As a grandparent, I have rediscovered Play Dough. Our grandchildren love it just as much as our children did. Play dough easily conforms to any shaped object into which you place it. Romans 12:1-2 presents a truth to us that our lives ought not to resemble play dough. We should not be easily conformed to the ideas of the sinful world.
“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)
In this passage there are Two Contrast (“do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world”)
The first part of the comparison is the word CONFORM. We must be careful not to be conformed to the world.
The Greed word syschema is the source where we get the translation conformed. It is a compound of 2 other words. “Sys” is the word for with. “Schema” means to be made in the likeness of something else. The Greek dictionary gives the following definition. “To form or mold after something” (BAGD).
The only other NT use of this word is found in 1 Peter 1:14. “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.”
Notice some of the ways our English Bible have translated this word:
- And be not fashioned according to this world (ASV)
- Do not be shaped by this world (New Century Version)
- Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world (NLT)
- The most memorable is the Philipps translation, “Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold” (JB Phillips)
We are not to be conformed to this world. But what is “the world?” This is just another way of describing what we have been learning about from Colossians 2, Cultural captivity!
“Worldliness is a system of values and goals from which God is excluded” (Zane Hodges)
It is ruled by Satan. (Ephesians 2:2) “in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.”
In contrast to being conformed, the second major word we find in Romans 12:2 is Transformed
This is also a compound word, metamorphe.. The first part of the compound is the word Meta which means change. The second is the word Morphe which means form. This is essentially the same word as our English word metamorphosis – a change in form. “A transformation that is outwardly visible.” (BAGD). Metamorphe is used in only 3 NT references. One of them is Mark 9:2 when Jesus was transformed.
What was really truly on the inside, was allowed to shine through!
The Illustration of this is how a caterpillar turns into a BUTTERFLY.
Why does a Caterpillar turn into a butterfly? It is because of its DNA!
A WORM will not turn into a Butterfly
A SLUG will not turn into a Butterfly
A CENETPEDE will not turn into a Butterfly
What’s in our DNA?
The answer should be that The MIND of Christ now controls the Christian! (1 Cor 2:16) “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”
Romans 8:9-12 (Spirit lives in us!) “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. (Romans 8:9, ESV)
What does this transformation look like? The other NT use of μεταμορφοσθε (2 Corinthians 3:18) “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
HOW does this spiritual Transformation take place? “by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2)
Our Minds are renewed by the WORD of GOD
1 Peter 1:22-2:2
We have been BORN AGAIN through the Word
We GROW through the Word
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” (Psalm 119:9, ESV)
Our SINFUL MIND is corrupt. “The problem is not that our minds are FINITE, the problem is that our minds are FALLEN” (Piper “The Renewed Mind and How to Have it”)
(Romans 1:28) a depraved mind.
(1 Timothy 6:5) a corrupt mind.
(1 Peter 1:13-14) ” do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.”
(Titus 1:15) ” to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.”
Our NATURAL MIND cannot accept spiritual truth.
1 Cor 2:14-16
(2 Corinthians 4:4) “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
So, there is a BATTLE for our MIND
Salvation RELEASES us from the control of Satan\
Sanctification STRENGTHENS us so we do not return to his control.
How do we RENEW our MIND?
It is not a NEW APPEARANCE (clothing, styles)
It is not a NEW LIST OF RULES
The world has rules that constantly change.
The rules of expected by the world constantly change.
The main rule for our day is that you must tolerate everything
In today’s culture, Cigarettes are bad. In spite of the fact that cigarettes are terribly unhealthy, there is a cultural taboo about smoking cigarettes. But alas, in today’s accept everything culture, Marijunna is good!
Abortion is good
You’ve got to constantly be guilty of destroying the environment.
Get ahead however you can
Material things are what really matter
Have you noticed that these rules change, and that you better follow them if you want to be culturally relevant!
Have you ever noticed that the people who don’t want Christians preaching their message are the same people who are always preaching to EVERYONE in our society?
But don’t get too comfortable, Christian. There are also RELIGIOUS RULES that become a source of great pride for some Christians. These rules do not save you. Sadly, some Christians are very proud of the rules that they follow, choosing to focus on the rules and not on their relationship with Christ.
True spiritual maturity comes from the indwelling Christ.
Living His WAY “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh,” (Hebrews 10:19–20, ESV)
Living His WALK (Ephesians 5:8) “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light”
Following His WORD (1 Peter 2:2) “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,” (Colossians 3:16) “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.”
ONLY the WORD of GOD can make a CORRUPT MIND into a NEW MIND.
(James 1:18) “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.”
SATAN attempts to get us BACK TO THE OLD WAYS of thinking!
ONLY the WORD of GOD can keep us from returning to the our former ways.
(Ephesians 4:20-23) “You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds;”
Are you COINFORMED or TRANSFORMED?
Importance of INSPIRATION, INTERPRETATION, APPLICATION
We must pursue victory over old ways and sinful habits.
Victory is possible. (You have been given the mind of Christ – the promise of victory!)
Victory is gradual. (It is a lifetime pursuit!)
Victory Requires discipline (1 Corinthians 9:25) “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.
- Daily Quiet time
- Exhortation (biblically focused, Christ exalting preaching)
- Scripture memorization
- Application – searching my heart.
Are you being transformed through the Word of God?