Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Reformation of the Mind

"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Romans 12:21).

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther tacked 95 theses to the castle church of Wittenberg University. As we saw yesterday, Christians need to be able to debate differences in an atmosphere of charity, and this is what Luther hoped to do. When we look back on this event, we call it the birthday of the Protestant Reformation.

The Reformation was a rebirth of biblical theology. It was the concern for scriptural truth that motivated Luther and the other Reformers. Sadly, today we find throughout the evangelical world a great contradiction. On the one hand, there is a great aversion to the study of theology, while on the other hand there is tremendous interest in discovering God’s will. Notice how Paul puts these together here in Romans 12:2. It is by becoming transformed in our minds that we can acquire the wisdom and perspective to be able to discern God’s will for our lives. It is on the basis of the theology of Romans 1–11 that Paul is able to move to the admonitions of Romans 12–16.

This is why we are to study God’s Word. It is not simply to acquire a knowledge that puffs up, but rather to know what is pleasing to God, and to know how to make appropriate decisions in our daily lives. This has been Paul’s concern throughout Romans 12, as he gives us a whole series of particular injunctions for our lives.

Paul concludes these injunctions by telling us in verse 19, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath.” Revenge, or vengeance, is not itself evil, “For it is written, ‘It is Mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” We are to rest in His perfect justice and not take matters into our own hands.

Read Romans 12:19–21. Here we see how we are to deal with those who abuse us. On this Reformation Day, can you think of any “enemy” to whom you can show love? Find a way to help that person without trying to triumph over him. Make this Reformation Day a day of reformation for yourself.