(Continued from last week)
In part 2 of our look at Romans 12:1-2 we consider God’s renewal program. In addition to being living sacrifices, Paul exhorts: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” What do we hear when we read, “Do not be conformed to this world”? Many suppose that the walking out of the Christian faith is turning away from immoral behaviours (of the world’s influence) and turning to a new set of moral behaviours (given by God). Although that is the result of a discipled Christian life, it would leave us begging for how one effects such a drastic change in behaviour. Alexander Maclaren helpfully explains that Christ’s Gospel is the power behind the means and ways of all effective transformation in our lives:
“The Gospel of Jesus Christ presents itself not as a mere republication of morality, not as merely a new stimulus and motive to do what is right, but as an actual communion to men of a new power to work in them, a strong hand laid upon our poor, feeble hand.”
Therefore, before we expect transformation externally, we must have transformation internally by the ‘new nature’ (2 Cor. 5:17) granted us through repentance and faith in Jesus – this becomes the power that works within us (Ephesians 3:20). And the primary way that this transformation occurs is by the renewing of our mind. Before we come to faith in Christ our minds are in opposition to God. Fundamentally, we oppose God’s rightful claim of supremacy over our lives. This leads us to fatally flawed perceptions of freedom. Outside of Christ, what we consider freedom is an illusion. What we consider to be the free exercise of our will is so often merely the exercise of uncontrolled desire. On the other hand, in Christ, in total submission to being a living sacrifice (Romans 6 even refers to it being enslaved to God) we find a kind of liberty we had never before imagined. “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery (Galatians 5:1).” Do you know, experientially, this kind of freedom? The freedom as Maclaren writes: “To know beyond a doubt what I ought to do, and knowing, to have no hesitation or reluctance in doing it”?
Do you deeply desire to break the chains of conformity to the world?
Does God’s program of transformation from the inside out seem too good to be true?
Do you want to move from a duty-bound Christian life to a delight-driven life – loving to do what you ought to do?
If that is you, submit to God’s mind renewal program. Read his Word with prayerful expectation that the Holy Spirit will work his change in you from the inside out. Set your mind on things above (Col 3:2) and trust that Jesus is indeed the author and perfector of your faith.
Hope to see you this Sunday!
As we gather for Sunday worship, we want you to meet with God and be transformed by the Word. Prepare your heart by reading the passage and listening to the songs for Sunday.