Friday, February 2, 2018

Grow Up in God

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;  And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;  And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  1 Peter 1:5-7

Spiritual maturity helps us maintain God's standard and also helps us achieve emotional maturity. If we lack emotional maturity, important decisions may be made in a fit of anger, self-pity, doubt and delusion. This can have disastrous long-range results.

As we mature spiritually we will develop the "Fruit of the Holy Spirit" which is evidence of spiritual maturity that results in emotional maturity:  

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23

. . . But be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. . .  Romans 12:2

Spiritual maturity leads finally to transformation, another prerequisite that enables us to know the voice of God. What natural man (human nature) desires to do and what God desires for our life is different. This creates a conflict between the flesh (natural man) and the spirit (spiritual man).

Apostle Paul wrote of this conflict:  

For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things ye would.  Galatians 5:17

Apostle Paul recognized there is a continuing struggle of the flesh against the spirit in matters relating to the fulfilling of God's will. He identified this struggle as taking place in the mind:

But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
  Romans 7:23

Because of this he urged:  

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.  (Romans 12:1-2)

The word "beseech" means to plead, implore, or beg. The phrase "present your bodies a living sacrifice" indicates an unreserved surrender to God.

To offer something for a sacrifice means to give it up completely. In the Old Testament when a sacrifice was made, it was given completely to God to be burned with fire, consumed by the priest, or both, as the law indicated. The giver of the sacrifice had no further claim to it.

So it must be in our surrender to God. The natural man, the old self nature, must die to the world and the flesh. This is what is meant by "transformation." It is being changed into another image patterned after the Lord Jesus Christ:  

I am crucified with Christ.  Galatians 2:20

They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh.  Galatians 5:24

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.   1 Corinthians 9:27

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.  Romans 6:12

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.  (2 Corinthians 7:1)

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin.  (Romans 6:11)

Actual physical crucifixion, as Jesus experienced, is an unnatural death. There is significance in the fact that the death prescribed for the self-nature is crucifixion. The fleshly nature of man will never die a natural death. It will not die voluntarily. It must be put to death by force just as in actual crucifixion in the natural world.

As Apostle Paul lets us know, such surrender precedes the knowledge of God's will. If we want to know God's voice and His will, we must first surrender. We often want to reverse the process. We want to know His will, then decide if we will surrender to it. But our ways are not God's ways and He says through His word to surrender by the transforming of our minds first and then we will come to know His good, acceptable and perfect will.  

The reason we are hesitant about surrender is because we do not understand God's will is always , good, acceptable and perfect. We are afraid to surrender to God totally because we have not grasped this basic concept; this declaration from God towards us:   

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

To be in God's divine will, we must totally surrender to Him. 

Biblical Studies


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