The Transformed Mindset

by Mike Ratliff

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:17-18 ESV)

On Friday the 19th of October, my wife and I celebrated our anniversary. Prior to making it home from work, I had one of those days I would just as soon forget. I was confronted with unreasonable people all day in just about every aspect I could. Perhaps it was just my perception and this stuff goes on all the time, however, I was definitely being tested. One of these tests was a set of comments on this blog from a person whose theology would best be understood as Pelagian. In other words, he did not believe in the doctrine of original sin. He accused me of not knowing my Bible and of blindly following the doctrines of men. I prayed about it then simply sent emails to this person explaining that I was not going to post his comments.

I read several articles about George Whitefield over the last several weeks. Some of these articles dealt with his relationship with John Wesley. What I learned from that was that Whitefield and the Wesleys were not well educated in doctrine. They were devout believers and had a heart for the lost. However, their understanding of doctrine was no deeper than any other new believer’s. Over time Whitefield’s doctrine became more conformed to that of Jonathan Edwards’ after spending time with him in the Colonies. This changed his preaching drastically.However, Wesley stayed with his understanding of doctrine that he held from the day he was born again and that was Arminian. The reason Wesley was such a powerful revivalist, however, was not that he was an Arminian, but that he was a preacher of righteousness. He did preach that all men are dead in their trespasses and sins and would go to Hell if they did not repent and accept Jesus and Lord and Saviour. Whitefield was the Lightening Rod of the Great Awakening. He was also a preacher of righteousness, but his doctrine was centered in the doctrines of grace.As believers surrender more and more to the Lordship of Christ in every area of their lives they are also surrendering to the sovereignty of God. This is a huge part of the process God uses to transform us unto the image of the Son. What is our part?

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16 ESV)

The phrase “preparing your minds for action” is translated as “gird up the loins of your mind” in the KJV. This is the process of gathering together all of the loose ends of our minds, subjecting them to Lordship of Christ, then directing our thoughts to the future glory of Christ and what we have awaiting us in eternity. It begins by being sober-minded. This is process of denying what our flesh wants and turning our backs on the allurements of the world and its ways. How can we do this? Let us return to Romans 12:1-2.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2 ESV)

We looked at this passage a few days ago in the post “Damaged Goods,” comparing it to Romans 1:28 in which we saw that the reprobate mind is so because the person refuses to hold God and His ways in their minds. On the other hand, the mind that is transformed by constant mind renewal is able to do the very opposite. In fact it holds God and His ways more and more and, therefore, knows what God’s will is and does it.The natural man’s mindset is one of the sovereignty of man and God who is either unable or unwilling to project his sovereignty over Men or even His own creation. That mindset sees all people as in various levels of goodness with those who are good enough being giving the nod into eternity because of their own efforts in becoming holy enough. This mindset does not buy original sin and sees any teaching of the sovereignty of God and His wrath against all sin as Him being unfair. They insist that God’s love trumps His Holiness. It also sees that Men are good enough to earn their way into Heaven to be with a grateful God who welcomes them as He rewards them with eternal life.

On the other hand, the transformed mindset is one of the sovereignty of God and the total depravity of Man. This mindset understands that God is completely sovereign and in total control of every aspect of His creation. This mindset sees all people as dead in their trespasses and sins except for those whom God has regenerated and saved. It sees that even though there is spiritual growth as Christians, that is also a work of God as we cooperate in our sanctification. This mindset understands that it is the process of being transformed by the renewal of our minds that is what demolishes the old, natural man’s mindset. It also understands that all in Christ are complete in Him, but no one else is. God’s love does not trump His Holiness. God’s wrath still burns against all sin that has not been atoned for by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. It was through His crucifixion that the elect’s sin was paid for, and no one else’s. This mindset also understands that it is far better for God to give us His grace rather than being fair. If God was fair, no one would be saved for all are completely unworthy of salvation. It also understands that salvation is not a reward for making the right decision, but is solely by the grace of God by the faith He gives us. (Ephesians 2:8,9)

