Renewing The Mind

By Vernon Gray


“For the Christian, salvation is certain, but not complete.”

 


As a precursor to this article it is worth quoting 2 Timothy 2:7:

“Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.”

“Your past no longer determines who you are.”

“If you can believe it, even your past is new.”

Isaiah 55: 7 says “Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts…”

It is an erroneous idea that the changed life of salvation changed your thinking too – it didn’t.

 

God is not going to change your mind for you; this is something that you must do yourself. The inner battle between good and evil takes place between the new nature and the old nature and its carnal way of thinking.

2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us: “…old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.”

This tells us that in our spirit we are a new creation; all things are new.

1 John 3: 9 bears this out: “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”

Although you have become new is the spirit, the flesh remains the same. You may be born-again, but the old nature remains within until we die or we are raptured.

The mind needs to be renewed, because it is untrained in the things of God; it still dwells on the old way of life, thus coming into conflict with the new nature. Here, in the mind, the Holy Spirit is actively at work through our newly sensitized conscience, drawing us into the life that God created us for.

Bearing in mind what has just been said, now take your Bible and read Romans 7:13-25. The process of sanctification is achieved through the renewing of the mind. When we renew our minds, and grasp the concept that the Holy Spirit and Christ is literally within us.

Christ in you gives you the character or ability to instinctively do what is right. Whereas once you were controlled by the innate sin within you; you now have innate goodness within you. You are in a totally new dimension of living. You have the Holy Spirit and Christ in you. You have the as yet un-manifested character traits of Christ.

A believer’s spirit is one with Christ, but the mind is still under the lifelong influences of this worldly life nesting in the un-renewed mind.

Christ within you is expressed through your mind. By surrendering your mind/soul to Christ in you, He is able to express Himself through you, as you. This does NOT mean that you are Christ. It means that He within you can use your mind to think thoughts of a heavenly nature as opposed to a worldly nature.

Ephesians 4:17-24 gives good teaching or explanation of this, but let us pluck out one verse: (verse 23) “…and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.”

You have to unlearn the world, as you know it, and now learn Christ. Now let us read the entire passage:

“This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:17-24).
Notice what verse 20 says: “you have not so learned Christ.” This is not bad grammar; Paul is not saying that you should learn ABOUT Christ but that you should learn of the Christ WITHIN you, thus he says, “you have not so learned Christ.”

We already know much about Christ historically. But this historical knowledge is only superficial knowledge; we need to know Him intimately and personally. And we can do this because we are in Christ. Closer than this is impossible. God has made it so that we can learn “Christ” and express Him as our life, because He is within every believer. Christ within you makes you a “Christian.”

One cannot learn to swim by reading a textbook on swimming. You can learn all “about” swimming by reading a book on the subject, but you will not be able to swim until you actually get into the water and swim.

To learn “Christ” is to acknowledge that He lives within you literally, and not to simply give mental assent to that fact. The soul (which is an integral part of the mind) needs to change its way of thinking about our relationship to Christ. It is here in the mind the Holy Spirit guides us and teaches us Christ.

Romans12:2 says, “…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Let us look at this verse a little more closely.

Conformed: The Greek word suschematizo “conformed” means “to assume an outward expression that is patterned after something else, which outward expression does not come from within and is not representative of one’s inner nature but which is assumed from without.” Paul is saying that the believer should not assume an outward expression of the world. Much of the church today thinks and acts like the world; they have conformed to worldly ideas and methods that are simply not Christ-like.

How often do Christians put on a cloak of worldliness to hide the Christ within in order to be more acceptable to the world? This is being “conformed.” Another place where “conformed” is used is in Romans 8:29:

“For whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son…”

The Greek word summorphos here translated as “conformed” means, “to bring to the same outward expression as something else, that outward expression proceeding from and being truly representative of one’s true inner nature.”

Paul is saying that the saints are predestinated to be brought to the same outward expression of Jesus that now indwells them; and the believer will have an outward expression of the Christ within, who is truly representative of their divine nature.

