And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. – Romans 12:2 NKJV
The word conform means things like abide by, follow, accept, obey, go along with, fall into, fit in, age with, be like, and be consistent with. The original Greek word is συσχηματίζω (syschēmatizō) is used only twice in scripture and gives a very similar message in 1 Peter 1:1
Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
I Peter 1:13-16 NKJV
Yes, Romans 12 as a chapter is about “Being a Living Sacrifice”(v1-2), “Serving God with Our Gifts”(v3-8), and “Behaving like a Christian”(v9-21).
In fact, verse 9 tells us what Godly love looks like –
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. – Romans 12:9 NKJV
The world would ask us to be accepting, tolerant, and conformed to its evil ways – it would say that wickedness is love, because that enemy is a liar and there is no truth in the father of lies.
True, Godly love is to see the good and cling to it and encourage it in people, and to resist the evil. It is to conform to the ways of Christ. Christ did not leave people in their same broken and sinful lives – His touch and His words changed lives. It either pushed the hard hearted enemies of truth and love into a deeper fury against Him – or it transformed and healed and delivered people’s life to something radically different than before and they grew more and more in His way.
Christ does not say, come accept my religion, say a prayer, get baptized in water, and then go back to fitting in with the ways of the world. He doesn’t say, keep doing evil and coming back again and again for forgiveness once a week or on holidays to hear about me.
He says, come, surrender your whole life to me, turn away from evil, and be transformed to be like me.
He says, come, be set apart for holy use, by the Lord God Almighty, who loves you enough to pay an ultimate sacrifice to bring you into His family.
He says, I have a purpose today, for the world to see something quite peculiar and different in your life – because they will see Me, My ways, reflected in your transformed life.
A transformed heart and mind produces a different life – a sober, obedient, holy life. And if this type of life seems distasteful to you, then I encourage you to ask yourself who it is you are really deciding to serve today with your life. If you want to serve the Lord, if you want to call upon His name, if you want Him to hear your prayers, do not remember that sinner of your past, repent, turn to Him, and walk in righteousness, you saints, you children of God. You are freed, your chains are broken. You need not walk powerless, but strong and bold.
Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Isaiah 58:8 NKJV
I encourage you, do not doubt in the strength of the Lord to deliver you from the flesh to walk upright in the Spirit. Do not put on that old title of Sinner unless you have become a proud hypocrite. Put bear the title of Saint, Child of God, boasting only in what He has done for you. Stand tall, not in your own power, but humbled by His mercy and His Godly love that is alive in you.