The natural man mindset sees Christianity as what men do. The transformed mindset sees Christianity as being made up of two parts. One part is not genuine and contains disingenuous professing believers who have not been regenerated by God. These are tares or goats. The other part of Christianity is made up of only genuine Christians who have been regenerated by God. These are the Lord’s sheep. They see Christianity as their lives of obedience to their sovereign God by His Grace. It is God’s work, not what men do. Their lives may contain much pain and stress and conflict, which are the tests and trials God allows in our lives to prune us. (John 15) These two parts are mingled together in the Church, but God knows who are His and who are not.The natural man mindset, since Christianity is what men do, sees no problem in using marketing techniques and worldly methods to grow their churches. However, many others of this mindset are mired in their religiosity believing that it is their church attendance that God wants from them. The transformed mindset understands that God builds His church. The Holy Spirit is the one who plows the hearts of men, not sales pitches and marketing pushes. Gods draws those to Christ whom He chooses.

The natural man mindset sees salvation and the Christian walk as completely self-effort. The transformed mindset sees salvation and the Christian walk as God’s good work. The natural man mindset sees God as far away and not in control. The transformed mindset sees God as huge and totally in control.We must ask ourselves of which mindset we are. If we find ourselves of the natural man mindset then we must repent and seek the face of God then obey Him by becoming transformed by the renewal of our minds. On the other hand, if we are of the transformed mindset then we must continue to draw near unto God who has apprehended us. If we draw near unto Him, He will draw near unto us and change us. This spiritual growth will continue as long as we are in these bodies so now is the time to obey the Lord and seek His face.

24 thoughts on “The Transformed Mindset

  1. I can sympathize with your recent blog attack, Mike.

    I’ve recently been engaged with one Dr. Pamela O’Guinn, a self-proclaimed pastor/minister within Trinity denying word faith heretic T.D. Jakes Potter’s House Ministry.

    I’ve repeatedly tried to point Dr. O’Guinn toward scripture to no avail. I know I’m powerless to effect any change in a person, but I pray that God might see fit to use me in some small way to reach out to those who are dead in their trespasses and sins with His truth.

    Keep fighting the good fight of faith, Mike.

  2. Happy Anniversary, Mike.

    Long time reader who has never commented.

    I’m interested in reading the material you mentioned on Whitefield and Wesley. Maybe a list of a few reliable books about each man would be helpful, also. Was Wesley concerned about false conversions?

    My local Christian radio station has a program hosted by a local seminary professor. The seminary is fully accredited and unaffiliated with any denomination. The Sat. program teaching was on 2 Peter 2: 18-22.. He mentioned the most recent Joel Osteen/Larry King interview. He doesn’t think Osteen is a false teacher. He doesn’t think Benny Hinn is a false teacher; he just says a few weird things like man is a little god….but Benny is a real born again Christian and people gets saved under his ministry, He KNOWS people who have gotten saved under Hinn’s ministry. The only person he named as an example of a false teacher was Jimmy Swaggert.

    So, is this a problem of not understanding doctrine? Discernment? Being a goat and thinking you’re a sheep?

  3. Keep standing, Mike! Praise God for your labor in Him.

    What you say about renewal of the mind is happening constantly in my life. Things that I believed a few years ago have been changed due to the Lord revealing more and more of His word to me. His truth is unchanging, but we are not.

    As I am confronted with decisions that must be made for my daughter and me, I need the Lord’s guidance more and more. Only through His word and prayer will I know who and where He wants us to be. He is so gracious in that He reveal to us areas where we have gone astray and leads us back to His path. We cannot harden our hearts, but repent and study His word to know His will. It is truly past time to seek Him wholeheartedly and learn of Him, taking His yoke upon us, denying ourselves and being guided by His Spirit.

  4. Mike,
    Happy anniversary! I am being tested quite a bit myself and sometimes I fail! God help us! It seems to get harder all the time. Thank you for being an encouragement to us un churched . Thank you for introducing me to Psalms 123 a few months back.123
    :1 To you I lift up my eyes,
    O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
    2 Behold, as the eyes of servants
    look to the hand of their master,
    as the eyes of a maidservant
    to the hand of her mistress,
    so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
    till he has mercy upon us.

    3 Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
    for we have had more than enough of contempt.
    4 Our soul has had more than enough
    of the scorn of those who are at ease,
    of the contempt of the proud.

