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.