This will be a two-part blog series. The first entry addressed the current, predominate view of God’s will and our decisions in life. This entry will attempt to provide a biblical approach to decision-making in light of God’s will.
Does God have a plan for our lives? The answer to this question may not be as simple as we may first have thought, not because God has made it intentionally confusing or convoluted. It’s not as straight forward if we are not, at least somewhat, clear on how God engages with us a free moral agents (people with a free will). Due to the character and desire of God, that He is loving and wants us to free love Him, we see throughout the Scriptures that God encourages, implores and commands people to make decisions. If love is to ever be truly experienced as well as extended by us, there must be the possibility of us not experiencing or extending love from and to others.
In short, God does not force us against our wills to either accept His love or extend it to Him or others. God certainty initiates the demonstration of His love (Romans 5:8) and wants all to receive it by faith (2 Peter 3:9) but His character and our humanity, so it seems, limit Him to force us to receive His love.
So this sets the stage for 3 essentials principles for our lives: 1) Principle of faith, 2) Principle of obedience, 3) Principle of wisdom.
The Principle of faith tells us that what God says to believe, we should believe;
The Principle of obedience tell us what what God says to obey, we should obey;
The Principle of wisdom tells us that knowledge is to be practical, we should live by God’s wisdom.
God, most explicitly, has made Himself known through His Son Jesus Christ and we find out who He is, what He has done, and the significance of His work in the Scriptures. The Scriptures brilliantly enlighten the sovereign and moral will of God so that our lives would reflect Him and His desires to others. Perhaps some more definitions are helpful in this matter.
God's sovereign will has two main components to it: His directive will and His permissive will.
Directive will - God brings to pass whatsoever He wills. When God sovereignly decrees something in this sense, nothing can thwart its coming to pass. When we look at creation, or God's choosing to use Israel, or the death and resurrection of Christ, or His formation of a multi-ethnic spiritual family or Christ’s return, we see examples of His directive will.
Permissive will - God allows for non-compliance to His will by His creation. He permits or allows for the possibility of unbelief and disobedience. Therefore, the individual who does not belief or disobeys is accountable, not God.
God is a moral God. All He is and does is always, perfectly good. He is not and never can be evil or do evil (it is an impossibility). God has made His perfect moral character known through His word and only wants what is good for us. Therefore, God has a moral will that is born out of His moral character. Once again, a definition is in order.
Moral will - This refers to God’s commandments and God’s character. God’s moral will is the ideal that defines how things should be on earth and how they will be in heaven.
There are ample examples throughout the Scriptures that inform us that God makes His desires known with the expectation of man obeying them, yet mankind does not. Read Genesis 2:15-20 and you will find a loving God wants Adam to belief and obey Him. Yet, we also find Adam exercises his freedom to choose to do the opposite. Adam’s decision was not only immoral (because it went against a moral God desires) but it was also unwise.
The self-revelatory God made His moral will known and gave Adam and Eve the capability to freely choose good over evil. As the story turns out God holds Adam and Eve morally responsible for their actions and therefore God, as He always does, holds true to His word. Death came upon Adam and Eve.
When making decisions in our lives (significant or seemingly insignificant decisions) it is right and good for us to consider God's moral will and seek Him and godly counsel (James 1:5; Proverbs 1:1-6, 11:14, 12:15). Perhaps we can say it succinctly this way: If it isn’t moral, don’t do it. If it is moral but not wise, don’t do it. If it is moral and wise, then use your personal preferences.
Sometimes a diagram may be helpful: