Romans 12:1-2 reads, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this 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.”
In Romans 12:1 God the Holy Spirit pleads with us to present ourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto the Lord our God. Then in verse 2 God the Holy Spirit gives two commands that we must obey if we are truly to present ourselves as such a living sacrifice unto the Lord our God. The opening portion of the verse presents the first command – “And be not conformed to this world.” Then the second command follows – “But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Herein the word “transformed” means “to be formed over,” that is – “to be changed into a different form or a different character.” Brethren, we are not to be conformed unto this present evil world. We are not to be in the same form or in agreement with this present evil world. Rather, we are to be “transformed.” We are to be changed into a different form and a different character than this present evil world. So then, let us consider the need for our transformation, the objective of our transformation, and the means to our transformation.
The Need for Our Transformation
Brethren, we did not enter this world with a godly nature and character. We did not even enter this world with a good nature and character. Rather, from our very conception we possessed a sinful nature and with a sinful char-acter. The character of heart was “desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9), and “the imaginations of the thoughts” of our hearts was “only evil continually” from our youth up (Genesis 6:5; 8:21). We entered this world spiritually sense as “the children of disobedience,” being spiritually “dead in trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1-2) Our spiritual understanding was darkened, and spiritual blindness filled our hearts. (Ephesians 4:18) Even so, we “walked according to the course of this world,” giving ourselves to fulfill the desires of our own sinful flesh and mind. (Ephesians 2:2-3) Yea, in utter selfishness we gave ourselves “to work all uncleanness with greed-iness.” (Ephesians 4:19)
Yes, we certainly were in need of a spiritual transformation. To meet this need, God our heavenly Father graciously, mercifully, and lovingly provided a way of salvation and of transformation through faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Even so, 2 Corinthians 5:17 declares, “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [a new creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Again John 1:13 speaks concerning those who have received the Lord Jesus Christ through faith as Savior, saying, “Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Brethren, as those who have received the Lord Jesus Christ through faith as Savior, we have experienced a new spiritual birth. God our heavenly Father Himself has regenerated us and recreated us spiritually. Our God has put His own holy and righteous nature within us. Indeed, we are no longer “the children of disobedience” by spiritual nature, but are now the very children of God by spiritual nature.
Yet this new birth and new creation was only the beginning of our transformation. It was the transformation of our spiritual nature within us. Now the transforming process of the Lord our God must continue so that it may transform the character and ways of our minds and the conduct and walk of our lives. Now concerning this, we can have the full assurance and confidence that God our heavenly Father will continue this work in us until it is perfected. Even so, Philippians 1:6 delivers the assurance, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Yet we also have a responsibility in this matter. Even so, Ephesians 4:22-24 delivers the instruction, “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.” So then, we believers yet need a continuing spiritual work of transformation in our lives. We need to be transformed, to be made into a different form and character. We need a continual putting off of the form and character of the old man and continual putting on of the form and character of the new man.
The Objective of Our Transformation.
If we need to be changed into a different form and character (and we do), then into what form and character are we to be changed? We are not to be conformed (formed after the same form) as this present evil world. Yet into what form are we to be transformed? Romans 8:29 provides the answer, saying, “For whom he [God the Father] did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Again 1 John 3:2 provides the answer, saying, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he [the Lord Jesus Christ] shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” Yet again 2 Corinthians 3:18 provides the answer, saying, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image [as the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ] from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Finally, the opening portion of Romans 13:14 provides the instruction, saying, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.” We are to be transformed. We are to be changed into a different form and character. We are to put off the ways of the old man and to put on the ways of the new man. Even so, the form of the new man that we are to put on is the form of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Means to Our Transformation.
How then are we to be so transformed? In returning to Romans 12:2, we find the answer – “But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” In like manner, in the midst of the instructions to put off the old man and put on the new man, Ephesians 4:23 gives the instruction, “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” The spirit of our thinking must be spiritually made new. The focus of our thinking must be spiritually made new. The patterns of our thinking must be spiritually made new. The content of our thinking must be spiritually made new. When we began our lives “the imaginations of the thoughts” of our hearts was “only evil continu-ally.” (Genesis 5:5) Even so, in Luke 6:45 our Lord Jesus Christ revealed the truth, saying, “An evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth evil things.” Now we need the thoughts, feelings, desires, and motivations of our heart to be renewed. Now we need “the imaginations of the thoughts” of our hearts to be filled with “all goodness and righteousness and truth.” (Ephesians 5:9) Thus in Luke 6:45 our Lord also revealed the truth, saying, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things.” We need the evil treasures and thoughts of the old man to be cast out of our hearts and minds; and we need the good treasures and thoughts of the new man, of our Lord Jesus Christ, to fill our hearts and minds. We need a new spiritual mindset.
How then shall we acquire this new spiritual mindset? We must choose every moment of every day to set our minds upon the new things of the Lord our God and Savior. First, we must continually look unto and meditate upon the Lord our God and Savior Himself. Second, we must continually meditate in the Word of our Lord God and Savior. Third, we must do everything “by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving” to our Lord God and Savior. (Philippians 4:6) Fourth, we must be filled with and walk in the Holy Spirit of our Lord God and Savior. (Note: These are not four steps to be taken in progression, but four ingredients to followed in union.)
Posted in Weekly Sermon, Romans, Grace and Mercy of God, Spiritual New Birth, Children of God,
God the Son Jesus Christ, Spiritual Growth, Walk in Righteousness