Vol.X No.IV Pg.3
June 1973

Renewing The Mind

Dan S. Shipley

In NT writings sinners are often referred to as men with reprobate minds (ROM.1:28) corrupt minds (1TI.6:5), defiled minds (TIT.1:15) and as men that "walk in the vanity of their mind" (EPH.4:17). In COL.1:21 Paul reminds some that they were in times past "alienated and enemies in your mind". Such minds reflect wrong attitudes. They show dispositions of hostility and antagonism toward God and the things of God. Making the transition from sinner to saint involves changing such minds and altering such attitudes.

The process by which this radical and essential change is effected is called "renewing" (Gr. anakainosis). ROM.12:2 shows it to be the basis for transforming the life: "And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind….." So then, meaningful change -- change of character, involves more than external reforms and outward acts; it means changing the mind (heart) from whence are the issues of life (PRO.4:23, MAT.15:19,20). It means "the adjustment of the moral and spiritual vision and thinking to the mind of God" (Vine). Essentially, to have this renewed mind is to have the mind of Christ (1CO.2:16; PHI.2:5). It is to have and be influenced by the Divine viewpoint instead of the human viewpoint; by the spiritual instead of the carnal. Nothing is more essential to or characteristic of the "new man" (COL.3:10) and his "newness of life" (ROM.6:4) than this renewed mind. And of no less importance is the means of its renewal. How does God seek to change the minds of sinful men? Contrary to many popular concepts, only the gospel of Christ can change and renew the minds of men as God intended. Nothing but God's truth can make believers out of unbelievers. Belief (a function of the mind) comes from hearing Divine testimony (ROM.10:17). This is according to prophecy concerning the new covenant wherein the Lord says "I will put my laws into their mind and on their heart also will I write them" (HEB.8:10). The faith by which men are motivated to "transformed" living is derived from the word of God (JOH.20:30, 31). It is no coincidence that in every case of conversion recorded in the NT, what was done was based on something that was learned and believed.

For example, the obedience of the Pentecostians was in response to what they had heard (ACT.2:37); their baptism was in consequence of "receiving his word" (v.41) and their subsequent activities were directed by the "apostles' teaching" (v. 42). In receiving the knowledge of the truth (HEB.10:26) these crucifiers of Jesus became informed and enlightened in their understanding; thus, believed and obeyed and received the remission of their sins. This corresponds exactly to the description of the saved as given by Peter in which he refers to them as those who "have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of the Lord..." (2PE.2:20).

Yes, their conversion was an "experience" -- but it was an experience with God's truth. And that's the only kind that can renew the mind -- and the life. All men need such experiences-for eternity's sake.