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AdmonisherSept 20, 2015
But Be TransformedTherefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. (Romans 12:1-3)
In the first chapters of the letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul had defined, defended, and explained the gospel. Beginning in the twelfth chapter, he focuses on what it is to live the gospel. That focus is founded upon the statement: “present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice” (Romans 12:1).
In the process of showing Christians what kind of a sacrifice they are to present unto the Lord, a negative and a positive requirement are given. The negative requirement is “And do not be conformed to this world” [see The Admonisher, 09/13/15]. The positive requirement is: “but be transformed” (Romans 12:2). The Greek word metamorphoo is used in this sentence. The English zoological/biological term “metamorphosis” comes from this root. It is used to describe the changing of form of a tadpole into a frog and the changing of form of a caterpillar into a butterfly. When one becomes a Christian, he, too, is to change his form—he is to be transformed extensively.
This transformation is to be done by each individual’s taking responsibility for how he “lives” the gospel. The command is for “you” to present and for “you” not to conform and for “you” to transform. This is to be done by the inner man, by setting the heart to dwell on God and His commands. “My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments; For length of days and years of life And peace they will add to you. Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man” (Proverbs 3:1-4). This causes growth that takes place day by day. All Christians should have the same attitude as did Paul: “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2Corinthians 4:16-18).
This transformation is to be done by the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2). When one becomes a Christian, he is made a new creature. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2Corinthians 5:17). “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3,4). Having become a new creature, each Christian must change his way of thinking.
What are some characteristics of the old mind as given in Scripture? The old mind is a mind with evil intent (Proverbs 21:27). It is the doubting mind filled with worry for the things of this life (Luke 12:29). It is the fleshly mind hostile toward God (Romans 8:7). It is a depraved mind which refuses to acknowledge God (Romans 1:28). It submits to the useless indulgence of the flesh (Ephesians 2:3; Colossians 2:18). It is a mind which is not dependable and easily shaken (2Thessalonians 2:2). It is a mind which is deprived from withstanding truth (1Timothy 6:5). It is subject to being double and unstable when trials arise (James 1:8). Is it any wonder that the mind needs to be renewed if the one who possesses it is to be transformed?
The new mind, which comes by way of transformation, is a ready mind eagerly and constantly examining God’s word (Acts 17:11). It is to be a humble mind serving under any and every circumstance (Acts 20:19; Colossians 3:12). It is to be as the mind of Christ (1Corinthians 2:16). It is to be a willing mind (2Corinthians 8:12; Philippians 2:5). It is to be a place for God’s law—His word embedded in our minds and written on our hearts (Hebrews 8:10). It is to be a mind which is dwells on good things (Philippians 4:8) It is to be a mind which is sincere (2Peter 3:1). Also, from our original text, we know it is to be a mind of sound judgment (Romans 12:3).
By not conforming to the world and by transforming one’s life by the renewing of the mind, one proves or approves what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.
Proof that one has not been transformed, or has not had his mind renewed, is when one is proud and thinks overly much of himself.
Many people, who become Christians, do such a poor job of renewing their minds! The end result is that many can hardly be distinguished from people of the world. How much transforming are you doing? How much conforming are you doing?
—S. Scott Richardson Sr