Transformed not Conformed

As we have gone through the book of Romans verse by verse, Paul has taken on this great journey focusing mostly on the Righteousness of God, and our relationship to that righteousness.
After a brief introduction in chapter one, He began to expound on the Sin problem that all of humanity has.
But not just all of humanity, but me, you, and you, and you.
So in chapters 1-3 he talks about God’s wrath on man’s unrighteousness, The judgment that we all face, the hopelessness we have - because we are all sinners.
In chapters 3:21-4:25 he leads us to salvation.
We are justified by faith, we cannot boast, not by the law.
In chapters 5-8 Paul begins to promote Sanctification.
He tells us we have grace available, to conqueror sin.
The law is there to point our our sin, so that we can by God’s grace choose righteousness.
Being free by the Spirit, we must live in the Spirit.
In chapters 9-11, the section that we just finished, Paul began to talk about His relationship with His chosen people.
Paul said He loves Israel, even though he is the Apostle to the Gentiles, God loves Israel, but God’s chosen people have stumbled over Christ.
Although the majority have rejected Christ Jesus, there are a remnant that have believed.
He said, We must be busy sharing the gospel so that more can hear.
But One day there will be a revival in Israel, they will turn to Christ…not every individual, but Israel as a whole.
Paul now moves into chapters 12-16, where some have said he is done with the theological arguments, and has now moved into the practical admonitions.
Although there is truth there, chapters 12-16, are still very theological.
He is saying, “Now that you have seen your need, Now that you have seen God’s provision, Now that Your have seen His plan for your spiritual growth, Now that you have seen a picture of his plan for Israel, now that you have seen the depths of his Salvation…Let this motivate you to live the way you ought to live!”
He is giving a call to action, “Now that we really understand the gospel and God’s plan to see humanity redeemed from the power of sin....Let us all respond appropriately and live for Him!”
As we go into chapter 12, I like what Steven Runge in his commentary on Romans encapsulates it: “One of Paul’s goals in the previous 11 chapters has been to correct misconceptions—not just to create right-thinking but to completely transform how we think. Once we recognize that we have all sinned and are under penalty, Jew and Gentile alike; that we now have peace with God; and that God is sovereignly working out His much-anticipated redemption of the world, the only reasonable response is for us to offer ourselves up in service to Him as a living sacrifice.”
Only through the power of the Holy Spirit can we do this.
Through His Word, and through the teaching of the Holy Spirit he begins to deconstruct our wrong thinking and reconstruct our thoughts according to His Truth.
So He begins in Chapter 12 by saying
1 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.
2 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.
Here we see we need to be transformed not conformed!
There is quite a difference in these words.
And Paul, in his transition to this more practical teaching shows this in...

I. The Emphasization

Paul emphasizes the importance of what he is about to say by saying, “I beseech you therefore, brethren...
I beg you brothers! Listen to me!
This ought to grab our attention as well!
This is important what he is saying…and it is!
One of the most important things for the Practical Christian Life!
It is no accident that this is the first practical statement!
So what is he begging us to do?
Well we see:

II. The Presentation

“by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
The word present is from the Greek word paristemi, which has also been translated throughout scripture as yield.
We yield our bodies, when we present them to the Lord.
We yield our bodies to the Holy Spirit’s leading.
Notice two important statements here:

A. A Living Sacrifice

We sacrifice our lives, our wills, our desires to Him.
a living sacrifice is sometimes more difficult than a dying sacrifice.
This is why Paul says we do this by the mercies of God.
This prepositional phrase points to how we Yield our lives as a living sacrifice to Him.
What does that look like?
It is Holy - Sanctified, set apart - we are separate from this world around us…we are set apart from them.
If we look and act more like the world than like Christ, we are not presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice!
If we ingest more of the world than we do His Word, then we are not presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice!
We are to be holy, sanctified, set apart!
Then he says this living sacrifice is one that is acceptable unto God.
This word acceptable means to be well pleasing to God.
Does your life, does your offering of your life please God?
Cain and Abel both offered a sacrifice to the Lord.
Both sacrificed something for their offering.
But one was obedient to what God had commanded, and one was not.
One was acceptable, and was not.
Your life, is only acceptable when we live our life yielding to the Holy Spirit by God’s mercy and Grace.
and then notice secondly He says It is:

B. A Reasonable Sacrifice

which is your reasonable service.”
It is Reasonable thing to be expected of you.
The word reasonable means that which is of reason / comes from the word logikos - where we would derive our word logical.
It is logical, it is reasonable for God to expect you to offer your body as a living sacrifice to Him after all that He has done for you!
You were dead in trespasses and sins
Christ came even while were yet sinners and died for us.
God saved us, not by the deeds of the law but by his grace, through faith!
After all of this and so much more…it is reasonable for God to expect us to serve Him!
So we have seen Paul’s Emphasization
We have Seen the Presentation that is expected
In verse two Paul tells us of...

