Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Renewal of the whole

According to N.T. Wright’s interpretation of Paul’s epistle to the Romans, “Paul summons to let the mind be renewed, and so to be transformed all through.”  He then quotes that passage in its entirety, only with his own translation from the original Greek text. His translation appears below with some helpful insights of his own following thereafter:
So, my dear family, this is my appeal to you by the mercies of God: offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This is your true and appropriate worship. What’s more, don’t let yourselves be squeezed into the shape dictated by the present age. Instead, be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you can work out and approve what God’s will is, what is good, acceptable, and complete. (12:1-2)
…Paul sees that in Jesus Christ the long-awaited age to come has already begun. And that is where Christians must consciously choose to live.  …God’s new age has come thundering in through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but the present age acts as a powerful undertow, preventing the incoming waves from having their full force. The undertow of the continuing present age does its best to persuade those who through faith and baptism are already part of the age to come that in fact nothing much has changed, and that they should simply continue as they were, living the same life that everyone else is living.  “The way the world is” is a powerful, insidious force, and it takes all the energy of new creation, not the least of faith and hope, to remind oneself that the age to come really is already here, with all its new possibilities and prospects. 
The antidote to the power of the present age, then, is to have the mind renewed so that one can think clearly about the way of life which is pleasing to God, which is in accordance with God’s will, good and acceptable and (here it is again) “perfect,” teleios, complete.  This renewal of the mind is at the center of the renewal of the whole human being, since the darkening of the mind was identified as central to the problem of idolatry, dehumanization, and sin in an earlier chapter of Romans.1

1.  N.T. Wright, After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters [Harper One: New York, NY; 2010] pp. 148-149, 152

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