Romans 12:1-2 A Living Sacrifice

Paul uses a metaphor for the Christian life in this verse:  we are to be a sacrifice to God. What is unique, however, is that we are to be a “living sacrifice.”  This vivid image would have been clear to anyone in ancient world since everyone has witnessed a sacrifice at some point, whether Jew or Greek.  The sacrificed animal was no longer the possession of the one making the offering, but it became God’s possession.  A sacrifice is a gift to a god, if we are living sacrifices, we are to be gifts wholly given over to the service of God.

To be a living sacrifice one must not “be conformed” to the world (8:2).  The noun (συσχηματίζω, susxematizo) means “to be molded into another form” or perhaps guided by something else (BAGD).  The pattern that Paul warns the believer to not be conformed to is the “pattern of this world,” or the lifestyle of this evil age.  While the word is rare, Plutarch uses it in his essay “Virtue and Vice” (2.100f) to describe the insidious way that vice conforms itself to the attitudes of others, suppressing its own impulses to become like others.

Rather than conformed, Paul states the believer is to “be transformed.”  Like the verb “conformed,” the word μεταμορφόω (metamorfoo) can refer to both outward physical changes (such as the transfiguration, Matt 17:2) and inward spiritual changes (BAGD).  It is used of the change of the physical body in glory (2 Cor 3:18.)  But here in Romans 12:2 it means an inward spiritual change of the believer by the power of the spirit.

The key to this metamorphosis is the “renewing” of our minds.  I think that Paul is saying that the one who is in Christ is in fact a new creation (2 Cor 5:20), but that this new creation is an ongoing process, leaving behind one world-view and changing our thinking to conform to a new world-view.  Thinking back to the situation in Corinth, the church did not seem to have embraced this change in thinking.  They still were “conformed” to the pattern of this world and had not progressed very far in “being transformed” by the renewing of their minds.  They still thought like the world.  But here Paul says that the one who is a living sacrifice thinks differently, and therefore is different from the “pattern of this world.”

I think that perhaps this is what is wrong with a great deal of what passes for Christian thinking these days.  There is a tendency to adopt secular business principles and put a thin veneer of Christianity on then, somehow making then acceptable for organizing the Church and doing ministry.  My local Christian book store has piles of books with titles like Seven Principles for Church Leadership which are standard leadership material drawn from corporate American, illustrated with a Bible story (usually with a Sunday School understanding of the text cited!)  This is not transformed thinking, but worldly thinking masquerading as biblical principles.

What would the church look like if it was really composed of people who had been “transformed by the renewing of their minds”?

39 thoughts on “Romans 12:1-2 A Living Sacrifice

  1. I am sure there are many different ways a church in the structural sense would change if they had “transformed minds”. However, more importantly I think the church as a people would change considerably. Like P. Long said, it seems that most churches conformed to the business model and are more concerned about money and numbers of members. P. Long adds, “Paul says that the one who is a living sacrifice thinks differently, and therefore is different from the “pattern of this world.” I think that one way the church should think differently is to forget about the numbers and try being more like Jesus. I just read an interview with Rob Bell and I thought he had some great things to say. I don’t agree with all of his theology but I really admire how much he tries to make his church a loving one. I think this is one of the reasons his church seemed to flourish. People were drawn to it because they tried to live out their faith. Polhill said, “Living in the world, we are not to live by its standards but to conduct ourselves with the renewed minds, the minds of God’s new creatures in Christ” (297). I ask myself what this might look like for us as a church. What would are actions be? I really like the example Jesus gives us in Matthew 8. Jesus didn’t care that it was “unclean” and wrong to touch someone like that. It makes me wonder if all the Christians in this world had a mentality like Jesus Christ, how many people would be better off in this hurting world?

  2. What a great question. I question, we ask over and over again, not only in these posts but also in the day to day. I am not only asking this question but also one that must be asked before this… what does it truly look like to live transformed life? I think this question must come first because we must start with yourselves and then work to transform the world (for this is the pattern of revival). I do recognize though that in order to mentor others into a Romans 12:1-2 mindset I must be first mentored in it myself. I do not truly know what it is to sacrifice or for that matter to be a living sacrifice for more than a few moments at a time it seems. Wholeness, true wholeness in Christ is a new idea to me. It is one I love but also one that stands in the way of much of what I have been taught and indoctrinated to believe. I speak from experience, in saying that, Mars is a place of wholeness. Greg is right, its a loving community that seeks to be wholly given over to God.

