I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God. Rom. 12:1-2
In discussions on the will of God, it isn’t long before this text comes up and rightly so. It is one of the clearest and most pertinent scriptures pertaining to the matter, and of course, scripture is where we want to go to form our belief.
I appreciate all of those who have been participating in the discussion thus far. So far we are finding some slight differences of opinion, but hopefully we will all find common ground in this text, even though we may apply what we find differently.
There is a progressive development in ability to discern God’s will. It begins with our surrender to God. We will never be able to fully perceive or perform God’s will until we are yielded to Him. We must be willing to adopt the attitude that Christ showed in Gethsemane. The problem is, many of us treat surrender as if it is an act of death, but God wants us to live for Him.
The second step in this progression is rejection of the world. We cannot yield ourselves to God and still hold on to the things of this world. I think Jesus said something about “you cannot serve two masters.” Instead, our lives should demonstrate the ongoing transformation that is taking place inside our minds as God continually and progressively conforms us to the image of Christ. The more Christ-like we become, the easier it will be for us to comprehend the will of God.
This brings us to a place where we can prove the will of God. Three stages of His will are presented in verse two. I have heard some say that these are three terms that describe the same thing, but I believe both the Greek and English grammar indicate otherwise.
It should be our goal to “prove” or discern the perfect will of God. Many Christians grow to the point of doing that which is “good” and progress no further. As some comments in the previous post indicated, it is God’s will for each of us to love God supremely and to love one another as we love ourself. This is “good” for all believers to do.
Could the “acceptable” will be the application of the “good” will? We find in the Bible how we are to show that love. James teaches us the meaning of Christian compassion. I John teaches us the definition of Christian fellowship. Ephesians teaches us about unity and worship. Etc., etc.
If this is the case, then perhaps the “perfect” will of God dictates the details of when, where and to whom we are to minister the grace of God. I do believe that God is concerned with the intimate facets of our life. The Bible simply says too much about our steps and paths being directed by the Lord for me to think otherwise.
My responsibility in determining the will of God is to yield myself to God, surrendering to His desire to conform me to the image of Christ. As He progressively performs this work of sanctification in my life, His plan for me will become increasingly clearer.
This chapter reveals some other factors that I hope to engage next week. In the meantime, feel free to express your thoughts on this topic.