Gen. 4:3 π Gen. 4:4 π Mt. 6:10 π Mt. 7:21 π Mt. 7:23 π Mt. 22:37-38 π Lk. 6:32 π Jn. 14:6 π Jn. 14:23 π Jn. 16:13 π Rom. 12:2 π Rom. 12:3 π 1 Cor. 2:6 π 1 Cor. 2:14 π 1 Cor. 2:16 π 1 Cor. 13:12 π 2 Cor. 6:14 π Eph. 5:8-10 π Phlp. 2:10 π Col. 1:13 π Col. 1:16-18 π Col. 2:8-10 π Heb. 11:4 π Jas. 1:17 π 1 Pet. 4:1-3 π 1 Jn. 2:15-17 π 1 Jn. 3:12 π 1 Jn. 5:20 π Jude 11 π Rev. 19:10
Paul wrote, "Don't live like this world, but let yourselves be transformed by a renewing of your minds so you can test and be sure what God wants, what is good and pleasing and perfect." ( Rom. 12:2 - Beck; top)
What does it mean to "live like this world"? The Amplified Bible expands it by saying, "fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs." Paul certainly had that aspect in view but to "live like this world" goes deeper than this. Consider these other verses where the New Testament addresses this same idea:
"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), proving what is acceptable to the Lord." ( Eph. 5:8-10; top )
"Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles - when we walked in licentiousness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries." ( 1 Pet. 4:1-3; top )
"Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power." ( Col. 2:8-10; top )
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." ( 1 Jn. 2:15-17; top )
Let us be clear here - to live like this world means to walk in darkness. Some claim they believe in God and even believe that He indeed intervenes in human history but then they say that His plans are just too mysterious to grasp and His master plan (overarching purpose) is just unknowable. Such beliefs - as lofty as they sound - are simply a cover of darkness over one's sinful negligence (whether selfishness, laziness, deception, craftiness or whatever aspect of the flesh) that keeps one from diligently applying oneself to knowing the will of God.
To live like this world means to order one's life according to one's own desires or lusts. For some, this lust is for power over others. Some desire pleasure. Some desire simply to be their own god. Anyone who is ordering his life according to his own lusts cannot be an instrument or agent of God's will - that is, one cannot accomplish the good, acceptable, perfect and pleasing will of God though one can, like Satan is, be utilized by God to accomplish God's purposes anyway and in spite of that one's actions, attitudes and beliefs.
To live like this world means to embrace the philosophies of this world and to structure one's life according to those ideas. On this plane, no philosophy or even religion is any better or any different or of any greater worth than any other philosophy. Thus when one who claims to follow Christ genuinely still lives in unregenerated darkness, he will believe that so long as he does "good deeds" (at least in his own opinion) he is acting out the plan, agenda and will of God for his life. Those "good deeds" may really enslave scores of people in bondage to his own lust (for power, wealth, pleasures, whatever) but so long as he has some way to perceive his actions as "beneficial" to others, it must be God's will. So long as he tolerates the religion, philosophies and opinions of others (provided these others don't insist that God disagrees with his own religion, philosophy or opinions, that is) and does these "good deeds," that one's opinions are as valid and worthy as anyone else's. This is relativism - the New Testament calls it lawlessness, doing what is right in one's own eyes. It is a very popular snare these days but it still keeps one out of the kingdom of Christ and God. ( Mt. 7:21 , 23; top )
To live like this world means to be devoid of the love of the Father in heaven. This does not mean that you do not care for or love anyone at all. (see Lk. 6:32 , etc.; top) It means that the love that originates from the one, true, most high God is absent from your life and whatever feelings and actions of love you express are products of your own corrupt and unregenerate flesh.
The writers of the New Testament clearly tell us that we can know God's will. Let us be clear here as well - to know the will of God requires that your lives be transformed, changed, made completely different, adapted to the higher spiritual realities found only in Christ. And this is done first and foremost by the renewing of our mind. Some attempt to brush this instruction aside by thinking that since God gave us this incredible mind, surely then He expects us to use it. Indeed He does - we are to love God with all our being, including our whole mind ( Mt. 22:37-38 ) - but our mind must be spiritually renewed to be able to grasp the thoughts of the mind of Christ. ( 1 Cor. 2:14 , 16; top )
To know the will of God requires that we be light in the Lord. John wrote, "And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life." ( 1 Jn. 5:20 ) The one who claims he cannot know the will of God is simply offering up evidence that he is not a child of light in the Lord Jesus Christ. To walk in the light means to draw from God - as a source - all of one's actions, beliefs and opinions. All truly good things come from God the Father of lights ( Jas. 1:17 ), righteousness is doing what is right in God's eyes (and is the antithesis to lawlessness and relativism, doing what is right in one's own eyes - 2 Cor. 6:14 ) and truth is the Spirit of Jesus Christ by which we know the spiritual things we need to know. ( Jn. 14:6 , 16:13 , Rev. 19:10; top )
To know the will of God we must be armed with the attitude to suffer for His sake. Suffering for His sake deadens the power of sin and the flesh and enables us to more deeply grasp the things of God's Spirit. The one who disdains those who are suffering what he perceives as some lack or inadequacy is likely to be stopping up the very avenue which God would open up to bring about transforming him to the likeness of Christ. The will of God is to be the foremost core value of our life - it would be extreme foolishness if a central, core element of one's genuine faith was unknowable.
To know the will of God requires us to be in Him and in Him we are completed, matured, ripened to perfection. And He is the head over every principality and power. Ultimately, the rulers of the darkness of the age will come to nothing ( 1 Cor. 2:6 ) and every knee in heaven and on earth will bow to Christ. ( Phlp. 2:10 ) No man should think of himself more highly than he ought but should think soberly as God has given each one a measure of faith. ( Rom. 12:3; top ) Even a man's faith - if it is to be genuine - has to have God as its source or else it is something one has generated for oneself from his own fallen flesh nature.
To know the will of God means that we must have Christ's eternal life at work in us. It is not enough to know the core values of the "Christian" religion. Satan knows those core values and uses them to ensnare millions. Rather one must have the Person and Spirit of Christ and God the Father living inside his spirit ( Jn. 14:23 ) or else one is simply drawing from the wells of his own flesh and sin nature. The religious "Christian" who does not have the Spirit of Christ and God in him is bringing the sacrifice of Cain - the works of his own hands from the ground cursed by God ( Gen. 4:3 ) Only Abel's sacrifice - a spotless lamb as created by God and brought in simple obedience to God - is acceptable. ( Gen. 4:4 ) We must look to God to be the source of our actions and we must take care that our actions are done in obedience to Him. Anything else is the way of Cain. ( Heb. 11:4 , 1 Jn. 3:12 , Jude 11; top )
The purpose of God is to establish His Son as the King over all things. ( Col. 1:16-18 ) It is His good pleasure to extend to us an invitation to participate in His kingdom, even to be a family member and priest in His kingdom. When we in faith answer that invitation, He delivers us from the power of darkness and translates us into His kingdom of light and love. ( Col. 1:13 ) While some intricate details (of how His kingdom comes to be established among us and how His will is to be done in particular situations - Mt. 6:10 ) are not always readily available as we might like (mostly because we are imperfect beings who see dimly as in a mirror the things of God - 1 Cor. 13:12; top ), this overarching master plan is clearly indicated in the Scriptures. The one who cannot recognize this is only putting forth proof that he is operating out of his own natural, fallen human resources and not drawing from the genuine Spirit of God. Do not be deceived by any claims that come from this one's mouth while he maintains his ignorance of this central, core element of genuine faith in Christ Jesus.
Let he who has ears hear.
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