    This imagery of a sacrifice paints a powerful image of the depth these verses (Romans 12:1-2; Polhill 297). I the more practical nature of Romans 12 and I am thankful to the reminder that sacrifice, transformation, and renewal are our longings as followers of Christ.

    Transform and renew me (us) from the inside out Lord.

  3. “Christ presented himself as a sacrifice for us. The proper and logical response to this divine act of grace is to sacrifice ourselves in sacred service to our Lord.” (297). It may be the proper and logical response, but this is not always the case for us (and as you pointed out, it wasn’t the case for the church in Corinth). Romans 12:1-2 is a verse that is heavily used in the beginning foundations for a class on worship or Christian living. When I first began leading worship in high school, this verse was instrumental for me as I began growing and learning in the ministry. Paul mentions this same idea in his other letters, such as in Col. 3:1-3.

    Regarding your question, “What would the church look like if it was really composed of people who had been ‘transformed by the renewing of their minds’?” I will answer regarding the field of ministry that I know best, in music ministry. I think the biggest change I would see is an attitude of Christ. When I was the interim music director at a church I was shocked at times to see the selfish attitudes of a select few of the music team members. One instance comes to mind: I had scheduled a man who loves the Lord so much, that can’t serve in a lot of different ministries due to some minor learning disabilities. However, the problem was, he didn’t have the best voice. (Now this could easily turn into discussion about what to do for people that have a desire to serve but not the skills, but we’ll save that for another time). I was happy to have him join us. I wasn’t so concerned with the quality of music in this case, and he did a fine job. Later, I got wind of some other music people complaining about having him on the music team. I was appalled by their reasons for wanting him off, knowing that to these people it was a performance based mentality. This situation revealed their true character, and it was not a pretty sight.

    I wonder if the members truly had been transformed by the renewing of their minds they would have had a different perspective. Perhaps they would have seen and heard their brother in Christ the way God saw and heard him that morning. To the Lord, his music was the most beautiful thing that morning because his heart was in the right place.

    • Good example. Sadly I think I have encountered the *least* mature people in music ministry. Not sure why that is, but there is an opportunity to show grace and mercy and just maybe disciple someone.

  4. In Theology 151 last year we had verses that we had to memorize for every Friday. They followed the patternof showing how we as people on this planet are fallen and need a savior to redeem us. One of the verses that popped up in the collection was this one and it was not there by mistake. As we walked through them you see how Paul and other writers recognized that we have fallen and are sinful, but it never stopped there. This verse comes in and says that we are to offer our bodies as sacrifices and that we are to be transformed by the renewal of your mind.

    We had a meeting after church today about the current makeup of the mother and daughter church look and how it will play out in the future of our church and our mother church. It seemed very business minded but there was a lot of prayer that has been going into this time of transition and seeking out what aged would have us do in the future. In one of the prayers the pastor prayed “God we want to do your will here on earth, if this is the path that we are to take make it clear to us and if it is not the right path then make that clear to us as well”.

    Now if there was no renewal of the mind, the church that I am apart of would not have said those prayers seeking out Gods will in our life and the life of the church. In Polhill’s book he says about what Paul wrote “He urged the Romans to ‘maintain the spiritual glow’ (Polhill 297)”. If the church were to fully be transformed to the teachings of the Bible this world would look much different. In chapel this past Wednesday the speaker was talking about the tribe of people that he worked with in Africa. He talked about how the people heard the word of God and went and did. There was no hesitation what so ever. This is what it would look like. They would hear the word of God, the people of the church here, and they would go and do.

