May 3, 2014 by directorfsm
That Ye may Prove
Rom 12:2 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.
I remember in the days of my youth trying to prove I was big enough to hang with the older guys. This usually resulted in my getting totally embarrassed or having some serious bumps and bruises. I was attempting to “prove” I was grown up, bigger than I really was, and therefore deserved something, in this case hanging with the big guys.
The Apostle Paul is not asking us to “prove” anything is that context. We have nothing to test only to proclaim. No here we are by our actions (words and deeds) “proving” (To ascertain the genuineness or validity of; to verify; as, to prove a will) God’s will.
Amplified 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].
Let’s break it down some:
The word prove:
In Greek Dokimazo: to test, examine, prove, scrutinize (to see whether a thing is genuine or not), as metals to recognize as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy
Calvin: As all were not true prophets, the Apostle here declares that they ought to have been examined and tried. And he addresses not only the whole Church, but also every one of the faithful.
a. Who is proving? ALL BELIEVERS SERVING GOD and as believers we are to prove or test all things.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible Prove all things,…. That are said by the prophets, all the doctrines which they deliver; hear them, though they have not the gift of tongues, and all desirable advantages; do not reject them on that account, and refuse to hear them, for so, many useful men may be laid aside, and the Spirit of God in them be quenched; try their gifts, and attend to their doctrines, yet do not implicitly believe everything they say, but examine them according to the word of God the test and standard of truth; search the Scriptures, whether the things they say are true or not. Not openly erroneous persons, and known heretics, are to be heard and attended on, but the ministers of the word, or such who are said to have a gift of prophesying; these should make use of it, and the church should try and judge their gift, and accordingly encourage or discourage; and also their doctrines, and if false reject them, and if true receive them.
Hold fast that which is good; honest, pleasant, profitable, and agreeable to sound doctrine, to the analogy of faith, and the Scriptures of truth, and is useful and edifying, instructive both as to principle and practice; such should be held fast, that no man take it away; and be retained, though a majority may be against it, for the multitude is not always on the side of truth; and though it may be rejected by men of learning and wealth, as Christ and his doctrines were rejected by the Scribes and Pharisees, and rulers of the people; and though it may be reproached as a novel, upstart notion, or a licentious one, since these were charges against the doctrine of Christ, and his apostles; and though it may be attended with affliction and persecution, yet none of these things should move from it, or cause to let it go
Proving all things is especially true for your calling. I think God wants me… is no substitute for God has clearly called me to …
b. What is being proved? That which is GOOD, acceptable, and perfect
Let us look at some “good” things ALL believers will do
Profess God, Christ and the Holy Spirit Ps 14:1The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. Notice apart from God there is nothing “GOOD”. All works done by unbelievers are corrupt.
Helps others, Prov 3:27 Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.
Submits to authority Rom 13:1-4 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. The caution in this verse is that those in authority doing antichrist things, anti-biblical things are not to be obeyed.
The good will of God will always agree with scripture.
Now let’s look at some acceptable things:
Our words and deeds must be pleasing to God PS 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
Proclaiming the Good News is acceptable Is 61:1-2 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
Righteous work that is not controversial is acceptable Rom 14:16-18 Let not then your good be evil spoken of: 17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. 18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
Now let’s look at some perfect things:
God’s Law is perfect Ps 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
Displaying God’s Perfect love Matt 5:43-48 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Perfection is only obtainable in Christ Col 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
c. Why are we proving it? To demonstrate by our conversation (life) the will of God to unbelievers, fellow believers and ourselves.
The last point I wish to make today deals with God’s will. The often asked question is “How can I know what God’s will for my life is”? Before one can begin to answer that we must understand God’s will.
The following from R.C. Sproul on the will of God taken from Essential Truths of the Christian Faith
1. The three meanings of the will of God:
(a) Sovereign decretive (directive) will, the will by which God brings to pass
whatsoever He decrees. This is hidden to us until it happens.
(b) Preceptive will is God’s revealed law or commandments, which we have the power but not the right to break.
(c) Will of disposition describes God’s attitude or disposition. It reveals
what is pleasing to Him.
Doris Day sang a popular song entitled “Que Sera, Sera,” “What will be, will be.” At first glance this theme communicates a kind of fatalism that is depressing. Islamic theology frequently says of specific events, “It is the will of Allah.”
The Bible is deeply concerned about the will of God—His sovereign authority over His creation and everything in it. When we speak about God’s will we do so in at least three different ways. The broader concept is known as God’s decretive, sovereign, or hidden will. By this, theologians refer to the will of God by which He sovereignly ordains everything that comes to pass. Because God is sovereign and His will can never be frustrated, we can be sure that nothing happens over which He is not in control. He at least must “permit” whatever happens to happen. Yet even when God passively permits things to happen, He chooses to permit them in that He always has the power and right to intervene and prevent the actions and events of this world. Insofar as He lets things happen, He has “willed” them in this certain sense.
Though God’s sovereign will is often hidden from us until after it comes to pass, there is one aspect of His will that is plain to us—His preceptive will. Here God reveals His will through His holy law. For example, it is the will of God that we do not steal; that we love our enemies; that we repent; that we be holy. This aspect of God’s will is revealed in His Word as well as in our conscience, by which God has written His moral law upon our heart.
His laws, whether they be found in the Scripture or in the heart, are binding. We have no authority to violate this will. We have the power or ability to thwart the preceptive will of God, though never the right to do so. Nor can we excuse ourselves for sinning by saying, “Que sera, sera.” It may be God’s sovereign or hidden will that we be “permitted” to sin, as he brings His sovereign will to pass even through and by means of the sinful acts of people. God ordained that Jesus be betrayed by the instrument of Judas’s treachery. Yet this makes Judas’s sin no less evil or treacherous. When God “permits” us to break His preceptive will, it is not to be understood as permission in the moral sense of His granting us a moral right. His permission gives us the power, but not the right to sin.
The third way the Bible speaks of the will of God is with respect to God’s will of disposition. This will describes God’s attitude. It defines what is pleasing to Him. For example, God takes no delight in the death of the wicked, yet He most surely wills or decrees the death of the wicked. God’s ultimate delight is in His own holiness and righteousness. When He judges the world, He delights in the vindication of His own righteousness and justice, yet He is not gleeful in a vindictive sense toward those who receive His judgment. God is pleased when we find our pleasure in obedience. He is sorely displeased when we are disobedient.
Many Christians become preoccupied or even obsessed with finding the “will” of God for their lives. If the will we are seeking is His secret, hidden, or decretive will, then our quest is a fool’s errand. The secret counsel of God is His secret. He has not been pleased to make it known to us. Far from being a mark of spirituality, the quest for God’s secret will is an unwarranted invasion of God’s privacy. God’s secret counsel is none of our business. This is partly why the Bible takes such a negative view of fortune-telling, necromancy, and other forms of prohibited practices.
We would be wise to follow the counsel of John Calvin when he said, “When God closes His holy mouth, I will desist from inquiry.” The true mark of spirituality is seen in those seeking to know the will of God that is revealed in His preceptive will. It is the godly person who meditates on God’s law day and night. While we seek to be “led” by the Holy Spirit, it is vital to remember that the Holy Spirit is primarily leading us into righteousness. We are called to live our lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. It is His revealed will that is our business, indeed, the chief business of our lives.
Recapping this series we find the Apostle Paul (as should all reputable teachers of God’s word) begging the reader to present themselves holy and acceptable to God. This can only be accomplished by our determined effort to not be like the world around us. But by a total renovation of our minds; we focusing on the things of God; can by our very lives prove the good, acceptable and perfect will of God to all.