“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
Paul teaches that the Christian should not copy the external and passing ways of this world (Romans 8:12). But rather, he should renew his mind by changing our inmost nature. Sanctification includes both an outward separation from all the un-sanctified practices of this modern age and having a heart transformation. In the NT, this change is described as a new birth (John 3:3), a resurrection (Romans 6:4, 11, 13), and a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15).
Before conversion, man’s ability of thinking and the discerning between right and wrong, is usually controlled by bodily impulses. The mind works as a “fleshly mind” (Colossians 2:18). But at the time of new birth, the mind comes under the control of the Spirit of God. The result is that “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:13–16). The words, “A new heart also will I give you,” mean, “A new mind will I give you.” The crucifixion of the old life in the flesh and the starting of the new life in the Spirit (Romans 6:3–13) is defined as “the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5).
This renewing change, which begins when the child of God is converted, is a continuing change. For our “inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16) “in knowledge” of Christ (Colossians 3:10). And as the inward man is being transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, so the outward life is being gradually transformed. The sanctification of the heart will show itself in a more sanctified way of life, as the character of Christ is more and more perfectly replicated in the Christian (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Knowing God’s will and acting upon it
The new birth includes the twofold process of finding what the will of God is and then living and acting upon it (Romans 2:18; Ephesians 5:10; Philippians 1:10). By the changing of his mind, the believer is empowered to find what God would have him do. He is educated to decide between the many confusing paths of conduct that are offered in this dark age. Since he no longer has a carnal mind, but the mind of Christ, he is willing to do His Creator’s will. Then, the Lord will lead him to His truth (John 7:17).
Only the mind that has been renewed by God’s Spirit can rightly understand the Scriptures. The Word of God can be interpreted only by the light of the same Spirit by whom they were originally granted (John 16:13, 14; 1 Corinthians 2:10, 11).
The fruit of a renewed mind
Paul writes about the practical results of a renewed and enlightened mind. He teaches first about the humility and sober-mindedness that is becoming of a new born Christian. And he also talks of the right usage of spiritual gifts for the unity of the body of Christ. Humility is the immediate result of submission to God and the subsequent renewing of the mind. The sanctified Christian realizes his reliance upon God’s grace for every spiritual gift he may have. And this leaves no place for self-glorification. The Christian values himself with enlightened judgment.
The reason why believers must have humility, good judgment and charity is that the church, like the human body, is build and established on different members which have different duties and roles. While these functions are all important, they are not equal. Therefore, the well-being and progression of the whole body relies upon a spirit of love, unity, cooperation and understanding (1 Corinthians 12:12–27).
In His service,