  5. “I think that Paul is saying that the one who is in Christ is in fact a new creation (2 Cor 5:20), but that this new creation is an ongoing process, leaving behind one world-view and changing our thinking to conform to a new world-view.” (P. Long) This concept can be so very visible even in our own lives today. We find that we are not wholly transformed from our previous lifestyles the instant we place our faith in Christ’s sacrifice, but that we will struggle for a while as we work towards the fullness of our renewal.
    Keeping this thought in the back of our minds, how *would* our churches really look if they were filled with people whose lives were transformed? I don’t know if we can even fully imagine how amazing it would be to have the entire Body fully transformed to the mind of Christ. It would be so close to perfect it would be ridiculous.
    Because transformation is a slow process, one which many decide not to take, this makes our churches look like we’re full of slackers and slanders. Though, at face value, this is exactly what our churches are, when you whittle away at us, you find that we actually *are* striving for a higher calling. So many of us are working every day to come closer and closer to our complete transformation.

    • This is a good point, “transformation is a slow process.” And it happens differently for different people. Within any given local church there are some really mature people who are taking their faith seriously, and then the rest of us slackers. For me, it is important not to judge someone who is not as “mature” as me, even though it is pretty easy to do.

      • I think you meant “not to” not “to to”… I only picked out this error cause it seemed significant to your point…

        Other than that. I often wonder about this. And at the end of the day, I have no idea what church should look like. More often now than ever before–probably because of the high-minded education of my present environment–I hear a lot of people say what they think church should look like, often citing Biblical examples supporting their view. But I just don’t see it. The bible says a lot about how Christians should act as individuals, and the Paul periodically talks about how the Church should behave as a body, but I can’t shake this nagging feeling that the Bible doesn’t say much at all about what a church service should look like, (sorry Pastor Spykerman) or even what the primary objectives of the church body as a whole should be outside of evangelism and care for its members.

        Whenever I hear people say that we should have more music, less music, more preaching, less preaching, more preaching on this topic, less preaching on another topic, more prayer, less prayer, or any number of other suggestions with or without a biblical support for their argument, I can’t help but feel like they are just trying to use the Bible to impose their preferences–or even their well-intentioned vision–on the church body as a whole.

        So while I think the question of what the church looks like when it is full of transformed minds is an important question, the answer is perhaps unknowable until we have churches full of transformed minds. And efforts to answer this question perhaps generate more controversy and conflict than they even potential for benefit, much less real, measurable benefit.

      • Sooo, what Caleb said is what I meant to say. I wish I was articulate and not so blunt

    • I agree it is a slow process. It seems that we use the word, “growth” alot when we talk about Christianity. I think the picture for this blog is a good one because if you know your Power Rangers, you understand that even a powerful force for evil, can change their heart and fight for good! And even though this might be a silly way to convey this thought, it works. When we make a decision to follow Christ, we start a process of growing and learning. Paul new alot about the law, but still had much to learn about Christianity. People grow at different paces and in their own time. Paul grew tremendously compared to where he was when he first started his journey, I mean if we want to make the comparison, Paul is the White Ranger.

  6. Well, if people actually allowed their minds to be renewed, then the church would actually do more. We would be more trusting of each other and more willing to sacrifice for each other. Now, when I say sacrifice, I don’t mean just a couple of hours to do mow the lawn of a friend who is laid up with a broken leg, but sacrifice for a brother or sister who is in real need financially or spiritually. Here, I must confess that I am guilty of what I condemn. I can be unwilling to sacrifice what I should. I desire to give all to God but I always hold something back. But look at some of the churches that from the Bible, churches that had members who would sell all of their possessions to help out a fellow believer (see Acts 2:45). You don’t see anything like that anymore. If somebody is in need, they get the special love offering that is collected once a month. Nobody goes out of their way to help others anymore.

  7. To be honest, I am sick and tired of answering “what if” questions in regards to the church. I am asked these “what if” the church did this or that so often here at school that I simply do not care anymore. The church is screwed up, we know this is true. Our lives are screwed up, we know this is true. Everything in our lives is screwed up and until we come to recognize this, nothing will get better.

    This is the entire reason it sickens me that we send so many missionaries over seas. The people who are best at spreading God’s love are elsewhere, while they allow the country that supports them to slowly die. I simply have no passion for this anymore, the church has sucked my passion out of me because they are to stubborn to listen to anything God says through me or anyone else. God help us all…

    • Perhaps you ought to have chosen another, less, “what iffy” question to answer.

      I would also attract your attention to the many local ministries which do a great deal of good at the neighborhood level. (If you like, I’ll take you to Mel Trotter next time I go, that is a blast). Maybe this will help you feel better about the Church.

