The Believers Are Spontaneously Renewed in Their Spiritual Life When They Are Sanctified by the Holy Spirit
Now we will go on to see the renewing in the organic aspect of God’s salvation. In the preceding message we saw that regeneration is to have God as our life. It is a matter in the life of God. After regeneration we pass through shepherding, and then we have the dispositional sanctification, which is a matter in the nature of God. Not only do we need to be regenerated in life, but we also need to be sanctified in our disposition. No human disposition is good; only the nature of God is holy. When we are saved, the element of God’s holy nature comes into us; this holy nature begins to work in us to sanctify us dispositionally. Ephesians 1:4 says that God chose us before the foundation of the world to be holy. This shows us that to be holy is the purpose of God’s choosing. To be holy is to have God’s nature, whereas to have the sonship, in verse 5, is to have God’s life. Through regeneration we have the life of God, and through sanctification our disposition is changed. When the believers are sanctified dispositionally, they are spontaneously renewed in their spiritual life.
Not Being Fashioned according to This Age, but Being Transformed by the Renewing of the Mind
Romans 12:2a says, “Do not be fashioned according to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind.” We should not be fashioned according to this age. This means that we should not be fashionable. Rather, we should be transformed by the renewing of the mind. Some say that this kind of renewing is the so-called teaching by Confucius and Mencius that “the principle of the Great Learning is to develop the bright virtue and to renew the people” and that “if you can renew yourself for one day, then let there be daily renewing.” However, the renewing taught in the Bible is not the same as the renewing taught in the books of Confucius and Mencius. The renewing taught by Confucius and Mencius is merely to improve oneself or adjust oneself daily. In contrast, the renewing taught by the Scriptures is the renewing of the mind; it is altogether a matter related to the mind. The mind is our mentality, our philosophy, our religious concepts, our views concerning people and things, etc. We need to be renewed mainly in our mind.
Ephesians 4:23 says, “And that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” The preceding verse says to put off the old man (v. 22), the succeeding verse says to put on the new man (v. 24), and the verse in the middle says to be renewed in the spirit of our mind. The spirit of our mind is the regenerated spirit mingled with the Spirit of God spreading into our mind to exercise control over it. In this way our mind is renewed. Furthermore, Romans 8:6 says, “…the mind set on the spirit is life and peace.” This also shows us the importance of our mind. Our mind can be renewed only by our setting it on the spirit.
Not only so, the New Testament teaches us to have the mind in us which was also in Christ Jesus (Phil. 2:5). This is equivalent to taking the mind of Christ Jesus as our mind. By regeneration we have the life of God, by sanctification we partake of the nature of God, and by renewing we have a change in our mind.
We who have been separated, sanctified, unto God should not be assimilated by the world. Rather, we should care for the transformation by the renewing of our mind which the Lord Spirit is carrying out by moving and working in us through the divine life and the divine nature. I saw a brother wearing a pair of shoes adorned with tassels, but now I notice that he is wearing another pair of shoes without any adornment. This is because his mind has been renewed; he is no longer fashioned according to this age. I am happy because we are not those who daily speak about living Christ yet who wear shoes with tassels. Likewise, the sisters should not, on the one hand, speak about loving the Lord, and on the other hand, apply lipstick heavily. I do know that if the sisters will say more, “O Lord, I love You,” the lipstick they apply will become less and less daily and will eventually disappear. This is because their mind will be renewed and transformed.
To Be Renewed in the Mind Being to Get Rid of All the Old Concepts concerning the Things of the Human Life and Be Made New Again by the Teaching of the Holy Scriptures and the Enlightening of the Holy Spirit
How can our mind be renewed that our whole being may be renewed? The way of renewing lies in prayer and in reading the Scriptures, because for us to be renewed in our mind is for us to get rid of all our old concepts concerning the things of the human life and be made new again by the teaching of the holy Scriptures and the enlightening of the Holy Spirit. When you read the Bible and become familiar with it, the Holy Spirit will enlighten you and guide you. When the Holy Spirit comes to enlighten you while you thus pray and read the Word day by day, the mind in you is being changed from the old to the new. Your view is different and your being is renewed.
Such a Renewing of the Mind Issuing in the Transformation of the Believers in Their Spiritual Life
Such a renewing of the mind issues in the transformation of the believers in their spiritual life. Titus 3:5 refers to the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit. The washing of regeneration washes away our old life; following this, the renewing of the Holy Spirit changes our mind. When our mind is renewed, our whole being is transformed. This is to be transformed by the renewing of the mind. The washing of regeneration purges away all the things in the old nature of our old man, whereas the renewing of the Holy Spirit dispenses the new things, the divine essence of the new man, into our being. Through this we turn from the old condition in which we were into a completely new condition, from the state of the old creation into the state of the new creation.
Today our problem is due mostly to our mind. Brother Nee said that some people are afraid of others stealing their wallet from their pocket, so they are always feeling in their pocket for their wallet; he said that this is an indication that they have mentally stolen from others. This is to have a disordered mind. Sometimes when someone has something wrong in his mind, he begins to have wild imaginations. A wife may begin to weep when she indulges in wild imaginations. All these matters are related to the mind. God Himself has become our life, He is changing our disposition, and He is also renewing our mind. Thus, we can have the proper concepts and can pursue Christ in a proper way. Often when some came to me to debate about some biblical questions, I said, “It is impossible for your kind of mind to understand the Bible, and I won’t argue with you. Your mind is a mind that simply cannot understand the Bible.” Our disposition needs to be sanctified so that we may partake of God’s holy nature; our mind also needs to be renewed so that we may be transformed in our spiritual life. This is the saving that God renders to us in the organic aspect of His salvation.
(The Organic Aspect of God's Salvation, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)