A Biblical Foundation for Service Part 4: Be not conformed to this world…
Be not conformed to this world…Part 1
Can you remember the first time you responded publicly at an invitation? Maybe you were at camp as a teenager. Under deep conviction, you swallowed your pride and sheepishly walked to the front of the church. After trying to pray with people moving, piano playing, and the preacher calling for response, you got up and returned to your seat thinking that your problem was now conquered forever. Sadly, the next day you found that the battle was far from over. The next phrase…be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…sheds light on your experience. There are four questions I want to address in this section: what is the world, why am I not to be conformed to it, what is to change, and how many times do I need to make this decision?
What is the world?
There are many passages that use the term world in the sense that Paul is using it is Romans 12, but focus our understanding we will study four key passages:
Ephesians 2:1-3 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath…
Romans 12:2 …be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…
John 1:10 …the world knew him not.
John 17:14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
From these passages, we can conclude that the world is the following:
- It is a system
- It is organized by Satan and his demons
- This system attacks the mind
- This systems thinking produces a way of living
- This system of thought and its product are in rebellion to God
- This system dominates people through deception
- The deceived do not know God
- The deceived hate God and His people
- The deceived actively oppose God
- The deceived value the temporal in opposition to the spiritual
- The deceived are under God’s wrath
The world is: A system organized by Satan and his demons that attack the mind, producing a way of thinking and living that is in rebellion to God. This system dominates people through deception by blinding them to a correct knowledge of God causing them to hate and actively oppose Him. These deceived people value the temporal in opposition to the spiritual, and if not delivered by God’s grace from this blindness, will bear the full weight of His wrath eternally.
Why am I not to be conformed to it?
This question seems elementary, and it is. The world is in rebellion against God, it opposes Him constantly, it hates you, and God has by the power of the Spirit’s work through the gospel delivered you from its most serious deception; however, there is far more in the balances in light of this passage. The objections that we mentioned in our last post are serious weights that keep many genuine believers from viewing Paul’s command as less than reasonable or logical. The world’s deceptive objections always fly in the face of truth and God’s revealed will. I cannot be conformed to this world in my thinking, or else I will refuse to present my body to God. It will seem unreasonable. If you view this, reasonable service, as anything less that logical, then clearly you are being duped by the world as you read this section. Be not conformed to this world, or you will refuse to present yourself to God’s use.