    • Hey, wasn’t Paul a Missionary. . . ? Didn’t Jesus Tell us, (the body of Christ) to go to all the nations? Just a couple of questions I thought of.

  8. If the church actually existed with people who live transformed and renewed minds, the entire American, church culture (including Bible colleges) would be completely different than now. The church would be fueled by people who were more concerned with their relationship to Christ and sharing Christ with those who didn’t know him, than whether or not their church was aesthically pleasing, financially secure, popular, and growing exponentially with people who were willing to serve in Sunday school and tithe well. Instead of attempting to compete with culture, and creating churches and Christians that do well to attract people to come and join our “culture”, the American church would be focused on living out the Gospel with a passion and infectiousness that is quite foreign in our culture. American Christians wouldn’t be roped in with the selfish, greedy, idol worshipping, capitalistic American culture, but instead seen as true followers of Christ.

  9. Chris, in response to what sickens you about why we send out so many missionaries over seas, is that this is what they are called to do. Everyone has a different calling in life. You have a calling to stay in the states in the church, and I have a calling to go over seas and do work for the lord over seas. I am sickened by the fact that you would go as far to tell me that when I go to do the Lords work over seas I am allowing my country to die. You obviously haven’t paid much attention to what Paul had been doing in his letters as he went from place to place spreading the love of God.

    But to answer your question P.Long, The Church would be completely different. We would not be seeing churches split over different ideas or because of one person in the church. Everyone would be wanting to sacrifice for each other, to sell their possessions for one person in the church. I feel like there would be more of a want to do as Christ had done for the unbelievers, the sinners, and the tax collectors, and that is to love them.

  10. I agree that the transformation should be an ongoing process. A new believer does not automatically have a renewed mind that is not conformed to the world in any way. This renewing of our minds is a process by which the Spirit is working in us to transform us. This is a crucial thing to remember. We should always be striving to grow in our faith, never being satisfied with where we are at. The growth we are talking about here is being less conformed to the world and more renewed in our minds to know God in a more full way. Paul talks about this attitude of never being stagnant in Philippians. Philippians 3:12-13 says, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward the goal.” Paul himself felt like he needed to grow, as an example for all believers.
    The church today needs to have this attitude of growth. If the church was composed of people who were transformed by the renewing of their mind, then we would have real, authentic Christians who are able to live out God’s will for them. Instead of having people who live for God on Sunday and for the world every other day, there will be people who are spreading God’s love to their communities everyday. Less struggle in the church would mean more output.

  11. I have referenced it before in one of my posts, but I believe that the body of Christ in South Korea is a great example of what it looks like when believers live with a transformed mind. An article we read last year in Theology said that churches there open their doors at 4 a.m. every day because Christians go there before work to pray, for 3 hours! It also talked about how, despite its size, it would soon be passing the United States in the number of foreign missionaries that it sends out. Their fruits serve as a testament to the transforming work that is taking place within their church and country, and it all starts with the individual. The church here in America is falling behind. We have more material resources and a greater number of believers and yet our global impact is weakening. I believe that the root cause of this is the condition and focus of our hearts. On the other hand, there are churches here having huge impacts on their communities. One example of this would be the drop zone at our local Rush Creek Bible Church. This is an excellent instance of what happens when a body of believers recognizes a need, reaches out, and becomes an agent of transformation within their local area.

  12. If the church was really filled with people who were “transformed”, it would get stuff done. There are plenty on churches who are doing it right but there can always be more done. We need to ask God to fully cleanse us. Psalm 51:10 is a great verse for this. Like Scott said, we have so many resources in America that we should be doing as much as possible. John 15:19 also references this idea well too. It starts with the top and the pastor needs to be a shepherd more than a CEO. This could create a trickle down effect and the church could begin to flourish and have unconditional love.

