the Lord, that you are more established
after an assault of the kind than you were before; and the only way
to combat satan’s attacks is by the Word…If satan can lead you to
become indifferent to these assaults, then they will lead you to great
damage; but if, on the contrary, they urge you to be more dependent
on the Lord Himself and on His Word, they will eventually cease, and you
will be ‘settled.’  J. B. Stoney
After you have suffered awhile make you perfect [mature], stablish,
strengthen, settle you.”  1 Peter 5:10

QUOTE: J.B. Stoney

“Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
James 4:7
“If ye continue in my Word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall
know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  John 8:31-32
“It is not wickedness to be harassed by bad thoughts if you resist them.
It is satan’s effort to get you to adopt them, and thus you are sifted.
You will find, if you keep near the Lord, that you are more established
after an assault of the kind than you were before; and the only way
to combat satan’s attacks is by the Word…If satan can lead you to
become indifferent to these assaults, then they will lead you to great
damage; but if, on the contrary, they urge you to be more dependent
on the Lord Himself and on His Word, they will eventually cease, and you
will be ‘settled.’  ‘After you have suffered awhile make you perfect,
stablish, strengthen, settle you.'”  (1 Peter 5:10).  J.B. Stoney

THE STRENGTH OF WEAKNESS

“We ourselves had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not have
trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead” (2 Cor.1:9).

Divine power does not work along with human power. Human power has to be
set aside that divine power may be perfected in human weakness. Many a
man is ineffective in the service of God because he is too strong. If we pray
for more divine power it is most likely the Father will answer by causing us
to experience our own utter weakness and nothingness as never before.
This is humbling to us, but it is the Father’s blessed and holy way of
preparing vessels fit for the Master’s use. The power of man must be set
aside, crucified, if the resurrection life of the Lord Jesus is to be manifested
in our mortal bodies.

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength
is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory
in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore,
I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions,
in distresses for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
(2 Cor. 12:9,10). — C.A. Coates

Degrees of Deliverance

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom,
and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” 1 Cor. 1:30

“And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of
the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which
is of God by faith.” Phil. 3:9
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ…” Phil.3:7

“The one [believer] who has learned the evil of his old nature before God,
will be far more devoted than the one who has only known pardon from
the sins of that nature. The latter may be more enthusiastic in his love
to the Savior, but it is because of what He has done for him. The one who
has found Him as his in the presence of the Father outside and apart from
the old man, will rejoice in what He is to him, and Christ is his gain. The
one who has found Him as his righteousness before God grows in
the excellence of the knowledge of Christ.

To my mind the sense of Christ is greater when He is known in
preserving from evil, rather than in rescuing from it. I think some
natures, as Peter’s, will not bow without an actual fall; others submit
and humble themselves when they reach only the brink; and others are
subdued when they see the precipice from which His strong arm saves
them. The Cross and all that has been effected thereon get a fuller and
clearer place in the soul; but this must ever be with the realization of
being united in glory to Him who was there.” —J.B. Stoney

CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST……J.B. Stoney

STEM Publishing : Magazines : The Christian’s Friend : 1897 : Crucified with Christ

I believe the great hindrance to divine joy in the soul arises from the imperfect way the crucifixion of the old man is apprehended. The believer at first, for full peace, believes that God has raised from the dead the Lord Jesus Christ, who bore the judgment which lay on him, so that the man that was under judgment is really gone from the eye of God in judgment. The believer is now before God, not in the man who was under judgment, but in the Man who has glorified God in bearing the judgment; and, consequently, there is not a cloud between his soul and God, because the man who caused the distance has been removed in judgment.

Often a believer, though tasting of peace with God, when he finds the working of sin in him, tries to correct it as if he could alter himself, overlooking the great and stupendous fact that God Himself has removed the man in judgment in the death of His own Son; He has laid help upon One that is mighty – His own arm brought salvation – and if a believer is really at peace with God, it is because his old man has been crucified with Christ, and altogether set aside in judgment on the cross. If he were clear as to the fact of our old man being crucified with Christ, instead of trying to correct himself, he would look to Christ to set him free from the intrusion of the flesh “Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” What becomes us now is to have Christ before us, and not the correction of the old man. The snare of trying to improve oneself is very common, and it is important to see that, however well-meaning it may be, it is really a denial that our old man has been crucified, and a revival of that which has been set aside in the cross. It is plain that if you are clear of the old man you can have no man before you but Christ. “If Christ be in you the body is dead because of sin”; and the more sensible you are of how ready the flesh is to intrude, the more you are cast upon Him.

It is inconceivable that one could have any just apprehension of God’s grace, and yet continue to expect anything from the flesh, or in any way to deal with it. It shows how little the revelation of His grace is really accepted in its greatness; because if I know that God Himself has in the cross removed the man who offended, how gladly should I accept His grace! What fruitless sorrow has one known for months and years in the attempt to improve oneself, until wearied out we cry, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Then we find there is only one relief, and that is found where we ought to have sought it at first. “I thank God through Jesus Christ our lord.” Nothing can be more certain for the believer than that one man is gone in judgment, and that Christ alone remains. When I have put on Christ – the best robe – the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. Not only does the blessed God see me on this ground – one from which He never can change or be diverted – but I now, by the Spirit of God, see myself on that ground, and I can say, not only “our old man is crucified,” but “I am crucified with Christ”; and if I am crucified, how can I refer to myself in any sense? If we observe the history of Christians, we see them trying to improve themselves – their tempers and their evil tendencies – plainly showing that they do not believe in the absolute and simple revelation that “our old man is crucified with Him.”

Nothing is of deeper importance at the commencement of our Christian history than that we should accept, with some apprehension of its greatness, that the man that was under judgment is removed from the eye of God in judgment. We have to ponder, in order to realize the magnitude of it, and when we do believe it as a truth, another thing of equal importance is made known to us – that not only is the old man completely removed from the eye of God, but that by the Holy Ghost we are in Christ a new creation by the power of God. If we keep these two together we have a great start; one man is gone and Another is brought in, and this is established to us by the renewing of the Holy Ghost.

Now we enter on our new history. Properly, we are not occupied with the flesh; though the flesh is still in us, “we are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit”; and our attention is largely given to walking in the Spirit. We have now a new exercise, even to sow to the Spirit, and of the Spirit to reap life everlasting. “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” This shows us how intent our eye must be on Christ; we have nothing to do with the man that is gone; and the more we realize this the happier we are – judicially freed of the one, and by the Spirit of God established in Christ. Everything we do now is done with reference to Christ; and not only is the body the Lord’s, but “he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit” – we have to act according to His pleasure in the very management of the body, just as a slave would use his body according to the wishes of his owner.

It is remarkable that Romans 12:2 refers to the body: “Present your bodies a living sacrifice . . . . be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” But in 2 Cor. 3:18, We all beholding the glory of the Lord – are transformed; it is the same word (transformed) as in Romans 12, and is only used twice in Scripture in reference to us – once as to the body, and secondly as to what is imparted to us – what is received from Christ; we are “transformed into the same image.” This I might call the exercise of our daily life; our history here is not merely seeking to glorify Him in our bodies, but we should be growing in moral correspondence to Himself, and that by association with Himself; so that the two great truths we started with would be confirmed to us more and more every day – the old man gone from the eye of God completely and for ever, and we established in Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost for ever and ever. J. B. Stoney.