And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Why, after a believer has received holy spirit created within does he need to renew his mind? Doesn't the mind become new, like the new man?
Although some like to think this to be true and even proclaim it to be true, we should be thankful that it is not. God creates spirit within a believer from head to toe with one exception. That exception is the mind. If God had created holy spirit within a believers mind, then it would be possession and not fellowship out of your freedom of will. We have been asked to place ourselves along side of God, if holy spirit was in your mind this request would be completely unnecessary.
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
The words "yield ye" and "yield" are the same Greek words. Both times the word paristemi is used. You will remember this word from the last teaching where paristemi is used in Romans 12:1 asking you to "present" yourself to God. These verses are telling you not to stand along side of unrighteousness but rather to stand along side of God. Again, it is your choice. Personally, I like the idea of choice.
Israel was given the choice when they received the Law from Moses. After laying out the benefit of the law verses what the world offered, God told Israel, I have set before you life and death, therefore choose life. It's amazing that given a choice between life and death, mankind needs help when it comes to making that choice! But in mankind's defense, we generally can't see pass the immediate to understand the long term results of our decisions.
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield [paristemi] yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
Where you stand determines who you have decided to obey. If you stand along side of God you have chosen to obey him. If you stand along side of unrighteousness then you have decided to obey the world, and indirectly, God's adversary.
God will not force you to stand with Him, He will only show you the benefits and blessings and ask you to fellowship with Him. Don't you desire the people you are with to desire to be with you? The adversary will simply lie to you about the greatness of his benefits and then do his best to trick you and deceive you into following him. The entire time the adversary whispers sweet nothings in your ear he will only be trying to manipulate the situation so he can get what he wants.
2 Corinthians 11:3
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
The adversary isn't up front with his plans and desires. He's aggressive but he didn't rape Eve's mind, he seduced her. He whispered sweet nothings in her ear and when it was all said and done, that is exactly what he had given to Adam and Eve, nothing! Rather he took everything they had be given. The adversary is a liar and we need to be sharp mentally in order to see his lies. We'll look more closely at how he operates and the system he has set up in another teaching.
Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
This was Jesus speaking to the religious leaders of his day and time. God's adversary is also known as the god of this world. It is he who has set up and runs the system of the world. Without the word of God in our minds, he will be able to deceive us as he deceived Eve.
But God, who is Love, desired us to make a freewill decision to stand with Him. To give us this freedom of will, He did not create spirit within our minds. But He does teach us, in His Word, how we can renew our minds so that we can walk forth day after day with the mind of Christ.
The renewed mind begins with the word "mind" which in the Greek is the word nous. The nous is our organ of mental perception. The mind [nous] receives and processes all sensory information received by way of the five senses and is responsible for making all decisions.
From the moment you draw your first breath your mind is receiving information. Generally speaking, by the time a person becomes a believer, or a believer puts forth the effort to renew his mind, the adversary, through a number of avenues, has filled the mind [nous] with doubt, worry, and fear directed toward God and His Word. This makes the renewed mind a struggle and why it takes determination and commitment. God made salvation easy for the individual when He made salvation by grace. But renewed mind is through work and depending on the specific area, hard work.
The first step in the renewed mind is what we are feeding our mind. We can't turn off the world and its input. More than a few have tried and it simply doesn't work. Even if you decided to become a hermit and remove yourself from all worldly influence, something I once considered when living in Alaska, you still are taking your un-renewed mind with you. Travel to another planet and the ethic the world has taught you goes with you. We can't eliminate the world, we are in it and we are a part of it. But we can change the majority of what we feed our mind. Our mental diet is of our own choosing.
As I stated in the previous teaching, we have time for the internet, facebook, television, newspapers, professional and college sports, novels, hobbies, politics and the list goes on and on. We need to make time to put God's Word in our minds. The world is willing, and able, to feed our minds twenty-four hours a day. But when was the last time you opened a newspaper and read how righteous God has made you? Or turned on your television and heard someone teach you about your justification? Ever heard the world declare that you are God's masterpiece?
If allowed to, the world will leave no time for you to receive the words of God. God's words are the last thing the adversary wants you to hear because believing comes by hearing. If God's adversary can get you to only hear the thoughts he has introduced into the world, then he is the one who is directing your believing.
If you live in the United States then you are from a racist country, that loves to torture people from other countries, and completely pollute the air and destroy the world's ice caps. Furthermore, you are from a fat and lazy culture that is eating up more of the world's resources than you deserve. And if you can't handle these truths then come join a role playing game like Dungeons and Dragons, or use any of a variety of drugs to escape this reality. You could even become an anarchist to overthrow such a decadent society because even lawlessness is better than our current situation.
If we do not exercise control over our mental diet then the world will very willing fill all of our time with its mental diet. And the world's diet will be neither positive or godly. We need to exercise more control over our mental diet if we are going to have a renewed mind.
