THE TRANSFORMED LIFE by Bishop Dr. J. Akin Atere

BIBLE STUDY FOR THE 3RD SESSION OF THE 4TH SYNOD OF THE DIOCESE OF OSUN NORTH HELD AT ST. MARY’S ANGLICAN CHURCH, IGBOYE, ODEOGIN LOCAL GOVERNMENT, OSUN STATE BETWEEN 17TH – 23RD AUGUST, 2020

TOPIC: THE TRANSFORMED LIFE

TEXT: ROMANS 12:2

STUDY 1

IN THE BEGINNING

God has a very wonderful plan and purpose for man. He desired to have beings of like mind with which He could share His life. Gen.1:26-27. Among the creatures were the Angels-Spirit beings whose purpose is to fulfill God’s will. Rev. 5:11-14

Lucifer, one of the great leading angels rebelled against God and was casted out of heaven with about one-third who joined in his rebellion. Rev. 12:4; Isa. 14:12-14. He is now known as “Satan” or “The devil”. He and the fallen angels lost the beauty and light they once had. Ezek. 28:11-17 and became evil and full of darkness.

TEMPTATION

God gave His first man and woman, authority over all the earth, to keep it under His dominion. This was in order to keep Adam and Eve from Satan and his evil spirit. God planted two special trees in the garden called “The Tree of life” and “The Tree of knowledge of good and evil” (Gen. 2:9,17). Representing the ‘life’ and ‘authority’ of God and Satan’s life and authority respectively. The dominion of the whole creation would always be for Adam and Eve, if they would obey God (Heb. 2:8, Gen. 2:15-17).Unfortunately they were deceived by Satan (1Tim. 2:14; Gen. 3:6)they fell and lost the authority. They were sent out of the garden.

Satan took the throne vacated by Adam and exercised his dominion over the earth (Heb. 2:5-8). All the generations following Adam and Eve have inherited their fallen nature (Eph. 2:1-3). People’s hearts are now filled with idolatry, immorality and all kinds of wickedness (Rom. 1:28-32). This became the natural nature of man.

WHAT BECAME THE NATURE OF MAN?

When God formed man, our first human parents in the Garden of Eden, they were parts of created order that was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). Their ways of thinking and behaviour was neutral – clean state. Sin was not part of their lives, until Satan came into the scene, to change man’s nature.

There came tendency of human beings to exhort self and disobey God, referred to as canalmind, fleshlylust, selfish ambition and the likes (our weakness combined with the devils influence had led the whole world into sin) (Rev. 12:9).

Paul explains that as the god of this age, Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel (2Cor. 4:4). Our nature has become problem for us (Rom. 3:23) “for all has sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (verses 10:18). Paul reminded Christ’s faithful disciples not to walk according to the cause of the world (Eph. 2:2-3). The devil cannot force us to sin; he simply seduces us through our fleshly weakness.

The effect of this nature is devastating and the implication is unbearable (Gal. 5:19-21) (caused us eternal life) (Pro. 14:12; Rom. 6:23 (death). By this natural nature, Paul says ‘we cannot please God’ (Rom. 8:5-8, 13-14). More danger our nature exhibited and being rewarded are (Rom.3:16-17) compare (Isa. 59:7-8). It cuts us from God’s fellowship (Isa. 59:1-2). Solomon gives a very serious warming in Prov. 1:10-19 (There is no harmless sin).

Reasons why we are easily manipulated by the devil.

  1. Our selfish, fleshly desire “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”(Gal. 5:19-21). Paul graphically described the effect of corrupt desires on human behaviours in Rom. 1:24; 28-32
  2. Our ingrained deviousness (inherent dirtiness) including self-deception “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?”(Jer. 17:9) We always look for ways to justify our lusts. Prov. 14:12; 16:25.
  3. Under the devil’s influence, we have developed the tendency to resent having our selfish desires limited by rules according to Paul in Rom. 8:5-8. Satan is a deceiver and manipulator.

Reasons why God, wants transformation is “we reap what we sow” Gal. 6:7-8. God hates our present nature full of various degree of sin. Sin is like a trap; lawlessness is a snare. It may look harmless until the consequences begin to manifest. It is often difficult to see the end-result of sin as we have seen in 2Cor. 4:4.

The bible identify three kinds of people

  1. THE NATURALMAN: – He who knows about God intellectually, but has never entered into a personal relationship with Him. Satan rules and controls him. He believe in himself as master of his destiny. Mankind is born into this state “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1Cor.2:14)“But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.”(Mark 10:42). At creation man received three kinds of life – spiritual, soulical and physical (1Thess. 5:33; Heb. 4:12). But at new birth, he receives a different life called ‘ZOE’ original life.
  2. THE CARNALMAN:-He knows the Lord but will still try to govern his own life. He wants Jesus to be a co-pilot but not the Lord of his life. He makes choices based upon old sinful nature and end up doing the very thing God had delivered him from (1Cor. 3:1-4).
  3. THE SPIRITUAL/TRANSFORMEDLIFE:- After he has being transformed by the WORD, he begins to reflect the very mind of Christ. He allows the Holy Spirit to totally control the innermost parts of his life. He dies to himself so that God may live and lead his life “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”(Gal. 2:20). He has the full knowledge of who is in Christ (John 15:16). He has the full knowledge why he is here on earth (Eph. 1:11-12). He has the full knowledge of what he is to do at every point in time (Matt. 28:18-20). He surrendered himself to be carefully trained to do the work of the ministry“So they went out and preached that people should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them.” (Mark 6:12-13). He is empowered by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1). He is prepared like Stephen willing to die for what he believes in“and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”(Acts 7:58-59). God promised to put His own spirit in him to enable him walk in the statues of God, keep His commandment and do His will“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.””But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14:16-18, 26)   “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (John16:13-14).

QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION

  1. What was the nature of man at creation and what became of him after sin of disobedience? Gen. 1:26-29

1b. What are the implications of the first sin? Gen. 3:23-24; Eph. 2:1-3;

Rom. 1:28-32

  1. How is our natural nature a disaster? Rom. 3:23; Gal. 5:19-21; Rom. 6:23; 8:5-8, 13-14; Isa. 59:7-8
  2. Why is it that untransformed life can easily be manipulated by the devil? Rom. 1:28-32; Jer. 17:9; Prov. 14:12.

What is the need for transformation? 1Cor. 2:14; 1Thess. 5:3; 1Cor. 3:1-4; Gal. 2:20