Overcoming Sin through Christ: Conformity

  Overcoming Sin through Christ

A Comprehensive List of Sins

(Alphabetically Arranged)

Richard Hollerman

The plan of this study is simple.  We will look at a large number of sins, one by one, alphabetically.  We will define the sin, describe it, and comment on it, along with noticing Scripture references on the particular entry.  Some illustrations will be offered along with the description.

Conformity

Are you a conformist?  Have you been willing to conform to the society around you?  Conformity means an “action in accord with prevailing social standards, attitudes, practices.”[1]  It is “action or behavior in correspondence with current customs, rules, or styles.”[2] 

Does God want us to “conform” to society around us?  Is He pleased when we act like the world, talk like the world, dress like the world, drive like the world, spend our money like the world, and have the same perspectives as the world?  Do we conform to our culture?  Do we submit to the “prevailing social standards, attitudes, practices”?

If something is altogether neutral, this is something in which we may follow the customs of the world around us.  If the world carries a cell phone, the Christian may also find this custom acceptable.  If the world generally drives a car, the believer may also own and drive a car.  If the world owns a computer, the believer may have a use for this technology as well.  But we are not to use a cell phone, drive a car, or own a computer simply because these are according to the world. We may use such things because we find them helpful, efficient, and useful for our daily responsibilities and the Lord’s work.

The word “conformed” comes from the Greek suschematizo, meaning “to fashion or shape one thing like another,” and it has reference to that which is “transitory, changeable, unstable.”[3]  Peter writes, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance” (1 Peter 1:14).  In other words, Peter encourages his believing readers to not be fashioned or shaped by the desires they once knew when they were ignorant of God and His will. The inward change occurs when one comes to Christ in repentant faith and is born again (regenerated). 

Paul writes, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, the new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).  But the new person or the new creature is not to be conformed outwardly to his former lusts.  He is to separate himself from every external thing that is part of the society of the world and the customs that are based on wrong views. 

Paul says the same: “Do not be conformed to this world [age], but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).  “Rather than being squeezed into this world’s mold, the Christian is to undergo an inward transformation, through which outward appearance and character also become Christlike.  God fully intends to do his work of grace within us.”[4]

This means that his speech must be different, his clothing must be different, and his habits must be different.  If he came from a thoroughly worldly background, he will have different desires and purposes, which must be expressed in different perspectives on music, on art, on reading matter, on entertainment, on education, on time use, on money use, and every other behavior pattern.  If we have truly been saved, we will refuse to be conformed to the world, but we will earnestly seek to be conformed to Jesus and His holy ways. Do not be conformed to the world but be conformed to the ways of the Lord.

 



[1] Random House Webster’s College Dictionary.

[2] The American Heritage College Dictionary.

[3] W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary.

[4] Richards, Expository Dictionary.

 

 

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