Chapter 12: 2
Last Updated September 5, 1998
12:2 "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."
This text focuses on Paul as he writes to the Christians in Rome about
several practical doctrines for Christian living.
In this short, two verse passage, Paul notes that Christians offer God
a new sacrifice, as compared to the former practice of offering animals,
which is themselves. In the past Jewish believers spent great time finding
animals that could be sacrificed for a variety of sins. Bullocks, lambs,
doves, all were among the various animals sacrificed to atone for sin.
Much attention was paid to the cleanliness and holiness of the sacrifice
that was to be brought before God. The person bringing the sacrifice did
not necessarily make changes in his mind or heart. The emphasis was on
the sacrifice itself.
However, Paul reminded Christians that we present ourselves as living
sacrifices to God daily. Instead of coming to worship with doves, and oxen
and bullocks and inspecting them for perfection, we present ourselves holy
and accpetable to God.
To accomplish this "acceptable" state, Paul said we must not be "conformed"
to this word. The word "conformed" here is from the Greek "suschematizo"
(Soos-kay-mat-id-zo) which means, in this context, to fashion one's self
like another. We are encouraged not to fashion our lives in any manner
like those of unbelievers or the world. This includes our sympathies, inclinations,
dress, speech, actions and manner of thinking. The command is simple and
straight forward, "be not conformed to this world", its perception of life
and its adverse action. We are in this world but not of it.
Paul challenges every Christian to step up to a higher learning or a
higher calling that is in response to the renewing of the mind. The higher
learning opens new channels of thought and actions that are not dictated
by the routine, mundane and the traditional, but by the word of God. In
essence, Paul challenged the Romans to dare to be different, if being different
meant freeing themselves to fully prove what is good and acceptable to
God. He challenged them to get off the beaten path of and do that which
is acceptable to God, regardless to whether it is acceptable to the social
The transformation that is mentioned refers to the complete metamorphosis
of words and actions that spell a new person for Christ, clearly different
from he that is in the world. This transformation however, does not come
from simply following the crowd and doing what others do, but it comes
from seeking a higher level of expression, living and feeling that allows
us think and live independent of the negative influences of others.
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Chapter 15: 13
15:13; "Now the God of hope fill
you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through
the power of the Holy Ghost."
This text considers the final product of a never ending hope.
In the broadest sense "hope" can have two definitions. Outside of the
biblical context, hope refers to a feeling that "what we want to happen
will happen." We are said to have "hope" as long as we have that feeling.
Hope, in this context, is baseless because it offers no rational reason
why something should occur other than the fact that we want it to happen.
For some this is baseless optimism, a futile exercise that will yield nothing.
Hope in the biblical context takes on a different character. To those who
believe in the bible and trust in God, hope is confidence that what God
has done for us in the past, guarantees that he can and will do similar
acts in our future. Therefore, without God, hope is simply an empty feeling
not supported by any evidence of probability. However, with God, hope is
based on confidence gained from past experiences.
Paul, writing in Romans 15:13 emphasized that Christians should expect
situations to improve and work towards that end. Specifically he wrote
to the Christians in Rome, but generally his message was to all Christians:
"The God of Hope" is urged to fill each person with joy and peace "in believing"
or because they believe, to the point that they never lose hope, despite
the adverse circumstances they endured. That hope is sustained in every
person through the power of the Holy Ghost.
This text suggests that clouds or adverse circumstances will come for
the faithful, but while they may block the sun they never stop the sun
from shining. We are encouraged to keep working in faith, with a positive
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