Point eight of the 10-point Bible Study Tool is for the renewing of the mind. In previous lessons, I explained the importance of denying self, of building up the inner man, and of establishing the authority of Christ over our sin nature. As we do these things, the result will be a renewed mind.
(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 is your reasonable service. And to not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
The word beseech means to urge strongly, to the point of wishing it was possible to actually compel someone. God has shown us mercy beyond what we can comprehend in providing a way of salvation for us. God’s holiness is so complete that if He fully revealed Himself as He is, His glory would immediately kill us because of our sin nature. His justice is so absolute that the best of us would deserve it, and we all warrant an eternity separated from Him in the Lake of Fire.
Our sin nature is closely attached to our flesh, our bodies. Paul told us earlier in Romans that we should crucify our fleshly desires. When we do, we are making a holy sacrifice unto the Lord. As we consider how merciful God has been to us, this should compel us to strive to honor Him in our conduct by putting to death the deeds of the old nature. The greatness of God’s covenant in Christ is not that we “have to obey Him because it is His Law,” but that we should want to because it honors Him and His sacrifice for us.
It is our reasonable service to do this. Look at it this way. In society it is considered a good thing if you repay those who have done you a favor, should it ever be in your power to do so. We can never truly repay God for the favor of His grace, but it is completely reasonable that we strive to live as He wants in return for His glorious grace.
Those who love this world and the things of this world are God’s enemies. It has become popular in some segments of the church to believe we should seek worldly prosperity, and that this demonstrates our spirituality. Others hold a liberal doctrine that approves of some kinds of immorality such as homosexuality and easy divorce and remarriage. Doctrines of this sort mirror the world system rather than the holiness of God. Things like this are what it means to be conformed to the world’s way of thinking.
Before we were saved, most of us likely had no problem with these kinds of things. Once we understand that we have sinned and need a Savior, this should begin to transform our way of thinking. As we keep learning to practice righteousness, the transformation will continue to renew our minds into the likeness of Christ.
Nearly every aspect of Bible study should work to transform and renew our minds. Whether it is doctrines (teachings) to believe or instructions to obey, or whether it is acknowledging things we need to work to correct in ourselves (2Tim 3:16), studying Scripture should work to this purpose. As the bride of Christ, we are washed by the water of God’s Word (Eph 5:26).
The next part of the 10-point Bible Study Tool concerns establishing a relationship with Christ.