Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which isyour 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.
Many Christians today are bored, bored with life and definitely bored with spiritual things. There is a belief in the Bible and basic Christian tenets but an uninterested apathy when it comes to the things of God. Apathy is the opposite of what we hear coming from the pen of the apostle Paul. “I beseech you therefore brothers and sisters”. There is a passion, an urgency, and yes, a desperation in his cry. In view of the mercies of God, in light of what he had taught in the first eleven chapters, be transformed, be changed, into the heavenly man.
Transformed is a powerful word. It is the Greek word “metamorphoo” and it means to change into another form. Paul is describing a spiritual transformation. He says to be changed from the natural man to the spiritual man. That is the great need of the heart. An urgency, a hunger, a desire to become that spiritual man.
How does that change take place? Paul used another powerful word in this verse. “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” Renewal is the word “anakainosis”. This word means a complete change for the better. Again to be changed from the natural man to the heavenly man. How does this renewal take place? First it takes place as we begin to saturate in the truth clearly presented by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1-11. In light of what you have heard, let your mind be renewed that you might change.
Let us take a short look at some of this incredible truth in the book of Romans. Maybe today the transformation will begin. No longer will you be called the natural man but now you will be known as the heavenly man.
The first glimpse we find in Romans 1:16-“I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power of God to him that believes.” The gospel, the word of God is the power of God. God’s word is filled with life. Drinking in God’s word will begin this beautiful work of transformation.
In the very next verse comes the scripture that birthed the Protestant Reformation, “the just shall live by faith”. This powerful word transformed Martin Luther from the natural, confused monk into a spiritual man who effected his generation and every generation that followed him. In this powerful verse he realized that the righteousness of God is ascribed to those who have faith in the work of Christ at the cross. This revelation is where life begins, this is where the transformation begins, and this is where you become the heavenly man.
Another great spiritual truth is presented in Romans 3:23, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” This is crucial to the transformation of man. This truth, the sinfulness of man, the sinfulness of you, comes only by the revelation given by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit convicts us of our sinful condition. He convinces us that we are sinners in need of a Savior. . That is His great ministry, to convict our hearts of sinfulness. We not only commit sin, we are sinners. We need transformation. We are truly sinners in need of a savior. We must recognize our condition before the change can begin.
In Romans 3:25, Paul presents the solution for our sin. He introduces a word called propitiation. This is a very powerful and very important Bible word. Propitiation describes the joining together of the two diverse qualities found in our Lord, justice and mercy. Our God is a Holy and Just God. Sin cannot enter His presence and sin cannot go unpunished. At the same time the Lord is incredibly merciful. “The Lord is good and His mercy endures forever.” At the cross, sin was judged. Christ became the representative of the human race. The Lord did not overlook sin, He judged it. man’s sin, my sin, was judged by God. Because of the judgment of sin at Calvary mercy becomes available. Because Christ suffered in my place, mercy has triumphed over judgment. Christ has forgiven me. I have been declared righteous. By faith I can now live.
In Romans 6 Paul talks about the death of our old life. He talks about us being crucified with Christ. He also says that if our old life is dead, consider ourselves as dead men. We no longer have to live as natural men, our old life is finished. If this is true, change is possible. The Lord not only dealt with sin, He dealt with the sinner. He crucified him. If you have been crucified with Christ, you are dead to sin. Consider yourselves dead.
In Romans 7, we see almost a conflict in Paul’s teaching. He talks about the struggle that he still experiences. He still deals with the natural man. As long as we are in this mortal body the struggle continues.
“For I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man; But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”(vs.21-23)
We should not be discouraged by the natural tendencies that still try to dominate our lives. Rather this struggle pushes us to the Lord. Transformation does not come from human will power, human wisdom or determination. Transformation to the heavenly man comes by the Spirit. Paul talks about this ability to overcome the natural man in Romans 8. In verse 12 and 13 he gives us some important revelation. “So then brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, (the natural man), to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” Did you get that? We can put to death the deeds of the body by the Spirit or by the anointing.
How can I do that? How do I put to death the natural man by the Spirit? Or course Paul is describing the Spirit filled life. He teaches that the anointing is available to us. We must drink of His presence all of the time. This would include worshipping daily in the Spirit (using your prayer language). It would also include worship, creating a spiritual atmosphere at home, in the car, and if possible, at work. Listening to worship music is one of the great blessings in my life. This is how I put to death the natural man.
Remember what Paul is saying, “I beseech you therefore brothers, in view of the mercies of God. Present your bodies as living sacrifice. Be transformed….he continues in Chapter 9. In this chapter Paul talks about the blessing and mystery of God’s sovereignty and His election of Sons and Daughters. Remember the words of Jesus, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” Paul spoke about this in Romans 9:15,16. “For He says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who has mercy.” This teaching can bring great change unto our lives. He has a plan for my life. This plan is surpernatural and eternal. As I yield to God’s eternal plan, I am changed.
In Romans 10:14-17, Paul talks about the gospel and the calling to win lost souls. What an honor to be part of God’s plan of the ages, to be a tool to win others to Christ. Recognizing God’s plan to win the lost and recognizing your role in that great plan can be life changing. This is also part of the God transformation in you. As we step into His plan to win the lost, the transformation to become a supernatural man deepens.
In Romans 11, Paul seems to be overwhelmed with the goodness and greatness of God. “Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways!” Vs33. For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen. Vs.36.
The heavenly man becomes a God centered man. Our interests in Him have gone far beyond what He can and will do for us in this life. We have been captured by His greatness. We have been stunned by His beauty. We have been humbled by His grace. We have been awed by His wisdom. Paul is describing the God centered life that flows from a God encounter. Have you experienced Christ for yourself? Are you experiencing Him in your life? I beseech you, I beg you, be transformed, become that heavenly man leaving behind earthly things. The Lord has a heavenly plan and I think you have a part to play in it.