Summary: God wants to give us a complete “make over”... He has provided the means (Jesus’ blood) to remove the deformity of sin and He provides the tools (Bible study, prayer, fellowship) to fashion a new person.
Reading: Romans 12:1-2
In Romans 12:1-2, Paul makes the following plea regarding transforming our lives:
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
As we consider this text, several questions come to mind...
• What does it mean to be transformed?
• What should motivate us to undergo transformation?
• What is the goal of transformation?
• What does one do in order to experience transformation?
[Starting with the first question (“What does it mean to be transformed?”), let’s consider…]
I. The Definition of Transformation
A. The Word...
1. The Greek word is metamorphoo (met-am-or-fo’-o)
a. Lit., “to change into another form “ (Vine’s)
b. From which comes the word “metamorphosis “
c. Used to describe a change of form (e.g., when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly)
2. In the NT, this word is used to describe:
a. What happened to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration - Matthew 17:1-2
B. The Concept...
1. The idea being commanded by Paul is this:
a. Christians are “to undergo a complete change, which under the power of God will find expression in character and conduct.” (Vine’s)
b. I.e., we who are “caterpillars” are to become “butterflies.”
2. Note that Paul uses the passive voice
a. Indicating that “transformation “ is something we allow to be done to us
b. Not something we do by our own power alone
c. Rather, we submit to God’s power and by His grace...
1) We are “changed into another form”
2) We become a “new creation”
[But this leads us to our second question (“What is the motivation for transformation?”)...]
II. The Motivation for Transformation
A. The Mercies of God...
1. In our text, Paul appealed to transformation based on God’s mercies - Romans 12:1
2. What mercies of God had Paul discussed earlier in his epistle?
a. The nature of our sin and our need, therefore, of God’s mercy
b. His grace in sending Jesus to overcome sin, paying its penalty for us and bringing us into a right relationship with God through faith
c. The wonder of the reality of God’s eternal purposes being worked out in the proclamation of the gospel in all the world.
d. Saved from the wrath of God - Romans 5:9 -- Should not God’s mercy move us to repent and seek transformation?
B. The Love of Christ...
1. Elsewhere, Paul revealed the motivating power of the love of Christ:
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.”
2. Such love compelled Paul to live for Jesus:
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
3. Does not the love of Christ move us to live FOR Him and LIKE Him?
C. The Only Alternative...
1. The alternative to being transformed is being conformed to this world - Romans 12:1
a. The word conformed (suschematizo, soos-khay-mat-id’-zo) as used here means “to conform to another’s pattern” (Vincent)
b. Present passive imperative with , stop being fashioned or do not have the habit of being fashioned.
2. If not transformed, we will be conformed to...
a. The world
1) Act like the world; be like those in the world.
2) “After the fashion or pattern” of the world.
[With the mercies of God and the love of Christ to motivate us to seek transformation the question is: What are we to become?]
III. The Goal of Transformation
A. To Live Like Christ...
1. To present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God
a. Is this not what Jesus did on earth? - Hebrews 10:5
b. So we are to offer ourselves as living sacrifices - Romans 12:1
2. To prove that God’s will is good, acceptable, and perfect
a. Was this not Jesus sought to do on earth? - cf. John 6:38
b. So we are to demonstrate that God’s will is right - Romans 12:2
B. To Become Like Christ...
1. As Paul wrote earlier in the Roman letter:
Romans 8:28-29a “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son…”