God’s will is shrouded in a mist of unknowingness for believers and randomness for non-believers. The believer’s favorite verse to reinforce this perspective is, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” taken from Isa55:8. That was true in the Old Covenant because man does not have the Holy Spirit indwelling with their spirit in the body that is the (temporary) temple of God (1Co6:19). It is temporary because the true temple of God is the body of Christ (John2:19).
Holy Spirit In-dwelling Man
The indwelling of the Holy Spirit holds a significant advantage over those that lived under the Old Testament. It gives believers in Christ access to the mind of God (1Co2:11-12).
This post reflects on how the man in the new covenant engages with God’s will and God’s means to support this engagement.
God’s Will – Rules of Engagement
Transformed by the Renewal of the Mind
Rom12:2- “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed (metamorphoō) by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Rom12:2 offers guidance to the new covenant believer on how to engage with God’s will. This engagement is about testing God’s will for its veracity, confirmation, and clarity. The means to perform this test is with a transformed mind as opposed to a carnal mind.
The evidence of a transformed mind is a spirit-led life (Rom12:1 offers this context) that honors the physical body as holy. There is still the question, how to develop a transformed mind? 2Co3:18 offers a clue because the same word transformed (metamorphoō) is used in this verse.
2Co3:18- “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed (metamorphoō) into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
God Tearing the Veil Separating Man and God
Two events underpin the mind transformation.
- The first event is God’s prerogative. God has already accomplished this, where the face is already unveiled (katoptrizō). This veil is the barrier of the Law of the Old Covenant that separates man and God due to sin. God had removed this veil by the physical tearing of the veil between the holy place and holy of holies (Mat27:51) when Jesus paid the price for sin on the cross.
It is noteworthy that the Greek word “unveiled” is a participle verb in the perfect passive tense, which means the unveiling has been accomplished in the past and still ongoing with its effects felt in the present. God is the initiator of this unveiling experience where the man takes the passive role.
This event describes the spiritual justification apart from works (Jesus’ death fulfilled the original unveiling, Eph2:8-9) and sanctification by the Spirit of God (where the Spirit of God continues to unveil the face) when beholding as in the mirror, which brings us to the 2nd event.
- The second event is man’s prerogative experienced in the present. This event involves an active decision to behold Christ’s glory. Beholding (katoptrizō) is used only once in the bible in this verse. This Greek word is a participle verb with the present tense with a middle voice. This beholding is ongoing in the present with the man as the agent of this action of beholding. This event appears to describe the soul sanctification experience.
From above, one can conclude that beholding Christ’s glory is the key to the mind transformation that equips one to test God’s will. Next, it is needful to expand the understanding of the glory that this beholding is focusing on.
What is this glory that is scripture referring to here? The glory of Christ is the suffering of Christ. Jesus referred to His crucifixion ordeal as glory (John12:23). Beholding Christ’s glory can be done in prayer, expressing gratitude/thanksgiving from the depths of an undeserving soul saved by Jesus suffering and death on the cross. This remembrance becomes significant, especially when partaking the Holy Communion elements and talking about the sufferings of Christ, for such experiences are re-enacting the sufferings of Christ.
The unfortunate fact is that many Christians fall prey to their flesh and test God with a carnal mind. God’s response – I AM NOT MOCKED (Gal6:7-8). John defines the carnal mind as the lust of the eye, lust of the flesh, and life pride in 1John2:16. This carnality’s most common experience is living and hanging on to this life on earth as if there no God to account for, and there is no afterlife. A transformed mind that test’s God’s will not settle for such outcomes.
In-summary, testing God’s will prerequisites a transformed mind that knows Christ has reconciled man with God and continuously nurtures the mind with the knowledge of Christ’s suffering love for man’s salvation.