Monthly Archives: June 2022

Hope For America

Hope For America

Pastor Don Carpenter

July 4th / Lamentations 3:21–26

As far back as I can remember, when July 4th rolled around, preachers, including myself, would often lament the sorry state of our nation and wonder out loud how much longer we had before God’s heavy hand of judgement would fall. I was just a boy when the Supreme Court made an unprecedented decision to legislate death from the bench, not only legalizing abortion, but providing legislative guidance on how it should be carried out. Since then millions upon millions of innocent babies were burned, ripped up, mutilated, and even sold for body parts all in the name of freedom. Every year America had more and more innocent blood on her hands. Every year preachers would warn and lament the sorry state of our Great Nation.

Last week, the unthinkable happened. The Supreme Court reversed Roe V Wade, the case that allowed for the silent holocaust of abortion in the United States. I must confess, I never thought that would ever happen. I stand before you rebuked for my lack of faith.  

So does this mean that America has hope now because the court made it possible to stop abortion through legislation? Yes America has hope, but not because of what we have or have not done. America’s hope never did lie in a political party or ideal. It did not rest in the Moral Majority of Jerry Falwell. It did not rest in the Tea Party of the 1990’s. It did not lie in Rush Limbaugh and other conservative outlets. It did not lie in any political party, and it did not lie in Donald Trump or any other politician.

In the midst of national moral failure and impending Judgement, the prophet Jeremiah was meditating and recalled that hope rests in who God is, and those virtues are demonstrated anew and afresh with every sunrise.

As we celebrate the 246th Birthday of the United States of America, let us meditate on the Goodness of God and reflect on the fact that the demonstrations of that goodness are new every morning.

Recall These Truths on Purpose

Lamentations 3:21 KJV

This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.

Charles Spurgeon, the prince of preachers had this to say about the use of memory to fan the flame of hope:

 Memory is very often the servant of despondency. Despairing minds call to remembrance every dark foreboding in the past, and every gloomy feature in the present. Memory stands like a handmaiden, clothed in sackcloth, presenting to her master a cup of mingled gall and wormwood. Like Mercury, she hastes, with winged heel, to gather fresh thorns with which to fill the uneasy pillow, and to bind fresh rods with which to scourge the already bleeding heart. There is, however, no necessity for this. Wisdom will transform memory into an angel of comfort. That same recollection which may in its left hand bring so many dark and gloomy omens, may be trained to bear in its right hand a wealth of hopeful signs. She need not wear a crown of iron, she may encircle her brow with a fillet of gold, all spangled with stars.

J Vernon McGee posed and answered the following question:

 Was Judah’s deliverance from such a fate due to something in them? No, it was all due to the faithfulness of God. He had promised Abraham that He would make a nation come from him—and this was the nation. He had promised Moses that He would put them into the land. He had promised Joshua that He would establish them there. He promised David that there would come One in his line to reign on the throne forever. The prophets all said that God would not utterly destroy this people but that He would judge them for their sin. God is faithful. He has judged them, but He will not utterly destroy them. A faithful remnant has always remained, and ultimately they will become a great nation again.

1 McGee, J. V. (1991). Thru the Bible commentary: The Prophets (Jeremiah/Lamentations) (electronic ed., Vol. 24, p. 206). Thomas Nelson.

God’s Mercies Are New Every Morning

 Lamentations 3:22 (KJV)

 It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed…

Mercy – Hesed

In general, one may identify three basic meanings of the word, which always interact: “strength,” “steadfastness,” and “love.” Any understanding of the word that fails to suggest all three inevitably loses some of its richness. “Love” by itself easily becomes sentimentalized or universalized apart from the covenant. Yet “strength” or “steadfastness” suggests only the fulfillment of a legal or other obligation.

The word refers primarily to mutual and reciprocal rights and obligations between the parties of a relationship (especially Yahweh and Israel). But checed is not only a matter of obligation; it is also of generosity. It is not only a matter of loyalty, but also of mercy. The weaker party seeks the protection and blessing of the patron and protector, but he may not lay absolute claim to it. The stronger party remains committed to his promise, but retains his freedom, especially with regard to the manner in which he will implement those promises. Checed implies personal involvement and commitment in a relationship beyond the rule of law.

