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.– Romans 12:2
Because His ways are past finding out – Because his judgments are unsearchable – Because the depth of the riches of both his wisdom and knowledge are unfathomable (Romans 11:33-36) …
- Sacrifice yourselves to His cause
- Be not conformed to this world
- Be transformed by renewing your mind
The word translated transformed in our text is the same word from which we get the word metamorphosis. Metamorphosis is the process of changing from one form to another. The most well-known example of this phenomenon is the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. The inner nature of every caterpillar is a butterfly though this inner nature is hidden deep within. It requires a work on the part of the caterpillar in building a cocoon and a period of isolation within this cocoon.
What is the inner nature of a child of God? Jesus! So many Born-Again Believers have hidden Jesus so deep within, the inner nature never comes out! Today we will lay some background doctrinal information concerning the two opposing natures – the inward man and the outward man.
We refer to the part of us which is inhabited by and devoted to our Lord as the inward man. The part of us which is controlled by our carnal (fleshly, earthly) desires we call the outward man. It is very important for us to know the characteristics of both of these opposing natures. It is for this reason God provides us many verses on this topic. God wants us to know that we have two opposing natures and that it takes EFFORT to strengthen the inward man while subduing the outward man. These two natures are pitted the one against the other in three matches:
- The Outward Man vs The Inward Man
- The Natural Man vs The Spiritual Man
- The Old Man vs The New Man
Today we will look at the contrast between the outward man and the inward man.
The Outward Man vs The Inner Man
Paul uses the terms outward man and inward man in 2 Corinthians 4:16,
“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”
Prior to this verse Paul mentions the afflictions that have befallen him and his companions in the ministry. This is not written out of complaint. Rather, Paul writes this to let the Corinthians know that though the outward man was weakened, their inward man was strengthened.
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. – 2 Corinthians 4:8-10
The terms outward and inward are used in 2 Corinthians 4:16 to make a distinction between things that are visible and things that are invisible. The outward man is troubled with outward pressures, yet the inward man is not distressed, finding comfort in the peace of God. The outward man is perplexed, unsure of what the near future holds, while the inward man is not in despair, secure in the hope of eternal life. The Corinthians could visibly see the persecutions and tribulations that have befallen Paul but the natural eye could not see how Paul’s inward man was flourishing.
In 1 Peter 3:4 Peter addresses the difference between outside adornment and inside adornment. It is very natural for us to focus on outward adornment, but let our adornment “be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
Right now our country is going through a difficult time in its fight of the coronavirus. On the outside, it seems that churches are distressed and perplexed. I know at least for our church we are still seeing God move. People are taking advantage of this time to catch up on their spiritual life. God’s using this time as a time of growth in our church. We are realizing how much we have taken for granted. There has been much apathy in the past, but we are committing ourselves to excellence in our work. Yes, we are perplexed. We do not know what lies ahead. Things may get better or things may get worse. Yes, we are troubled. We do not know how many of our church members may fall prey to this virus. That’s the worries of the outward man.
But by the grace of God, we are not distressed, and we are not in despair. Our inward man should be strengthened with might during this trial.
Who is winning right now in your life?
The outward man or the inward man?