Thursday, September 9, 2010

Finding God's Will: God's Decreed Will

One of the questions I've been asked most often is this one: “How do I find God’s will for my life?” If the old Campus Crusade tract is true when it says, that “God loves [me] and has a wonderful plan for my life,” then just how do I go about discovering what that plan is?

Well, I'm glad you asked. As you look at the Scriptures and study them, you’ll see that there are really three ways in which Scripture talks about God’s will: His Decreed Will, His Desired Will, and His Directive Will.

God’s Decreed Will is the term we can use to describe those thing in the Scriptures which God has decreed in advance will happen. It’s the term for God’s eternal plan and sovereign purposes. Whether everybody knows it or not, God is completely sovereign, and there is not one maverick molecule in the entire universe. God is the Creator, the King of Kings, and all beings and things in the universe must and do bend to His will. The Prophet Isaiah says it best in chapter 46, verses 9-10: Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.

In the same way, in Genesis 1, God says over and over, “Let there be…” and those things appear out of nothing by God’s sovereign power and word. God says, “Let there be light” and there is light. “Let there be an expanse to separate the water in the ocean from the water in the atmosphere,” and the sky came into being. God said, “Let the water be filled with fish,” and the water had more kinds and varieties of swimming creatures than we can count. And so it goes, all the way to the end of the chapter, when God says, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground” (1:26). So all these things came into being, including people. Why? Because it was God’s will that it be so.

Moving forward in salvation history a bit, to after the Fall, God speaks of the Messiah's coming (either in the future or the past) in terms of His Will. In Isaiah 53:10, we read about the Messiah that “it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer” because the Lord had made his life a guilt offering. Peter picks up that same idea in Acts 2:23 in his great Pentecost sermon, when he says, “This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.” And again, John says about Jesus in Revelation 13:8 that he is “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.” In other words, why did Jesus die? Because it was God’s will. Even before God made the world, He knew that humanity would fall into sin and need redemption. And so even before the world was created, the Son, Jesus, was planned to come and die and rise again for you and me.

God has also planned the end of human history. In 2 Peter 3:10, Peter writes, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare…But in keeping with his promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.” There will be an end to all wickedness and wicked people, along with the heavens and the earth in which wickedness occurred. And then there will be a new creation of a new heavens and a new earth, in which redeemed people will dwell face-to-face with God. God’s will is carried out before creation, in creation, in the redemption of fallen creation, and in the new creation. From the beginning of history to it’s end, nothing that He has planned to happen will fail to take place.

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