Be Not Conformed To This World 

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“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2). This instruction given to the saints at Rome is sorely needed by Christians today. We live in a world which subjects us to various pressures, calling upon us to “conform.” Just because “everyone else” dresses immodestly, uses vulgar language, is involved in the mad pursuit of material things, is intent on the things of this life that are pleasurable, etc. etc., Christians are under heavy temptation to do likewise. The word “transformed” is the Greek word “metamorphose” which means “to change into another form, transfigure, transform.”

 

The metamorphoses is often illustrated in high school biology by the changing of a green worm into a butterfly. As Christ was transformed into a divine radiance, Christians are to be transformed into the image of Him who created him. “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:8-11). It is a transformation from within, which exemplifies itself from without.

 

No matter how popular and widespread sin and ungodliness may be, it doesn’t excuse it or make it more acceptable (Exodus 23:2). “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13). Thus, Christians are called upon to deny ungodliness and worldly lust and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. This we must do, regardless of what those about us do. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16).

 

The life of the Christian is to be different – a pure, clean, wholesome kind of difference that others may see. It’s sad, indeed, when our conduct can’t be distinguished from that of the worldly people around us. Are we careful to conduct ourselves correctly in all of our relationships in this life? Do we strive to keep our lives clean and pure? Let us not be conformed to this world, but be transformed into the very image of almighty God (2 Corinthians 3:18).

 

Richard Thetford 

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