A complete makeover! We all know these TV shows showcasing women who are brought to a beauty salon and fashion boutique for a quick change, head to toe. The most impressive part comes at the end, when the audience is presented with the contrast of the before and after. It is sometimes amazing how different a person can look within a short period of time! However, a physical makeover is really a far cry from what is happening spiritually when a person is made new as Paul describes in his second letter to the Corinthians. Paul is addressing a God-inspired transformation process resulting in a person with a completely new outlook on life. The work of the Holy Spirit has a profound effect on the human psyche, and the difference between the state of mind before and after the life-giving work of the Holy Spirit could not be more dramatic.
It is hard to come to a good understanding of the kind of transformation Paul is talking about here. Nicodemus, a spiritual leader of his time and contemporary of Jesus was exploring the same issue in a personal conversation with Jesus. We read in the third chapter of John’s gospel how Jesus uses the phenomenon of human birth and compares it to the phenomenon of spiritual birth. When a baby is born everybody understands that a new person who has never existed before is entering this world. This baby is not a mere copycat or an upgraded version of a previous human being; it is a brand-new individual who has never existed before, and is completely unique. The variety of human DNA is known to be endless; no human DNA is alike; as published in the Ensembl database of the European Bioninformatics in July of 2012, the total length of the human genome is over 3 billion base pairs. That number is expected to increase as further personal genomes are sequenced and examined. This gives us a rough idea of a human being’s uniqueness.
While human birth brings forth a brand-new individual, spiritual birth brings forth a brand-new believer. A person, who previously did not believe in the miracle of Christmas and Easter, now believes. A new believer is born into God’s family, and as such, Jesus explains, this person is born again. All of this ties into Paul’s description of a new life. The newness of believing is just as much a miracle as a new human being entering this world. However, it is only the beginning. The transformation process following spiritual birth is yet another wonder to behold. Both the spiritual birth and the gradual transformation are the work of the Holy Spirit.
We see the Holy Spirit at work all over the Bible, a prominent Bible record being in the first chapter of Genesis. There we read that during the creation process, God’s Spirit moved, brooding over a formless mass to overcome chaos and to create new life. Imagine – the same Holy Spirit hovering over the surface of the deep is now hovering over your heart to overcome confusion and to create a new sense of being, an awakened state of mind, an acute awareness inside of you. This opens up a whole new world around you, a world where God is alive as opposed to a world where God simply is not part of the equation. The same powerful God who spoke life over the surface of the deep when He created the world now speaks life into your own heart; His Word changed the world in ages past and can change your world today. “For the Word of God is alive and powerful (Hebrews 4:12).