Genesis 17:1-8 (ESV)
When Abram was ninety-nine years old the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.” Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”
God changing Abram’s name to Abraham sets an important precedent. This is a powerful portrait of covenantal rebirth. Incremental change is nice, but radical transformation is God’s signature.
Remember, the purpose of everything is God’s glory. So, what kind of change glorifies Him most?
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 (ESV)
Obviously, proclaiming Christ as Lord produces radical transformation, but is that a one-time event or can there be many such transformations?
Romans 12:2 implies that multiple transformations are not only possible, they’re the norm. But how can we obey its command? The answer is in the context.
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 (ESV)
We are to sacrifice all in the service of Christ. This spiritual worship is not in conformity to this world. Rather, it leads to transformative renewal of our minds, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God.
The ending is confusing at first, but remember that sacrifice is a test. Enduring trials is eye opening and often reveals God’s will.
The great irony here is that sacrificing all for Christ is the normal prescription for incremental change, yet it often produces transformative change. So, “How can we obey Romans 12:2?” By doing the usual Christian things.
Transformative change is the norm.
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