Art appreciation has never been my strong suit, but one of my favorite pieces is a mixed media sculpture called “Born Again” by artist Dean Kermit Allison. The design features a man looking skyward with his back slightly arched and his hands clasped in front of him, as if he’s exerting himself to stay upright. From the waist down to the ground, he is covered in bronze that is peeling off in large patches. His exposed upper body looks like crystal, which provides a stark contrast in light and texture. I have only ever seen a photo of the sculpture, but it still moves me.
The bronze is harsh, rough, and jagged, like sin that has encased us and held us captive. And yet, the crystal-clear beauty of a transformed life is bursting out of the ugliness. Wow. Think for a moment … really let it sink in … about that imagery of what Jesus has done for us.
When we participate in the symbolism of baptism, it is a representation of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection; as though our sin is being washed away like water washes your body. We can scrub ourselves raw in the shower and yet never cleanse what lies beneath the skin. God, on the other hand, sees through your tough exterior; he knows what hides beneath.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIRV) says, “Anyone who believes in Christ is a new creation. The old is gone! The new has come!” Certainly, through his death and resurrection, Jesus has secured salvation for those who believe in him, but that’s not the only thing. Our salvation doesn’t begin the moment we die. It happens right now!
Transformation is a process, but God sees your potential. In 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, we are reminded that there is newfound freedom in Christ, and we become more like him as we allow God to change us. Peeling off layer after layer of sin is not usually an easy or painless process, but like the statue I described above, the end result is glorious.