Friday, June 11, 2010

God's Will

Romans 12:2 Do 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.

2 καὶ μὴ συσχηματίζεσθε τῷ αἰῶνι τούτῳ, ἀλλὰ μεταμορφοῦσθε τῇ ἀνακαινώσει τοῦ νοὸς εἰς τὸ δοκιμάζειν ὑμᾶς τί τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ εὐάρεστον καὶ τέλειον.

We're getting to the didactic part of Romans now.  Paul has built his case about who Jesus is and why it is important to know Him.  Now he is getting to instruction for the believer.  As I often hear on one of my favorite podcasts, we need the indicative before the imperative. Here Paul give us an imperative that sheds great light on one of the common mysteries of the Christian walk.  How do we know God's will?

We sometimes get stuck when we think that there is a trick to discerning God's will.  We wonder if there is some kind of Christian equivalent of a Ouija board or reading tea leaves.  Do we hear a voice?  Do we open the Bible up to some random section and read what it has to say?  What do we do?

Paul makes it clear that it is both simpler and much more difficult.  Discerning God's will is not something that comes from outside of ourselves.  It comes from personal transformation.  We do this by sitting under biblical preaching, reading our Bibles, and doing what the Spirit tells us through the means God appointed for our instruction.

For example, if I'm a young man having sex with my girlfriend and am having trouble discerning God's will for my life, I need to start by cutting off the fornication.  God's will for the believer starts with sanctification. We need to "get our minds right," to quote the warden in "Cool Hand Luke."  This is where knowing God's will begins.  Then as our minds our transformed we find that we want what He wants.  It's a package deal.

Where are you with this?  Are you being transformed by the Word of God or are you conforming to the world?  We see here that τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ can be described as being τὸ ἀγαθὸν καὶ εὐάρεστον καὶ τέλειον.  How can we ever know what is "good and acceptable and perfect" if we don't have transformed minds?

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