ALL THINGS NEW

RENEWING YOUR MIND

Our initial repentance is the act in which we change our minds: we discard our previous concept of ‘god’ and believe in God by believing in Jesus Christ.

At this point of renewal a great range of other ‘new’ things happen, including most of those we have already considered over the past months:

We relate to God in terms of the ‘new covenant’ ratified and established by the blood of Jesus.
We approach God by a ‘new and living way’ – the body of Jesus.
God puts a ‘new heart’ within us.
We become part of God’s ‘new creation’ in Christ.
Together with all other believers we are ‘one new man’ in which all distinctions are eradicated.
We are born again, regenerated, in a spiritual ‘new birth’.
We put off the old self and put on the ‘new self’ created in Christ Jesus.
We live in a new relationship with God – he relates to us always ‘in Christ’.
We have a new knowledge of God by knowing Jesus Christ.

Because of all of this we ‘sing a new song’ of confidence, thanksgiving and joy.

But also, because of all of this, we are challenged to put off the attitudes and actions that were part of our pre-Christian life and put on the attitudes and actions that reflect this new reality:

We are given a ‘new commandment’.
We are instructed to put off the old self that is corrupted by its desires and to be renewed in the attitude of our minds.

Paul speaks further of this on-going renewal in Romans 12:1,2:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

In view of God’s mercy – in view of the new relationship we have with him in his Son Jesus Christ, and all that that means – we are here commanded to no longer let the world squeeze us into its pattern, to no longer be dominated and dictated to and defined by the worldview or mindset of ‘the world’, but to continually be transformed [present tense] by the renewal of our mind.

The way we think, the way we feel, the way we speak, the way we act are to reflect the new reality that is in place in and because of Jesus Christ, not the old reality from which we have been rescued.

In our contemporary culture two underlying aspects of the world’s thinking stand in direct contrast to the mind of Christ:

In its godlessness our world has diminishing moral boundaries, diminishing hope and diminishing meaning.

In its form of religion it has on the one hand, a legalistic, performance-based understanding of how a person can be right with ‘god’, and on the other hand, a broad and relativistic definition of ‘god’.

Through the gospel of Jesus Christ God has made us ‘new’, and on the basis of this gospel and this renewal he commands us to continually refuse to be governed by these values of the ‘old’ world from which he has redeemed us, and to continually cultivate the mindset of the new reality and to express the values of that new reality in every aspect of our lives.

Thus he tells us:

“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. You, however, did not come to know Christ that way.” [Ephesians 4:17-20]

Becoming a Christian is not just ‘getting saved’ – not just about escaping from hell. Indeed, escaping hell is just a bonus gift, and not the central thing at all. The core reality in becoming a Christian is knowing God by knowing Christ, and this new knowledge of God in Christ both produces and necessitates a new understanding of and a new attitude towards every single aspect of our lives.

Our new knowledge of God, our new relationship and allegiance to God, not the world, is to continually  reshape first our thoughts, our mindset, and then our actions.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2012