Thursday, January 16, 2014

Metamorphosis (Romans 12:2)

“And do not be conformed to this world, 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, NASB95)

After instructing us to give ourselves back to God fully as a living and holy sacrifice of worship, we move into the process by which we are to do so. Throughout Scripture we see this same process repeated, as we come to understand how God would have us live we purpose to set aside or put off behaviors which are not consistent with our new identity and we put on those which are. Here is Romans 12:2 we read that we are not to be conformed to this world. As we move through Romans and the rest of Scripture we are presented with many of the ways in which the world lives that we are instructed to put aside. In Ephesians 4:22 this process of no longer being conformed to the world is referred to as laying aside and in Colossians 3 we see it also as putting off. In simple words we are to stop doing the things we used to do because they are not right and they do not bring glory to God.

But the Christians life is not one of what we can’t do, but one of being freed from the slavery of those things and empowered to live in new and honorable ways. In Romans 12:2 we read that we are to prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. This is the process of changing the way we live and think such that it conforms to the character and will of God. When we live in this way we are evidencing the work that God is doing in us and proving Him faithful. In Ephesians 4 and again in Colossians 3 we see that we are instructed to put on our new self which is created after the likeness of God.

This is the process of being transformed. The Greek word behind our word transformed is ‘metamophoo’ from which we get our English word metamorphosis. And as we think about this word in its most common illustrations in nature we think of are the caterpillar to the butterfly or the tadpole to the frog. In each of these and in so many other examples we see a massive transformation as something significant takes place in the body. For us as Christians when we place our trust in Christ for salvation we are made spiritually alive and with this new life comes an equally miraculous transformation. God is the One that gave us this new life. His Spirit resides in us and empowers us, and His Word is given and made alive and powerful in our lives. It is in His Word that we learn about Him and all that He has chosen to reveal, including how we should live. Repeatedly in Scripture we read about having our minds renewed by learning God’s truth and allowing it to reshape our way of thinking and acting and in so doing we are being daily transformed.

“that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Ephesians 4:22–24, NASB95)

“Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—” (Colossians 3:9–10, NASB95) (for more on this read Colossians 3:5-16)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5–6, NASB95)

So, again looking back to the previous eleven chapters of Romans where Paul lays out a foundation for our faith, we are to move forward with a new understanding choosing to no longer be conformed to the way we once lived and choosing to live according to those truths which we have learned. We are to stop going to the dirty clothes pile in order to get dressed. Now that we know where the clean clothes are stored, that is where we are to go and daily put them on.

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word.” … “Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:9, 11, NASB95)

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