The following is a lightly edited transcript.
Here’s the reason the Christian life is freedom. The transformation is a transformation from bondage into freedom. Here’s the reason: Freedom is doing what you love to do, if what you love to do is what you ought to do, and transformation is the change of our hearts, so that what we love to do is what we ought to do. The freest of all people in the universe are the people who do exactly what they like to do and not suffer for it in hell, but rise with Jesus to ever-increasing joy. That happens through a transformation so that what we love to do is what we ought to do, and we fall out of love with the sinful things that we ought not to do but very much love to do when we’re not yet transformed
“Freedom is doing what you love to do, if what you love to do is what you ought to do.”
The Christian life is one long process of crucifying those old desires and experiencing, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the awakening of new passions and new desires, so that I can stand at the front of this church and say, “There is no place on planet earth I would rather be than standing here, loving this people, welcoming, and preaching,” which would not have been the case when I was fifteen. God changes and God transforms.
So, here we are at the phrase, “The renewal of your mind.” That is what he says is the key to the transformation. You’re sitting there, I hope, by the Holy Spirit at work, saying, “I don’t feel very far along in that process of loving and delighting in what I ought to, and hating and finding unpleasing what I ought not to do, you better say something practically helpful here because I need to know how to get changed.” That is what this verse says we should do: Be transformed — and then, it says something very weighty, worthy of a whole sermon — by the renewing of your mind.
“The renewal of the mind is the key to transformation.”
So what is that and how do you get it? Oh how crucial this is. If you long to break loose from conformity to the world. If you long to be transformed from the inside out. If you long to be free from duty-driven Christianity and do what you love to do because it’s what you ought to do, or do what you ought to do because you love to do it. If you long to offer up your body as a living sacrifice, so that your whole life becomes worship and displays the glory of Jesus, rather than just displaying selfishness, living for me, which you know in your deep, dark moments is a lousy way to live and will set you up for a great fall, when you stand before the judge of the universe.
If you want that kind of freedom, then pursue with all your might the renewal of your mind, because Paul says that’s where the transformation comes from. Be transformed in or by the renewal of your mind.
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