C. Walking the transformed life:
“And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rm 12:2).
James used the word “adultery” in a spiritual context in James 4:4. He used the word metaphorically in order to refer to those who were spiritual covenant breakers. “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?” (Js 4:4).
If one would be transformed into the spiritual image of Jesus, then there must be struggle to divorce one’s mind from this world. Those who would seek to be totally committed to being a living sacrifice, and yet, try to be married to the world, are committing spiritual adultery. “But if anyone loves the world,” John explained, “the love of the Father is not in him” (1 Jn 2:15).
“No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Mt 6:24).
The explanation is as Phillips’ translation of Matthew 6:24: “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold.” The Greek word in the text that is translated “transformed” in Romans 12:2 is metamorphousthe (metamorphosis). Disciples of Divinity have morphed out of the mentality of the world and into the thinking of God. They have transcended in mind to the One who is transcendent in all our lives. It is as the Holy Spirit explained:
“If you then were raised with Christ, seek those things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth“(Cl 3:1,2).
In order to transform (morph) our thinking from the world to things that are above, we must do as Paul exhorted the Ephesians: “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind” (Ep 4:23). When we connect Colossians 3:1,2 with Ephesians 4:23, we understand that when one is born anew from the waters of baptism, there is a renewal of focus. After obedience to the gospel, one focuses on those things that are above. The change in focus leads to the renewal. Because there is a refocus, then there can be a transformation. A metamorphosis takes place in one’s behavior because there has been a change in one’s focus. The change from focusing on the things of this world to things that are not of this world, transforms (morphs) us into being the living sacrifice. The refocus defines the living sacrifice.
When there is a change in our focus, there will subsequently be “proof” in our lives concerning what is the “good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” In other words, our focus on those things that are above leads to a change in our behavior, and by a changed behavior one has proved in his life that the will of God has become the foundation upon which he bases his thinking. “Your-will-be-done-on-earth-as-it-is-in-heaven” identifies the morphed Christian (Mt 6:10).
For example, it is as John wrote: “We love because He first loved us” (1 Jn 4:19). The more we focus on the God who loved us through Jesus (Jn 3:16), the more we walk in gratitude of His will to love others. Herein is the love by which the disciples of Jesus are identified (Jn 13:34,35). Our love of others is the proof that His love has permeated our lives. Paul explained:
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another” (1 Co 12:9,10).
[Part 7 of lecture continues March 21.]