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Knowing the Will of God – Part I

18 Oct

Several weeks ago, a friend asked me via Facebook if I would write an article on the will of God.  I didn’t think this would be too difficult, so I sat down one weekend and opened up all my volumes on Systematic Theology.  After spending an entire day going through my resources, I had noticed several things.

Most of my sets on Systematic Theology were written by Calvinists, and they consistently worshiped at their alter of John Calvin.  Rather than point to various Scriptures to support their claim (specifically referring to Charnock’s Existence and Attributes of God), they make grand and glorious dogmatic statements, and leave it at that.  Charnock didn’t even spend too much time on dealing with the Will of God, having to find obscure comments in the index.

The other thing I noticed is that non-Calvinists have a tendency to not systematize their theology.  Though this is good at times, because it forces the readers to fall back more on Scripture, it also means you need to do some serious digging.  I guess this means I am going to need to find some good books on the subject [1].

So, if I may, I would like to post a series of short articles relating specifically to the Will of God.  Unlike my Calvinist brethren, I am going to go  Sola Scriptura.  I am not going to quote Calvin or his abominable Institutes, nor will I invoke the ghost of Augustine.  My foundation, as with all my other posts will be what all true theologians use: the Bible.

Romans 12:1-2
1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2  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.


I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God….

Here, Paul turns to his Roman brethren and implores them.  Paul asks you to look back over your life, and gaze upon all the mercies God has blessed you with.  And with God’s grace and goodness reflecting in your mind, he pleads that you submit yourself wholly and completely unto God’s will for your life.  Yes, this does mean that you must sacrifice yourself.  You must sacrifice your ambitions, and dreams.  You have to sacrifice your priorities, your pride, your will to the will of God.

This “living sacrifice” is not easy, because we still wrestle with the old man (Romans 7:18).  Many times, I find myself happily wandering down some rabbit-hole, only to find that I was not following after God, but my own lusts and desires.  I want to do what is right, but my flesh deceives me into wandering off on some tangent.  This is why the Bible asks for a “living sacrifice” and not a dead one.  As soon as I realize that I am not following after God’s will, I repent, confess my sin, and get right back on.  This living sacrifice is sacred (holy), and it is exactly what God wants from you (acceptable unto God).  Does God have the power to force you to do His perfect will as many Calvinists think?  He sure does, but God will not force you to do His perfect will.  Why do you think God placed that Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden of Eden?  It’s because God wants YOU to choose to love Him and follow Him.  This is why Jesus said,

John 14:15
15  If ye love me, keep my commandments.


…which is your reasonable service.

Not only does Paul write that this Living Sacrifice is sacred and pleasing to God, he also points out that making this sacrifice is the Christian’s reasonable service.  Friend, who made you?  Who created you?  It was God Himself (Psalm 139:14; Jeremiah 1:5).  Christian, look back over the time since you were saved.  Before God saved you, where were you heading for?  You were heading straight to hell, as we were also (Romans 3:10; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23).  Know this:  GOD OWNS YOU, TWICE OVER.  He is your creator, and He is your savior.  That alone should demand your obedience and submission.

But, Christian, there is one more thing.  Not only is God your creator and savior, but He is also your provider.

Philippians 4:19
19  But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:25-33
25  Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26  Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27  Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28  And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29  And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30  Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31  Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32  (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

I used to think it was MY DUTY to provide for the family.  God showed me how wrong I was.  Over the past five years, He allowed all my possessions to be taken away.  I lost my home, my job, and my health. Yet, He still provided for me.  I never went to bed hungry.  I always had a roof over my head.  At that time, five to six years ago, I had stopped living for Him.  I fell into terrible worldliness, and God permitted my family to be torn apart, and my health to be destroyed, so that I would come back to Him, and rest in His promises.  God has provided each step of the way.

  • God is our Creator.
  • God is our Savior.
  • and God is our Provider.

Is it not reasonable for Him to ask for you to submit yourselves to His will?  The answer is YES!

And be not conformed to this world…

When I lived like the world, I had my bad-looking motorcycle.  I smoked cigars, and listened to my rock and roll music.  Somewhere, I have a picture of me sitting on my motorcycle, with my leathers and dew cap on.  Down my back was a long pony tail, and sitting behind me on my bike was my tiny 2 year old daughter.  This was all around 2000-2001.  I was saved at that time.  I even had my Masters in Biblical Exposition!  Yet, I had wound up living for myself, and not for God.  The thing was, that while I had a dream job (broadcast engineer) paying me more money I had ever made before, I was miserable!  What was the problem?  The problem was that I was saved, and had God’s Holy Spirit inside of me (Ephesians 1:13).  He is a frightful bulldog!  If you are saved and living like the world, He never leaves you, and though you might be able to drown Him out with your country music and loud motorcycles, He never stops telling you what the truth is.  Eventually, you have to stop and rest Christian.  And when you lay there in your bed at night, and all is quiet, you hear Him chiding you and reprimanding you for your worldliness.  God’s Word says,

1 John 2:15
15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
Colossians 3:1-2
1  If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Titus 2:11-12
11  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Psalms 101:3
3  I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.

