Renewing Our Mind: Part 2

(Christ Is King)

Alas I cannot speak of transformation without the renewing of our minds nor can I speak of the renewing of the mind without transformation for central to the proposition of transformation is Christ. He is the key ingredient. Additionally, if your mind has been renewed, then you have the Holy Spirit inside of you. Your mind has been reformed to be on the thoughts of God and not of man. What I am saying is that born-again Christians have an acceptance of and are obedient to the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Therefore, I am going to explain what every person needs and must do to be transformed and also provide a measure by which whether their minds are truly renewed. 

The Transformational Process 

For there to be a beginning of the renewing of the mind, there must be the beginning of the renewing of the heart. Because “there is not a just man on earth who does good And does not sin” (Ecclesiastes 7:20) all individuals must both repent i.e. confess our sins (1 John 1:9) and turn away from sin (Acts 3:19) by turning toward Jesus Christ for as it says in Romans 8:9-11:

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

Now it is vital for our souls that we hammer out the understanding of Faith and Repentance as they are coequal and cannot be separated from another. 

Christ Is King 

We can never understand the God of heaven unless we come to know him through his earthly Son” (Batson, 22, Jesus is Lord). In the eternal perspective of things we cannot afford to take salvation lightly. Faith in Christ means understanding, respecting, and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord or Kurios as it is in the Greek. Kurios often translates as master, but in the context of Christ it is understood that He is the Supreme Authority because as all the gospel’s tell us and has been prophesied since the fall of Adam (Genesis 3:14-15) that a Savior would come, fulfill the law, die for the sins of the world, and physically come back from the dead on the third day. Jesus Christ of Nazareth is our Lord; our King who is without sin, and who conquered death. So often we make the death and resurrection of Christ about us, after all, John 3:16 states:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

But understanding the world did not love God, but rather the world chooses to live in sin. We know this to be true from the Old and New Testaments but consider 1 John 4:10 which states:

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 

God, by his mercy and grace, chose to love us; His creation. Thankfully, God is a God of promises who keeps His covenants with His people as we see throughout the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament. From Genesis to Revelations we witness the Gospel; the promise and fulfillment of the Good News of Christ our Lord. Nevertheless, this really is not about us, but about His unwillingness to allow sin to pervade over His creation. Take to heart Romans 3:9-18 which again shows man’s choice to follow sin:

What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.  

Humanity worships the Self rather than Yahweh. Thankfully the Gospel is not about us, but rather it about God’s eternal power, truth, justice, mercy, and grace that overcomes death in every way. To finish out here, the Lordship of Christ means putting him above everything else. Your family, friends, houses, cars, jewelry, favorite foods mean nothing in comparison to God. Our so called “righteousness” are but filthy rags before the King of Kings (Isaiah 64:6) or as King Solomon exclaimed when looking over his works saying it was “all vanity” before God (Ecclesiastes 1:1-11). It is that understanding of who Christ is that leads us to the coequal step in salvation: Repentance. 

All Must Repent

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17) said Christ as he began to preach in Galilee. If true faith is upon a believer, repentance is waiting to bring godly sorrow. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 7:9-11:

Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.  

Worldly sorrow is when we feel bad because we got caught. Worldly sorrow is feeling sad and maybe even stop watching porn or getting drunk for a little while, but eventually falling back into it without consideration of the eternal perspective. Worldly sorrow is even when you kick a particular sin out of your life for good because you were just sick with the way it made you feel. This form of sorrow is temporal. 

Godly sorrow is the understanding that we are at enmity with God because of sin and implore for forgiveness from Adonai. Godly sorrow carries a thick air of esteem and contemplation of who we are before the Holy of Holy’s as sinful fools that attempt to taint His purity. The Puritan minister Thomas Watson would write that “Godly sorrow is abiding” (Watson, 25, The Doctrine of Repentance) explaining:  

It is not a few tears shed in a passion that will serve the turn. Some will fall a-weeping at a sermon, but it is like an April shower, soon over, or like a vein opened and presently stopped again. True sorrow must be habitual (Watson, 25, The Doctrine of Repentance). 

In the eternal perspective, godly sorrow is commanding the responses of our mind. In the temporal perspective, worldly sorrow drives the reactions of our heart. Heed my words then and repent with a godly sorrow for Christ is Lord and Christ must be addressed with deference. In doing so, we are then beginning the renewing of our minds through a process unlike any other.  

Trial by Fire: The Measuring Stick of a Renewed Mind 

Christ both justifies and sanctifies believers. In the First Letter to the Corinthians 6: 9-11 Paul explains this point clearly: 

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

Quoting from the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (CARM), here are a set of definitions of what it means to be justified and sanctified in Christ: 

Justification is the work of God where the righteousness of Jesus is reckoned to the sinner, so the sinner is declared by God as being righteous under the Law. Sanctification is the process of being set apart for God’s work and being conformed to the image of Christ. Where justification is a legal declaration that is instantaneous, sanctification is a process (Slick, CARM, Justification and Sanctification: What is the difference?). 

