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Written by Bill Bradford
There is much going on in the world these days and subsequently the message the Apostle Paul was sharing in Romans 12:2 regarding not conforming to the world but being transformed has been on my mind recently.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom 12:2).
What is Paul, an Apostle of God, saying in this context? We have to go back to chapter one, where Paul describes the path humanity has taken. “Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Rom 1:21).
He then proceeds to show how both Jews and Gentiles have forsaken God, and all are under sin without any chance of redemption except through Jesus Christ. It would take a change of heart as Paul explains in the next few chapters. God will accept nothing less than a total change to be a son of His. All those under sin will have an opportunity to experience this redemption.
Part of this redemption through Christ is that, once the person accepts that His past sins are paid for, called redemption, the person will want to become a different person, patterned completely after Jesus Christ. This objective must be a total commitment. Therefore, Paul exclaims: “Be you transformed.” This means to become changed totally -- in our actions, our words and our thinking. In fact, it is a different mind than we had before.
I wonder how many actually know this is what God requires? After all, professed belief in the name of Jesus is what most Christians do, but the result of repentance and turning to God through Jesus Christ is a complete change. Not only does God look for what a person says, but what he does, and he also reads the mind and knows what is there.
“But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God” (Romans 2:29).
If all we are looking for is praise from men, our change won’t be complete. It will only be outward. Most people will change outwardly, because there is something to be gained by it. A truly converted person will be converted through and through because they want to please God. No halfway measures when it comes to changing.
Be you transformed, by the renewing of your mind. Let’s be thankful our mind can be renewed. When it is, our outward actions will also change, and the change will be permanent because it is fashioned by God.
We were made in such a way that the presence of God’s Spirit changes our thinking - “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil 2:13). Since this is a spiritual matter, most do not take this path. But humans obeying the spiritual law of God is what the next age is all about.
In this booklet we will examine the Bible's teaching on conversion—it is not just a one-time event. Instead the Scriptures reveal that it is a process. The process begins with God's calling, followed by the key steps of repentance, baptism and the receiving of the Holy Spirit, finally climaxing with the return of Jesus Christ — when the dead in Christ are resurrected to immortality and given eternal life — the ultimate transformation!
It’s obvious that our world is plagued with serious problems. Look around at the devastating wars, civil unrest, violent crime, rampant theft, corrupt governments, grinding poverty, hunger, spreading substance abuse, broken homes and families, natural disasters, failing educational systems and much more. These things aren’t new; they’re the sad legacy of human history. Is there any hope that these problems will ever be solved? Believe it or not, there is indeed great hope, and it’s found in the pages of your Bible. It’s called the gospel, a word that means “good news.” And it truly is good news, the message of Jesus Christ’s coming reign over the earth and God’s divine solution to our problems! Learn much more about this wonderful hope and news in the pages of this issue of Beyond Today. Download this issue in PDF. Individual articles will be posted in the upcoming days.