“…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” (Romans 12:2).
The world’s ways are opposite of the way of God. As we see in verse 2 of Romans 12, the world is out to influence the fruit of our desires. The human tendency is to please the flesh to find happiness. Most people in the world have been convinced, and wrongfully so, that they can live the Christian life without any changes at all in the way they act, think and talk. But if we are truly converted to the way of God then change is inevitable. Not because the Christian is a better person, but because his or her influence is now the power of God and not the weakness of the world. Coming to a realization of this fact is part of the transformation of the renewed mind.
Renewing of the mind begins with a renewed vision of self: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). Living as a Christian causes us to look out for others as well as ourselves. It is a different life because it is driven by love and seeks the welfare of those around us. To have this kind of lifestyle requires a complete overhaul of the thinking process. It takes a renewed mind.
Renewing of the mind also gives a new vision of sin. Although most in the world see sin as bad, most have not gone through the renewing of the mind to see it as bad enough to change their lives. Some live in a way that shows God as obligated to forgive their sin without true repentance. But God has proven through the Scriptures that forgiveness is an opportunity not an obligation. He has offered us the way out of sin and the way is through repentance. When sin causes the heart to break we can look to the Scriptures to find the way to forgiveness: “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38). Although baptism is essential to having sin washed away; the first part of Peter’s answer is to repent, to change the way we view sin and to see the severity of sin and the separation it causes between us and God (Isaiah 59:2). Once that realization sets in the desire to repent, or change, is overwhelming and causes one to seek the only way to salvation, God’s way (Ephesians 5:24-26). Love for God is not enough to enter salvation. One must also hate sin.
Renewing of the mind will also change how one views salvation. The biblical view of salvation is not something that comes through the wisdom of man. It has been delivered through God’s grace that teaches us to “deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:12). There are some that believe salvation is accepting the Lord in their hearts, but without the washing away of sin through the water, one cannot enter salvation. Salvation from the biblical standpoint is having been forgiven of sin. And since it is God who must do the forgiving, submission to His plan is essential. When we study the idea of salvation we can only come to the conclusion that forgiveness only comes to those who have died to self, died to sin and now live through the serenity of God’s forgiveness. The Ethiopian Eunuch went away rejoicing after he was baptized because he knew his sins had been washed away. He knew this because it was shown to him through the suffering Savior of Isaiah 53 (Acts 8:36-36). Obviously this man’s vision of salvation had changed because when he saw water, he saw the way to forgiveness and salvation. You can rejoice also with a renewed mind.
In His Grace,