Sunday, September 13, 2015

flawless...transformed by the Spirit

artwork by Kimberly Simmons

I pondered this beautiful, bold work of art by Kimberly Simmons while listening to the anointed new hymn, Flawless, by MercyMe, …this led my heart to a word study of the word, “transformed,” from Romans 12:1-2:

NASB: Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Amplified: Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies [dedicating all of yourselves, set apart] as a living sacrifice, holy and well-pleasing to God, which is your rational (logical, intelligent) act of worship. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].

Living Bible: And so, dear brothers, I plead with you to give your bodies to God. Let them be a living sacrifice, holy—the kind he can accept. When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but be a new and different person with a fresh newness in all you do and think. Then you will learn from your own experience how his ways will really satisfy you.


Phillips: With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.

Wuest:  I therefore beg of you, please, brethren, through the instrumentality of the aforementioned mercies of God, by a once-for-all presentation to place your bodies at the disposal of God, a sacrifice, a living one, a holy one, well-pleasing, your rational, sacred service, [rational, in that this service is performed by the exercise of the mind]. And stop assuming an outward expression that does not come from within you and is not representative of what you are in your inner being but is patterned after this age; but change your outward expression to one that comes from within and is representative of your inner being, by the renewing of your mind, resulting in your putting to the test what is the will of God, the good and well-pleasing and complete will, and having found that it meets specifications, place your approval upon it. 

Young’s Literal: I call upon you, therefore, brethren, through the compassions of God, to present your bodies a sacrifice -- living, sanctified, acceptable to God -- your intelligent service; and be not conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, for your proving what [is] the will of God -- the good, and acceptable, and perfect.

Transformed is from the Greek word, metámorphoo from metá, which denotes change of place or condition and morphoo which means to form, from morphe which means form, shape referring to the essential form of a thing. It has the basic meaning of changing into another form and is the term from which we get metamorphosis, which in biology denotes the amazing change of a lowly worm into a beautiful butterfly.

Metámorphoo describes the process by which that on the inside shows forth to the outside such that that everyone can see. It describes an inward renewal of our mind through which our inner spirit is changed into the likeness of Christ.

The verb morphoo does not refer to what is outward and transient, but to what is inward and real and thus that which produces an outward expression which proceeds from and is truly representative of one’s inward character and nature.To be transformed describes a change on the outside that comes from the inside.

Pastor John Stott explains how metámorphoo takes place, noting that, "Although Paul does not here tell us how our mind becomes renewed, we know from his other writings that it is by a combination of the Spirit and the Word of God. Certainly regeneration by the Holy Spirit involves the renewal of every part of our humanness, which has been tainted and twisted by the fall, and this includes our mind. But in addition, we need the Word of God, which is the Spirit’s sword, and which acts as an objective revelation of God’s will. Here then are the stages of Christian moral transformation: first our mind is renewed by the Word and Spirit of God; then we are able to discern and desire the will of God; and then we are increasingly transformed by it."

Pastor Stott continues, "A transformed mind produces a transformed will, by which we become "innervated" and "energized" (enabled), with the Spirit’s help, to lay aside our own plans and to trust and accept God’s will, no matter what transpires. This is not easy nor is it the natural response which means it has to be a supernatural, God-driven response, and yet we are not puppets and thus must make the choices for or against the will of God. There is really no middle ground. The eyes of the Lord are searching to and fro throughout the earth for men and women who will not be conformed, but rather transformed by the Holy Spirit into the image of Jesus Christ. Beloved, there is no "middle ground", no neutral territory—if you are a follower of Christ, you are either a conformer or a transformer. Your life is being changed either by pressure from without (conformation) or by power from within (transformation). As we yield in Romans 12:1 and meditate on His Word, God's Spirit transforms us into living sacrifices with renewed minds, God-saturated people who radiate His glory. May God be pleased to raise up a generation of transformers, not conformers, men and women whose lives are controlled by a Divine Power from within, not worldly pressure from without. Beware of the subtle trap of seeking to avoid all manner of worldly behaviors and influences and yet failing to be transformed by the Spirit, for this is simply another form of legalism. To keep out the weeds of the world, seek continually to yield to and walk by the Spirit Who produces the fruit that effectively strangles the weeds."

Pastor John Piper says it this way...“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The focus is not first on getting the outside of the cup cleaned up, but on getting the inside cleaned up. In other words, transformation and non-conformity on the outside must flow from a new mind. Be transformed in the renewing of your mind."

