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The Renewal of Our Minds

HEIDELBERG CATECHISM, LORD’S DAY 32

We have been delivered from our misery by God’s grace alone through Christ and not because we have earned it: why then must we still do good?

To be sure, Christ has redeemed us by his blood. But we do good because Christ by his Spirit is also renewing us to be like himself, so that in all our living we may show that we are thankful to God for all he has done for us, and so that he may be praised through us. And we do good so that we may be assured of our faith by its fruits, and so that by our godly living our neighbors may be won over to Christ.

Can those be saved who do not turn to God from their ungrateful and impenitent ways?

By no means. Scripture tells us that no unchaste person, no idolater, adulterer, thief, no covetous person, no drunkard, slanderer, robber, or the like is going to inherit the kingdom of God.

 

The Renewal of Our Minds

Wednesday, July 12: Romans 12:1-2

The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches that the Spirit of Christ is in the business of renewing our minds. We are to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Because we have been “taught with the truth that is in Jesus,” we are “to be made new in the attitude of our minds” (Ephesians 4:20-22) and to “set” our “minds on things above” (Colossians 3:2) so that we will be clothed in the character of Christ (Colossians 3:5-17). Paul gives this gospel summary: “In view of God’s mercy…do not conform any longer to the pattern of this 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” (Romans 12:1-2). The Bible, the holy gospel, has given us sufficient and clear witness regarding God’s holy will in Jesus Christ. Now we are to think about these things and wisely consider how to put them into practice (Philippians 4:8-9). Consider marriage. The Bible teaches that we are to marry in the Lord. That means the union, fidelity and permanence between husband and wife is to be a reflection of Christ – mutual Christ-like submission, love and service (Ephesians 5:21-33). The decision whom we should marry, however, belongs to each individual person. I must decide to whom I will be united, to whom I will pledge physical, spiritual and moral fidelity, and with whom I will be faithful as long as we both shall live. And I must decide if the wisdom of Christ and His gospel will be the foundation and guide for the way I serve my spouse. There are two extremes that challenge Biblical teaching. The first extreme is our “throw-away” culture. In today’s marriage culture convenience has replaced covenant. It is assumed that if the happy feelings of love evaporate, then perhaps the marriage should, too. The second extreme is our false expectations. In today’s religious culture, we expect too much from God. Increasingly, I hear people suggest that marriage is forbidden unless God “reveals” whom He has chosen to be one’s perfect spouse. Yet, the Bible does not teach that there is only one possible person whom you can marry and that you have no say in the matter. The essential challenge with each extreme is that it drives people into a life of fear. On the one hand, why would anyone get married if commitment is low and permanence is a forgotten ideal? On the other hand, what if I misunderstood God’s revelation and marry the wrong person? The first is an unhealthy fear of life. The second is an unhealthy fear induced by legalism. The gospel of Jesus, however, delivers us from fear (1 John 4:19) and frees us to live with gospel wisdom (Galatians 5:1-26, Ephesians 5:1-2,8-10, 15-17), the kind that allows us by the power of the Spirit and Word to think, chose and apply gospel principles to marriage, finances, career and a host of other life experiences. The mind of Christ does not absolve itself of making responsible decisions. It surrenders itself to the wise discernment of truth (Romans 12:1-2, 2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Pastor Calvin Hoogendoorn