Transformed: The word “transformed” from the above text is the Greek word metamorphoomai, and is the same word translated as “transfigured” in Matthew 17: 2 and Mark 9: 2. The exhortation of Paul here is for the believers “to change from the outward expression which they had before salvation; that expression proceeded from and was truly representative of their Adamic nature, to an outward expression which proceeds from and is truly representative of their divine nature.”

2 Corinthians 10 5: “…casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”

Every thought? How?

Philippians 4: 8 has one answer: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things.”

If we put the above verse into practice until it becomes part of our thinking process, we will go a long way to renew our minds.

Another verse worth mentioning here is…

Romans 8:5-7 “ …those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.”

The rebirth of the believer has replaced his old nature with a new nature and he has the power to serve God freely, not only from his spirit, but also from his mind.

Colossians 1:21: “And you, who were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled.”

Colossians 3: 2- 3 supports this statement by adding, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. You died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”

The renewing of the mind is so important because the only mind that Christ within you has to express Himself is your mind. Christ in you has a body, yours; He is joined to a spirit, yours; and the only mind He can use in your body is yours. Think of the mind as a drinking vessel; it is this vessel that the Christ within must use. If it is filthy and is filled with polluted matter, how can Christ use it effectively?

“We have this treasure in earthen vessels” (2 Corinthians 4: 7).
The Christ within is filtered through your mind; the Holy Spirit is the one who cleans the filter. We have an enemy who tries to keep the filter clogged up and dirty from the outside, but the bigger problem is the un-renewed mind that clogs the filter from the inside.

Another picture illustration would be a water pipe. Imagine that the pipe had to be dug up out of the earth in order to make repairs. When the water flow is turned back on, the water is dirty, and will continue to be undrinkable until all the silt and debris has been flushed out.
We will spend the rest of our lives allowing the flow of the Holy Spirit to wash out our minds, yet we can still exercise our free will to re-pollute that which was cleaned up if we want to. If Christ is to use your mind, He can only use it to the extent that you have surrendered to the tugging of the Holy Spirit, who encourages, and draws us into a holy life. This life encompasses the entire man, body, soul, and spirit.

In Ephesians 3:17 Paul prays that Christ may dwell in the hearts of the believer. The word “dwell” is from a Greek word, which is made up of two other Greek words, one meaning “to house permanently,” and the other “to reside.” To reside is to be at home; it is one thing to be in someone’s house, another thing to be completely at home there.
Paul knew that Jesus is already in our hearts, he was not speaking to unsaved people; Paul is conveying the idea that although Christ is in your heart, is He at home there? Is He allowed free access to all parts of the house? Is He an integral part of all decisions made concerning the household? Is He offered the most comfortable chair in the lounge, and does He handle the remote control of the TV set?

It cannot be emphasized enough how important the renewing of your mind is. Any spiritual growth will depend on the way you think.
While we are on this subject remember that…

SPIRITUAL GROWTH TAKES PLACE IN THE SOUL (MIND), AND NOT IN THE SPIRIT.

You cannot get more spiritual than what you already are in your spirit. Jesus is one with your spirit and it is in the spirit where you cannot sin. To God your spirit is part of Him and is therefore perfect. You cannot improve on what God did for you at salvation, by putting His own Son into you, in order to be as close to you as possible in this dimension.

Any growth therefore takes place in the mind, which needs to be in subjection to the things of God. “Spiritual growth” does not take place in the spirit. It is therefore a misnomer, because “spiritual growth” is soulish.

SPIRITUAL GROWTH = Gaining understanding in the knowledge of God.
(Talking the talk.)

SPIRITUAL MATURITY = Expressing that understanding in our life.
(Walking the talk.)

We need to grow into Christ through the process of sanctification.
Galatians 3:19 says, “My little children, for whom I labour in birth again until Christ is formed in you.”

The Greek word morphoo translated as “formed” here is not speaking of a physical shape or moulding of a physical substance – it refers to “the action of an individual giving expression to his true inward nature.”

Every believer’s life must be so yielded to the Christ within that Christ may be able to give outward expression of Himself in the thoughts words and deeds of the saint in whose heart He lives.

We all have a self-image of who we are, and what kind of person we are. We identify ourselves with all the things that have happened to us throughout our life, which has in no small way, shaped our thinking of who and what we are.

