Inspire, Fall 1999

A News Publication for Cedarville College Alumni FALL 1999 The Renewing Of The Mind by Stanley Ballard,Ph.D. Professor ofPsychology and Chair ofthe Department ofPsychology G enesis 2:7 tells us that"the LORD God formed the man from the dust ofthe ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being." In reading about this living being in the entire spectrum of biblical revelation, it becomes clear that the three predominant modes of human existence are thinking,feeling, and behaving. Thinking pertains to the mind's internal activity of reasoning with respect to God,others, self, and the external world.The importance of the believer's pattern of thinking is emphasized in this article. The Bible speaks of the believer's thinking in such a way as to underscore its cruciality in living a life which is pleasing to God (Proverbs 23:7; I Corinthians 14:20; Galatians 6:3). A passage that is especially relevant to the thinking of the individual Christian is Romans 12:2,"Do not conform any longer to the pattern ofthis world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—His good,pleasing, and perfect will." For our purpose, the most important concept in this verse is spiritual transformation that is brought about by "the renewing of your mind." In chapters 1-8 of the book of Romans,Paul explains the doctrines ofcondemnation,justification, sanctification, and glorification. In view of the exalted spiritual position which every Christian obtains because of these doctrines,Paul now turns in chapter 12 to exhortation. The exhortation is to live a holy life, and some resources of God's grace to obey the exhortation are given. After initial salvation, it is God's purpose that believers should be conformed to Christ's image(Romans 8:29). God's work of effecting Christlikeness in saints is gradual and progressive rather than instantaneous(II Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 4:13; Galatians 4:19). This purpose of God for spiritual growth is hindered by the sinful nature that still resides in the believer(Romans 7:18,20). What, then, are the resources of God's grace that enable the Christian to obey the exhortation to holy living? The text of Romans 12:1-2 indicates three things that the Christian can do. We can: 1. present our bodies as living sacrifices to God. 2. resist conformity to the world's norms and standards. 3. experience transformation by the renewing of the mind. We single out the third. To escape conformity to the world and its evil lifestyle, we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.The mind renewal spoken of is instrumental to being conformed to the image of Christ. In order to put aside and be rescued from the present evil age(Galatians 1:4), a total change from inside out must come about(II Corinthians 3:18). The means of this transformation is by the renewal of the mind.The word "renewal" indicates renovation and a complete change for the better. The believer's mental processes, mind,or thinking is key to the whole process of spiritual transformation. (continued on page 1) e itkift ft , . . I ), lettkis fitin- , ,1:*1 134, e/kristiespis , re tratt-sferpte .1 oftievi r fr,1,11-47, et ilc-t4r0114("' ;-t- tivings(11444