The Will -- Before, In, and After Conversion
Psalm 40:8
I delight to do your will, O my God: yes, your law is within my heart.

The Word of God presents to us the action of the will during three phases of experience: first, during that period in which man asserts his independence, and refuses to submit to the claims and authority of God; secondly, during the period of transition, in which he is abandoning his claims to independence, and is learning to submit to the yoke of Christ; thirdly, during the subsequent period of self-surrender and self-consecration.

I. THE WILL BEFORE CONVERSION. "God is not in all his thoughts." "The mind of the flesh is enmity against God." Man may be unconscious of the enmity, but it surely exists; and there needs only an authoritative assertion of the Divine will to provoke the human will and call it into action.

II. THE WILL IN CONVERSION. Hew does a man pass from a state of active or passive antagonism to the will of God into one of holy and willing conformity to that will? It is difficult to answer this question in few words. Whilst every true conversion is one in its essential features, as involving the active turning to God in repentance end faith, conversions vary greatly in the causes which lead to them and in the phases through which they pass. Thus, it is difficult to define with any accuracy the precise action of the will in conversion. It is important, however, to recognize in the process the existence and activity of two forces: that of Divine grace, and that of human effort. It is the magnet of the Cross which draws men's hearts to God; "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me." It is the supreme love of Jesus Christ living, labouring, suffering, dying for sinful men, which touches the heart, attracts the affections and expels the old love of the world by introducing a higher and more absorbing love in its place. The heart thus won, the will resumes its rightful authority.

1. The choice now made is free, for it is the choice of the will acting without compulsion, choosing that which it approves as the noblest and the best.

2. The choice is decided, for it recognizes the righteousness of God's claim upon the unconditional submission and allegiance of man.

3. The choice is lasting, for being made after full consideration and without reserve, it knows no regrets, and has in it all the elements of permanency.

III. THE WILL AFTER CONVERSION. Scripture teaches and experience proves that by reason of the law of sin yet abiding in our members we cannot always do the things that we would; still "to will is present"; "we delight in the law of God after the inward man." The will after conversion, therefore, is no stranger to conflict, for sin yet dwells within; but throughout the struggle with evil it is at one with the will of God; its language is "not my will but Thine be done."

(Sir Emilius Bayley.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

WEB: I delight to do your will, my God. Yes, your law is within my heart."

Duty a Delight
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