What Is the Will of God?

You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
—Psalm 139:13–14

How does God speak to Christians today? Before I answer that question, we need to define what we mean by the will of God. Throughout the Old and the New Testaments, the phrase the will of God is used in three distinct ways.

Sometimes the will of God refers to God’s providential will. God’s providential will is that secret plan by which He governs everything that happens in the universe. Ephesians 1:9–10 says, “He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times.” Before the foundation of the world God’s plan was to send Christ to die for us, but in later times He revealed to us this mystery. And notice that there’s only one will. God doesn’t have multiple wills. Contrary to what you may have heard, God doesn’t have a perfect will and also a permissive will. Some people say God’s perfect will is what He wishes would happen, but God’s permissive will is what actually happens. Do you believe in a God who is so impotent He can’t achieve His own purposes? The fact is, God has only one plan that He formulated before the foundation of the world. And God’s plan was big enough that it encompassed the sin of Satan, the fall of Adam and Eve, Israel’s disobedience, and even the crucifixion of His own Son. God has a plan by which He governs everything that happens in the universe.

The will of God also refers to God’s “preceptive” plan. This is the part of God’s will that can be understood from the precepts, or teachings, in Scripture. Most of what we need to know about God’s will has already been revealed in Scripture. For example, in 1 Thessalonians 4:3, Paul says, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality.” It’s very clear. God wants you to abstain from premarital sex, extramarital sex, homosexual sex, pornography. Or maybe somebody comes to you and says, “I’m trying to get on my feet financially, but I need some help. The bank says they won’t loan me any money unless you cosign this loan for me.” Do you need to pray about that? No. God already has said what His will is about cosigning a note. Proverbs 17:18 says, “A man lacking in sense pledges and becomes guarantor in the presence of his neighbor.” Don’t cosign a loan. If you want to give someone money, fine. But don’t cosign a note. God’s “preceptive” will is that part of God’s will that is clearly defined in Scripture.

The third use of the will of God refers to God’s personal plan for our lives. Does God have a blueprint that governs every part of your life? Of course He does. How do I know that? Psalm 139:13–14 says, “You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” The psalmist said, when you were in your mother’s womb, God wove every detail of your life. The color of your hair and eyes. Your personality. Your DNA. Everything about you is according to God’s plan. Think about all the details God had to orchestrate to get your father and mother together at just the right time. He had to make sure they were born in the right generation. He had to make sure they came into contact with one another. He had to preside over thousands of details to bring your father and mother together at just the right time to produce you. Yes, God has a blueprint, a plan, for your life. And that ought to give you great assurance.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Discovering God’s Will” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2008.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

 

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