Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 1, 1963
NUMBER 13, PAGE 2,10b

The Will Of God And You -- (No. 2)

Robert H. Farish

You Must Do The Will Of God

Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21) John wrote, "And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever." (1 John 2:17) There are other passages which point up the imperative need of doing the will of God, but for those who read this, these will suffice to establish the point that you have the God assigned responsibility to do the will of God.

These are responsibilities which men have toward the will of God which must be acknowledged and discharged before any man can do the will of God. Admitting these responsibilities is essential but that is not all that is required; one must discharge the obligations which are imposed. The first and foremost human responsibility which a man has before he can discharge his other responsibilities is hear the will of God.

Hearing The Will Of God

The only part of the will of God which can be heard is the will of God expressed. The Bible affirms that God has expressed or revealed his will. "The secret things belong unto Jehovah our God; but the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." (Deut. 29:29) This passage teaches: (1) Men have no responsibility with reference to any of God's will which God has not revealed — the secret things belong unto God. (2) The things which God has revealed belong unto men and it is with reference to the revealed things that men sustain responsibility. (3) The reason that revealed things belong unto men, i.e., are within reach of men is implied in, "that we may do...."

Distinction should be recognized between the things which are properly related to and are limited to the physical man and the spiritual — the outward and the inward man. God has revealed the way that man should walk, spiritually speaking, but not how man is to produce the things necessary to physical needs and development. In things pertaining to the soul, we must do the things revealed, but as to proper methods of growing food, producing clothing, etc., the directions for such properly fall within the province of human reason.

God's will with reference to the soul has been spoken. "God having of old times spoken unto the fathers in the prophets....hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son..." (Heb. 1:1, 2). God has always spoken his will to man with reference to the things of the soul. He has expressed his will with words.

The revealing or expressing of His will is God's responsibility. But he has assigned to men the responsibility to hear. "Hear ye him," (Matt. 17:5) is the language of the voice from heaven, to the disciples on the mount of transfiguration. This imposes the obligation to hear the Son of God exclusively in any area in which he has spoken.

Moses told the Israelites that God would raise up a prophet and that to that prophet the people were to hearken in all things. (Deut. 18:15-18.) The apostle Peter applies this prophecy to Christ at the ultimate fulfillment of it. "Moses indeed said, a prophet shall the Lord God raise up unto you from among your brethren, like unto me; to him shall ye harken in all things whatsoever he shall speak unto you." (Acts 3:22.)

Christ said, "He that heareth these words of mine and doeth them..." (Matt. 7:24.) "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." (Matt. 13:9.) "Hear and understand." (Matt. 18:10.)

Peter, in the first discourse in obedience to the commandment of the Lord to go into all the world and preach the gospel, called upon the people to "hear these words." (Acts 2:22.) It was and is by hearing, that peoples' hearts are touched, that the Holy Spirit convicts of sin. "When they heard this, they were pricked in their heart." (Acts 2:37.) Incidentally, such language as this is without meaning if the Holy Spirit by a direct impact upon the heart "Impressed" the will of God. Language in harmony with the human theory of a direct operation would be "when they felt this."

Hearing the will of God is a human responsibility. Failure to hear when opportunity to hear is afforded is inexcusable. Not all have heard in such a way as to qualify themselves as approved hearers. In proof of this is the statement of Rom. 10:18 "But I say, did they not hear? Yea, verily...." This hearing did not have favorable results as is stated in the last verse of this chapter. "But as to Israel he saith, all the day long did I spread out my hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people." (Rom. 10:21.)

Understanding The Will Of God

No person has discharged his obligations toward the expressed will of God who goes no further than hearing. The Lord credited every type, represented in the parable of the sower, with hearing the word. Examine the account in Matt. 13:19-23. Profitable hearing is always accompanied with doing. But none can do the will of God who does not understand that which he hears. The divine order is: (1.) Hear or see (2.) Understand (3.) Turn (4.) Healing. This is seen in the Saviour's comment on the people's reaction to this teaching. "For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest haply they should perceive with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart, and should turn again, and I should heal them." (Matt. 13:15.) Thus from this passage it is seen that, understanding what the will of the Lord is, is a necessary pre-requisite to doing the will of God. Doing the will of God accidentally is impossible, for before one can perform the conscious action of "doing," he must "understand." It is hearing plus something — is it "hear and understand."

Failure to "understand what the will of the Lord is" is by the apostle classed as foolishness. "Wherefore be ye not foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." (Eph. 5:17) This language is not fair in its implications if men cannot understand what the will of the Lord is. Surely, no one who respects the Bible as the expression of the will of God, will charge that the requirement to understand the will of the Lord is unfair.

Doing The Will Of God

It has been shown that understanding the will of God must precede doing the will of God. But, perhaps, someone is thinking, "What is so important about doing the will of God?" If doing the will of God is of slight significance then the fact that understanding what the will of the Lord is, is also of slight importance. The reader would allow the Lord to assign values and should be willing to accept and act upon the Lord's appraisal. Here is what the Son of God said about it: "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven," (Matt. 7:21.) In this place in the clearest terms conceivable, the Son of God conditions entering the kingdom of heaven upon doing — "he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven." The apostle John wrote, "And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever." (I John 2:17.) Attention should be given to the contrast which Jesus drew between the wise man and the foolish man. The wise man built his house on a rock foundation, the foolish man built his house upon sand. The building which was founded upon the rock demonstrated the wisdom of the builder by remaining standing and intact when storms and floods beat against it. On the other hand the foolishness of the builder who built on sand is seen when it falls before the same forces. Jesus said that "everyone therefore that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them, shall be likened unto a wise man, who built his house upon the rock." (Matt. 7:24.)

How does the Son of God classify you, wise or foolish? In order for the Son of God to judge you as wise and to allow you to enter into the joy prepared by him, you must (1.) hear the will of God, (2.) understand the will of God, (3.) do the will of God.

— 417 E. Groesbeck, Lufkin, Texas