1 Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). In Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Vol. 1, p. 142). T. Nelson.

 • We deserve to be consumed for what we have done.

  • Abortion

  • Corruption

  • Violence

  • Perversion

  • Truth Suppression

Every morning America and Americans wake up intact is a new demonstration of God’s mercy. And God Does Not Change!

Malachi 3:6 KJV

For I am the LORD, I change not; Therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

 • The overturn of Roe V Wade is a demonstration of God’s mercy.

God’s Compassions Are New Every Morning.

Lamentations 3:22 KJV

It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

Compassions =

racham (??????, 7355), “to have compassion, be merciful, pity.” The words from this root are found 125 times in all parts of the Old Testament. The root is also found in Assyrian, Ethiopic, and Aramaic.

 The verb is translated “love” once: “I will love thee, O Lord …” (Ps. 18:1). Racham is also used in God’s promise to declare His name to Moses: “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy” (Exod. 33:19). So men pray: “Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies and thy loving-kindnesses” (Ps. 25:6); and Isaiah prophesies messianic restoration: “… With great mercies will I gather thee.… But with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer” (Isa. 54:7–8). This is the heart of salvation by the suffering Servant-Messiah.

1 Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). In Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Vol. 1, p. 43). T. Nelson.

Psalm 78:38 KJV

But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: Yea, many a time turned he his anger away, And did not stir up all his wrath.

God’s Faithfulness Is New Every Morning

Lamentations 3:23 KJV

They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Psalm 89:1 KJV

I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: With my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.

Again Dr. J Vernon McGee is spot on:

 Was Judah’s deliverance from such a fate due to something in them? No, it was all due to the faithfulness of God. He had promised Abraham that He would make a nation come from him—and this was the nation. He had promised Moses that He would put them into the land. He had promised Joshua that He would establish them there. He promised David that there would come One in his line to reign on the throne forever. The prophets all said that God would not utterly destroy this people but that He would judge them for their sin. God is faithful. He has judged them, but He will not utterly destroy them. A faithful remnant has always remained, and ultimately they will become a great nation again.

1 McGee, J. V. (1991). Thru the Bible commentary: The Prophets (Jeremiah/Lamentations) (electronic ed., Vol. 24, p. 206). Thomas Nelson.

God’s Goodness Is New Every Morning

Lamentations 3:24–26 KJV

The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 

The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. 

It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.

Psalm 52:1 KJV

Why boastest thou thyself in mischief, O mighty man? The goodness of God endureth continually.

“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”

 • God Is Good To Those Who Wait For Him.

Psalm 40:1 KJV

I waited patiently for the LORD; And he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

Isaiah 30:18 KJV

And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, And therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: For the LORD is a God of judgment: Blessed are all they that wait for him.

Isaiah 40:31 KJV

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings as eagles; They shall run, and not be weary; And they shall walk, and not faint.

Psalm 27:14 KJV

Wait on the LORD: Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: Wait, I say, on the LORD.

Psalm 37:9 KJV

For evildoers shall be cut off: But those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.

Isaiah 25:9 KJV

And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; We have waited for him, and he will save us: This is the LORD; we have waited for him, We will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

Psalm 37:34 KJV

Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, And he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: When the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.

