After a wonderful conversation with my husband about the will of God, and many questions and comments from STCers about God’s will I decided to do a little mini study of my own. Weird enough as it is, there is not much specific about the will of God in the Bible. And by that I mean scripture that says…”and this is the will of God,” only a few times. Makes me wonder why we worry so much about it. Anywho, after doing a search on my wonderful BIBLOS page, I found myself as the good ol Romans 12:1-2. Sad to say I was not excited. I have heard so much about these two chapters that I thought it was dried up. What a sad view of God and HIS word…and boy was I wrong!
Before even discussing the will of God in this passage we see the “therefore” of vs 1, reminding us that the following section of verses are in response to the previous verses. Yes, that’s right, Paul spent 11 chapters before telling the Romans to do anything at all, and before he tells them anything, he reminds them that IN LIGHT OF THE FIRST 11 CHAPTERS consider this. We know that these chapters discuss Christians being dead to sin and alive in Christ, becoming LIVING SACRIFICES by His sacrifice and according to His mercy and grace (see EPH 1, one of my fav chapters in the BIble). He continues and tells the Romans to present their bodies…This word present actually derives from a verb which means “bid to stand, to fix affirm, to establish.” So Paul is saying to affix your bodies, establish yourselves as sacrifices. If something is fixed or established, it is proven. So the premise before knowing God’s will is that as we have received Christ so now we must walk in HIM (Colossians 2:6). We are new creatures, given life, made into a living sacrifice by the works of Christ. NOW establish yourself in THIS. Walk in who you are, prove yourself as this!!
We see in Romans 8:12-13;15 that we are not obligated to the flesh, to live according to its law, but obligated to the Spirit. You have been given the power in the Spirit to put to death the flesh, and that is life! So if this is who we are, what is this transformation Paul is talking about?
John Piper says it perfectly. This transformation is not switching from the to do list of the flesh to the to do list of the Law, but from the flesh to the fruits of the Spirit. But evil continues to threaten the believer, calling for a continued transformation of the mind. Looking back at Romans 1:28 we see the old mind given over to depravity, but we are able to set our minds on the Spirit, giving us life in abundance. Transformation is not legalism, it is a new life. In fact, the word transformation is the same word used of Christ as His transfiguration! He was transformed from an earthly body to a heavenly body, taken up to reside by His father until the time of His return. Likewise, we are to walk away from our earthly body anticipating the kingdom of Christ through our obedience.
So what does this have to do with the will of God (Yes, so I might be a bit long-winded, but this is great!!!) Well, after we see who we WERE, dead in the flesh, and who Christ has made us to be, alive in the Spirit, our minds are transformed and we begin to walk according to our sanctification and acceptance. Then we begin to “prove” what the will of God is.
But even here the emphasis is not on the will of God, for the word prove means to test and examine, scrutinize, recognize as genuine after examination. This same word in used in 1 Cor 3:13 in discussing our works being proven by fire. Our works, like God’s will are tested and tried by faith. We must walk by faith and test the will of God which is somewhat unknown, but dictated by the Word and promises of God-if we seek the Spirit and walk in Him.
We have guidelines from the Word, like 1 thess 4:3;5:18, 1 peter 2:15, Romans 8:17, telling us that the will of God includes that we give thanks, be set apart, suffer and do good. But otherwise, we walk in obedience, as living sacrifices and prove His will by faith.
The will of God is not a mystical thing that we need to walk in fear of. We are redeemed, counted righteous and given life so we can trust the Spirit inside of us to guide us so long as we walk like who we are. I am a human, would I live like a fish? No. I a Christian so I should live like the person Christ has transformed me to be.
This whole thing made God’s will a whole lot less intimidating. Looking at it in light of who we are in Christ takes away the burden that I often carry to be my own Christ. My responsibility is to walk in who I am, but I am only that person because of Christ, not because of works, and nothing I do can change that.
I hope this helps some of you as it did me. If you have any other insight, please share. My prayer is that we will learn this truth and that it will change our lives.