August 21, 2023

Be Transformed!

Conformity and nonconformity are issues we deal with continually in today’s society. My employment is in the field of quality assurance, and one of the things I must determine regularly is whether a part is conforming or nonconforming. A conforming part is one that meets a preset list of specifications. In manufacturing, these parts are always best, because every company wants its customers to be satisfied with the products they receive. If a person buys a toaster and its levers don’t spring up, it will likely be returned.

Spiritually speaking, whether it is better to be conforming or nonconforming depends on the source of the specifications. While there is great benefit in conforming to the specifications given in God’s Word, there is detriment in aligning ourselves to the ideals endorsed by this world. We are advised in Romans 12:2, “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Conforming to the ways of this world will lead to a lost eternity. To avoid that outcome, we must come into compliance with God’s specifications. This requires a transformation that can only come from God. As we look into His Word, we will gain an understanding of the dangers of conformity to this world’s mold and how God’s transforming power can free us from that mold.


When the Apostle Paul said, “Be not conformed to this world,” he was not advocating anarchy. Nor was he referring to the type of nonconformity experienced in the 1960s in the United States when people rebelled against cultural norms and authority. We are instructed in Scripture, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men” (1 Peter 2:13-15). Paul was warning against conforming to the sinful values, beliefs, and temporal focus of this world.

An overview of what the world represents is given in 1 John 2:16: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” We are all acquainted with the lust of the flesh and the eyes, and the pride of life; these are universal to the human experience. Scripture tells us, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). It is not until we repent of our sins and receive forgiveness that these things are removed from our lives.

To conform to the world is to go along with the sinful ideas of mankind. Many call themselves nonconformists while advocating for sinful practices that have been around since the time of Sodom and Gomorrah, and even before then. They may not realize it, but they are conforming to the world. These people often try to pressure us into thinking, talking, and behaving in the same way they do. God does not want us to fit into that mold—not even partially. We are to have nothing at all to do with it. Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). This truth has been the subject of proverbs, idioms, and fables throughout history. An ancient Bengali parable states it this way: “Never sail with feet in two boats.” This is a warning against being double-minded. Clearly, one who tries to stand in two boats at the same time will end up in the water! Similarly, we can’t expect to stand in the Gospel if we have one foot in the world.

We do have to live in this world, but it must be merely our temporal dwelling place, not where our focus is. We belong to a spiritual Kingdom and anticipate an eternal home in Heaven. Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). What matters most is not what happens here in this life, but rather in the next—we need to be ready for Heaven.

In society today, we regularly hear debate over environmental, racial, political, and moral issues. Frequently, there is a lack of decorum or respect; people yell at each other and condemn each other—sometimes for what they themselves are doing. That is the world, and we want no part of it. Rather than get caught up in worldly perspectives, we want to focus on the Lord.          


We were born in conformance with the world because we each inherited a sinful disposition from our forefather, Adam. Then we further conformed to this world by making personal choices to commit sinful acts. So how do we become delivered from sin and reconciled to God? A transformation must take place.

The idea of transformation is exciting. When I was a kid in the 1980s, I liked to play with Legos. They were among my favorite toys because I could make them become anything I wanted them to be. Whenever I received a new kit, I would build according to the plan first. After that, though, I would take apart the bricks and use the pieces to build all sorts of different structures. As the designer, I could take the same parts and transform them into something else.

Transformations take place in nature as well. A caterpillar becomes a butterfly through metamorphosis. The caterpillar spins a cocoon and then after some time, it breaks out of that cocoon and is an entirely different creature! It even has a completely different way of life. That is what Jesus wants to do for us—change us entirely, including our way of living.

Jesus died on the Cross as the sacrifice for our sins that we might be transformed—forgiven for our sins and reconciled to God. This happens when we come humbly before God, confessing our sins with contrite hearts and turning from them. When we do so, the Blood of Jesus is applied to our hearts, and a mighty transformation takes place! We are told in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” It is so wonderful and remarkable that God transforms us into new creatures. Some find it hard to believe it is possible, but that is what He does. At salvation, our sins are washed away, and our thoughts and actions become new. We are no longer focused on our own selfish desires, but in pleasing God.  

Another aspect of the transformation that takes place at salvation is that our spirits are quickened, which means “to be made alive.” Paul wrote of this transformation, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world” (Ephesians 2:1-2).

When God has quickened our spirits and transformed us, we are ready to meet Jesus in the air at the Rapture of the Church. I look forward to that day. I am excited about eternity! All that the world has to offer fades away when we think about what God has waiting for us in Heaven.


The transformation that begins with salvation changes our perspective. Our minds are brought into alignment with God’s thoughts and ways. This is a wonderful start, but our relationship with God needs to be maintained through what Paul describes as being “transformed by the renewing of your mind.” This comes through reading, studying, and meditating on God’s Word, responding obediently to the checks of the Spirit, and whenever possible, having fellowship with God’s people. Perhaps most important, though, is our prayer life. We must be in constant communication with God to know His will and receive His strength, guidance, and encouragement.  

The world is full of turmoil, but this is nothing new. That has been true since the beginning. At times, we may find ourselves focused on the troubling issues of the day. Instead of being weighed down by what is going on around us, we can come before the Lord and have our minds renewed. We can bring our concerns about what we hear in the news and see in society around us, and lay them at the Lord’s feet. We can tell Him, “I need You to refresh my thoughts. I need a renewing of my mind.”

In His perfect will

The Lord is looking for those who have purposed not to conform to this world. We read in 2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” The word perfect in this context means “completely.” Our hearts are perfect when they are entirely given to God. When we surrender our hearts to Him, we will experience His transformational power and the blessings that go with it—forgiveness, freedom from sin, and new life in Christ. Then as we continue to seek the Lord, we will discover that the transformation which took place when we became Christians was only the beginning. He will help us stay within “that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” As we continue to resist the world and look to Him for daily guidance, provision, and protection, our lives will be richly blessed.

apostolic faith magazine