There are two word which are similar, but have a totally different meaning when you get down to the nitty-gritty of it. The two words: Reformation and Transformation. Reformation is the action of improving, but it involves altering or amending something to make it more presentable or suitable. Transformation involves change, but it is at the core - it is the change in the very nature of the object. Reformation involves "cleaning up" something - superficial at best. Transformation included the exchange of on thing for another. Any time we focus on "cleaning up our act", we are engaging in "reformational" action - any time we allow God to focus on "changing our nature" we are giving him access to do his tranformational work within us.
For though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, yet your iniquity and guilt are still [upon you; you are] spotted, dirty,and stained before Me, says the Lord. (Jeremiah 2:22 AMP)
In medical terms, when one "gene" is affected by another, it goes through a transformation process - changing its very nature. This is the basis of the research behind genetics - science working to impact how one "out of control" cell might be affected by another "in control" cell. When we pour chemo chemicals into the body, we are hoping to "reform" the action of the cells - stopping the growth, or at least slowing them down. The fact is - the cell doesn't change with chemo, it just stops being fed. The cell has the potential to regrow because the very "genetics" of the cell still exist. When we introduce the "genetic" component, we see the potential to change the very actions and the very nature of the cell!
Let that one sink in a little this morning. One only "cleans us up" - the other makes us new! When a good friend of mine was asked to give a bone marrow transplant to a relative, she was being asked to provide the "genetic" materials to transform the way the recipient's cells were acting. His cells were out of control - consuming the health of his body. Her cells would provide the basis for the transformational work to occur - giving enough of the "seed" of life to do more than just "reform" his blood. I think this is what the blood of Jesus does for us - it transforms our blood! It has been said that life is in the blood (that is biblical, you know). Therefore, the way to affect our nature is through a blood exchange!
Christ's death on the cross - the shedding of his blood - procured the means by which our very nature could be transformed. There is no amount of "reform" work we can do which will help us stand in the same way before God as does the blood of Christ. As Jeremiah said those may years ago, we can scrub until our skin is raw, but all we do is scratch the surface of what really makes us "unclean"! The only way to get at the stain is to get at it from the inside!
There are six basic principles of genetics - I think they provide us with some interesting things to consider:
1. Each trait, or characteristic, is "passed on" from one generation to the next. I think this is what God was referring to when he spoke to Israel saying the sins of the father are often passed onto the son. We have the "genetic" make up which "introduces" the desire to sin - to demand our own way over the obedience to God. We all have the same nature - because we are all cut from the same cloth. We also all have the same "void" within designed to be filled by God's spirit.
2. The trait exhibited are controlled by the genes we possess. This is the basis for studying how diseases can be controlled or eradicated by the use of genetics. Whenever we think of a "trait", we are really saying that which gives the uniqueness to the object. We seek to change the "uniqueness" by introducing the new gene. I don't know about you, but the "gene" of Christ in me is the entire basis for change in my life - no other thing ever got at the "traits" which declared me a sinner!
3. Genes are inherited - one from each of the parents. This means I have "genes" from both my natural parents and from Christ - for when I come into his family, I now have is "genetics" introduced. Just like my friend giving her blood to her brother to see his blood transformed, the "gene" of Christ's righteousness is introduced into our lives - moving quickly to transform our unrighteousness into righteousness.
4. There are both dominant and recessive genes. This one might stump us a little, but we probably think of dominant as the one which is exhibited and recessive as the one which does nothing. Quite the opposite is true. To understand this, we might need an entire paper, but here it is in a simplified nutshell. Genes really "have stuff" (genotype) and they "exhibit stuff" (phenotype). It is the relationship between the two which really determines what will be "exhibited". Now, if we want to change the way we act - we need God's "phenotype" to impact our "genotype" so our actions change!
5. The two genes still exist - one just "hides" or "covers over" the other. This might just explain why we still sin! We have all we need for transformation to occur, but there are still some of those "recessive" genes exhibiting themselves once in a while, huh?
6. There are some genes which really are what science calls "co-dominant" - both revealing themselves at the same time. Maybe this explains why we see Christians as still imperfect humans - they still display their human nature, even though they have the "spiritual" genetics at work within them right now! Until we are fully "transformed", I think this may just be the case for a while. Just sayin!