Roger Simms, hitchhiking his way home, would never forget the date—May 7. His heavy suitcase made Roger tired. He was anxious to take off his army uniform once and for all. Flashing the hitchhiking sigh to the oncoming car, he lost hope when he saw it was a black, sleek, new Cadillac. To his surprise the car stopped. The passenger door opened. He ran toward the car, tossed his suitcase in the back, and thanked the handsome, well-dressed man as he slid into the front seat. “Going home for keeps?” “Sure am,” Roger responded. “Well, you’re in luck if you’re going to Chicago.” “Not quite that far. Do you live in Chicago?” “I have a business there. My name is Hanover.” After talking about many things, Roger, a Christian, felt a compulsion to witness to this fiftyish, apparently successful businessman about Christ. But he kept putting it off, till he realized he was just thirty minutes from his home. It was now or never. So, Roger cleared his throat, “Mr. Hanover, I would like to talk to you about something very important.” He then proceeded to explain the way of salvation, ultimately asking Mr. Hanover if he would like to receive Christ as his Savior. To Roger’s astonishment the Cadillac pulled over to the side of the road. Roger thought he was going to be ejected from the car. But the businessman bowed his head and received Christ, then thanked Roger. “This is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.” Five years went by, Roger married, had a two-year-old boy, and a business of his own. Packing his suitcase for a business trip to Chicago, he found the small, white business card Hanover had given him five years before. In Chicago he looked up Hanover Enterprises. A receptionist told him it was impossible to see Mr. Hanover, but he could see Mrs. Hanover. A little confused as to what was going on, he was ushered into a lovely office and found himself facing a keen-eyed woman in her fifties. She extended her hand. “You knew my husband?” Roger told how her husband had given him a ride when hitchhiking home after the war. “Can you tell me when that was?” “It was May 7, five years ago, the day I was discharged from the army.” “Anything special about that day?” Roger hesitated. Should he mention giving his witness? Since he had come so far, he might as well take the plunge. “Mrs. Hanover, I explained the gospel. He pulled over to the side of the road and wept against the steering wheel. He gave his life to Christ that day.” Explosive sobs shook her body. Getting a grip on herself, she sobbed, “I had prayed for my husband’s salvation for years. I believed God would save him.” “And,” said Roger, “Where is your husband, Mrs. Hanover?” “He’s dead,” she wept, struggling with words. “He was in a car crash after he let you out of the car. He never got home. You see—I thought God had not kept His promise.” Sobbing uncontrollably, she added, “I stopped living for God five years ago because I thought He had not kept His word!”

Is there hope for America? YES! Not because of the politicians, the Court, or even this recent ruling. There is hope for America because there is hope in God. As long as there are believers in the land, God in interested in the land! The same God that delivered a rag tag bunch of colonists from the most powerful army and navy in the world, is still at work today. God still hears and answers prayers. God’s promise to believers still rings true.

2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Hope rests in an unchanging God. His mercies, compassions, faithfulness, and goodness are new every morning. Every day we see we did not get what we deserve, serves as evidence that we are also recipients of what we do not deserve, the abundant Grace of Almighty God. That is why there is Hope for America.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 6:56 PM June 30, 2022.

Conscience Sensitivity

Conscience Sensitivity

Pastor Don Carpenter

A Beautiful Mess / 1 Corinthians 8:1–13

As we continue our study of Paul’s epistle to the struggling church at Corinth, we enter into a new area of concern – the treatment of newborn Christians, or weaker brothers.

So far we have seen Paul rebuke the carnality of division in chapters 1-4. We saw the importance of the church’s testimony and purity in chapters 5-6. We have also learned how men and women are to relate to each other as Christians.

Today we study the subject of disputable matters. We will discover that just because our consciences are free about a matter does not meat that we are automatically free to act on such a matter. Let us learn how to treat the weaker brother, or the one with more convictions that you have.

In the present passage, he uses a much simpler argument. He says that, in Corinth, there were people who all their lives, up until now, had really believed in the gods of Greece and Rome; and they could not quite rid themselves of a lingering belief that an idol really was something, although it was a false something. Whenever they ate meat offered to idols, they had qualms of conscience. They could not help it; instinctively they felt that it was wrong. So, Paul argues that, if you say that there is absolutely no harm in eating meat offered to idols, you are really hurting and bewildering the conscience of these people who had a simpler view of the situation. His ?nal argument is that, even if a thing is harmless for you, when it hurts someone else, it must be given up, for Christians must never do anything which causes someone else to stumble.1

1 Barclay, W. (2002). The Letters to the Corinthians (3rd ed., p. 89). Westminster John Knox Press.

We must have the right attitude

Meat was offered to idols before being served in temples’ dining halls (often as part of worship) or being used for communal meals; some of the meat served at the marketplace had been offered to idols. One who ate in a temple would know the source of the meat; one who ate at a pagan friend’s home could never be certain. In pagan cities with large Jewish populations, Jews normally had their own markets.

