Salvation is a comprehensive term. When the Apostle Paul talks about salvation, he is referring simultaneously to a decisive event, a progressive experience and an ultimate conclusion. He also refers to the “Now” and the “Not yet”. All that we are in Christ, we have now. Whatever is described as in Christ is automatic. It is not in instalment. In Christ, we have all now but it is crucial to recognise that the experience of all that is yours now, although bequeathed automatically in its totality, we do not experience all now. The reason for this is that our minds are yet to acknowledge it.
Spiritual growth is essentially a mind renewal. It is not behaviour modification as many have thought. The program of God for the Church is that all the saints should be brought to full stature. Transformation is engineered from the inward to the outward. The Apostle Paul exhorts us in Romans 12:2, to not be conformed (Greek: sunschematizo) to the world. It means to not put on the external mould of the world; to not allow the world’s system to pour your thinking into its mould. But be transformed by the renewing of your mind. The word “transform” is derived from the Greek term metamorphoo and it means to bring forth what is inherent to nature. So, this transformation is already in you. When what you are within begins to gain expression in the outward realm of your life, that is what is called transformation and it happens by the renewal of your mind. You cannot experience change in the outward domain of your life without changing your pattern of thought.
Our walk in Christ doesn’t begin by an outward modification. It begins by the content of the mind. Paul says the walk of the gentiles is due to the vanity of their minds (Ephesians 4:17). Vanity refers to the content of something which is futile and shallow. It is also used to describe what is earthly and natural. Walking according to the vanity of your mind means that you are motivated by temporal things. Therefore, we need to learn how to live in the understanding of our standing and state. The believer in Christ is in two places simultaneously. You are in Christ in heavenly places, and at the same time you are in your physical, geographical location, for instance, Douala, Cameroon. While the realities of your seating in Christ are permanent and unchangeable, your state in your physical location changes by the day. We are not to possess a mind that is only fixed on what is earthly, temporal, natural, guided by the fancies of every-day living. This is walking as the gentiles. Although the life of God is present in you, through ignorance and a darkened understanding, you will be estranged to it (Ephesians 4:18).
“But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:20-24).
We are to learn Christ, not just hear about Him. The truth that we are to recognise is the truth that is in Jesus, acknowledging every good thing in us in Christ Jesus (Philemon 1:6). Many people think that they are harassed by various desires which do not correspond to the new creation. Paul calls these “deceitful lusts” because they are not yours. Unless you renew your mind to acknowledge who you are in Christ, you will sign the package of what doesn’t belong to you. We are to be renewed in the spirit of our minds. Our minds have a “pneuma”; it has to be animated and renewed. We are to put on the new man, “which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness”. As you renew the spirit of your mind and acknowledge
The term translated as “put on” in the verse is the Greek term “endunamoo”, which means to be endued. The term does not imply that you are yet to “put on” the new man. You are endued with the new man. This is where your mind needs to be renewed. You are no longer the old man irrespective of the lusts and the temptation. Those lusts or perverted desires that may have risen to harass you are deceitful because that is not what you are. It is the mind trying to identify with a nature which does not correspond to you. You need to acquire the mind of Christ; you need to renew the spirit, the vital principle of what you think of yourself. Acknowledge within the spirit of your mind that you have been endued with the new man which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness.