Be transformed by the renewal of your mind. – (ROMANS 12:2)
The verb be transformed in Romans 12:2 is a command to do something. This indicates that we as believers are not passive in this transforming process. We’re not like blocks of marble being transformed into a beautiful sculpture by a master sculptor. God has given us a mind and heart with which to respond to and cooperate with the Spirit as He does His work in us.
That thought leads naturally to a classic statement in Scripture of the working together of the believer and the Holy Spirit within: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13).
Paul urged the Philippian believers to apply themselves diligently to working out their salvation. He urged them to display the evidences of salvation in their daily lives through their obedience to God’s commands and through putting on the godly character traits that Paul elsewhere called the fruit of the Spirit. And, according to William Hendriksen, the tense of the verb work out indicates “continuous, sustained, strenuous effort.”67 Here again we see that sanctification is a process, and a process in which we, as believers, are very actively involved.
But Paul’s strong exhortation to the Philippians is based on the confidence that God’s Spirit is working in them, working to enlighten their understanding of His will, to stimulate in their emotions a desire to do His will, and to turn their wills so they actually obey. He gives them the enabling power so that they’re able to do His will.