1I 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. 2Do 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. 3For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
In the first verse Paul explains our role as priests, that we are to offer sacrifices which was the job of the priest. Our sacrifice is to be living our lives in service to others which is our service to our Lord. This living is what we call our vocation or calling.
In verse two we are instructed to not be conformed to this world but to be transformed, that is to be different from this world. Yet not transformed by ourselves, not from within but from with out by the Lord. This not being conformed is troublesome because as we look at our world, everyone seems to be conforming to the world, and even in the Christian Church, too many denominations are conforming to this world so much so that in many instances one cannot distinguish between the world and those that would call themselves Christian churches.
And how are we to be transformed and not conform to the world? Be as the Bereans (as Paul encourages us Acts 17:11) by discerning and testing everything against God’s Word. It is God’s Word which is our standard, not our interpretation (or misinterpretation) or understanding (or misunderstanding) of God’s Word, not our questioning of God’s Word (Genesis 3), but God’s Word as He speaks it to us whether we like it or not.
Finally, in verse three we are encouraged not to think more highly of ourselves, which causes our elevating our misinterpretation, our misunderstanding, our questioning God’s Word. Our sober judgement includes our confession that our minds, our thinking, our will has been tainted by sin and the cursed world in which we live as well as the temptations from the devil, the world and our own sinful flesh to acquiesce to the world thus being conformed by the world.
How does one go about not being conformed but transforming the world? “According to the measure of faith that God has assigned,” as always we begin with our Lord. We begin by making regular and diligent use of His means of grace (Holy Baptism, Confession and Absolution, the Word of God, the Lord’s Supper). As we make regular and diligent use of the means of grace, our Lord comes through these means and works through these means to give, strengthen and keep us in faith, to give us forgiveness of sins, and to transform us to be His people!