Palestinian Jewish teachers debated what to do in many cases of uncertainty (such as untithed food), but would never have taken a chance on food that might have been offered to an idol. They believed that Jews outside Palestine unwittingly compromised with idolatry when invited to pagans’ banquets for their sons, even if they brought their own food. Following such teachings strictly (as some did) would have greatly circumscribed their relationships with pagan colleagues. The matter was more troubling for Christians converted from pagan backgrounds: could they meet over lunch with business associates or fellow members of their trade guild, or attend a reception in a temple for a relative’s wedding?

In chapters 8–10, Paul works on an elaborate compromise between two factions in the Corinthian church. The more educated and socially elite group, who unlike the poor ate meat regularly and not just when it was doled out at pagan festivals, had well-to-do friends who would serve meat. They probably represent the liberal faction, who consider themselves “strong” and the socially lower group “weak.”1

1 Keener, C. S. (1993). The IVP Bible background commentary: New Testament (1 Co 8:1–13). InterVarsity Press.

1 Corinthians 8:1–3 KJV
Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.

But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

A. Knowledge is not enough

1 Corinthians 6:12 KJV
All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

Likely another slogan used by the Corinthians (compare 6:12; 7:1). This knowledge may refer to general knowledge about idols or to knowledge given by the Spirit. They used this knowledge to justify consuming meat sacrificed to idols.1

1 Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., Whitehead, M. M., Grigoni, M. R., & Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (1 Co 8:1). Lexham Press.

B. Knowledge inflates the ego

8:2 If anyone thinks he knows anything Some Corinthian believers assumed that knowledge was the true sign of spirituality. They did not understand that knowledge without love indicates a lack of knowledge.1

1 Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., Whitehead, M. M., Grigoni, M. R., & Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (1 Co 8:2). Lexham Press.

C. Ego exposes one’s lack of real knowledge

D. Love for God helps put everything into perspective

Ephesians 4:15 KJV
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

It has well been said, “Truth without love is brutality, but love without truth is hypocrisy.” Knowledge is power and it must be used in love. But love must always be controlled by knowledge (see Paul’s prayer in Phil. 1:9–11). The strong believers in the church had knowledge, but they were not using their knowledge in love. Instead of building up the weak saints, the strong Christians were only puffing up themselves1

1 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 595). Victor Books.

There are some things many Christians know

A. About other so-called gods

1 Corinthians 8:4–6 KJV
As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.

For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)

But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

B. About inanimate objects

1 Corinthians 8:8 KJV
But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.

We must not cause the weaker brother to stumble

. The word conscience simply means “to know with,” and it is used thirty-two times in the New Testament. Conscience is that internal court where our actions are judged and are either approved or condemned (Rom. 2:14–15). Conscience is not the law; it bears witness to God’s moral law. But the important thing is this: conscience depends on knowledge. The more spiritual knowledge we know and act on, the stronger the conscience will become.1

1 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 595). Victor Books.

A. There are those who have weak consciences

1 Corinthians 8:7 KJV
Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.

B. “Weak” in this passage is not necessarily inferior, but rather more tender

Some Christians have weak consciences because they have been saved only a short time and have not had opportunity to grow. Like little babes in the home, they must be guarded carefully. Other saints have weak consciences because they will not grow. They ignore their Bibles and Christian fellowship and remain in a state of infancy (1 Cor. 3:1–4; Heb. 5:11–14). But some believers remain weak because they are afraid of freedom. They are like a child old enough to go to school, who is afraid to leave home and must be taken to school each day.

The conscience of a weak Christian is easily defiled (1 Cor. 8:7), wounded (1 Cor. 8:12), and offended (1 Cor. 8:13). For this reason, the stronger saints must defer to the weaker saints and do nothing that would harm them. It might not harm the mature saint to share a feast in an idolatrous temple, but it might harm his weaker brother. First Corinthians 8:10 warns that the immature believer might decide to imitate his stronger brother and thus be led into sin.1

1 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 595). Victor Books.

C. These tender Christians can be stumbled by your actions

1 Corinthians 8:9–10 KJV
But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.

For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;

  1. Your actions can cause them to sin against their own consciences

James 4:17 – Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

Romans 14:23 – And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

  1. Tender Christians can have their lives destroyed by a cascading spiral into sin

1 Corinthians 8:11 KJV
And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?

  1. If you cause a weaker brother to stumble, you sin against Christ

1 Corinthians 8:12 KJV
But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.

  1. It is better to give up what is lawful than to cause someone to stumble

1 Corinthians 8:13 KJV
Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.

It is important to note that the stronger believer defers to the weaker believer in love only that he might help him to mature. He does not “pamper” him; he seeks to edify him, to help him grow. Otherwise, both will become weak.

