Being a Christian involves a change in our hearts as well as a change in our minds.
Romans 12:2 says:
“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.” (NIV)
I like the way The Message renders this:
“Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”
In the Greek, the word “transformed” is “Metamorphoo” which means, “to change into another form, to transform, to transfigure.” The New Testament only uses this word 4 times: twice about the Transfiguration of Christ, one time here, in Romans, and one time in 2 Corinthian 3:18:
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (NIV)
In the New Living Translation, it reads:
“And all of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more.”
Since we live in the world, it is only natural for us to take part in “the things of the world.” This is not a sin. The problem is when we allow our participation to change the image of who we are. Any reading of the four Gospels show us that as Christ lived in this world, He participated in the things of this world, yet He always reflected the image of God. In other words, He did not allow His participation in the world change who He was. As Christians, we must consistently reflect the Glory of God. The only way to do that is to allow the Spirit of God to transform us.
Romans 12:2 tells us to be transformed by changing the way we think. After accepting Christ, was there ever a change in your heart? In your mind? It is entirely possible to feel sorry for your sins and to say a prayer, but go back to living the same way you used to, because there was never a change. Getting saved is not about praying a prayer, but about allowing God to transform your life.
To the church at Corinth, Paul said that we “reflect the Lord’s glory”. This is a perfect picture of what happened at the transfiguration. Jesus’ countenance was changed so that His face was bright with the glory of God. He was reflecting God’s glory. We, like Jesus, need to reflect God’s glory. That’s not to say that Christians will be known by their glow-in-the-dark faces, but people need to see God’s glory in us. In other words, in every situation we find ourselves in, we need to react according to the glory of God in our lives.
In the book of Exodus, we see that Moses puts a veil on his face to cover up the glory of God. The assumption is that the children of Israel were too afraid of his shiny new appearance. But Paul tells us here in 2 Corinthians that the veil was to keep them from seeing the glory fading from his face. Paul tells us in v.18 that we don’t need to wear a veil any longer; that the glory keeps increasing as we continue to transform into the image of God.