The Transforming Power of God’s Grace in Renewing Our Minds

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How to Interpret the Bible-1
EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored over 200+ books. In addition, Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

Romans 12:2 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
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[101] and perfect.

Romans 12:2 is a powerful verse that encourages believers to renew their minds in order to better serve God and understand His will. The verse states, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

This verse emphasizes the importance of being transformed by the renewing of our minds rather than conforming to the patterns and ways of the world. The world is constantly trying to influence our thoughts and actions, but as believers, we are called to resist these worldly influences and instead allow the Holy Spirit to renew and transform our minds. This process of renewing our minds involves setting aside our own desires and preferences and allowing God to shape and mold us according to His will.

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Once our minds have been renewed, we will be able to discern and understand God’s will for our lives. It will be clear to us what is good, pleasing, and perfect in the eyes of God. This is a powerful and transformative process that allows us to live in a way that is pleasing to God and brings glory to His name.

In summary, Romans 12:2 is a call to believers to renew their minds so that they can be transformed by the grace of God and to be able to understand and do God’s will.

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Exegetical Commentary

  1. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world” – This phrase serves as a warning to believers not to conform to the ways and values of the secular world around them. The world is constantly trying to shape our thoughts and actions, but as followers of Jesus, we are called to resist these influences and instead be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

  2. but be transformed” – The Greek word used here is “metamorphoo,” which is where we get the English word “metamorphosis.” This word describes a complete change in form or appearance. In the same way, believers are called to undergo a complete transformation in their thinking and actions.

  3. “by the renewing of your mind” – The Greek word used here for “renewing” is “anakainosis,” which means “to make new again”. This process of renewing our minds involves setting aside our own desires and preferences and allowing God to shape and mold us according to His will.

  4. “so that you may prove what the will of God is” – This phrase suggests that as our minds are transformed by the renewing of the Spirit, we will be able to discern and understand God’s will for our lives. This means that we will be able to distinguish right from wrong, good from evil, and God’s will from our own.

  5. “that which is good and acceptable and perfect” – The phrase “good and acceptable and perfect” describes the nature of God’s will. God’s will is always good and pleasing, and it is always perfect in the sense that it is always in line with His nature and His plan for humanity.

Therefore, Romans 12:2 is a call to believers to resist the influence of the secular world and to be transformed by the renewing of their minds, so they can understand and do God’s will, which is always good, pleasing, and perfect.

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Historical and Cultural Context

Romans 12:2 is a powerful verse that encourages believers to renew their minds in order to serve God better and understand His will. This verse was written by the Apostle Paul, around AD 55-56, as part of his letter to the church in Rome. At that time, the Roman Empire was the dominant political and cultural force in the world, and the early Christian church was a small, marginalized minority.

In the historical and cultural context of the Roman Empire, this verse served as a call to the believers in Rome to resist the influences of the secular world around them. The Roman culture was heavily influenced by polytheism, with various gods and goddesses worshiped for different aspects of life. It also had a strong emphasis on societal norms and expectations, where conformity to the norm was highly valued.

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Paul’s call to “not conform to the pattern of this world” was a challenge for the believers in Rome, as it meant rejecting the cultural norms and values of the dominant society and instead embracing the teachings of Jesus and the ways of the Kingdom of God. This would have been a difficult and potentially dangerous decision, as it would have put them at odds with the Roman authorities and society.

The call to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” was also significant in this context. The Roman Empire had a strong emphasis on the pursuit of pleasure, wealth, and power, which would have been in direct opposition to the teachings of Jesus. Paul’s call to renew their minds would have meant rejecting these worldly pursuits and instead embracing a new way of thinking and living based on the teachings of Jesus and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

In summary, Romans 12:2 is a call to believers to resist the influence of the secular world and its values and to be transformed by the renewing of their minds, so they can understand and do God’s will, which is always good, pleasing, and perfect. In the historical and cultural context of the Roman Empire, this verse served as a powerful challenge and encouragement for the early Christian believers to stand firm in their faith and resist the pressures of the dominant culture.

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Making Our Minds Over

One of the most important steps we can take in order to make our minds over is to actively engage in the process of renewing our minds. This involves setting aside our own desires and preferences and allowing God to shape and mold us according to His will. It also involves being intentional about what we allow into our minds, such as the things we read, watch, and listen to.

Renewing our minds is a lifelong process, and it requires commitment and discipline. One practical way to start renewing our minds is to spend time in prayer and meditation on the Word of God. This helps to align our thoughts and desires with God’s truth and to gain a deeper understanding of His will for our lives.

Another important step in making our minds over is to develop self-awareness. This means being aware of our thoughts and emotions and actively working to change negative patterns of thinking. This can be done through journaling, therapy, or other methods of self-reflection.

It’s also crucial to surround ourselves with people who will support and encourage us in this process. This may mean finding a mentor or accountability partner who can help us stay focused and motivated. Additionally, being part of a faith community can provide us with a sense of belonging and support that is essential to renewing our minds.

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Putting on the New Personality

Another key step in making our minds over is to put on a new personality. This means learning to live in a way that is pleasing to God and brings glory to His name. It’s a process of transformation that involves changing our thoughts, emotions, and actions to align with the teachings of Jesus.

One practical way to put on the new personality is to focus on cultivating virtues such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These virtues are not natural to us, but they are the fruit of the Spirit, and they can be developed through intentional practice and prayer.

Another important step in putting on the new personality is to practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is a vital aspect of the Christian life, and it is essential for spiritual growth. It’s not always easy, but it’s an essential step to put on a new personality and to walk in freedom.

Another aspect of putting on the new personality is to practice humility. Humility is the opposite of self-exaltation, and it’s a key aspect of Christian living. It means recognizing that we are not the center of the universe and that we are dependent on God for everything.

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Battling Improper Desires

One of the biggest challenges in making our minds over is battling improper desires. These desires can be anything from addiction, anger, lust, pride, greed, and more. Improper desires are often rooted in our sinful nature, and they can be a constant source of temptation and distraction.

One of the most effective ways to battle improper desires is to be intentional about what we allow into our minds. This means being mindful of the things we watch, read, and listen to, and being intentional about avoiding anything that might trigger our improper desires.

Another key step in battling improper desires is to develop self-awareness. This means being aware of our thoughts and emotions and actively working to change negative patterns of thinking. This can be done through journaling, therapy, or other methods of self-reflection.

It’s also important to have a plan of action in place for when we are faced with temptation. This might include having a list of scriptures to read, a song to sing, or a prayer to pray. It’s important to have a go-to strategy when we are faced with temptation, so we can resist it and not give in to it.

Another effective way to battle improper desires is to cultivate a deeper relationship with God. The closer we are to God, the more we will want to please Him, and the less power our improper desires will have over us. This can be done through regular prayer, reading the Bible, and spending time in worship.

It is also important to seek help and accountability when dealing with improper desires. This can be in the form of a counselor, pastor, or a support group. Having someone to talk to and to provide guidance and support can be invaluable in the process of battling improper desires.

Finally, it is important to remember that while we will always struggle with improper desires, we can have victory over them through the power of Jesus Christ. We must rely on His strength and grace to overcome them and to walk in freedom.

In conclusion, making our minds over, putting on a new personality, and battling improper desires are all important steps in the process of spiritual growth. It requires commitment, discipline, and the help of the Holy Spirit. But with the help of God, we can be transformed and become the person He created us to be.

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