Now the Bible comes along and tells you that you are not what you were anymore; you are this new person, the old person is gone, - dead in Christ. A great difficulty in the Christian life is to believe what God says about you, and to stop identifying yourself with the old person. You have a new identity in Christ, and the renewing of your mind brings you to this great truth.

You really need to know who you are in Christ!

Without this knowledge, you will continue to “be” who you were before salvation. “Being” that old person means that you will constantly have to correct that person, and reform him or her to fit in with the Christian life. This is RELIGION. Believing who you are in Christ is the first step in the reforming of your old mind.

Coming to the fuller understanding of this fact is a lifelong process. Why not start trusting the Word from now on, and believe what He says about you. Whether you believe it or not, nothing will change the fact of who you are in Christ. It is only by the grace and mercy of God that anyone comes to an understanding of the Christ-Life, but in order for it to work and be manifest in our daily walk; we need a mind, the mind of Christ.

Philippians 2:5: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…”

1 Corinthians 2:16: “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

Having the mind of Christ, can be called “True Consciousness,” because your thinking is a reflection of Christ in you.

Romans 7:25: “So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.”

In this chapter Paul is speaking of the dilemma of the divine nature warring against the un-renewed mind.

“So then with the mind…”

The mind that serves the law of God is not the natural mind; it is the renewed mind; the mind of Christ. The natural mind cannot serve God even if it wanted to. Only the mind of Christ is capable of serving the law of God. We have this mind (the mind of Christ) within us.
We received the mind of Christ the moment we were saved, but if we did not know or understand what had happened to us, we continued as we always did. Before you were saved, your mind was so trained in the way of the world that you automatically assumed that this is the way it is supposed to be. Your thinking process and problem solving mechanism is still operating from the old way of doing things.

ONCE YOU GOT SAVED, YOU BEGAN WORKING FOR WHAT YOU ALREADY HAD.
(This is called religion.)

A mind that is still fettered by the old nature is “locked-on” to the things of this world. The shackles of the old man are broken in the believer and he is free to express the new divine nature, he has the mind of Christ. With many Christians who have come out of the world, this seems like a fairy tale, too good to be true, they see the fulfilment of this as being only in the future. It was faith that brought you into salvation, now is not the time to stop believing, trust the Word of God and believe. Within you is the mind of Christ, accept this as fact and begin to express it.

Romans 12:2 says, “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Again in 1 Peter 1:13 we read, “…gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

How can one take control of a mind that has for so long been dragged through a sewer? Simple, you cannot. Someone else has already done it; what you have to do is reckon that to be so.

“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled.” (Colossians 1:21)

Strongholds

Strongholds are those areas of our thinking that are dominated by demonic forces through the medium of deception. Strongholds take shape in many forms; we can even have “religious” strongholds. Strongholds are basically lies that we believe as true. A lie that is believed becomes “truth” to the one that believes it. This is a stronghold.

2 Corinthians 10:4-6: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”

Do you have any strongholds that refuse to see past that which you dogmatically assert as truth? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth by the submission of your will to His will?

Mental Floss

At the risk of over-repetition may we suggest that if you can, memorize this one verse.

Philippians 4:8 can be used as filter for every thought that comes into your mind. Let us look at this verse a little more closely by delving into the original Greek meaning of the words.

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are…
true, (= as not concealing anything, true, truth, truly. )

whatever things are…
noble, ( = venerable and honourable.)

whatever things are…
just, (= equitable in character or act. By implication, innocent, or holy – absolutely or relatively. )

whatever things are…
pure, (= morally clean, innocent, modest, chaste.)

whatever things are…
lovely, (= an acceptable friendliness towards…)

whatever things are…
of good report, ( = well spoken of, of good reputation or of good report.)

if there is any…
virtue ( = valour, that is, excellence, either intrinsic or attributed.)
and if there is anything praiseworthy ( = laudation, or a commendable thing.)

meditate on these things.” ( = think on and weigh. Take in to careful account – fix your mind on them.)

Colossians 3:2: “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”

In short…COMMIT YOUR MIND TO THE CHRIST WITHIN YOU.

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