new life fellowship

serving jesus christ the king

Face transplant theology

Last week Connie Culp made the news as the first face transplant patient in the US. She had been shot in the face by her husband. The shotgun blast shattered her nose, cheeks, the roof of her mouth and an eye. She underwent 30 operations prior to the face transplant on December 10, 2008. During a 22-hour operation 80 percent of her face was replaced with the face from another woman who had recently died.

For Connie Culp it is the promise of a new life, free from disfigurement.

It provides a modern illustration of a biblical truth. We’ve been studying Paul’s letter to the Romans on Sundays. He has shown that no-one is remotely able to please God, not by being good, or even religious. If our souls had faces, we would be badly disfigured.

No amount of religious or moral makeup can transform the effects of the shotgun blast of our faults. We need radical surgery—a complete soul-facelift, with a perfection and beauty supplied from outside ourselves. The Bible teaches that God himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, is willing to be that donor for us.

When we put our trust in his perfectly lived life, instead of trying to patch up our own, his righteousness is given to us. It is this soul-facelift that we need. His perfect life is counted as ours to such an extent that when God the Father looks at a Christian it’s as if he says, “This person looks familiar, they look like my perfect Son, I will accept them.”

This is what the Bible means when it talks about being clothed with Jesus’ perfect righteousness, or being justified. It’s a magnificent truth—accepted, given a new life because of someone else. And it isn’t a cheap case of fooling God, because it is God himself who supplies the facelift that he requires from us. He is both the surgeon and the donor.

And it heralds, for all who accept God’s offer of acceptance based on the perfection of Jesus, a new life of hope and promise, ultimately a life free from disfigurement.