  5. Mike, you have once again written an excellent post. You have done an excellent job of declaring the difference between the natural mind and the regenerated mind. I have some very dear family members of the natural mind and my favorite prayer for both myself and them is 2 Timothy 2: 25-26. 25) ” in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,
    26) and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” I pray these verses almost daily for the unregenerated hoping that God will grant repentance that leads to the Truth and eternal life. I also include the regenerated to help us to relinquish hidden sins and cherish God’s truth
    May God continue to bless you, Anita

  6. Pelagianism is an epidemic today. You are standing for the Lord Mike and the demons know it. Thats why you are having a time of being attacked, and I am sure you know that. Hang in there, and we hope you had a good anniversary!!

  7. If God was fair, no one would be saved

    It’s truth like this that transform the mind. And we must keep meditating on these truths to really comprehend their breadth and length and height and depth.

    Thanks for being an instrument for the transformation of minds!

  8. Mike,
    Great post. God opened my eyes to the beautiful doctrine of grace about a year ago. I’ve only been saved 2 years but the moment I was saved I had a hunger for His word and a passion for defending it. I really detest when someone plays fast and loose with God’s word.
    Once I began studying His word I began to take note of what scripture actually said instead of what I thought it said…that’s when I realized that, like Spurgeon said “What is commonly called Calvinism, I call the bible, nothing more” or words to that effect.

    When God saved me something else happened to me…when I hear any doctrine that makes God smaller and glorifies Him less…my warning bell goes off…and it’s probably false. Unfortunately, Arminianism falls squarely into this category…I’ve tried discussing it in person, online and other places to no avail…most people hate this doctrine…whether they will admit it or not…they’ll do anything to avoid it.

  9. Alice,

    Thanks!

    Just put “George Whitefield” in Google. Read those articles, especially those that pertain to doctrine and his relationship with Wesley.

    You asked: So, is this a problem of not understanding doctrine? Discernment? Being a goat and thinking you’re a sheep?

    Well, for a person to say he knows of people becoming saved through Benny Hinn’s minstiry then we must understand what he mans bey “being saved.” Some people believe salvation is just a decision. Are they regenerate? Do they produce fruit? I would seriously doubt the salvation of anyone who thinks that the stuff Joel Osteen preaches is the truth.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  10. I can’t say it better than Deborah. I appreciate that Psalm 123 was written out. Thanks for all the times you write out scriptures, Deborah! Faye, please pray for those who are on the wrong path, though they truly do love the Lord Jesus Christ. I know God answered my prayer to have all lies revealed to me that I as believing as truth, but I am thankful for the prayers of others in this regard also. Bob, know the Word. I know you know this, but you are new to the faith. Don’t be taken in by any man’s teachings, no matter how revered they are. Even Mike would have you search the scriptures! Okay, forgive me for sounding motherly, bob, but you are still young in the faith and I tend to be overprotective in this area because of my own trusting of great men of God. It led me onto the wrong path for many years. I am very glad to see that you are on the right path from the start. God bless all of you. Thanks for another Spirit led post, Mike.

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  12. Thank you Sherry C,
    I used to follow the lies of man and I currently have many dear friends who are still there. I will also continue to pray for them to be set free from the snares of the enemy. Most of these friends are only friendly in passing with me now because I have been very upfront about what the Bible says about the ways of those men and that what they teach is not found in the Bible. God has opened a dear married couple’s eyes and they study the Bible almost exclusively now and are grateful to now know the truth and now are also praying for those still in those awlful movements. We all are hoping to see the rest of our friends freed from the lies of men. And yeah, the prayers of my Bible study leader were offered up for me while I was in the mist of those movements and I am grateful for the prayers of loving and obedient Christains. God is so very gracious to answer His children’s prayers.

  13. Beautiful piece, Mike. Recently, I have been sharing with people about the sovereignty of God. I even shared it in church last Sunday. I have found that it is one of the truths of the Bible that humans resist the most. It leaves man helpless – exactly where he should be, for this would get us all to cast ourselves on the mercy and grace of God.

    Stay in there, brother! The Lord keeps His own.

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