We are free in Christ, but we must take care that our spiritual knowledge is tempered by love, and that we do not tempt the weaker Christian to run ahead of his conscience. Where knowledge is balanced by love, the strong Christian will have a ministry to the weak Christian, and the weak Christian will grow and become strong.1

1 Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 596). Victor Books.

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 12:35 PM June 9, 2022.

Be Transformed

Be Transformed

Pastor Don Carpenter

COLLIDE – Prepare for Impact (sermon central) / Romans 12:2

When you first met “J.E.”, you could tell he was a very angry man. In fact, at age 54 he’d been an angry person for many years. In a Bible study that night, many questions had been raised in his mind. Talking with the leader afterward, J.E. said, “I asked Jesus to be my Savior when I was 9 years old. But nobody ever taught me about who I am in Christ, that I’m accepted by God or that Christ lives in me.”

“What were you taught?” the Bible study leader asked.” “Where I grew up, we heard all the time about how perfect Christ was and about how we should learn to live like Him – if we didn’t, God would judge us.” J.E. went on, “It didn’t take me long, I’d say in my teen years, to figure out that I was never going to cut it. So I gave up trying. I guess I’ve been living in guilt and running from God ever since. Off and on through the years I tried to go back to church, but I just got more guilt piled on top of me. I’ve sat under so many teachers who made me fearful that I was afraid to turn in any direction because God was going to get me. This is the first Bible study I’ve ever attended that gave me any hope” J.E. concluded.

At that point, J.E. was 54 years old. That means, even though he had been born again through trusting Jesus Christ at a young age, he had spent at least 35 years running away from God. Tragically, his experience isn’t that unusual. Thousands of people who sincerely responded to the gospel message they were taught spend years thrashing around trying to make it work, but without success. In fact, I believe the reason so many Christians struggle in living the Christian life is their lack of understanding their Identity in Christ.

(This illustration came from the book “Growing in Grace” by Bob George pages 59-60)

We will never be able to have a lasting impact for Christ on the world around us until we learn to embrace the change for which we have been predestinated.

Romans 8:29 KJV

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

We are continuing our series we started last week called, “Collide.” We kicked things off by looking into the biblical principle of standing firm in our faith. The world attempts to offer us a different set of values, one that includes things that are initially seductive, but ultimately inconsistent and difficult to stand on.

So how do we pursue the things of Christ? We allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit into all truth. When we do, we will start to experience the abundant life Christ came to give us. But how do we keep that experience going day to day? I believe God desires three things from us as we move forward in life after we lay the foundation. The first one I want us to discuss today: being transformed.

Romans 12:2 KJV

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.

Within this one verse, I believe Paul gives us an equation. First, there is a subtraction, then an addition, and finally an outcome. I want us to break this down together to find the keys to transformation in our lives.

Reject Conformity to this World.

1 Peter 1:14 KJV

As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

“Conformed” is sunsch?matiz? (????????????). Sch?matiz? (?????????) refers to the act of an individual assuming an outward expression that does not come from within him, nor is it representative of his inner heart life. The prefixed preposition sun (???) adds to the meaning of the verb the idea of assuming an expression that is patterned after some definite thing. The verb is present imperative with m? (??), the negative, which construction forbids the continuance of an action already going on. Paul exhorts the saints, “Stop assuming an outward expression which is patterned after this world, an expression which does not come from, nor is it representative of what you are in your inner being as a regenerated child of God.” One could translate, “Stop masquerading in the habiliments of this world, its mannerisms, speech expressions, styles, habits.”

Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Ro 12:2). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

1 John 2:15–17 KJV

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

The word “world” is ai?n (????), which Trench defines as follows: “All that floating mass of thoughts, opinions, maxims, speculations, hopes, impulses, aims, aspirations, at any time current in the world, which it may be impossible to seize and accurately define, but which constitute a most real and effective power, being the moral, or immoral atmosphere which at every moment of our lives we inhale, again inevitably to exhale,—all this is included in the ai?n (????) (age), which is, as Bengel has expressed it, the subtle informing spirit of the kosmos (??????) or world of men who are living alienated and apart from God.” The Germans have a word for it, the zeitgeist or spirit of the age. This masquerade costume which saints sometimes put on, hides the Lord Jesus living in the heart of the Christian, and is an opaque covering through which the Holy Spirit cannot radiate the beauty of the Lord Jesus. The world says to that kind of a saint, “The modernism of your appearance nullifies the fundamentalism of your doctrine.”

Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Ro 12:2). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

Embrace Transformation to Christ’s Image

Change from the Inside Out

Instead of masquerading in the habiliments of this age, Paul exhorts the saints to be transformed. The word is metamorphoomai (?????????????), which speaks of the act of a person changing his outward expression from that which he has to a different one, an expression which comes from and is representative of his inner being. The word is used in Matthew 17:2 where it is translated “transfigured.” The translation could read, “The manner of His outward expression was changed before them, and His face shone as the sun, and His clothing was white as the light.” The usual manner of our Lord’s outward expression during His humiliation was that of the Man Christ Jesus, a Man of sorrows and of grief, the itinerant preacher and teacher from Nazareth dressed in the homespun of a Galilean peasant. But here, our Lord allows the glory of the essence of His deity that came from His inner being as deity and was representative of Him as such, to shine through His human body. This radiance caused His face to shine and His garments to appear white as the sun.

Paul therefore says in effect to the saints, “Change your outward expression from that which you had before salvation, an expression which came from your totally depraved nature and was representative of it, to an expression which comes from your regenerated inner being and is representative of it.”

Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Ro 12:2). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

This Change Involves Constant Renewal of the Mind.

 Romans 12:2 (KJV)

 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…

Philippians 2:5 KJV

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

The saint is to do this by the renewing of his mind. “Renewing” is anakain?sis (???????????), which Trench defines as “the gradual conforming of the man more and more to that new spiritual world into which he has been introduced, and in which he now lives and moves; the restoration of the divine image; and in all this so far from being passive, he must be a fellow-worker with God.” Thayer defines the word, “a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better.” That is, the change of outward expression is dependent upon the renovation, the complete change for the better of the believer’s mental process. This is accomplished through the ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit, who when definitely, and intelligently, and habitually yielded to puts sin out of the believer’s life and produces His own fruit. He does that by controlling the mental processes of the believer. It is the prescription of the apostle. “Habitually be ordering your behavior within the sphere and by means of the Spirit, and you will positively not fulfil the desire of the flesh (evil nature)” (Gal. 5:16)

Galatians 5:16 KJV

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Oil was discovered on some Oklahoma property belonging to an elderly Indian. All his life he had been poverty stricken, just eking out a living. But the discovery of oil had suddenly made him a very wealthy man. The first thing he bought was a very big Cadillac. He wanted the longest car in the county, so he added four spare tires on the trunk. He would dress up in his new clothes and everyday he would take his Cadillac into the hot dusty little town nearby. He wanted to see everyone and he wanted everyone to see him. He was a friendly old soul. so when he was riding through town he would turn in all directions to wave at all the people as he rolled by. Interesting enough, he never ran into anybody nor into anything. The reason for this was that directly in front of that big beautiful auto was two horses harnessed to it and pulling it. There was nothing wrong with the car’s engine. It was because the old Indian had never learned to drive it. He had never learned how to insert the key into the ignition switch and turn it on. Under the hood was 100 plus horsepower ready and willing and raring to go, but the old Indian was content to use the two horsepower hooked to the front of the car.

The devil gets really happy (or as happy as a devil can get) when he can keep the believer chugging along in their Christian life on a two horse power faith level. At that rate, the spiritual progress is slowed down to a crawl, and this is what the devil is after in his warfare with us.

We need to be constantly meditating, not on our condemned state or on fear of condemnation, but of who we are in Christ.