The renewing of our mind is a sanctification process, one that will continue until we pass-on, and it is what I call a Trial by Fire process as described in 1 Peter 1:6-9

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

Walking with Christ will not be easy as there will always be temptations in our lives. Sin waits on every corner. As sons and daughters in Christ we must always remember that we are not at war with our own, but rather at war with the unseen; principalities and darkness above; spiritual forces that our beyond our own fleshly capacity (Ephesians 6:10-12). Paul alerts believers to put on the armor of God in our daily walk with Him which means at all times the Armor of God ought to be equipped so that we can fully honor Him and remain faithful servants to Him in our walk for Him (Ephesians 6:13-20). The description of the armor is as follows (I am paraphrasing some): belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the Gospel and the peace that comes from it, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (word of God). But there is more, believers are also called to pray always and always in the Spirit and be ever watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. This ultimately ties into the final part of this verse. 

Next Part 3: Trial By Fire

Present Your Bodies as Living Sacrifices: Part 1

(Christ Is King)

By: Edward Kyle Richey

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:1-2 (KJV)

And do not be conformed  

As born-again Christians we are not to be part of this world living in the flesh or by the relative standards of the world. We are to live a life representative of Christ. In an earlier chapter of Romans Paul writes:

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace (Romans 8:5-6).

The world is living by the flesh; the world is living in sin. And every person ever to be born is born in retched sin. We know this because the collected infallible word of God, the Sacred Scriptures, tell us this to be the case. This understanding begins with the sin of Adam who caused the fall of mankind:

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned… Romans 5:12

Thusly the world was and remains damned without grace; without the blood of Christ humanity cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Let me reiterate by providing two examples of men who have indeed sinned and who grasped their eternal position. King David, repenting for all he had done against God after lusting over another man’s wife, taking her for his own, and then murdering her husband, cries out in Psalms 51:4-5

Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight—That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.

David understood his condition. He, as we all do, had a condition that is worse than any cancer or disease. We are all conceived with a terminal illness. In his sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, the great Jonathan Edwards would preach before his congregation a warning to all those who lacked Christ: 

And let every one that is yet out of Christ, and hanging over the Pit of Hell, whether they be old Men and Women, or middle Aged, or young People, or little Children, now hearken to the loud Calls of God’s Word and Providence (Edwards, 1741, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God) 

It must be noted that David did indeed have Christ, for he believed in the promise of the Messiah and it was that promise that brought all believers in the Old Testament to heaven. Now moving on to my second example. 

Scriptures inform us that this man persecuted the Church, he was set on imprisoning and killing Christians and yet, God had another purpose for him. This man’s name was Saul. He who would become the Apostle Paul was a man who had been bound by the shackles of sin; the very shackles that the world says are acceptable because they are “natural” but the world fails to realize that nature is the very nature that damns all to an eternal damnation away from God. What then is sin? In Galatians 5:19-21 Paul describes this sin of man:

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

It is important that we breakdown the nature of sin. God brought the laws to man in the Old Testament not because he believed the Jews could obey the laws perfectly, but rather to make humanity aware of their sinful nature (Romans 3:20; 5:20; 7:7-8). Sin has not disappeared and it never will until the return of Christ. To make sin more relative, consider that mass consumerism is sin when material goods overtake the providence of God. Every time I disrespect my parents, lust after another woman, curse, or cause ungodly dissension I am being anti-God; I am living on the wages of sin rather than the spirit of Christ. Romans 8:7-8 warns us of the dangers of worldly standards and man’s conformity to them: 

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Enmity, do you know what that means? Enmity is “the state or feeling of being actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.” Every time we please the flesh in opposition to God, we are being therefore hostile toward God. Displeasuring God for our own selfish desires ought to bring fear to our hearts. During a sermon on the phrase “enmity against God”, the “Prince of Preachers” Charles Spurgeon would bellow out this fair warning:      

It does not charge manhood with an aversion merely to the dominion, laws, or doctrines of Jehovah; but it strikes a deeper and surer blow. It does not strike man upon the head; it penetrates into his heart; it lays the axe at the root of the tree, and pronounces him “enmity against God,” against the person of the Godhead, against the Deity, against the mighty Maker of this world; not at enmity against his Bible or against his gospel, though that were true, but against God himself, against his essence, his existence, and his person (Spurgeon, 1855, The Carnal Mind Enmity Against God). 

Sin is the opposite nature of God. God and sin never mix just as oil and water. This is why we must be transformed for transformation allows us to go before the Holy God of the universe. 

David understood his condition. He, as we all do, had a condition that is worse than any cancer or disease.

