“And do not be conformed to this world”. (Romans 12:2 (a) NASB.
As we live in this world, all of us including our children are pressured to conform to the culture and standards of this world. No one is exempt from this temptation. The term world is used in different meanings in the original Greek language in which the New Testament is written. The first-word ‘kosmos’ itself is used in different meanings based on the context in which it appears. In John 3:16 when Jesus said, God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life, the word ‘world’ means the ‘mankind or human beings.’ God loved you and the people of this world and gave his Son to save you and grant you everlasting life with Him in heaven. However, not the sinful, lustful value system of this world.
The second word is ‘aion’ which means the present age or more specifically the ways, standards, or customs of this world. Ephesians 2:2 says, “when you followed the ‘ways of this world’ and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. The present age that is fallen from the garden of Eden and the thought process behind its thoughts, customs, ways, aspirations, and standards are according to that fallen nature. The present age is under the influence of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, who is the devil. And his spirit who is now at work in the present age causes disobedience and rebelliousness. The present age is an antithesis of the coming kingdom of God.
When Bible says in John 2:15 and James 4:4 you cannot love the world and God at the same time, it means you cannot love the word’s value system- practices, norms, aspirations, and thoughts of this world -and love God at the same time. The value system of God and the value system of the present age are opposite to each other. Bible says in Galatians 1:4, “Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.” You see, we needed to be rescued from the present evil age and that is why Jesus paid his blood to rescue us from its corruption and bondage.
Our today’s Bible insight says, “Do not be conformed to this world.” Other translations give a little bit more understanding of the concept. TPT translates “stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you.” GNT says, “Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world.” NLT says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world.” Now I hope you understood the point- it simply means do not allow this world to influence or drag you in its ways, standards, and aspirations. Do not follow the value system of this world to shape your thinking process. Because in Paul’s language in Romans 1:18-31, the present age and fallen age suppress the truth of God for they want to enjoy wicked and sinful things without restraints. Due to ingratitude to God, he gave this present age to shameful lusts. God gave them over to a depraved mind because they do not want to retain the knowledge of God. As a result of the depraved mind, they do what they should not have done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, and depravity. The present fallen and depraved mindset without God in their value system became full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.”
Then the last verse of Romans 1 ends with this statement, “although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” They know God’s righteous standards and decree in their inner heart. Moreover, they also know that those who follow the present age thinking deserve death. Still, not only they continue to do these things, but also approve such people who practice them.
Beloved, is this not what we see in the USA and around the world these days? Open your eyes and see the present corrupt age in front of your eyes. This is the picture of the ‘aion’, the present, fallen and depraved, sinful, shameful age that does not honor and thank God. They hate the knowledge of God and suppress the truth of God. Every time God is mentioned, even though they know in their heart God is in existence, they don’t want to hear it and continue suppressing the truth of God.
Our today’s insight is not a recommendation or suggestion. It is a command from God. “Do not be conformed to this world (aion-present sinful and lustful age).”
Many once faithful believers shipwrecked their faith life by conforming to the desires of this present age. Paul was talking about Demas and said this in 2 Timothy 4:10, “Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.” The word used is for ‘now age’ or ‘present age’. Paul said in his letter to Philemon Demas was a fellow worker with him (Philemon 24). Demas and Luke together with Paul send Christian greetings to the believers in Colossae. However, later when Paul wrote this epistle to Timothy before his departure, he says Demas sadly, because he loved this present age has left him. May this never happen to you. When flirting with the present age and its desires and aspirations, please keep this solemn warning in your heart.
“Father in heaven, the pressure to conform to the standards of the world is heavy, especially in these last days. Help me do not conform to its value system. I believe Jesus gave himself up for me to rescue me from the present evil age. I accept Him as my savior and Lord. Help me every day to obey your word which would transform me into your image. In Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.”