Pastor Harry Ironside said, “In Romans 12:2 we are commanded to be transformed by the renewing of our minds; that is, as the mind is occupied with Christ and the affections set on things above, we become like Him who has won our hearts for Himself. As we walk in loving obedience, we prove the blessedness of the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God."

Pastor Ray Stedman writes, “The only way to not be conformed is to seek Jesus first and as His presence and power become more experientially intimate in your life, the things of this fallen world will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace. The right order is the Spirit of Christ first, then the lusts of the flesh. The opposite of being conformed
to this world is being transformed by the renewing of your mind. The battle ground between an evil conformity and a good transformation is within the mind of the believer. Note that transformed is the passive voice which indicates that this process is being performed by an outside force, the Holy Spirit and God's Word, not a change produced by our self effort. We must be (passive) transformed by God, trusting Him to do in and through us what only His Spirit can accomplish."
Pastor Keith Krell illustrates the passive voice this way: “If I said to you, ‘I’m going to the store’—that’s active. If I said to you, ‘I was taken to the store’—that’s passive, someone else drove me. Paul is saying once we become living sacrifices something beautiful happens—someone else transforms us. The word translated, “transformed,” is a word that has been brought into the English language without translation. It’s the word, “metamorphosis.” When a tadpole is changed into a frog or when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, we speak of it as a metamorphosis. That is what God wants for each of His children—for us to be transformed from the spiritually defeated, dull, and depressing existence so many endure, into the victorious, vital, and enriching experience that is available to the believer in Jesus Christ. Furthermore, transformed is present tense, signifying that this is not a one-time event, not a single crisis experience, but a transformation that is progressively realized, a gradual process. In addition, “be transformed” is in the imperative mood (command), which indicates that believers have some responsibility in this transformation. How so? We are to have tender hearts and obedient, submissive wills so that we might allow the Spirit to do His work within our hearts and lives, and not quench, grieve or resist Him."


Farmers in Zentsuji, Japan, are preparing full-grown watermelons for shipment—only these are no ordinary melons, they're square. They were placed in tempered-glass cubes while they were still growing. Why would anyone want a square watermelon? They're much easier to store in a refrigerator! It's interesting to think of how a naturally round watermelon can become square because of the shape of the container in which it's grown—just like the forces in the world that exert their influence on us and attempt to shape us. That's why in Romans 12:2 we are told not to be "conformed to this world," but to be "transformed by the renewing of our mind." We are to allow the transforming Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit to work within us and produce outward results, instead of permitting external pressures to shape us.

Heavenly Father, may we yield to the power and authority of the Spirit of Christ, Who dwells in the innermost part of us. May we submit and surrender to the river of transforming power from the Holy Spirit flowing through us, washing away our unbelief, pride, idolatry, prayerlessness and legalism, and filling us to the brim with Your presence—believing You, glorifying You, finding our satisfaction in You, experiencing Your Peace, and enjoying Your presence—believing that the Cross has made us flawless. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Previous word studies…

9 word studies from Romans Chapter Eight…

33 comments:

  1. Hello Beth, this verses I have known since being a teenager.
    Interesting illustrations with the watermelon.
    Your Bible studies are enough to make short ebooks for daily devotionals.
    Just my thoughts Beth
    God bless for this dose of encouragement today

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    1. Ifeoma, I memorized those scriptures as a G.A. at age 13...thank you so much for your kind words. I love the idea of making my Bible studies into short ebooks for daily devotionals! Where do I start? I would appreciate any advice you may be willing to share with me...many blessings to you ❤️

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  2. Beth, I love these word studies. Thanks for helping us see what Paul meant by describing the inside to outside change of "metamorphoo."


    your neighbor at Playdates with God

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    1. Constance, thank you so much for stopping by...I appreciate your kind words...it is amazing isn't it? Amazing grace...many blessings to you ❤️

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  3. Beth, I so much appreciate all the work you put into these word study posts!

    I found greater insight into the working of the Holy Spirit within us and what our response should be when I read the amplified version and the Wuest versions that you shared.

    I found the farmer's story of the watermelon a perfect word picture of how outside forces can effect, even what has been set in motion on the inside, if we put ourselves in those situations.

    What an edifying post!

