Romans 12:2 (AMP)
“Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].”
Paul says to those who are unregenerate that they need to experience salvation by being born again that includes receiving Christ as Lord and saviour. He believed that the moment a person relieved Christ, they received the Holy Spirit in His indwelling capacity. He believed that they actually became the habitation of the Lord. This scripture stands out because Paul is saying in a culture given over to a mindset that has nothing to do with Christianity, the Christian needs to renew their mind.
The implication of Paul's words is not just renewed as a one time act, but a continuous renewal. The believer is encouraged to practice new attitudes and new ideas so that we can prove for ourselves what is a good, acceptable, and the perfect will of God. Paul's teachings also make it clear that grace is available to us and that grace is an empowerment that has nothing to do with our efforts but it is a gift given. The reason why I am saying this is because there is a certain tension between grace given and the needful duty of renewing our minds as a work of sanctification.
People pray for the will of God to be revealed. In Romans 12:2 it is made clear that the will of God when we pray is that our minds will be renewed by the word of God. Have we missed something in this matter of the renewal of the mind. It appears as though we will think differently. Gods intention to change the way we think, as an ongoing work of the Holy Spirit, happens in us by the renewal of our minds.
I have often found people want a quick fix. They are not necessarily enamored by the hard work that it takes in the renewal of the mind. We would like to think that we could undo some of those stubborn ways of thinking in a moment that have been there for a lifetime. Why didn't my stubborn ways of thinking change the moment I became a Christian? There is an ongoing work in which the power of God's word brings to us into new ways of thinking.
How does this line up with the grace given freely? Why should there be any necessity to work at something? Isn't it all given. What about the stubborn things like prejudices? Paul did not shy away from such things. In Galatians 3:28 he said there is neither Jew nor Greek. He was addressing racial bias. There is neither bond nor free; addressing issues of individual freedom. There is neither male nor female; addressing sexual bias. He concludes by saying For we are all one in Christ Jesus. This is the hard work of the gospel. The part of the gospel that touches into deep unsettling thoughts of bias and prejudices. In light of the bias the human dilemma is where we marginalize, ostracize, and demonize that which we want to control. It is this battle of the mind that we face when we allow the word of God to prevail to change our way of thinking into the new attitudes of the gospel. This is part of the renewing of the mind that Paul is speaking about. It is my prayer that in this coming season we all can embrace the goodness and the greatness of our Christian heritage and the renewing of our minds to it.