The Berean Expositor
Volume 47 - Page 158 of 185
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decide "this is His will for me"; but also, and more importantly, be able to discover the
`sterling worth' of the will of God. The word translated `prove' in the A.V. is one which
can be used of `assaying' metals, proving their value. No one can know how good, how
well pleasing and perfect is the will of God, unless he presents himself a living sacrifice
to God--as the old saying has it, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating", so the proof
of the will of God is in its performance.
Present your bodies a living sacrifice. The word translated `present' in the A.V. is
rendered `yield' in Rom. 6: 13, 19, and in this sense implies that this, also, is the will of
God for the believer. The primary sense is `to stand beside' (hence, to yield), and in the
days in which we live, how essential it is that in yielding to the mercies of God, we also
take our stand beside Him! Unless we are prepared to do this, we shall never be in the
position to `assess' how good, well pleasing and perfect is His will.
In Rom. 12: 1, 2 Paul mentions two aspects of yielding--one negative, `be not
conformed', the other positive `be transformed'.
Be not conformed to this world: more accurately, be not conformed to this age.
Basically the word for age has the significance of a long time, but a time with definite
limits to it, and therefore, according to context, can have the significance of an age, a
generation, or a lifetime, and in the latter sense speaks particularly to us: do not be
conformed to the things of your lifetime. In the course of a lifetime many things change,
and not always for the better. In the course of our own lifetime we have seen many
things change in connection with Christian life and witness, conforming to current
fashions and trends, and know from experience something of the pressures, both
deliberate and incidental, to conform to the things of one's lifetime.
The word `conform' is one which occurs only twice in the whole of the N.T., and is
not found in the LXX version of the O.T. The only other occurrence is I Pet. 1: 14 "As
obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your
ignorance"--not conforming to former desires (the word does not necessarily have the
implications associated with our normal use of `lusts') when we knew no better. Rather,
as Peter continues in the following verse, "as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye
holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, be ye holy; for I am holy". The
basic thought of `holy' is separation--"Be separate from the things of your former
conversation" Peter says in effect, and this is Paul's thought when he exhorts "be not
conformed to the things of your lifetime".
Dr. Bullinger's Critical Lexicon defines "conform": `to form, fashion, or shape one
thing after or like another'. Perhaps we might put it this way: Do not ape the things of
your lifetime. The word also has implications of unreality and pretence, so that we could
also put it "Don't try to be what you are not: don't pretend to be like others", for the
believer is a new creature in Christ; he is not of the world, and he should be like Christ.
The word translated `conform' is a compound one suschematizo, `su' being a form of
sun meaning in conjunction with, jointly, the whole word, therefore, signifying here to