2 Peter 1:3–4 KJV

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Prove the Perfection of God’s Will

 Romans 12:2 (KJV)

 … that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

John 7:17 KJV

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

“Prove” is dokimaz? (????????), “to put to the test for the purpose of approving, and finding that the thing tested meets the specifications laid down, to put one’s approval upon it.” As a result of the Spirit’s control of the mental processes of the saint, the latter is enabled to put his life to the test for the purpose of approving it, the specifications being that it conform to the Word of God, and thus, experiencing what obedience is to the Word, and finding out what it feels like to have the Word saturate and control the life, he sees that it really is the Word of God and puts his approval upon it. Our Lord Jesus was speaking of the same thing when He said, “If any man will to do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17). “Perfect” is teleios (???????), “brought to its end, finished, wanting nothing necessary to completeness.”

Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader

As a Christian is transformed in his mind and is made more like Christ, he comes to approve and desire God’s will, not his own will for his life. Then he discovers that God’s will is what is good for him, and that it pleases God, and is complete in every way. It is all he needs. But only by being renewed spiritually can a believer ascertain, do, and enjoy the will of God.

Witmer, J. A. (1985). Romans. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 488). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

The world can easily press us into their mold of being discouraged, defeated and living in fear of a God we imagine hates us. If you have trusted Jesus as Savior, things are different. Do not be conformed into the selfish and fearful way of the world. Be transformed from the inside out. You are already a new creature and God is continuing that work in you every day. Renew your mind with that truth every day!

A seminary professor was vacationing with his wife in Gatlinburg, TN. One morning, they were eating breakfast at a little restaurant, hoping to enjoy a quiet, family meal. While they were waiting for their food, they noticed a distinguished looking, white-haired man moving from table to table, visiting with the guests. The professor leaned over and whispered to his wife, “I hope he doesn’t come over here.” But sure enough, the man did come over to their table.

“Where are you folks from?” he asked in a friendly voice.

“Oklahoma,” they answered.

“Great to have you here in Tennessee,” the stranger said. “What do you do for a living?”

“I teach at a seminary,” he replied.

“Oh, so you teach preachers how to preach, do you? Well, I’ve got a really great story for you.” And with that, the gentleman pulled up a chair and sat down at the table with the couple .

The professor groaned and thought to himself, “Great … Just what I need … another preacher story!”

The man started, “See that mountain over there? (pointing out the restaurant window). Not far from the base of that mountain, there was a boy born to an unwed mother. He had a hard time growing up, because every place he went, he was always asked the same question, ’Hey boy, Who’s your daddy?’ Whether he was at school, in the grocery store or drug store, people would ask the same question, ’Who’s your daddy?’

He would hide at recess and lunchtime from other students. He would avoid going in to stores because that question hurt him so bad.

“When he was about 12 years old, a new preacher came to his church. He would always go in late and slip out early to avoid hearing the question, ’Who’s your daddy?’ But one day, the new preacher said the benediction so fast he got caught and had to walk out with the crowd.

Just about the time he got to the back door, the new preacher, not knowing anything about him, put his hand on his shoulder and asked him, Son, who’s your daddy?

The whole church got deathly quiet. He could feel every eye in the church looking at him. Now everyone would finally know the answer to the question, ’Who’s your daddy?’

“This new preacher, though, sensed the situation around him and using discernment that only the Holy Spirit could give, said the following to that scared little boy … “Wait a minute! I know who you are. I see the family resemblance now. You are a child of God. “

With that he patted the boy on his shoulder and said, “Boy, you’ve got a great inheritance. Go and claim it.”

“With that, the boy smiled for the first time in a long time and walked out the door a changed person. He was never the same again. Whenever anybody asked him, ’Who’s your Daddy?’ he’d just tell them, ’I’m a Child of God.’”

The distinguished! gentleman got up from the table and said, “Isn’t that a great story?”

The professor responded that it really was a great story!

As the man turned to leave, he said, “You know, if that new preacher hadn’t told me that I was one of God’s children, I probably never would have amounted to anything!” And he walked away.

The seminary professor and his wife were stunned. He called the waitress over & asked her, “Do you know who that man was who just left that was sitting at our table?”

The waitress grinned and said, “Of course. Everybody here knows him. That’s Ben Hooper. He’s the former governor of Tennessee!”

Meditate on this truth and be transformed! 

Exported from Logos Bible Software, 4:19 PM June 8, 2022.