Not Conformed but Transformed
When we read what Paul wrote, that a believer is not to be conformed or fashioned to this world or the character of this age (ROMANS 12:2), we sense an effort by this world to fashion us. There is a subtle but relentless attempt to make us like them. If we allow it, if we give in, if we resist not, then all chance to be transformed can be lost. All hope of knowing HIS good and acceptable and perfect may no doubt then be set aside and postponed.
But as we read and obey from the heart HIS truth, only then do we begin to see beneath the vale. Then we can walk, not as others walk, but then we can walk worthy of our calling. Not continuing in the vanity of the mind but renewed in humility of mind. Then our understanding is not darkened as is theirs but enlightened as is His. Then we are not "alienated from the life of GOD" but rather we become "imitators of GOD", no longer children of wrath but now children of light.
JOHN 14:23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep [attend to carefully] my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
His words are the door, so enter in while the door is open. Donít tarry only to find that it has shut. Donít sit idle while HIS words are being offered. Entering life hinges upon us keeping HIS words. After that, after we "attend carefully to" His words, then we can become HIS abode.
JOHN 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
We are all familiar with how our Lord was tempted by the adversary after His baptism and receiving of the holy spirit. As He hungered in the wilderness, at least three times Satan came to Him with enticements of perhaps a better way then Yeshua (Jesus) had learned from the scriptures. He could have considered and pondered Satanís temptations, as his ancient mother Eve did centuries before, but He did what she didnít. He kept the word of GOD. To this word He clung, upon this word He stood. Obeying this word was His meat that His disciples knew not of. This word was His strength, quick and powerful and sharper then any two edged sword. This word was His door of understanding unto the Father.
It was from the scriptures that Yeshua learned the truth concerning who He was. He understood that the ages were framed from the breath of GOD. He learned how Eve was deceived and man was lost. From His study of this ancient book, Yeshua learned of the various men and women who throughout time endeavored to walk with GOD with their human frailties and spiritual strengths. In these believers Yeshua saw Himself. He came to understand His calling, His very predestination.
Yeshua didnít dawn upon His age as some supernatural being full of all kinds of powers and wisdom. He was born like all men, a helpless infant. He grew from a fool hearty child into a Man of men, a King of kings. But He grew in grace! He became the Man of GOD, the light of the world, the fulfiller of GODís purposes, yet all by the grace of GOD.
LUKE 2:40 And the child [Yeshua] grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.
He learned about faithfulness from Abraham. Lowliness and meekness He learned from Moses. Wisdom He learned from Solomon. Fearlessness He learned from Elijah and strength to do GODís will He learned from Samson. The stewardship of a kingdom He learned from David. The folly of being ruled by the senses He learned from King Saul. Bitter envying, jealousy and its end He learned from Cain. In Jonah He saw how GOD always accomplishes HIS purposes. In Noah He realized the significance of a single manís obedience to GODís words. The viciousness of the enemy He learned from Haman, and Jezebel, and those dwelling in Sodom. From the Law He learned of sin and its end and of sinless-ness and its end. From the patience of Job, the Messiah understood the "end of the LORD; that the LORD is very pitiful, and of tender mercy".Therefore, when the god of this world tempted Him, Yeshua simply responded to Satanís promises with words of truth, which He had previously acknowledged from the scripture. When Satan suggested that Yeshua prove who He was by changing a stone into bread to satisfy His hunger, our Lord answered from the scripture, saying, "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of GOD". He above all men understood how vital is the word of GOD. Then when Satan offered to transfer to Yeshua the rule of all the "kingdoms of the world" (which Satan most likely had received from Adam), Yeshua might have been tempted to consider this a victory without Him needing to endure the death of the cross. Satan no doubt hoped that Yeshua would consider that if He could get back what Adam had lost without suffering on the cross, perhaps He should rethink Satanís proposition. But having His mind firmly anchored to GODís word He once again quoted scripture, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve".