  13. The church that was composed of people who are transformed by the renewal of the mind would look like exactly what the rest of the verse says. “…that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” This church would be a church that is able to do the will of God and live in accordance to God’s ethical standards and expectations. To get to the reality of this church existing would require Christians doing the first part of the passage, “…present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God…” In order to be this living sacrifice, the church would have to give up the ways of the world and be transformed.
    When I read this verse, I always think back to home town pastor comparing our transformation, or metamorphosis, as Christians with that of butterflies. The caterpillar forms its cocoon and in its metamorphosis it completely changes. It does not just change a few things here and there. The caterpillar actually breaks down into molecular matter and reforms into something new. The old caterpillar is gone completely and the new butterfly is a new creation. Just the same, at salvation we are indwelled with the Holy Spirit and the old man passes away, while a new man is made (Ephesians 4:22-24). We are transformed.
    However, each day is in need of a renewal of the mind to the Spirit as opposed to the flesh (Romans 8:1-13). So, like many other things, our transformation is in a way already/not yet. At salvation we are made a new creation, but we still struggle with the renewal of our minds toward things of the Spirit. The church that truly seeks to renew their minds, is the church that truly seeks God’s will and is the church we should strive for.

  14. Spirit filled and humble. This is what the Church would look like if it were truly composed of people transformed by the renewing of their mind.

    In my scan of the entire conversation here on the blog I do not think I have seen anything about the Spirit and It’s role in this entire “renewing of mind” process or end result. I mean, the more I meditate on this question the more I come to the conclusion that if the renewing of our minds, through the Holy Spirit’s work, overtook us we would become more Christ-like. And Christ-likeness, seems to me, to be a more Spirit filled and humble person than we find in many American Christians (the American Church). Humility does not come naturally to many, especially me, and the more I read the Word the more I am realizing that humility is the key component to having a mind transformed and renewed by the Spirit. “…clothe yourselves with humility toward one another because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’” (1 Peter 5:5)

    I kind of want to touch on what Chris Anton said above, because I can kind of relate to what he is saying. I mean, I am annoyed as well with all the questions and all the drama of Christians and the Church. But I wonder if instead of complaining about the questions and complaining about the Church, we actually started living out the “solution” to the problems? What if we started working toward a renewing of the mind and passing it along to those around us? (foretold by Anna Spencer)

  15. I see that many people have answered the question at the end of the post, so I will briefly regard it as rhetorical for my post… 🙂

    I would like to reflect on the vivid picture of a “living sacrifice.” Speaking of an animal sacrifice, P. Long said, “This vivid image would have been clear to anyone in ancient world since everyone has witnessed a sacrifice at some point, whether Jew or Greek.” This caused me to really think about an animal sacrifice. Whenever I picture an animal sacrifice (I try not to make a habit out of it), I picture a gory situation. Whether the animal has been cut or burnt, it could not have been a pleasant sight. To me, this just shows how serious the word “sacrifice” is. We are fortunate as Christians to be called to be “living sacrifices,” and we should not take it lightly. Animals gave (a very loose use of the word “gave”) their lives by dying for God, we get to give our lives by living for God.

  16. I’m not so sure that the American culture accommodates this kind of radical transformation. Not saying anything bad about Dave Ramsey or any other financial guru but it seems as though the American mindset has medicated us into thinking that we need to build church upon financial security and success rather than faith in God. This kind of transformation would result in such amazing power through the Holy Spirit. Is it too much to think or expect Acts 2 or even Acts 3 in our day? If we were transformed spiritually and mentally, I submit that it is entirely possible. Now I realize that there are some people who believe that miracles are not part of this “dispensation” but I would submit that this explanation is a cheap way out of faith in the “impossible” instead of a full transformation that is being asked for…

    • Good point, most parents would have a fit if their kids said they were moving to Africa to drill wells for poor people. Or worse, study to be a Youth pastor! Where is the financial security in that! But I am not sure why you include the “cheap way” comment. Possibly you do not understand the cessastionist position on signs, but it really does distract from your otherwise good point.

  17. I’ve heard these verses over and over again since I was little (Romans 12:1-2). However, I do not remember the last part of verse 1, “This is your true and proper worship.” I just finished N.T. Wright’s book, Simply Christian, and there was a chapter about worship. He said that people are simply tired of the same old worship service, where you sit down, stand up, shake hands,sit down, stand up, sing some songs, read some scripture together, sit down, stand up, listen to a sermon, sit down, stand up, go eat some cookies and drink some really bad coffee and go on your merry way for a week. What if you took the calling to be a living sacrifice seriously, your whole life would be worshiping God. Worship wouldn’t be just on Sunday, it would be every day of the rest of your life. So maybe a question to ask instead of how or what can I sacrifice, which to most people sounds negative, we should be asking how can I worship a worthy God right now?

  18. What does Transformation include when a new Christian comes to faith in Jesus Christ? Why is there such a diverse time frame and scale of transformation that takes place with Christian Circles? How different and separated from the world are Christians supposed to be? These all seem to be common questions in relation to transformation. Often times I think of transformation as something that can be compartmentalized in portions of life. Where we think we can “skimp” on being transformed we try to resist the words of scripture and look to the world for insight or our worldly knowledge. I always believe in making the Bible the foundation to how I act and exist but, often times I look to my own understanding and then try to frame what the Bible says into that form. I don’t think I am alone in this practice.

  19. I would just like to go back to Chris Anton’s post for a minute.
    First he says, “Everything in our lives is screwed up.” We know from 2 Cor. 5:17 that we are new beings in Christ. Personally I would like to look at my life in Christ and say, “Wow look at what Jesus has brought me out of. I may still have some sin in my life, but He can help me conquer it.”
    Second, I was pretty upset and a little flabbergasted about what Chris said about overseas missions: “It sickens me that we send so many missionaries over seas.” Let’s just take a look at the very class we are posting for: Pauline Literature. Yes, Paul was an apostle, but what did he spend most of his time doing that we have been learning about? Missions. Paul went on three major mission trips– all were outside of his country of Israel. If we should not do the very thing that we are learning about, then why are we here? I was just very confused about that.

    I think if the church was composed of people who had been “Transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2), there would be a lot less of what I talked about above and a lot more love. Love for God first of all which flows to a love of others above ourselves (Phil. 2:1-11). We would be more active in our churches, our communities, and yes, in world missions. We would do this because we want to, not because we feel under obligation from anyone. And we certainly would not sit around and complain that our country is slowly dying or say that we have lost all passion; we’d get up and do something about it.

  20. Gold power ranger, really?? Green power ranger was best! Anyway, I think the Church knows what it looks like to have everyone living “transformed by the renewing of their minds”, they just don’t fully accomplish it. I think every Christian at the core of their being knows what this transformed life looks like because of the Spirit, but like the Corinthians, we have a problem with not conforming to the pattern of the world. If the Church truly had all of its members “transformed in mind”, then a lot of the “stuff” that angers many in the Church would be gone. Things that come to mind are fights over carpet color, song choice, and service time. There are many things that break up the Church, and these are just three that come to mind. I don’t see any of these issues being a problem in a transformed Church due to the focus on God and not these meaningless issues. I feel like the Church is so caught up in things that don’t necessarily matter, that we lose sight of what’s really important.

    • He was the first one I found. Are trying to start a Corinthian-like division over my power ranger picture?

  21. Part of me wonders if this passage is written to all believers; calling them to, in a sense, be like Paul. The letter is obviously written to Rome and is written near the end of Paul’s life. Once a letter made it to Rome, there was a good chance that the letter would be available to many Christians; Christians who would know Paul’s testimony. Could he sense his end? I am only called to consider it in that context because the ideas of people transformed and not conforming fit Paul’s testimony perfectly. Paul was a man who completely conformed to what was expected of him as a Pharisee. He was completely tranformed with a renewed mind because of his conversion. And, he continued to live the rest of his life as a living sacrifice; something plainly seen through the amount of persecution and pain he went through for the gospel of Christ.

    Also, when we look at this in light of struggles he has seen in other churches (Corinth), conforming is an obvious issue. Paul seems to be fighting tooth and nail for Christians to abandon worldly culture and lifestyles to be transformed into more gospel friendly believers.

  22. I think if we are going to be a “living sacrifice” to God, we must first examine in our hearts what that is going to look like. I think the American church would benefit greatly if the members of the Body of Christ were more concerned about their relationship with Jesus and how they can impact others with the gospel as opposed to worrying so much about financial security. Paul writes in Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” He takes this a step further and explains how we can offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God. We are to first examine our heart and forget about conforming to what the world desires because that is going to get us nowhere. I think that plays a part in why people are so turned of by the church and Christianity in general is because they see “Christians” conforming to the patterns of the world. i think if others were to see more Christians living out their relationship with Jesus Christ, then more and more people would see the gospel for what it really is.

