By Larry Ray Hafley
The terms of our topic and title are scriptural ones (Col. 1:13; Rom. 12:2; Lk. 16:22). Unfortunately, they do not occupy the minds and hearts of men and women as they ought to. Very few people give much thought to biblical translation, transformation and transportation. However, these words and the importance of the concepts they convey cannot be exaggerated. All things earthly, carnal and mundane are not to be compared to the themes of these ideas which the Holy Spirit has written.
1. Translated: “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col. 1: 13). The Colossians, having been buried with Christ in baptism (Col. 2:12), had been delivered from the power or kingdom of darkness and had been translated into the kingdom or power of God’s dear Son. In ancient times, when one kingdom captivated and subjugated another, it often would “translate” or carry the conquered kingdom from one place to another. Booty, spoil and plunder belonged to the visitors. Hence, they carried their captives away, along with all their goods and gold. This process was called “translation.”
Hence, when the sinner has been delivered from the power of Satan, when he has been called out of darkness into the Lord’s light and life, he may be described as “translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son.” A war takes place on the battlefield of the mind. It is the arsenal and artillery of the devil’s deceitful lusts versus the love, grace and goodness of God as expressed in the power of God, the gospel (2 Cor. 4:3,4; 10:3-5; Rom. 1:16; 2:4).
When one with an honest and good heart obeys the truth given by the Spirit, he is mustered out of allegiance to the devil and is translated into the kingdom of light and love (Lk. 8:15; 1 Pet. 1:22). His citizenship is removed and changed (Eph. 2:19-3:6). He is subtracted from the number of the lost and added to the roll of the redeemed, the church (Heb. 12:23; Acts 2:47). While men seek the privileges of freedom and move from one nation to another to acquire life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, they remain oblivious to their plight in the kingdom of the devil and to the horrors of the judgment to come. Have you been translated, or are you yet following the course of bondage, death and eternal misery?
2. Transformed: “And be not conformed to the world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:2). “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:22-24).
With translation into the kingdom there should come transformation of one’s character and conduct. Some are translated who are never perfectly transformed (Lk. 8:13,14; 1 Cor. 3:14). Being conformed and transformed into the image of God’s Son is a daily struggle. It is fraught with frustration, but unto those who are exercised thereby, it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness. In a sense, perhaps, translation is easier than transformation, as much as being born is easier than the proper development of one’s faculties and functions.
Apart from transformation, however, there can be no salvation. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). Christians fervently, and rightly so, stress the process of translation while lightly touching the quest for transformation. As a new born baby dies if he does not grow and develop, so the babe in Christ will expire if he does not go on unto perfection, if he does not transform his conduct in harmony with the guidelines of truth.
3. Transported: “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom” (Lk. 16:22). “The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 13:41,42,47-50; 22:11-13).
You may not be translated into the kingdom. You may not be transformed in heart and life, but you will be transported when you die. There can be no doubt about that. All that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God and all shall come forth. It is an undeniable summons. You may turn a deaf ear to the call for translation. You may reject the appeal for transformation, but you will be given eternal transportation.
When the Lord Jesus shall descend from heaven with a shout, accompanied by ten thousands times ten thousands of his saints and angels, when he shall employ the keys of death, hell and the grave, when the voice of the archangel shall sound with the trump of God, every one of us will receive divine transportation. We shall be transported to meet him in the clouds or cast away from the glory of his power forever and ever.
It is the ultimate end of our transportation that makes our present translation and transformation so vitally important. Imagine being carried by the angels to meet the Lord in comfort or to be cast away unto tribulation and anguish, indignation and wrath! Such awesome reflections ought to cause us to contemplate the current state of our souls, for it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:31).
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 3, pp. 78-79
February 7, 1991