Matthew 5:17 Ministries

Controlling The Mind Part 2: Romans 12:1-2

Romans 12:1–2 (CJB)
1 I exhort you, therefore, brothers, in view of God’s mercies, to offer yourselves as a sacrifice, living and set apart for God. This will please him; it is the logical “Temple worship” for you. 2 In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the ‘olam hazeh. Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed.

Do Not Conform

Sha’ul begins by making it clear that because of the wonderful salvation of which he has been writing, believers must respond with wholehearted commitment. Being servants of a G-d who love like that means that the whole of life is to be lived in service to G-d. After urging his audience to offer their bodies to G-d as a ‘spiritual act of worship,’ he adds, [and] do not conform to the standards or patterns of the ‘olam hazeh, literally meaning do not conform to the standards or patterns of this world.

Presenting our body to G-d for the right action commences with our mind. Turn from the standards of the ˓olam hazeh (“this world”), rooted, as they are, in everything but G-d and his word, and learn what G-d wants. Stated negatively, spiritual worship involves a refusal to conform to this age. In the case of 12:2, conformity to the values of this (evil) age is meant. In contrast, with 1 Kefa 1:14, conformity to the sort of sinful desires that predominated before conversion is intended. Those who render spiritual worship to G-d resist all such pressures to conform.

Stated positively, spiritual worship of G-d involves transformation. The meaning is that there are things the believers must avoid as well as things to do. Sha’ul urges his audience: be transformed by the renewing of your mind. With this positive attitude toward G-d, Sha’ul is linking the negative and sinful attitudes to the pattern of this world. In this context, Sha’ul does not explain how the renewal of the mind takes place. But while this should be granted, it is still the case that he is looking for a transformation at the deepest level, which is infinitely more significant than the conformity to the world’s pattern that is distinctive of so many lives.

Spiritual Minds Will Know The Will Of G-d

Believers have been introduced into the life of the world to come; what a tragedy, then, if they conform to the perishing world, they have left. The transformation is to take place by the renewing of your mind. The believer, whose life is that of the new age, does not think like an unbeliever. The reference to the mind is essential. Sha’ul does not speak of a mindless emotionalism but a knowledgeable approach to life, as characteristic of the Christian who the Holy Spirit has renewed. The term mind is not confined to intellectual pursuits (including an essential moral element) but embraces them. The force of the present tense should not be overlooked; he envisages a continuing process of renewal.

What can we do with a mind that is transformed? Sha’ul is saying that we cannot only find out that G-d’s will is good, but we should put it into practice once we do find it. He argues for the spiritual discernment that ascertains what G-d wants us to do and then sets out to do it. After consideration, we will agree that what G-d wants is morally good, psychologically satisfying, and in practice, able to succeed.