  23. It is hard to say what the church would look like if we truely allowed ourselfes to be transformed since we are such a mess now. Certainly we take our eyes off unimportant worldly things and put them on things above. The church does tend tolose sight quite often and focus on issues such as music choice and decorations. This is obviously not what a church should be focusing on. The church would be more focused on worshiping and sercing our God rather than fighting amongst ourselves about minute differances and focussing on our common ground, our Holy God. This church seems imposible to grasp at the moment. Yet, we erve a powerful God who can use even our greatest weaknesses and turn them into something spectacular for His glory.

  24. I feel like this question pops up time and time again, as it should, and each time it does I am reminded of how much we as individuals as well as a whole church still need to change. I tend to want to agree with Ana here. She brought up some very good logic; how are we to change as a church to be more transformed into the likeness of God, if we don’t first live up to Romans 12:1-2 ourselves? “What does it truly look like to live a transformed life? I think this question must come first because we must start with ourselves and then work to transform the world” (Ana Spencer). I know that I continually need to offer my life as a sacrifice to God. “A sacrifice is a gift to God” (Phil Long) Because I know that I am a gift to God I must daily give up my life to Him. Just like the animals that are sacrificed, to the Lord as a gift in the Jewish religion are no longer theirs but God’s— I need to not be my own person, but rather God’s. I was bought with a price, therefore I am no longer my own (1 Corinthians 6:20). In realizing this concept I should automatically be transformed in my thinking. If each individual daily, or hourly, worked at being a sacrifice for God (meaning to give our whole life to Him at all times) and let Him transform us we would see a huge difference in how we as a whole church acted. You would see churches not only change how they thought like the world and how they portrayed it through how the church is built up, but also through how they viewed life in general. There would be a stronger desire to help those in need, to love and accept everybody without stipulations, and the world would be a much happier place.

  25. If the church were really composed of people who had been “transformed by the renewing of their minds,” our world would be a different place. Actually acting like a follower of Christ would not appear so weird to other people, and the church would be focused more on others than themselves. The emphasis that is placed by Paul is that once you are saved, you are a new creation, and it is somewhat of a process to renew your mind and not conform to the world around you. One thing I find interesting in this, is if everyone was truly living like followers of Christ that says they are a Christian, our “world,” or the United States we’ll say in our case, would be something that you might want to conform to, as something like 77% of people claim to be Christians. This is one of the reasons why it is tough to answer a question like this, since it is tough to believe in a church that is truly transformed fully and completely in this world. In this world, people living it out will always have trouble, as Jesus says in John 16:33.

  26. I would not take a stand that the church is doomed as Chris Anton seems to think, but I would agree that the church is in need of the transformation of minds that Paul is speaking about it Romans 12. P. Long said that we are to be “gifts wholly given over to the service of God,” – but is that what we are as the church today? Or are we letting ourselves be molded into the image of the world? I truly believe that if we practiced this in the church, it would change immensely. Paul speaks passionately about the mind; he speaks of those who would destroy the gospel, saying “Their end is destruction …with minds set on earthly things.” (Phil 3:19), so we must as those who would share the gospel, have minds transformed or altered from the ways of the world. Paul says that when we are transformed, then we will be “able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2), that alone would change our churches in ways we can’t even imagine.

  27. I have not read much of the posts about this matter, however, I was excited to read some of these blogs with a friend of mine. She was just talking about the idea of going to a conference where she felt that it was promoting an idol, (kind of along the idea of the programming of a big church trying to encounter the LORD) rather than the true worship of YHWH. I shared with her both the blogs about the ROM 13 passage and the church providing for the poor, and this post about dynamics of the physical church taking on principles of secular business plans. I appreciate the dialogue that the posts brought up.

    Another idea I appreciate from this post is about the process that a follower of Christ goes through in order to be transformed and renewed in their thought pattern. I appreciate this on several levels, but one of them being about the connection of the church in Corinth.

    The question was brought up that what would the church look like if people were fully renewed by their minds and I would consider how I concluded my last post. We would see the Kingdom more prevalent in communities and society. We would see more of the concept, “already but not yet.”

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