Scripture Reading: Romans 12:2 (New American Standard Bible 1995)
2 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.
Thought for the day:
It may seem that we’ve not made a lot of progress this week and that we’ve read the same verse over and over. However, I trust that you will appreciate that this verse is pivotal for most of the things that are to come. We understand who God is and therefore we are logically called to offer our lives to God as a living sacrifice. Part of the sacrifice is a determined effort to not be drawn into tolerating behaviours or attitudes that we know to be wrong. The next part of that sacrifice isn’t about what we shouldn’t do but is entirely focused on what we should be doing.
Almost all translations use the word ‘transformed’ and there is no better way to explain what God is revealing through the apostle Paul. It literally means to change from one form to another. It conveys the meaning of a gradual change into something that is not recognisable from its original form.
Also note that we are not called to substitute one way of living for another. I know of some people who say that they live a Christian lifestyle. I can’t really work out what that means but I’m guessing that they follow the instruction and morals found in the Scripture and, in particular, the teachings of Jesus. If we are to truly receive what Paul is teaching, we must understand that our sacrifice to the Lord isn’t just an outward thing. Yes, clearly, we will be able to see something being evidenced, but the thrust of the argument is that our thinking and attitudes change on the inside and this is manifested externally as God’s will is outworked in our lives. There are three things I want to leave with you as we finish this week’s study:
1. This transformation is a continual thing. Paul uses the present tense of the verb and so it is not an impulsive thing but must be continuous. ‘Continue to let yourselves be transformed’.
2. The verb is in the passive voice. It does not say transform yourselves but that we should allow ourselves to be transformed. The transformation is a work of God’s Spirit. 2 Corinthians says that we are being changed into His likeness from one degree to another. It is a gradual process that God is doing. 3. Lastly, the verb is in the imperative form. We are not completely passive in this operation. We have responsibility to cooperate with all that God is doing.
Prayer and Application:
To determine God’s will, we can’t rely on our conscience or our feelings. We have to continually check His Word and trust His work in our lives as we continually offer them as a sacrifice.