Transformed Lives Transform Culture
Ramon Arias | April 18, 2016
There is a level of frustration, nationally and internationally, that is dangerously increasing with no sign of resolving the cause(s) of the many problems facing this nation and the world. To make things even worse, so-called solutions are being implemented that have proven in the past to be fatal.
People demand the desired changes in culture overlooking the fact that those social conditions are the outcome of ideas that were put into action. People and societies are in constant transformation, and the culture receives the impact of what people think and the decisions they make and carry out.
Those whose minds have been indoctrinated to believe that humanistic social engineering will bring about the much-desired utopia, live in denial of the true reasons America is in decline. America’s demise is a result of her corrupted spiritual, ethics and values. When people do away with the biblical moral values, the change they bring to a culture is never positive; it never has and never will be!
Throughout history, it is clear that people’s transformation is an inescapable reality. The principles upon which this transformation takes place remains the centrality of all cultural change. Two thousand years ago, the Apostle Paul in writing to the Christians at Rome instructed them of the importance of their transformation and the means to accomplish it:Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36)
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)
Paul was conveying that the true source of wisdom and knowledge is from God Almighty, who is the central starting point for everything that we must be and that we must do. He also makes an appeal to the Christians, using an example they could understand, in our times this has the same demand of our commitment: “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (v.1). The goal is to die to the old way of life as the new one grows into the fullness of Jesus Christ.
The Christians understood the meaning of what a sacrifice was in the Roman and other cultures. Paul, by appealing to them to offer their lives as a living sacrifice, knew it had to be done under God’s terms for acceptance; there are no exceptions. Further, in his letter he gives the explanation:
Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness…. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification. (Romans 6:13, 19)
There must be a significant transformation if the believer is genuinely in Christ. God is not impressed with lip service. If we simply declare we are Christ’s but lack a life totally committed to his service it is impossible to bear abundant fruit, for apart from Christ we can do nothing. (John 15:5) The price for redemption was very high, “for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20). Jesus gave His all and God expects us to follow in His footsteps by giving our all.
Paul explains what should follow our total commitment, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
There is only one agenda that will succeed in time and history; it is God’s agenda; His will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). Let us briefly analyze what Paul meant when he told the Roman Christians in v.2:
“Do not be conformed to this world” the Greek word used in this passage for world is age. Strong’s Concordance definition for age is, a cycle of time. Each generation lives in a cultural cycle; Christians are not to imitate or compromise with the godless customs of their time. The apostle Peter had this to say: “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance.” (1 Peter 1:14)
The next step in Paul’s instructions was, “but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,” neither God the Father, Jesus Christ nor the Holy Spirit will renew our mind for us; it is the personal responsibility of each believer. We received the new birth in Christ Jesus, but our maturity in the fullness of God is subject to how we develop the mind of Christ in us to arrive at the desired transformation. These passages shed light on this, “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16), “and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds” (Ephesians 4:23), “and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (Colossians 3:10)
As we develop day by day, the renewal of our mind in Christ, it becomes easier to fulfill the next step: “that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (v. 2) Of all the worldviews that influence humanity, only the biblical worldview is the correct one that will prove itself by the fruit it renders. As we daily and diligently study God's Word, the Holy Spirit can and will guide us into all the truth and we will be able to test and discern all falsehood as it manifests in all areas of life. We will then be better prepared to know what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Before Christ saved us, our lives were geared to go against God's law and we participated in the transformation of the culture of evil. Now that our lives are being recreated into the fullness of God, our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, we are expected to do our part to transform the present culture. We will be held responsible for our contribution to our generation, both good and evil.
You and I cannot wait for other believers to do what is expected of us individually. We are not called to do everything but only the things that God reveals to us. We must never underestimate the potential given to us by the Godhead.
As more and more of God's children understand their transformed lives, they too will positively impact the culture for God’s glory and leave a worthy example to those who will follow after us.