The Wayof our transformation follows our submission to Christ. It is also the period of time where the renewing of our mind truly takes place.
(Rom 12:2) 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.
The whole purpose of the renewing of our minds is that we may "prove" the will of God. But what does it mean to prove God's will?
dokimazō (prove) Thayer Definition: 1) to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals 2) to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy This verse of scripture is often taken in a very broad context. That is to say that it is used in a wide application to mean not to be fashioned after the ways of the world. And albeit that the idea is true, that we should shun the ways of the ungodly and corrupt world in which we live, this is not what this verse is speaking of in context with Paul's dissertation here.
One of the first things that we need to keep in mind is that scriptures were not written using punctuation marks, paragraph breaks and chapter brakes. This dialog does not begin with chapter 12 it begins with chapter 11:
(Rom 11:33) O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
(Rom 11:34) For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor?
(Rom 11:35) Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
(Rom 11:36) For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. You see the subject leading into chapter 12 is the mind of the Lord and the riches of His wisdom and knowledge. The idea of presenting our bodies as our reasonable sacrifice (12:1) is metaphoric insomuch as our bodies do as we will and that when our mind is changed our will is changed and our actions are a reflection of that change, or lack thereof.
Do you remember our Lord's rebuke of the Pharisees in Matthew 23?
Our Lord had just given His two great commandments, had rebuked His being called "son of David" by the Pharisees, and continues speaking to the multitudes and His disciples:
(Mat 23:2) Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses seat:
(Mat 23:3)All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe,thatobserve and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. You see the Pharisees talked the walk but they didn't talk the walk! They said all of the right things but they didn't do them. So Jesus is telling the people to do as they say but not as they do. The truth is that the Pharisees did not bring their bodies into subjection, they didn't sacrifice the desires of their flesh, they twisted the wisdom and knowledge of God, given through scriptures, to suit their own desires. And because they were the religious rulers over the people (they sit in Moses seat) they were puffed up with power and filled with pride, arrogance and deceit.
Therefore, when Paul speaks of not conforming to the world (aiōn) he is speaking of an age, a period of time and not the ways of the world or the world system. He is speaking of renewing our minds to be doers of the word and not hearers only. He is saying do not be as the Pharisees. He is saying not to think of ourselves more highly than we aught to think. To be humble and always show humility. To have the meekness required to first receive the wisdom and knowledge of God, to submit our wills to that word and then to do it!
This is how we overcome the world. This is how we overcome an age where the word of God is treated as a tool to justify actions that are clearly not within the will of our Father God. As we are transformed into the image of God in our thoughts, words and deeds, we are being transformed into the image and likeness of our Lord to whom we have subjugated ourselves.
To What End? Overcoming the world and beginning to live the life of the kingdom!
Now Watch This!
(Joh 17:11)And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as weare.
Who are those who are "in the world"? "these", those who He was praying for, His disciples!
You see this prayer of our Lord found in John 17 is basically broken down into three parts:
1) Jesus speaking to the Father about Himself (v.1-8) 2) Jesus speaking of His disciples (v.9-19) 3) Jesus speaking of us, "those who shall believe n me through their word". (v.20-26)
Now in verse 11 our Lord proclaims that He is no longer in the world. But this word "world" is not the same word used by Paul in Romans 12:1. This is the Greek word "kosmos" which speaks of the order or system of the physical world and the people of this system. Jesus overcame all of that because He walked in perfect subjection to the Father's will in spite of the world trying to fassion Him after it (or them).
Watch what Jesus says in verse 16
(Joh 17:16)They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Jesus is saying that now they are no longer of the system! What happened that initiated this change?
(Joh 17:14)I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. He gave them the Father's word!
What we need to note here is that Jesus, in His earthen ministry, came ONLY for the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Mat 15:24) so when Jesus speaks of the world, in terms of the world system, He is speaking of the system that the religious system that Pharisees were teaching and the people were following.
Jesus came to change that. To bring the people onto repentance. To cause them to renew their minds and receive what He was saying. But the people, the Jewish leadership in particular, rejected His doctrines just as they rejected the doctrines of the prophets of God who came before Him. And because His disciples received the doctrines of our Lord "the world" hated them just as they hated Him.
They (the disciples) repented of the world and they received their salvation but they were not regenerated or transformed because Jesus had yet to go to the cross and the Holy Spirit had not yet come. Further more they had not truly fully submitted onto Christ, albeit they did in as much as they could without the Holy Spirit.
That is why Jesus says that they are no longer OFthe world. Notice that He doesn't say that they are no longerIN the world. They are no longer of the world system because they received the Word of God but they have not overcome the world because they were still "in" the world.
When we receive the Holy Spirit we are given the ability to overcome the world just as Jesus overcame the world. And not after His physical death but before that time (John 16:33).
(Eph 2:1) And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
(Eph 2:2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
(Eph 2:3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. You see we overcome the world (kosmos) when we no longer walk the course of this world (religious system)(the wide road) who had our conversations in the lust of our flesh and of the unrenewed mind according to human nature. We overcome the world when we are transformed into the image and likeness of Christ and when we begin to function (think, speak and act) as He did.
That is the time of our deliverance from the world!
Renew The Mind Ministries is a global new covenant church, that meets online to worship The Lord God Christ Jesus, edify one another through scriptures, have fellowship, encourage each other in the Lord, and to pray for one another .