RENEWING THE MINDEdit
THE TWO NATURES
The believer indwelt by the Holy Spirit has two natures, the carnal and the spiritual. The one which is predisposed to sinful desires, and the other (the new nature) which is according to the nature of Messiah. The one to which we yield will be our master (Romans 6:16). We will come under the dominion and control of which ever nature we yield to, and as a result we will walk according to it's desires, that is, according to the thinking of that nature, either to the mind of the flesh or to the mind of the Spirit.
Romans 8:4 speaks of either walking in the flesh or walking in the spirit, and in verse 5 it goes on to say, "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh, and they that are after the spirit the things of the Spirit."
The 'mind of the flesh' is that attitude or disposition which seeks to gain satisfaction through unlawful (contrary to God's principles) fleshly desires. The 'mind of the spirit' is that attitude of mind or disposition which seeks satisfaction in spiritual aspirations and desires. The literal Greek of verse 5 would be, "For those who are habitually dominated by the flesh put their mind on the things of the flesh", and verse 6, "For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."
The carnal mind is the 'mind of the flesh'.
The word 'flesh' here is grammatically a genitive of possession which indicates that it is a mind possessed by and thus controlled by the flesh. And likewise, to be spiritually minded is to have one's mind 'possessed' by the Spirit. This 'mind', is life and peace, or it could be rendered life-giving and peace-giving. Thus a mind which is possessed by the Spirit renders life and peace to that person. In this verse, the verbal form of the word 'peace' is used which gives the meaning of 'binding together that which is separated'. i.e. bringing it into unity.
That is, we are brought into a relationship of peace with God as we come under the control of the Spirit of God, and like wise when in the flesh that union is absent, and we are separated from the life that is in Him. So we can have two types of experience, a flow of life in union with Him, or an experience of death and separation from Him.
"But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." (v.9a)
We are not in the flesh (i.e. in the natural life) and we should not walk after the flesh, or allow the principle of the fleshly mind to dominate us so that we come under it's desires and impulses. But it is possible to allow this nature to dominate, and if we do, the principle of death will operate in us.
"For if you live after the flesh you will die." Romans 8:13
THE MIND OF THE SPIRIT - THE MIND OF MESSIAH
How do we identify this 'mind' of the spirit from that which is of the flesh? The 'mind of the flesh' is the inner motivations which have their outworking in the lusts of the flesh, i.e. all that gratifies self. In Ephesians 2: 3 it speaks of the former manner of life lived in the "lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and the mind." NOTE - Those of the flesh and of the mind.
The 'mind of the spirit' is that motivation and desire to please the heart of God and bring glory to Him. Yeshua said the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) would take His place and glorify Him (John 14:16; 16:14). He replaces Yeshua' ministry to the believers and therefore He will do the same things which Yeshua did.
Yeshua said when praying to the Father, "I have glorified thee on earth. I have finished the work which you gave me to do" ........"glorify you me with the glory I had with thee before the foundation of the world." John 17: 4,5
Yeshua glorified the Father by submitting to His will completely, and therefore could request the glory of the Father to be manifest in Him. We are instructed, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Messiah Yeshua, who being in the form of God, (the nature of divinity) did not regard being on an equality with God a thing to be held onto, but emptied himself, having taken the form of a bondslave and entered into the state of existence as humanity; and being in the outward form of humanity, He humbled himself and became obedient even to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God has highly exalted Him ......... (Literal Greek Philippians 2:5-9a)
The Spirit of God has the same mind as this. It is also His disposition to submit to the will of the Father and thus glorify Him. We are to allow this 'mind' to be in us. That is, to put aside our own desires and that which is to our own satisfaction and glory, and to humble ourselves, dying to our own interests - to the point of death if necessary and taking on ourselves the role of a bondslave who loves the Father, seeking His pleasure and glory.
Being identified with Yeshua in His death to self will entitle us to share with Him in the glory which was given Him by the Father. This is the unveiling of God in us through the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh).
THE NEED OF A CHANGE OF MIND
"I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service (or, spiritual worship), and be not conformed to this world but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12: 1-2
Just as Yeshua initiated the emptying and humbling of Himself to fulfil God's purposes, so we are to present our members to God to be instruments in His service. The sacrifice which is asked of us is not as in the old covenant to be fulfilled literally in the offering of slain animal sacrifices. We are called to give a living sacrifice in the offering up of our lives. It is that of a life offered in sacrifice in the sense of it being all that constitutes one's life that is placed upon the altar of God. That includes all the faculties which motivate the body and for that reason Thayer says that it is "the worship which is rendered by reason of the soul" (i.e. the personality). Vincent says it is that which is "reasonable, not in the popular sense of the term, as a thing befitting or proper, but rational as distinguished from merely external or material. Hence nearly equivalent to spiritual. It is in harmony with the highest reasoning." From these expositors comments it is evident that it is not just the external life pattern or actions of the body which are meant, but the very inner recesses of one's being. Not the form, but the essence.
The sacrificial service which the priests performed was that of a slain animal. We are called to offer up our living members. The body is the vehicle through which we express our life and therefore in the offering up of our bodies we present the whole of our life as an act of worship to God. In offering them up to God, we bring them into subjection to the Spirit. Romans 12: 1-2
We are a tripartite being - spirit, soul and body. For us to be able to worship God in spirit (John 4:24), we must have our soul and body in subjection to our spirit, and not be 'conformed to this world'.
The word 'conformed' in Greek is SUNMORFIZO which means the act of assuming an outward expression that does not come from within, and is therefore not a representation of his inner being. The prefixed preposition 'SUN' adds to the meaning of the verb the idea of assuming an expression that is patterned after something else. The verb is a present infinitive in the negative, therefore it is forbidding an action already in progress.