The most miserable creature on the Earth is not some lost person who might be doing drugs, and cranking up the tunes.  The most miserable person isn’t some soul wasting away in a nursing home or hospital.  The most miserable and wretched person in the entire world is the blood-bought child of the living God, who is seeking to be conformed to this world, rather than seeking after the Will of God.  He seeks happiness in vain and empty pleasures, and has God’s Holy Spirit beating on him from the inside.

What a wretch!

…but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…

Psalms 119:9
9  Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Joshua 1:8
8  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

2 Timothy 3:15-17
15  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

“Garbage In, Garbage Out!”  While in high school and college, learning about computers and computer programming, I learned early on that if you create lousy programming, you will have lousy results.  If you input bad data, you will end with bad answers.  This is the same all throughout life.  If you live on soda-pop and candy bars, your health will deteriorate and your life span will shorten.  If you sit around all day and watch nothing but cartoons and soap operas all day, your mental faculties will be wiped out.  And if you fill your mind with rock and roll or country music; if you spend all your time reading Harry Potter and the latest garbage, your soul and spirit will shrivel up to an ugly mass.

So, is there a way to go from physically anemic to strong and healthy?  Yes, eat the proper foods and exercise.

Is there a way to transform from a moron to an intellect?  Sure is.  You drop the garbage, and start filling your mind with good literature, and material that stretches the thinking process.

What about the soul and spirit?  Is there a way to renew your mind?  ABSOLUTELY!  By reading and obeying God’s Word, the Bible.

The Bible will teach you what is right, and what is wrong.  The Bible will teach you how to get right, and how to stay right.  The problem is when man wants his own way!  He want’s his country music and liquor.  Man wants his porn and lewd television shows.  Sure, he wants a clean heart!  But not if it means obeying the Bible.  It is only when he realizes his sinful state before God and through the power of God’s Holy Spirit, he repents of his sins, does he become a new creature (1 Corinthians 5:17).

I know many people who have had their lives transformed because of reading and obeying the Bible.

… that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Do you see that word, “prove”?  That is not some logical statement.  Nor is it some mathematical nomenclature.  The word, “prove” is a culinary term.  It means to taste and check to see whether or not God’s Will is worth doing!

And what is the Christian attempting to prove?  It is that God’s Will is good, acceptable, and perfect.

Now, here is the clincher!

1.  God’s Will is good.   It’s not that God has a diabolical plan to destroy you (Jeremiah 29:11).  God wants you to live a good life!  He wants you to be healthy, and happy.  Sometimes that happiness doesn’t come till later, and we are forced to walk a hard path.  But God’s Will is far lighter a load and easier a path than what Satan wants you to travel on (Matthew 11:29-30).

2.  God’s Will is acceptable.  This is not referring to God’s will as being acceptable to Him!  That’s a given, right from the start.  Romans 12:2 is pointing out that the will of God is acceptable to you!  Let go of your personal dreams.  Loosen your grip on your plans, and humbly seek after God.  Though you might weep for the perceived losses of your dreams, you will find God’s will to be wonderfully acceptable to YOU.

3.  God’s will is perfect.  Did you know that God created you just for one single and specific task or position?  He wired your brain to this job.  He allowed you to be raised in an environment that will mold and conform you to fit right in where He has plans for you!  You are truly made for what God has in store for you!  But it’s not going to happen, unless you present yourselves as living sacrifices on His alter.

[1]  If any of my readers know of a good book or two on the subject of the Will of God, feel free to post them in the Comments.  PLEASE, no more Calvinist writings.  I have most of them.  Thank you!

Unauthorised use of an unauthorised vessel.
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3 Comments

Posted by on 18-October-2010 in Uncategorized

 

3 responses to “Knowing the Will of God – Part I

  1. Rodney

    18-October-2010 at 1:51 AM

    Have you read ‘Changed Into His Image’ by Jim Berg?

     
  2. Rodney

    18-October-2010 at 1:56 AM

    The book by Jim Berg is subtitled: ‘God’s Plan For Transforming Your Life.’ I have read it and would say that it would be what you are looking for…his follow-up book, ‘Created For His Glory,’ then would be recommendable as well.

     
  3. Marie

    19-October-2010 at 4:47 AM

    I really enjoyed your article – thank you. I appreciate your transparency. One book that I would like to recommend is “Not By Chance”, by Leyton Talbert. It’s one of those books that brings your focus back to the center. It is a study on the providence and sovereignty of God, which relates to the will of God. God’s will for us includes believing him and trusting Him, (lots of scripture on that), and understanding His sovereignty is not only foundational, but comforting and liberating. Even if you do not find it central to your present study, it is a “must have.” God bless your endeavors.

     

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