Monday, November 16, 2020

The Battle with the World

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing, and perfect will" (Romans 12:2).

The Christian has three principal enemies: the world, the flesh, and the devil. Today we examine briefly the first of these. In the New Testament, the word world is used sometimes simply to refer to the earth as opposed to heaven. In this sense, there is nothing bad about the world. The New Testament also, however, uses world in a moral sense. We see this in John 17:14, where Jesus tells the Father that the “world” hates believers. The world is that sphere or group of people that has no affection for the things of God. The world, in this sense, exists in tension and fights against the kingdom of God.

Jesus goes on to say, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one” (John 17:15). It is most important to realize that Jesus does not call us to segregate ourselves from the present evil age. This has been a continuing problem in the history of the church, as some Christians have made it a policy to separate themselves from anything that in the least smacks of worldliness. Rather than being a light in the darkness, they hide their light under a bushel.

One of the doctrines that emerged among the Pharisees was the doctrine of salvation by segregation. For this reason, the Pharisees were incensed when Jesus “defiled” Himself by spending time with publicans and sinners. They failed to realize that the world is the arena in which God is working to save sinners. Christians must be involved with the people of the world in order to reach them.

How do we do this? By being in the world but not of it. Paul wrote in Romans 12:2 that we are not to be conformed to the world but to be transformed by the Scriptures. As the Scriptures enter our minds, and as we appropriate their promises and commands by faith and prayer, we are transformed. We as transformed people are then able to shine forth as we walk and work in this world, and we are able to be a transforming influence in it.

We often seem to lack progress in our struggle with sin. However, when Christ returns, that transformation will be complete. Before He comes, it is our job to be a transforming influence wherever we may be called.

We must be transformed by renewing our minds by means of a prayer-filled study of God’s Word. Where can you put the Bible into practice? Think about your work and walk in the world today and see where you can shine as a transformer.