1 Timothy 2:4
Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
It is God's Will that we are not simply saved but that we also come unto a knowledge of the truth. The word "unto" is eis in the Greek. Remember I told you earlier that eis is the goal, the destination. This is where God wants us to go. He wants us smart, not ignorant or uninformed.
Yet once the Word is in our nous, what happens next?
Many people have memorized massive amounts of the Bible and it has produced no profit or blessing for themselves or the people who are around them. Former leader of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, is said to have memorized the entire New Testament. An achievement I can't claim. But as a communist leader he suppressed the Word of God in every country Russia dominated and controlled. Another great Bible thumper was a guy named Adolf Hitler. Holding the words of God in your mind is pointless unless you believe it. And you are not going to believe it unless it is your standard and method of reasoning (more on these later).
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Believing comes from the heart. Heart is the Greek word kardia. The kardia is the innermost part of the nous where a person holds all that he believes to be true, accurate, and trustworthy. You have many thoughts in your nous, you do not hold all of them to be true. You only store those thoughts and feelings in your kardia that you hold to be right. All believing issues from the kardia.
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
"Be all that you can be." We have all heard this slogan. Yet all of us who have heard this are not in the Army. Do you believe that the U.S. Army is going to make you all that you can be? If you believed this, you would be in the Army right now! We act on the things we believe.
The problem with believing is that we don't always believe things that are true. Some that have believed this slogan have become very dead. It was not all that they could be! Understand, I am not against men and women entering the military, I am a veteran. Nor do I want to diminish the ultimate sacrifice of laying down your life, as many have done as a member of the military.
My point is twofold. First, not all words in our nous are placed in the kardia and if they are not in the kardia we do not believe them and thus we do not act on them . Secondly, not all thoughts put into the kardia and believed are true. Many of the things we have put in our kardia, things we trust, things that we KNOW are true and accurate, are really a lie.
Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
Nothing is wrong with washing your hands before you eat. As a matter of fact, it is something every child has heard from every mother, especially young sons that have never had much of an issue with dirty hands. And little girls have always been big on getting little boys to eat the mud pies they have "baked".
He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
Rituals and ceremonies have their place and can be beneficial. But are they more important than what God has said? These Pharisees, men who supposedly represented God, honored God in the things that they said. But the things God had declared to be important were not as important to the Pharisees as their own traditions.
Jesus told them, they talked about the words of God but what they held in their hearts were the words of men. Was God against washing hands, and pots, and pans? No. But God had more care for the person than He had for how much dirt was on the hands. While the Pharisees had more care that their rules, concerning washing, be obeyed.
For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:
In the Mosaic Law the children are told to care for the parents if something happens and the parents have need. If the children refused to help the parents they were to "die the death". No children should panic here, remember we are not under the law.
But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.
The Pharisees had made a rule that the children could declare "Corban, that is to say, a gift..." meaning the children could turn to a parent who has asked for help and say, all that we have has been dedicated to God, a gift to the Temple and therefore we can't help you.
The sacred treasury of the Temple was called the "corbanas". In Hebrew the word corban means that which is brought near as a gift or offering to God. So the Pharisees taught children that when the parents turn and say they have need, the child should say, we have dedicated all to the Temple, a gift to God and to help you would be to rob God. Therefore, the parents were to be abandoned and left with their need, making the child free from any obligation. The Pharisees also taught that you could dedicate a thing or finances now, corban, but not deliver it until the end of your life. Thus the child keeps his wealth, is free of the obligation, and the Pharisees receive the wealth when the person died.
And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
Their tradition was more important to them than the Word of God and by their tradition they negate the words of God.
And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?
Jesus was teaching them that it isn't what we eat or how we eat it that defiles a person. None of what we eat enters the heart, the kardia. The food you eat and how you eat it has importance to your physical health and wellbeing but the things you place in your heart determine the real you.
And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
As Proverbs declared, out of the heart come the issues of life. We are what we have placed in our hearts. What the Pharisees had placed in their hearts was against the words of God. Their hearts were so far removed from the Word of God, they failed to recognize their own Messiah.
Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
The Pharisees searched the scriptures, they held the words of God in their minds [nous]. But they couldn't recognize Jesus as The Christ when he was standing right in front of them and doing the things the Old Testament declared he would do . They couldn't recognize him because the words of God were not what they held in their hearts [kardia].
Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?
The Pharisees could quote the words of the Old Testament. They had filled their nous with the words of God but they had never moved those words into their kardia. They also filled their nous with the words of previous elders, holding and carrying the traditions that different men from the past had taught and handed down generation to generation. These are the words they moved into their hearts, their kardia. It is what came out of their kardia that defiled them because they were the words, the thoughts, the schemes that the world had taught.
Feeding your mind the words of God is only the first step in renewed mind. It is not enough to simply memorize God's Word. To renew our minds we have to move those words of God into our hearts. Now the question becomes, how do we move the things in our nous into the kardia?