I do apologize for not getting something out last Friday. I came down with something and was wiped out and totally forgot. This is the end of chapter 2.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2, ESV)
It is always important to look for alternatives or contrasts in the study of Scripture. Here we see the word “but,” which prefaces an alternative. Paul wrote, “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but.” There is an alternative direction. Rather than conformation as discussed in the previous section, there is to be transformation. Rather than an external force conforming believers there is to be an internal work of transformation.
The word translated “transformation” is the Greek verb metamorphoo, from which we get the word metamorphosis. This refers to a process of transformation. The best example we have is that of a caterpillar undergoing a metamorphosis in a cocoon and coming out as a butterfly. The picture is one of entering the process as a relatively ugly creature and emerging with beauty. This is the process into which every believer has entered by saving faith in Jesus Christ. The old person tainted by sin and fleshly desires enters Christ and constantly undergoes a process of transformation into Christlikeness.
Yet, in this process of spiritual transformation there is an active part in which the believer must engage. The verse tells us that the believer will “be transformed by the renewal of” his or her mind. This renewal is dependent upon what information the believer feeds to the mind. What the believer reads, sees, and hears will directly influence the mind and this process of transformation. In the old computer programming days, our teacher used to tell us, “Garbage in, garbage out.” In other words, the result of our program was only as good as the steps we programed into it. In the case of renewing our minds so that we will be spiritually transformed, this refers to inputting the word of God into our minds.
We must resist and avoid being conformed by the world system and instead seek to have the Holy Spirit transform us through the intake of God’s word, the Bible. We will experience this inner transformation in a supernatural way through several avenues. It happens when we listen to good preaching and teaching of the word, when we read and study the Scriptures. The more we immerse ourselves in God’s word, the more we will develop the mind of Christ, and have the ability to understand Scripture and apply it in life. Therefore, it behooves every believer to devote as much time as possible into the intake of God’s word.
The Blessing of developing the Mind of Christ.
All of this has a desired end. As we are being transformed and developing this mind of Christ, we will naturally experience something that every true believer wants. Paul stated it, “but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” We will gain the ability to “discern what the will of God is.”
The word “discern” here, dokimazo, means to test, examine, and discern things (Strong G1381). As believers grow in this work of spiritual transformation, they increase in their ability to critically examine situations and choices that they encounter and discern the best choice, one that are in full agreement with the revealed word of God.