If we are not to be conformed to this world, but be renewed into something else, what is the something else? Let me share what I think the writer was getting at.1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
Note also the following from
Philippians 2:5. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.
And this I think puts it all together;
Romans 8:29 ¶ For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
So according to the aforementioned scriptures, it is clear I am sure to everyone that what God is desiring to accomplish in each of us is nothing short of a miracle. Rather than us being conformed to this world, despite the huge influences and temptations that assail us daily, God would have us be conformed to the image of His Son. And because the Son is the express image of the Father, then God desires you and me to be conformed by the renewing of our minds, into a human expression of Himself!!! Therefore He wants to take us back to Eden, where we were first created in the image of God. This image is in character. It was sin that marred that image, therefore in order to express God’s character, we need to overcome sin. This is the heart and soul of the gospel.
An understanding therefore of the nature and character of God would greatly help us to understand and appreciate the manner of man or woman we ought to be.
Throughout the history of mankind, names have been given as a representation of the nature and character of the one named. In the Bible this is especially so, even in relation to God Himself.
Ex 34:5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.
6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
Being a reflection of God’s character is not just a NT concept. Micah had this recommendation for Israel…
Mic 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
God’s grace, mercy, and justice, His longsuffering goodness and truth, are all active expressions of the core natural quality that underpins everything that God does, summed up in the one word, love. ! John 4:8 tells us that God doesn’t just love, but He is love.
And throughout the scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, we are consistently reminded that it is love that most expresses God’s character, and it is through love that we are to minister to the world and one another, therefore expressing God’s nature to all.
Deut 6:4 ¶ Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
Le 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.
Elsewhere in the OT, the word ‘stranger’ is used instead of ‘neighbour’. The stranger was not to be vexed or oppressed, and when sojourning in the land of Israel was to be treated and accepted and loved as a son of Israel. (Except in relation to the ministry of holy things) And most interestingly, Jesus used the word stranger in Matthew 25, telling us precisely how we are to treat him, and that our salvation depended upon it.
To feed the hungry, clothe the naked, welcome the homeless, and visit the imprisoned; all strangers, and to do such for them was the same as if we were doing to Him. And the only way this can be done is through a heart filled with the love of God, a heart renewed by the Spirit of God, a heart and mind expressing the nature and character of a gracious, merciful and longsuffering God to a world reeling under the pressures of sin, a world confused by the consistent lies of Satan thus misapprehending the true nature and motives of a loving God, a world beginning to fall apart under the weight of it’s collective guilt and unbelief.
The world does not need our condemnation. We, as followers of Jesus, are come not to condemn the world, nor to judge the world, but to introduce the world to Jesus. We are His hands to reach out and lift up the downtrodden and oppressed. We are His mouth to minister to the depressed and fearful. We are His heart and mind to minister to the lonely and the unloved. And we are His feet that delivers the gospel of peace to all nations, kindreds, tongues and people.
If love cannot be found as our motivating force behind all that we do, we are doing it wrong. Are we loving our wives selflessly, as Jesus loved the church and gave Himself for it? Are we loving our neighbours as ourselves? Are we blessing them that curse us? Are we doing good to them that hate us? Are we praying for them that despitefully use us and persecute us? Are we loving our enemies?
And finally, are we proving our love for Jesus by keeping all His commandments? (John 14:15) Particularly the eleventh?
Joh 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Anything less than this my friends, and the world will not recognize us. Without love, we are nothing but noise and show. We may speak any number of languages, see the future, understand all prophecy, expound on all the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation, have faith to move the Himalayas into the Indian Ocean, but if we do not have love, all else is vanity.
(1 Cor 13:1-3)
Earlier, I mentioned that the only way to reflect God’s character is by overcoming sin. How are we mere mortals to accomplish this seemingly impossible feat? Again, through love.
Ro 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
1Jo 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.