It is quite interesting that Satan was actually willing to give to Yeshua the ruler-ship of the kingdoms of this world. Oh how many of our brethren have been snared in this trap. They strive to make this world better. They desire to rule this kingdom, being caught up with the affairs of this life. They seek a "heaven on earth", a "chicken in every pot", a "new society", or they work for "peace on earth" in some "new-world order". But failing to first seek out the Prince of peace their efforts always fail. Their intentions may be noble, but lacking a true knowledge of GODís will, too many of their works are dead.
The only thing Satan required of Yeshua for all of this worldís power and glory was His worship. Yeshua would later reveal that there is another kingdom, which is not of this world. Let Satan have the "kingdoms of this world". The kingdom of GOD and of Christ is where our hearts are to be. It is there where our treasures are to be kept. There is where our inheritance is. Our citizenship is there, not here! We are seated there, not here!
In his temptation of our Lord, the subtle deceiver exposed something of himself when he quoted the very word of GOD, which he so ruthlessly despised. He hated the word, but he also knew something of scripture, for when it met his need, he readily used it to his own end. Twice in His temptations Yeshua had declared "It is Written". But then the god of this world also declared, "It is Written". How canny. How subtle. How evil.The portion of scripture Satan quoted here was out of context. It is true enough that these words are from the Bible; they were indeed written by the hand of GOD, but they are not HIS words for they are taken out of the context wherein they were intended. Even today this is how many students of the Bible are led astray. "Does not the Bible say?" But it often does not say, because it has been taken out of context.
Luke 4:9-11 And he [Satan] brought him [Yeshua] to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Too often the result is that the will of GOD just becomes print on a page. Rather, the words of GOD are alive, they are spoken, indeed, they are inspired. The words of GOD are more than just a quote one hangs on his wall or sticks to his car bumper. It is the whispers of a still small voice implanted within the heart of the believer of scripture. We should learn to obey what we hear, not just what we read that others heard. We must indeed learn about GOD from what we read, but then we must learn of GOD from what we hear. Faith comes by hearing, not just by reading!
Concerning Satan's offer, Yeshua would have none of it. "It is said" and He once again quotes DEUTERONOMY, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God". He knew and acknowledged the word of GOD to such perfect-ness that by the grace of GOD He became that Word, in the flesh. When somebody looked at Yeshua, they could see His Father in Him. His very name means, "YAHWEH delivers". As GODís word was light, He also became that light. As GODís words are the path, Yeshua became the way.
But it was not GODís purpose for Yeshua, that it end there with His own perfect-ness. He had a mission that extended beyond His own life, beyond His own baptism, beyond His own salvation, beyond His own wholeness. He was to be the firstborn of every creature, yea the "firstborn from among the dead".
The fourth Gospel gives us a glimpse of what it was all about.
JOHN 17:14, 20-23 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the worldÖNeither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in oneÖ
We who accept and believe their word can also become the adopted sons of GOD, joint heirs with Christ, fellow citizens with the saints in a new and different world. As He said in this prayer to His Father, "I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world". If Yeshua and His disciples were not of this world, what world were they of? They were of a different world; they were of HIS world. It is simply by receiving GODís word in our hearts that make us hated by this world, not even of this world, but now of HIS world.
Scripture teaches us that the believer is sanctified and cleansed and born again by the words of GOD. Yeshua told His disciples at their Last Supper that "ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you". It is the miracle of scripture that by simply receiving with meekness this word of GOD, the fruit of the spirit springs up within us, radically changing who we are.
Peter wrote in his second epistle that they were given "exceeding great and precious promises" and that by these, "ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust". One wonít obtain this divine nature from this world. No, it can only be obtained by renewing our minds to the word of GOD and thereby developing the fruit of the spirit. Only by putting on the mind of Christ, by putting off the old man and putting on the new can we realize our transformation from the old to the new, the new creation.
This is why it is expedient for us to always measure our thoughts with scripture. This is the only way we can hope to not be sucked back into this world and all of its false values and misguided desires. Indeed, GOD has shown us the way. As the word instructs, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith" (HEBREWS 12:2) for "faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ" (ROMANS 10:17). And again, in Paulís letter to the Church at Colosse,
COLOSSIANS 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdomÖ