Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 25, 1983
NUMBER 12, PAGE 9,13c

The Will Of God And You

Robert H. Farish

Do you discharge your personal obligation toward the will of God? Many people by their behaviour, indicate that they have failed to recognize any personal obligations to their maker. They ignore his will and do as they please, personal inclinations being their sole guide. Such manifestation of lack of respect for the wishes of God is brutish irreverence. The great need of the hour is submission of self to the will of God, not mere lip service which says, "not our will but thine be done" — not just saying, "Lord, Lord," but sincere conscious attention to know what the will of God is, followed by courageous doing of the will of God, without allowing any other considerations to intrude and modify behaviour. Such a course would result in realization of security of which we have hitherto only dreamed. While society would benefit by such strong characters, yet it is not a collective production but an individual personal thing. You have to make the decision and put forth the personal effort, no one else can do it for you. The fact that each one must do all within his power to help others, by teaching them the will of God and encouraging them to do it, is recognized, but in the final analysis, it is a personal responsibility and one which must be given personal attention. Conscious attention must be given to this matter; no one does the will of God accidentally. This study, of the will of God and you is limited to the will of God with reference to your soul.

The Will Of God

Three viewpoints from which the will of God might be considered are: (1) The will of God entertained in the mind of God; (2) The will of God impressed; (3) The will of God expressed.

With reference to the first, man has no responsibility. So long as a thing is retained in the sceret counsel of God, there is nothing that man can do with reference to it; man has no responsibility in this area. Moses so declared, "The secret things belong unto Jehovah God, but the revealed things belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." (Deut. 29:29) The secret (unrevealed) things belong unto God and men sustain no responsibility to them.

According to Romans 11:33,34, the judgments of the Lord cannot be searched out, nor can his ways be traced out by the resources of men, for no man knows the mind of God until God has expressed what his mind is in any given matter. Note also in this connection 1 Cor. 2:11, "For who among man knoweth the things of a man, save the Spirit of the man which is in him? even so the things of God none knoweth, save the Spirit of God.' If the will of God had been retained in the mind of God, man would not be a responsible being.

The Will Of God Impressed

The lower creation is governed by instinct and habit. The lower animals need nothing more to realize God's design for them. Isaiah shows the depths of depravity to which Israel had sunk by pointing out that even the ox recognized his owner and the ass his master's crib (Isa. 1:3); but Israel with superior endowment failed to recognize her God. The dumb brute is regulated by the will of God impressed upon his being. His hunger leads him unerringly to his master's crib but not so with many men. Hungering and thirsting after righteousness does not characterize the many. Many people long for and earnestly pray for "irresistible grace." They fail to see that if God impressed his will upon man, man would not be a free moral agent. It doesn't seem necessary to argue the point that human power could not resist a direct operation of divine power. Man's superior position in the universe is seen in the fact that he has had God's will expressed to him and thus he can choose whether to do the will of God or to follow his own wishes. He can realize his divine design only as he chooses to do the will of God and carries out that resolution.

The Will Of God Expressed

In addition to his physical body, man is also spirit. Man cannot live by bread alone, he is not mere animal but needs provisions above and beyond what is needed to sustain the physical man. Christ answered the devil's proposal that he satisfy his physical need by performing a miracle in turning stones into bread, by quoting from the Bible that "it is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matt. 4:4) Man's need cannot be satisfied by that with which he is by nature endowed; he needs in addition an expression of the will of God to guide him in the affairs of the spirit, or in the words of Christ, he needs in addition to bread, "every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." He does not have by nature all that he needs to guide him to the realization of his divinely appointed design. Jeremiah states this truth, "it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." (Jer. 10:23) And the Holy Spirit through Paul says, "for we walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Cor. 5:7) To walk by sight or appearance is to walk according to the "wisdom of the world," that is, by human experience. Paul writes, "for seeing that in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom knew not God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." (1 Cor. 1:21)

The expressed will of God is for man's benefit. It is with reference to the will of God expressed that man has responsibility. It is expressed or revealed in order that man may do the will of God. The indifferent attitude toward the Bible which is so prevalent, is traceable to the failure to realize any needs beyond "what ye shall eat, or what shall ye drink....or what ye shall put on." (Matt. 6:25) Utter irresponsibility with reference to the soul, characterizes the majority of people. They devote all their attention and energies to "the life that now is."

Some articles to follow will deal with some actions with reference to the expressed will of God which are duties of every responsible person in the world. Your spiritual needs include hearing the will of God, understanding the will of God, doing the will of God. No responsible being is exempt from any one of these actions. These actions are cumulative; hearing must precede understanding; understanding must precede doing and all of them together and in their order lead to God's favor. Present plans include some lessons on How the Scriptures teach; How to read to understand; the vital part played by the right attitude of heart, etc.

— 417 E. Groesbeck, Lufkin, Texas