But be ye transformed 

Humanity cannot save itself from death. We learn this throughout the Bible, but take to heart these two verses: 

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Titus 3:5)

Transformation, in the context of this verse, is equivalent to a “permanent state to which a change takes place”; a metamorphoses that can never be retracted once it occurs. This should both excite and frighten us. True believers in Christ should be shouting in joy for they are eternally secured (John 6:37; John 10:27-29; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:38-39; Romans 11:29; 2 Timothy 2:19). To be clear, to burrow a popular phrase, “once saved, always saved” is a doctrine I believe to be biblically sound. However, do not be quick to rejoice. Pastor and author of the book, Crazy Love, Francis Chan in a chapter titled, “Profile Of The Lukewarm” warns people who call themselves “Christian” to check themselves and to “not assume you are good soil” (Chan, 67, Crazy Love) a phrase used to insinuate the parable of the sower spoken by Christ. Therefore, let us turn to the book of Luke 8:4-8 which reads as thus: 

And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

In response to this parable Francis Chan wrote the following: 

I think most American churchgoers are the soil that chokes the seed because of all the thorns. Thorns are anything that distracts us from God. When we want God and a bunch of other stuff then that means we have thorns in our soil. A relationship with God simply cannot grow when money, sins, activities, favorite sports teams, addictions, or commitments are piled on top of it (Chan, 67, Crazy Love). 

Chan later asks an important set of questions in his book, “Has your relationship with God actually changed the way you live? Do you see evidence of God’s kingdom in your life? Or are you choking it out slowly by spending too much time, energy, money, and thought on the things of this world” (Chan, 67, Crazy Love)? The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that: 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Christ tells us in Luke 9:23-24 that: 

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 

These are not words that speak of a people that have conformed to the world, but have been transformed with their minds renewed.

Next, Part 2: The Renewing of the Mind

Clausis Oculis, Caelo Late Patente

(Christ Is King)

By: Edward Kyle Richey

This is the reading of the LORD,

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 straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones (Proverbs 3: 5-8).

Worldly wiseman, from John Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress, informs the Christian that he need no longer burden himself with that “book” (the Bible) for he has a much more appropriate way to remove that pesky burden off of Christian’s back, “Why, in yonder village (the village is named Morality), there dwells a gentleman whose name is Legality, a very wise man, and a man of very good name, that has skill to help men off with such burdens as thine is from their shoulders;.” Indeed, there is mighty good to be found in the village of morality from whom Mr. Legality lives. Should any man or woman who praises virtue as a pillar to be built upon the foundations of eternality ought to admit, yes, there is goodness in work. Who are we without work? A dead faith according to St. James (James 2:17).

Neither the righteous seeking Christian or the virtuous practicing Pagan would argue against the value of feeding the hungry, healing the sick, clothing the homeless, or assisting the poor. Though today there are those who find that even the value of life, that of the person, is a deficit when compared to animals, plants, and other life outside of the human-being. Those blind and broken souls deny the Imago Dei. Absent from all three of these views, however different, are the wisdom of trust established in Proverbs. Doing good is never enough. Faith in the one true God can only save, heal, and progress the good man or the good woman.

We are called to not lean on our own understanding. That phrase to lean is sha`an in the Hebrew שָׁעַן which carried over into the English as a forewarning to not rest fully, to not support, to not rely on ourselves, but rather put all of our understanding, to invest all of our trust, in God.

It cannot mean we are never to rely on our understanding in the sense that I must doubt all that I think and do; that is an absolutist attitude of skepticism which the Scriptures are not advocating. If they were, we could not even rely on our own understanding of what the Bible is telling us. That would be foolish, rather the Proverbs are instructing us, as that is the literal meaning of Proverbs i.e. instruction. Solomon through the Wisdom of God is instructing believers to put their full and final faith in God, and for Christians’ in Christ the King, and never themselves.

Our world dictates to trust the Self, to value billionaires such as Warren Buffet or famous actors or a political leader. Trust thyself is the motto. Yes, there is plenty we can learn from such rich and powerful men like Buffett. Let there never be any doubt that Buffett knows how to invest money. But money and power will only last as long as the body is alive. Then shall all fade away from thy hands. No more, we are naked again, yet alive regardless of whether one believes in the Almighty or not. At that moment, their wisdom will be put to the test. God shall judge. And judge us all He shall.

Turning to the Lord requires a holy acknowledgement that only can be ignited by God in the midst of our pitch black, darkness of the night soul searching. Fumbling and bumbling we shall walk, but walk we must toward the light. Running from evil and calling out to the Lord are means to an eternal end, a life that is His alone. Once one is captured by the grace of Christ they are tied to the bosom of the Church by which Christ is King. Headship over heaven and earth; dominion over all that is and was and shall ever be. That is the wisdom that covers the believer. Do not fear the world, fear the Lord.

Like Noah, take cover in the Ark; let God seal the doors from the crashing waves in the rising floods. End will always be near whether it comes from war, famine, accident, or natural causes. Until the moment your eyes are shut once again, it is better to build a life that seeks the goodness of God than empires of gold, iron, and feast for they shall rot or rust. The world may be decadent today. But tomorrow is never guaranteed let alone a better tomorrow can always turn to worse. Only the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are eternal and always good.

Seek Him, Seek Christ Alone.

CHRIST IS KING: Our Liturgical December Issue

Welcome, this month will be radically different because of a radical event that started two-thousand years ago through the sacred birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. For our December Issue (2020) you can expect updates of prayers, chants, psalms, scripture readings, articles, podcasts, and more all December with a focus on Christ. You can see the link here: Christ Is King or look for it in the top of our menu screen.