Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 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 12:1-2)
These verses in Romans 12 are considered “hinge” verses that are highlighted by the word “therefore.” The old adage in Bible study is whenever you see a therefore, you must look what it is there for. Normally, it refers to what has just proceeded it. However, in this case I believe Paul is referring to something that doesn’t just precede it but actually goes back to the first chapter.
In Chapter One, Paul is laying out his argument that the Gentiles are sinners who have rejected God, even though He has made Himself known to them. The result is that their hearts were darkened and then God gave them over to three conditions: the lusts of their hearts (v.24), degrading passions (v.26), and a depraved mind (v28). My interpretation is that Chapter Twelve refers back to this passage.
Knowing that the path of sinners is destined for the wrath of God, whether Jew or Greek, Paul set out to explain God’s plan for justification, sanctification, and glorification. Paul explained how all mankind is shut up under sin, but God has a plan to restore those who would find salvation in Jesus Christ. That would take us through Chapter Eight of Romans. He then turned to whether or not Israel was still included in God’s plan and the answer was, “yes.” He then gave his, “therefore” in Chapter Twelve.
If believers are not conformed to this world but transformed by the renewing of their mind they can receive some valuable spiritual benefits. It is very clear that there are enormous benefits when believers renew their mind. It should be noted that this is a command, not a suggestion. “Be transformed,” is an imperative. So what are these benefits?
First and foremost when a believer is transformed by the renewing of their mind they are pleasing to God. Who doesn’t want this? Although most people are trying to please someone, believers in particular want to please their God. Here’s your chance!
The second thing that Paul says is that you will prove what the will of God is. Wow - if I had a dollar for every time people have asked me how to find God’s will, well, I’d have lots of dollars. The point is that every one struggles or at least seeks to know the will of God. Here Paul tells us that we can prove what it is - that it is good, acceptable and perfect. And, we can do it by simply being transformed by the renewing of our minds. Now that’s a winner.
The third thing is the obvious one - perhaps too obvious; the believer is transformed. This transformation is the work of the Spirit who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. Christ in you is the hope of glory. The short way to say this is that we become more like Jesus.
These benefits of transformation - pleasing God, proving God’s will, and being changed, are why we should all be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Next time, I’ll post about the “how” to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Stay tuned.