III. The Rejection

“And be not conformed to this world.
It is reasonable to offer ourselves to service for Christ.
But in order to truly do this we need to reject the things of this world, and the gods of this world.
We cannot be conformed to this world.
The word Conformed is the word syschematizo, it is a compound word of two Greek words: sun—together with and schematizo—to fashion alike.
It is the idea of molding something after the pattern of something else.
I think of this worlds teenagers when I see this word.
If you ask some of them they will say, I’m an individual, I like what I like, I dress how I like, I listen to what I like…and yet they look, dress, and act, and listen to what everyone else listens to.
They have molded themselves - they have conformed to an image.
Oh…it’s not the image of their parents or teachers, but it is a conformity never the less.
Paul is saying Offer yourself as a living sacrifice to God — be set apart — and be not conformed to this world.
Again, we are to be holy, sanctified, set apart - we are not to model ourselves by this world.
Social media is a very dangerous thing!
People follow “famous” people and try to make themselves like them.
They look to famous athletes, famous singers, famous actors, famous people for doing nothing, and they try to model themselves after their image.
But this is the very opposite of what God wants for your life!
Don’t conform to the world’s image, be like Christ!
Sacrifice — and sometimes it is a sacrifice to not be like everyone else.
Reject this worlds model and be different for Christ!
Reject this worlds philosophies and stand for Christ!
It is getting harder and harder to speak the truth in this country, and it is going to get even tougher.
But we cannot allow fear to make us conform to this world in image, in philosophy, in speech, in any way.
So what are we supposed to be…as living sacrifices, not conformed to this world - a rejection of this world…Paul turns our attention to

IV. The Transformation

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.”
This word transformation is quite different form the word conformed.
Where conformed means to be fashioned after or molded like…transformation comes from the Greek word metamorphṓ, where we would get our word metamorphosis, the process where a caterpillar is completely changed to a butterfly.
The same word is translated as transfigured in Matthew 17:2
Matthew 17:2 KJV
2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
The Bible speaks of a final change, when we are glorified in heaven, but the Bible also speaks of the process by which we become like Christ.
2 Corinthians 3:18 KJV
18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
this word changed here is the same word metamorphṓ.
We are changed from glory to glory. This word glory is the Greek word doxa, it in essence means thought or opinion.
So according to this verse in 2 Corinthians 3, we are changed (metamorphṓ—transformed—transfigured) from glory to glory (from thought to thought or opinion to opinion).
This is what we see here in these verses.
“be ye transformed (changed, metamorphṓ, transfigured) by the renewing of your mind - from thought to thought changing it to God’s thoughts and opinions.
How do we do this?
By the Word of God!
Psalm 119:9 KJV
9 BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word.
A man can change his way by taking heed to the Word of God.
It changes the hearts and minds of man.
If we yield to Him!
Because the Word of God is powerful!
It is a living, breathing book that changes us from the inside out, not just presses us to mold like something.
2 Timothy 3:16 KJV
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
The Word of God gives what we need to reprove us when we are wrong
to correct us to the right
and to teach us how to stay right.
Paul says in Ephesians...
Ephesians 4:22–24 KJV
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
The old man is patterned after this world, Paul says put off this old man.
It is corrupt and deceitful.
And be renewed in our spirit…in our mind in our thoughts...
Put on the new man that leads us to righteousness and holiness.
What a transformation!
For what purpose?
Why do we need to be transformed
“that we may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
When we live yielded to the Spirit of God, we are able to prove — test it and show it’s validity — what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God.
This is a three-fold description of God’s Will.
Good - It is good because God is fully good, so anything he desires or wills for our life is good.
There is no evil or darkness in Him
1 John 1:5 KJV
5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
So the will of God, and that which we do that matches up with the good will of God is good.
God’s good will is shown to us as we renew our mind and become more like Christ.
But not only is the Will of God good, but he gives a second description…Acceptable
We have seen this in the previous verse where he has said that we are to present our bodies a living sacrifice holy, acceptable unto God.
Acceptable means it is pleasing to Him.
When we do God’s Will we please our Savior who has done so much for us.
Those who obey God’s will are acceptable to Him.
Matthew 12:50 KJV
50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
The Christians who serve the Lord is acceptable to God and approved by men.
Romans 14:18 KJV
18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
So to do the Will of God, is not only acceptable to God, but it helps us in our approval of men.
Now this is not speaking of the world, but rather the acceptance of what we teach and show to the men around us.
It gives us the ability to influence men for good.
Then thirdly, Paul says that The will of God is not just good, and not just acceptable, but it is perfect.
The word literally means that which has reached its end.
Or fully mature, or without error.
The perfect will has no defect and it fully reaches the goal that God has for our life.
2 Timothy 3:17 KJV
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
This is the end -this is the result of our not conforming ourselves to the World, but yielding to the transformation that the Holy Spirit makes in our lives through the Word of God.
Are you yielded to Him today?
Or are you still holding on to something that you love and cherish more than His will?
It’s not worth it!
It is our reasonable service to yield ourselves completely to God.
Some that do will be rewarded and will rule and reign with Christ in the days to come.
In the days to come the 24 elders sing a new song...
Revelation 5:9–10 KJV
9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
When we stand before the judge of all the ages, and give an account for all that we have done…for good and for bad
2 Corinthians 5:10 KJV
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
We will see all of our works go through the fire…that which is wood, hay and stubble will be burned up — wasted part of life, the frivolous things of this world.
That which is gold, silver and precious stones—that which is done for Christ, that which is eternal—will survive the fire, purified by fire and believers will be rewarded on this basis.
Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God today!
Every day matters, every moment matters…so yield to him. Because...
Romans 14:12 KJV
12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
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