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    1. Karen, your thoughtful words are such a blessing to me! Thank you! It is a joy and a privilege to share with you what our Lord Jesus Christ has used to encourage me. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  4. We are to have tender hearts and obedient, submissive wills so that we might allow the Spirit to do His work within our hearts and lives, and not quench, grieve or resist Him..
    May our spirits be always tender and submissive , yielding to the working of the Holy Spirit.that we may be being renewed daily, eventually becoming like HIM.
    Surely that is our goal. just as this next scripture says ! I quote it often because it so very encouraging !


    The eyes of the Lord are searching to and fro throughout the earth for men and women who will not be conformed, but rather transformed by the Holy Spirit into the image of Jesus Christ.

    Beth...when we meet Him in the air, we shall be like Him.

    Your post is remarkable, as always. Thank you for your great teaching.

    xx

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    1. Mary, you are such a consistent encourager in my life--truly a gift from the Lord! Thank you for taking time to share my posts with others and leaving such affirming comments...I look forward to every one! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  5. What an interesting story of the watermelons - and how we can be so conformed to the world around us. May we not be so confined to a square box, but instead live out the faith we're called to.

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Kathryn...I so agree with you! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  6. I'm happy to be your neighbor today at #RaRaLinkup today, Beth! This verse is one I wish I remembered EVERY DAY. I so want to live for Him, but often find myself living for myself! Interesting to compare the translations. I don't want to be a square watermelon!

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Betsy. I so agree with you! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  7. Perfect words for me to read today. I have been working on getting healthier and the verse you chose speaks to that so well.Presenting my body to God as a sacrifice but also as one in wholeness allows me to be better prepared to do all that He is asking of me. Great post that spoke to me right where I am today. Hope your week is blessed.

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    1. Mary, I so appreciate your kind comments. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  8. Love that song and what a beautiful piece of artwork! This verse is showing up over and over in my time with God lately and I was just studying it a few weeks ago. I love your thorough look at the different translations and commentaries. There is so much to learn here, and I love how the Word of God is always coming alive in new ways. Thank you for sharing and being part of #RaRaLinkup today.

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    1. Abby, I appreciate you stopping by with such encouraging comments! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  9. I had no idea that they made square watermelons! And I love the thought of what we surround ourselves determining what we grow into :).

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    1. I so agree with you! Thanks for stopping by...many blessings to you ❤️

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  10. I love this verse! We just had a message at church at how we should be influencing our culture, and not letting our culture dictate to us who we are! So powerful... to be in the world but not of it, instead of being of the world, but not in it!

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    1. Karrilee, I so agree with you! Thanks for stopping by...many blessings to you ❤️

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  11. I love that song! The video is such a great picture of the power of God's forgiveness. Visiting from #LiveFreeThursday

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    1. I so agree with you, Kelly. Thanks for stopping by...many blessings to you ❤️

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  12. Beth,
    I love your in depth word studies...the two necessities we need to be transformed are 1. The Word 2. The Holy Spirit. Good incentive to keep me in the Word continually! Thanks for a great study again!
    Blessings,
    Bev

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    1. Bev, you are such a sweet encourager! I love your writing, too! Such a blessing to get to know other writers who love Jesus! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  13. Thanks for sharing this Beth, I was particularly blessed by your prayer. With love and blessings of peace to you, Jasmine

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    1. Jasmine, thank you so much! It is a blessing to share with others what the Lord has used to encourage me...many blessings to you ❤️

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  14. What at great word about being changed and transformed, Beth!

    I really like the song you mentioned at the start of the post. Those lines run through my head at times - "There's gotta be more..."

    Thank you for the reminder to allow God to transform us.

    I came over on Blessings Counter, and I'm glad to find your post.

    Hope you have a blessed weekend~
    Melanie

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    1. Melanie, I so appreciate your kind words! I so agree with you about the song...my brother, Eddie, and I listened to it at lunch today and discussed how true those lyrics are. Truly, all is grace, He transforms us from the inside out! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  15. Love this challenge from Scripture!
    I am convicted by the words: "Do not let the world squeeze you into its mold."

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Michelle! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  16. One of my very favorite (and convicting) verses. Thanks for this word study--and the image of a square watermelon. And for linking with Still Saturday. :)

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    1. Sandra, thanks so much for stopping by! I love linking up with Still Saturday, such good writing there! Many blessings to you :)

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  17. Thanks for linking at Mondays @ Soul Survival! Blessings!

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