Romans 12:2b, “that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
I ashamed to say that my blog postings have been very sporadic indeed and for that I apologize. It has been well over a month since I last posted. Talk about slacking off!
The last time I posted we were in Romans 12:1-2 and we were looking at the marks of genuine repentance. You will remember at the time that I mentioned that I had shared some of this with our Calvary Baptist School students during chapel time. My concern in doing this was my deep conviction about the lost state of much of the church in America today. I have come to believe, from experience unfortunatly, that there are many, many people in churches; attending church, tithing, helping, serving, and yes even preaching who are lost. They do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, they think they do but they don’t. What has brought me to this highly offensive conclusion is that in many churches what passes for “Christian” living is not Biblical at all. Most churches and most people who attend church are far more concerned with self, with living for self, and for having their needs met, than they are with the God of the Bible.
With this in mind I spent some time with our students in chapel at the end of the school year asking the question: “How do I know I am a Christian?” To answer that question I focused on Romans 12 and also on the book of 1 John. This shouldn’t be a difficult question to answer but in the church today the answer to that question is too often grounded in emotion, experientialism, personal opinion, and tradition; but not in the Word of God. There is so much confusion in the church today, a self-imposed confusion I might add, is it any wonder then that people question what it really means to be saved?
So we turn, as we always do, to the Bible to find the answer to life’s questions. Before my hiatus we learned here in Romans 12:1-2 that the first mark of genuine repentance is that we give ourselves to God. We give God our soul; we turn it over to Him. The second mark is that we give our bodies to Him as “a living sacrifice.” The third mark then is that we give Him our minds, we no longer focus on the things of the world but now we focus our minds on the things that glorify and honor Him.
The fourth mark, which we come to today, is really sort of an implied mark of genuine repentance; we give our wills over to Him. “You may discern” is what is called a purpose/result phrase. In other words when a person becomes a believer, their mind is then “transformed.” This means that their ability to think, their ability to reason morally, and their spiritual understanding are able to properly assess everything and to accept “what is the will of God, what is good, and acceptable and perfect.”
You see it is not our natural inclination to understand and to accept what is “good and acceptable and perfect.” Paul writes “what is good” which very simply means that the man or woman who has been saved, has then had their mind “transformed” is then going to innately know what is “good.” The person who has had their mind “transformed” by God is going to know what is “acceptable” to God and what is “perfect” in the eyes of God.
A “transformed” mind then will produce a “transformed” will. This means that the person who is genuinely saved will then, by the power of the Holy Spirit, eagerly put aside all of their own plans and desires and will completely accept God’s plans and desires, no matter what the cost. This is a continual, lifelong process. It involves a God given, strong desire to know God more and more each day, and to accept and follow His purpose for our lives.
The product of this “transformed” mind is a “transformed” life that does the things which God has declared to be holy, righteous, perfect, acceptable, and good. This is what genuine repentance looks like.