“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, KJV 1900)
Yesterday I dealt with the issue of being conformed to an evil world system. This happens by influences of society without our knowledge. The big issue is how do we guard against it as believers? I started a bit of discussion about this yesterday by saying you need to be in the truth of God’s Word. Let me continue on this thought.
Paul states that rather than conforming, the believer must be “transformed by the renewing” of the “mind.” The word transformed, metamorphoo, is related to our word, metamorphosis, this is the process by which a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. The caterpillar enters the cocoon as a fairly ugly creature and exits a beautiful flying one. In the Christian life, we are like the caterpillar in the cocoon, progressively and continuously being transformed into the butterfly, meaning the image of Christ.
To understand this process better, we need to look at the tense, voice and mood of the verb transformed, metamorphoo. This verb is in the present tense, which indicates a continuous ongoing process. The voice is passive, which means it is something that is done to us rather than we doing it to ourselves. This refers to the work of God by His Spirit, continuously transforming us into Christ likeness. The mood is imperative, it is a command. This means we are commanded to yield to the Holy Spirit in this work of transformation.
Paul tells us how this transformation is to take place. It is by the renewal, of the mind. How are our minds renewed? This happens through the work of the Holy Spirit in illuminating the truths of Scripture to our intellect and heart. The implication here is that we must read and study the Scripture with a dependence upon the Holy Spirit. It is also implied that we must act upon that which the Spirit has made clear to us by faith. This is a life-long process. To me it is no wonder that so many Christians are being gradually conformed to the pattern of the world. The problem is that they spend so little time in the Word, and often oppose what they read because it disagrees with what the mainstream media, the culture and their friends are telling them.
Years ago, I read a book by Leonard Ravenhill, “Why Revival Tarries.” In it was this popular quote, “As goes the church, so goes the world.” Perhaps the big issue is that the church is in the downward spiral with the world. To counter this, the church needs to get out of the downward spiral and this by being transformed by the renewing of the mind. Believer, the only way to cease being conformed to the world, is to get into the Word of God with a vital dependence on the Holy Spirit. Believe what it says. Do what it says. Be transformed by it through yielding to the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. (Tomorrow, Romans 12:2, Part 3 – Being Different.)