“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.” Romans 12:2
There are many fascinating components and meanings to this statement by the Apostle Paul. Take a look at “And be not conformed to this world”. The word “be” and “conformed” come from the same Greek word “sysch?matiz? “meaning to conform or fashion oneself.
So here is a more literal reading, “Conform not to the conformity of this world” or “And do not fashion yourself to the likes of this world” or “Do not integrate into the worldly system”.
It is always interesting to observe particularly the young, how independent they strive to be all the while mimicking and assimilating into a pattern of their chosen peers. The reality of it is this; what is perceived as the pursuit of independence is actually nothing more than rebellion.
“The term world has several significations, but here it means the sentiments and the morals of men; to which, not without cause, he forbids us to conform. For since the whole world lies in wickedness” John Calvin
“but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind”. Often times folks get too enamored with “transformed” due to either its Greek origin, “metamorpho?“ where we get the word metamorphosis or because it is the same word used in regards to Jesus when he “transfigured”.
But the most exciting aspect of “transformed” is that it is an action verb. It shows motion and forward progress as it relates to soul and character.
Renewing is not a reference to updating or extending such as renewing a membership or updating a resume. Renewing in this context is more specifically renovation, just like renovating an old house. It requires tearing down the old, moldy, sin stained walls of the former mind and soul and rebuilding anew. This is what a new creature in Christ does, tears down the old sin and rebuilds the new saint.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
Now here is something extremely important to consider. Transforming and renewing is a conscious effort on our part. By the grace and mercy of God who supplies us with the ready tools of his word are we able to do this. Too many people think that they are going to be overtaken by the Holy Spirit and instantly washed clean. No effort on their part but a spiritual cleansing that happens instantaneously. We are renewed and transformed by effort. We are not transfigured as Christ was! We renovate and renew one brick at a time in faith and confidence in God, abiding in Him always.
The Bible is our floor plan to follow during our renovation project. This rebuilding project is similar to that of Jerusalem during Nehemiah’s time.
“They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me.” Nehemiah 4:17-18
The wall and work is the renewing of the mind. The bricks and the sword are the word of God. Jerusalem is our salvation but the effort is up to us.
that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Only after our rebuilding project, of restoring Christ as our Savior and His word supreme in our lives are we able to test and try what is good and acceptable. How can we know the will of God if we do not know God or His word? To know God, not just be aware of or familiar with Him but to have a developed relationship. To be cognoscente of Him at all times. To understand God created everything, has dominance over everything and is always present.
God wants us to know him and His word. He also wants us to “prove what is good” to be sure it is of and by Him. It is for our health, well being and salvation.
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18-24
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