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Renewing Your Mind

Renewing Your Mind

Romans 12:1-2
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 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.
NKJV

Paul’s “therefores” always signal a conclusion. The heartburn of scholars is usually a debate over the sections of the letter to which the “therefore” applies. Almost all agree that while 12:1 is a conclusion based upon chapters 9-11, and in particular, the warning to the Gentiles not to become complacent in their new-found position, it is clear that chapter 12 is the start of an application summary of the entire letter. Paul turns from the doctrinal statements of the first eleven chapters to some practical applications of these doctrines. The Apostle’s purpose is to make certain that the believer’s “new self” is one that follows the teachings of God as opposed to the paths of the world. Paul has certainly made these points elsewhere in the epistle, but he now pulls them together in several short sections (chaps 12 and 13), then follows with an extended discussion as to the relationship between believers (14:1-15:13).

Romans 12:1-2 form the theme of the entire discussion from 12:3 through 15:13. Why? For something to be pleasing to God, it must be something required by God. It must conform to the Will of God. How else would one ever understand the Will of God except by following His teachings?

In his extended commentary on Romans, James Montgomery Boice muses over the fact that these two verses are the most important of the application section, yet, only occupy two verses while other sections require more ink. While Boice’s point is correct, he fails to pull together in one paragraph the thought that all of Romans is a commentary on these two verses. The extended discussion from 12:3-15:13 is nothing more than a series of examples as to what Paul means by his comments about renewing your mind. And, 1:1-11:33 forms an extended discussion as to how one forms the ability to comply with the demands of 12:1-2.

If you really believe what Paul has written, you should think differently about everything! Christianity is relevant to all aspects of life. The Will of God is an understanding of the work of the Spirit. These verses make it clear we learn and apply this Will in the entire person through practical reasoning, our moral consciousness, and our new spirit.

 

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