The word 'world' here is AION - the 'age', or the 'era', not the literal physical world, but the lifestyle of the world, it's attitudes, concepts and philosophies. Instead be 'transformed by the renewing of your minds'. Transformed' in the Greek is METAMORPHOMAI which means the changing of one's outer form from that which they have to another outward form which comes as a result of an inner change.
Thayer says, "a renewal, a renovation, a complete change for the better", and Trench says, "The gradual conforming of the man more and more to that new spiritual world into which he has been introduced."
The exhortation then is to discontinue assuming an outward expression patterned after this world, which is inconsistent with the life of the Spirit within, and not in accordance with the new nature of our re-created spirit. So we are not to be patterned after this world's mould, but are to be transformed by allowing the inner man to be expressed through our personality by the renewing of our minds from the conformity of this world to the image of the new man, Messiah.
We have a personality and a mental outlook which has been conformed to the sinful nature and it's desires, and we have the spirit of Messiah within. The presence of God within is limited by the earthen vessel in which it dwells (2 Corinthians 4: 7).
Only as the earthen vessel, which is the soul of the believer (the mind and personality) are transformed can the holy Spirit of God find expression through us, and the extent in which He does will be according to the measure which that transformation has taken place in us. Titus 3:15 speaks of salvation by "the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit". There is the washing cleansing action of the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) in regeneration, but there also needs to be the renewing process to establish Messiah in our life. We need to be changed into Messiah's image.
THE RENEWING PROCESS
In Ephesians, Paul instructs the believers to "put off concerning the former conversation (i.e. behaviour) the old man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts .............. and be renewed in the spirit of your mind." (Ephesians 4:22, 23)
The word 'put off' is a figurative word taken from the putting off of garments. The old man, this outward form of expression of our life, is to be put off as one would put off a garment, and to be renewed. This word 'renewed' in Greek is ANANEOO which means to be renovated by an inward reformation. Wuest says that the construction of the Greek makes it a transitional and continuative process. So we understand from this, that it is an ongoing process through which this transition from one state of mind to another, occurs. it is a process of shedding the old outer covering and putting on the new. This takes place in the 'spirit of your mind'. It is in the inner man, it is the higher life principle in man into which moral thinking and knowledge is received. We have a new nature and therefore we need new principles to live by.
"And that you put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" Ephesians 4:23
The literal Greek of the words 'after God' are "according to what God is in Himself"
The new man is created in God's image as was Adam in the beginning before he fell. We are to put on this new man which is according to what God is in Himself, in righteousness and true holiness.
In speaking to the Colossians, Paul says, "Put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him." (Colossians 3:10)
The spiritual man is created according to God's likeness, and the process of renewal comes through the KNOWLEDGE of "Him that created him". As we come to know Him, our minds are renewed in accordance to that knowledge of Him.
In Romans 12: 2 Paul speaks of 'proving' what is that good, acceptable and perfect will of God. The Greek word used for 'proving' is DOKIMAZO and means to put to the test for the purpose of approving, and finding that the thing tested meets the specifications laid down, and to put one's approval on it. The specifications which we have of God's image is in the Word of God, against which we put all things to the test for the purpose of approving them as being of the new man, Messiah. We are able to put our lives to the test of this examination. The Word is a measuring rod to measure ourselves against, and a mirror into which we may look to see our reflection and know what is approved as the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. So as we look upon Him, growing in a knowledge of Him, we are changed into His image and likeness by the Spirit of God (2 Corinthians 3:18). As we behold Him, we reflect that likeness, our personality is changed and transfigured and the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) shines through in a progressively greater measure according to the measure of transformation which has taken place.
BEING RENEWED BY THE REVELATION OF MESSIAH
Highly polished metal was used in mirrors then which as well as giving a reflection of the person looking into it, also cast a reflection of light back upon the onlooker, and this was used by Paul as a figure of what takes place in the believer as he looks upon Messiah through the Word of the living God as revealed in scripture.
The light of the "mirror" of the Word reflects back upon the onlooker, to impress its reflection upon them.
How are we to look upon Messiah now? Is it just through the written Word?
The written Word of the Old testament was the 'law' referred to by Paul, by which is the knowledge of sin. But just as the knowledge of the law could not change us, so the knowledge of the Word itself will not change us either. It does not have the power to do that. But we know that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). He was God manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16) and as such could say, "He that has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). In Him was manifested the second man created in the image of God for all to see. And it is the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) Who reveals Him to us as Yeshua said He would ("He will testify of me .........He will glorify me").
This is what will change us! The illumination of Messiah to our spirit. Not the mental knowledge of the written Word which comes from natural faculties, but the glory of His presence shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) as a result of a spiritual perception of Him.
"We rejoice in hope of the glory of God ......" .....and hope makes not ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to us" Romans 5: 2, 5
How can we rejoice in hope of the glory of God?
Because the Spirit of God within brings into reality the life of God in us. In that, we can have hope in His glory being revealed in us. Paul said, "Henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yet though we have known Messiah after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more, therefore if any man be in Messiah, he is a new creation." 2 Corinthians 5:16,17
It is the knowledge of Him by revelation that will release the creative power of God within to change us.
"The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth Proving what is acceptable unto Yahweh God." Ephesians 5: 9,10
It is the same thing expressed here as in Romans 12:2. The Spirit will evidence what will prove to be acceptable to Yahweh God. That which the Spirit produces will be good, righteous and true and will be approved in God's sight, and in accordance with His perfect will. Therefore the testing point for the qualities we evidence in life's situations, will be whether or not they are in accordance with His nature.
That which is spiritual in it's source will be spiritual in it's nature. The wisdom from above is first pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated (not forceful), full of mercy, having good fruit and without partiality and hypocrisy (James 3:17).
All which is contrary to this originates from another source and needs the renewing of the Holy Spirit.