I found something interesting in studying the Greek word for "transformed" as found in Romans 12:2. We are called to be "transformed" by the renewing of our minds - a familiar passage to many of us church-going types. The Greek word used here has with it the idea of "metamorphosis" - Changing from one thing into something completely different. The old comparison of a caterpillar becoming a butterfly, or a tadpole becoming a frog comes to mind when I think of this term. This kind of transformation happens by the renewing of our minds: God changes us into something completely different! Terms like "born again", and "new creation", come to mind.
Now, if you're like me, you have heard this in some fashion or another before. BUT, I also found out some other interesting things in this study:
1. Did you know that the exact same Greek word is used to describe what happened to Jesus when He was "transfigured"? It is true! The "transformation" God accomplishes in us by His word has the impact of completely changing us as Jesus was changed at the "transfiguration"!
2. If that isn't interesting enough, the term "transformed" appears only one other time in the New Testament (KJV, since that is what the "Strong's Concordance" I used is translating). It is in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15. The NIV translates the term as "masquerades" instead of "transformed" when describing the devil and false apostles being "transformed" to appear as messengers of the truth. The Greek term there does mean "transform" as well, BUT it indicates "disguise" or "accomidating to expectations" instead of "changing into something completely different". For this reason, the NIV translation here is probably more accurate in saying the devil "masquerades" as an angel of light, as opposed to "transforms" into an angel of light.
HERE IS THE PART that has me thinking very carefully:
Are we as the church training people to "metamorphoo" (Be changed into something different) by renewing our minds, or are we training them to "metaschematzio" (accomidate to our expectations)?
If we have given them the description of a Christian - Do this, don't do this, wear this, don't wear that, pierce this, don't pierce that, haircuts, tattoos, suits coats, ect... - I belive we may have inadvertantly taught them how to be just like the devil instead of just like Christ. Masquerading as Christians; without a "Renewed Mind".
Can anything change them into something completely different other than the word of God? Could it be possible that the church isn't changing the world because the church isn't changing? Could this explain why most statistics show us that moral indicators in the church aren't much different then moral indicators of the rest of the world around us? Could this be why so many church people settle for being "sinners" when the Bible calls us to "be holy in all we do" (1 Peter 1:15)?
I believe that what is happening in our lifestyles reflect what is happening in our hearts. If there is no "transformation" inside, what we try to do for God on the outside will always fail...won't it?