What does it mean to be "Transformed in Christ"?
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the simple definition of “transform” means “to change (something) completely and usually in a good way.” Being “Transformed in Christ” certainly is a good thing, and it's what the Christian Faith is all about! Consider some of these Bible verses that talk about how Jesus Christ transforms lives for good:
Transformed from Death to Life: Ephesians 2:1-5
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world... But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.
Transformed from Condemned to Set Free: Romans 8:1-2
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
Transformed from Hopeless to Hopeful: 1 Peter 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
What does Jesus Christ mean for me?
The Bible passages above are just a few of many that speak of how Jesus Christ transforms lives for good! As you look at the world, it's easy to see evil at work. Whether it's terrorism or mass-shootings, the abuse of drugs or the embezzlement of money, or something else entirely, we can see all is not right with the world. When you consider your own life, you might not like what you see as well. Maybe you're ashamed of something you've done or don't know if God could ever love or forgive you. That's where the Gospel, the Good News, comes in! Yes, all of humanity has sinned and rebelled against God, including you and me. The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23 that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." That means we must be punished for our sins, our evil actions, against God. But God does not let us take the punishment for our sins. Instead, He sends His Son, Jesus, true God and true Man, to this earth. Jesus lived life on earth, experiencing what we experienced, but was without sin. He lived a perfect life and ultimately laid down His life on a cross as punishment for our sins.
He died, but that wasn't the end. Three days later, Jesus conquered death, not just for Himself, but for all people when he rose from the dead on Easter morning. It is because of this that Jesus Himself said with confidence: "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die" (John 11: 25-26). What does this mean? It means all who believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior are forgiven of their sins and will share eternal life with Him and all believers! Such Good News is transformational; it changes everything! It also doesn't stop after one starts believing in Jesus. We continue to be transformed by gathering together in worship to receive God's gifts of forgiveness and grace through hearing His Word and receiving the Sacraments. We continue to be transformed through prayer and through studying God's Word outside of church on our own and with other believers. And we continue to be transformed by sharing God's love with others through our words and actions. Questions? Want to learn more?
What does it mean to "Share the Hope of Eternal Life?"
Jesus said to his disciples in Matthew 28:19-20, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Jesus also said this familiar passage in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.
At Holy Cross, we are not "Transformed in Christ" to keep the Gospel message to ourselves, but to reach out and "Share the Hope of Eternal Life" with others in our community through our words and actions. As Christians, it is our calling and mission to love others, sharing God's love with them in Christ because God first loved us. (1 John 4:19)
What does it mean that Holy Cross is a "Lutheran Church"?
There are many different religions in the world. Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, and more…All of these are different religions. A word you may not be as familiar with is the word “denomination.” Simply put, a denomination is a kind of a certain religion. Just like Sunnis and Shiites are denominations of Islam, Christianity has denominations as well. Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, and more…all of these are different Christian denominations, and all of these are churches in Ste. Genevieve. While all Christians confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior of all, there are some varying beliefs held by different Christian denominations and Lutherans are no different. Holy Cross Lutheran Church belongs to a church body known as the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, which is made up of thousands of congregations around the United States and the world.