Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.
As children of God we were given a new life in Christ – a baby life that needs to grow. Our life should be a fruitful, victorious life that matures into a spiritual believer – a life submitted to the Spirit, so it may be conformed into the image and likeness of Jesus. But we still have a sin nature that seeks to gain supremacy over our new Christ-life. We were freed from its power over us, at the cross, but it remains our deadly enemy. And for the rest of our life on earth a tug of war exists between these two rivals.
The more we feed one of these two bitterly opposing natures, the more it grows and develops – and the stronger it becomes the greater its capacity for good or for evil. The new life in Christ, we received at salvation, is the very life of Jesus Christ, that was breathed into us by God’s Spirit, so we could grow in grace and spiritually mature.
The old sin nature we received from Adam is at enmity with God and kept us in bondage and condemnation, but it was crucified with Christ, and its power was severed at the cross – freeing us forever from the bondage of sin and death.This new life in Christ is His sinless life – which was imparted into our very beings. The old sin nature is our terrible Adamic heritage – which keeps us in bondage to sin. Unsaved men can only function under the power of the old sin nature, and whatever they do, whether good or ill, is worthy of nothing more than God’s utter condemnation.
The new life in Christ should be nurtured, while the old sin nature must be subdued, and though all Christians are positionally sanctified, (set apart unto God), we must also grow in our Christian life to be practically sanctified – and it’s all by grace. Whether we are talking about our sanctified position or the sanctifying process that continues throughout life – our spiritual growth, our growing in grace, our maturing in the faith and the good works that God has prepared for us to do, are ALL by grace.
Paul tells us that to be practically sanctified as we journey through life, we must put off the old man and put on the new man – and we are not to be conformed to the pattern of this world, but we are to be changed – transformed, by the renewing of our minds. To put off the old sin nature, we have to make a choice, not to allow sin to rule and reign in our lives – rather we must seek to walk in spirit and truth, as we submit to the leading of the Spirit. In this way the new life in Christ will have a chance to grow and mature, and gradually be conformed into the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus. If we ignore the clear guidance in scripture on how to live a spiritual life, that’s pleasing to God, and submit to the old sin nature, we place ourselves back under the bondage of law.
Let us put to death the deeds of the body, so our new life in Christ can grow: for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. Let us not copy the behaviours and customs of this world, but rather let us submit to the Spirit, so that God can transform us into a new person.. by changing the way we think. Then we will learn to know God’s will for our lives, which is good and pleasing and perfect. We are not to copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform us into a new person – into the likeness of Christ, by changing the way we think. Then we will learn to know God’s good and pleasing and perfect will for our lives.
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