“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to a change of mind towards Christ.” (II Peter 3:9)
It is the will of God for every member of the human race to know Jesus Christ as his/her personal Savior. God gave mankind free will, but also made provision for him to have the choice of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Therefore, the first step in doing God’s will is faith in Jesus Christ. God demonstrated His love for all mankind by sending Jesus Christ as their substitute. He bore the penalty for sin past, present and future for the entire human race. On the Cross, God poured out the sins of the world upon Christ and judged them. Therefore, sin is no longer an issue in salvation. The issue is: Will a person accept Christ’s payment for his or her sins by faith? (II Peter 3:9; I John 2:2,17; John 3:16; 6:40, 47; Romans 5:8: II Corinthians 5:21)
It is the will of God for everyone to believe in Christ as Savior. True equality exists only in the body of Christ. We all start with faith in Christ at salvation. What you do after salvation is another matter. (John 6:47; 11:25; 14:6; Acts 4:12)
Salvation is a grace function from God. We neither earn nor deserve salvation. Salvation is a free gift to those who believe. Jesus did all the work on the Cross. Therefore we do not have to do any work for salvation. But salvation is only a potential: a person can choose to accept it or reject it. (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:36)
“It is the will of God, your sanctification….” (I Thessalonians 4:3)
We are set apart at salvation by being placed into union with Jesus Christ. We call this Positional Sanctification and it is permanent. This means that we share all that Christ has and is, and are partakers of the divine nature (indwelling of the Godhead). (I Corinthians 1:2; Hebrews 10:10; Colossians 2:10)
We are set apart in our Christian life when we are in fellowship with God and controlled by the Holy Spirit. We call this Experiential Sanctification and it is temporary. We stay in fellowship with God and under the control of God the Holy Spirit by naming our sins to God. (Ephesians 5:26; I John 1:9)
We will be set apart unto God in a glorified body someday. We call this Ultimate Sanctification and it is permanent. Every believer will receive a resurrection body in the eternal state. (I Corinthians 15:35-54; Philippians 3:21; I John 3:2)
“Stop being intoxicated with wine, which is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18)
It is the will of God for all believers to be filled with (controlled by) the Holy Spirit. We call this spirituality. Spirituality is an absolute; either you are 100% controlled by the Holy Spirit or you are 100% controlled by the sin nature. Every believer produces either divine good, human good or evil at any given moment. Divine good is Christian service done by the believer under the control of the Holy Spirit and is acceptable to God and is rewardable in heaven. Human good is benevolence or other good deeds done by the out-of-fellowship believer or by an unbeliever, and has no spiritual or eternal value. Human good is not always sinful. However, evil is always sinful and subject to divine discipline. (Proverbs 6:16-19; Isaiah 64:6; Romans 8:8)
“In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”
(I Thessalonians 5:18)
It is God’s will for the believer to give thanks in everything. Thanksgiving is a way to express our worship towards God under the control of the Holy Spirit. As we grow spiritually, our mental attitude should reflect gratefulness and should be expressed to God in prayer. Being thankful in all situations can only be accomplished by application of the Bible doctrine that you have stored in your soul.
We know from our previous studies that all Christians are going to suffer during their lifetime. In order to be thankful in adversity, we must understand and then apply the principle that God is working all things together for the good for the advancing believer. This means that we must increase our capacity to receive both suffering and blessing by consistent intake of God’s Word. Being content with what God has already given you is a sign of a maturing believer. (Romans 8:28; Philippians 4:11-13)
“For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.” (I Peter 3:17)
You should know that God sometimes uses suffering so that He can send blessing. Even discipline from the Lord is designed to bless us by getting us back on track. God also uses suffering to call attention to our spiritual health. Suffering honors Christ when the believer demonstrates the reality of his/her faith by continuing to execute the Christian Way of Life despite the intensity or the longevity of the suffering. (I Peter 4:19)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
It is the will of God for all believers to trust Him. Trust means to rely upon God in every circumstance of life. Trust means to depend upon the thinking of God, which we call divine viewpoint. If you want the guidance of the Lord, you must stop thinking the deceptive thoughts of man, which we call human viewpoint. When the believer replaces Human Viewpoint Thinking with Divine Viewpoint Thinking, then God can direct his paths. And be assured that God will never let you down. (Hebrews 13:5)
Producing divine good is the will of God for all believers and is the natural result of spiritual growth. As we have studied, divine good can be both visible and invisible. Divine Viewpoint Thinking is an invisible form of divine production and sharing the Gospel message is a visible form of divine production. Both are good works or works of intrinsic (lasting) value when executed under the control of God the Holy Spirit.
“And God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them; you shall not curse the people; for they are blessed.” (Numbers 22:12)
The directive will of God and His desire are the same. It is sometimes stated as a positive and sometimes as a negative…“Do’s and Don’ts.” The example above is from the Old Testament where God often used animals or inanimate objects through which to speak. In the Church Age, however, God speaks only through His Word. We find much of the “directive will” of God throughout Scripture. Therefore, there are certain things in the Christian life that we know are God’s will and certain things that are not His will. Therefore, we don’t have to pray about it!
“And God came to Balaam at night and said to him: If the men have come to call you, rise up and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you shall you do.” (Numbers 22:20)
The permissive will of God means that God allows man to make decisions, even though they are not God’s desire. Man has been given free will by God, and God will never violate it or coerce a person into a decision. However, not following the known will of God will bring divine discipline. God will ultimately be glorified and His plan for human history accomplished despite the negative decisions of mankind. (Psalms 76:10; Proverbs 3:12; Hebrews 12:6)
“But God was angry because Balaam was going, and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the way as an adversary against him.” (Numbers 22:22- 23:26)
Balaam was not permitted to curse the Jews because it was against God’s will and the promises to Israel. Therefore, God overruled Balaam and hindered him from cursing the Jews. Often God will overrule the will of a person because of the effect it will have on others, especially a believer. This, of course, is all based on His sovereignty.
In summary, we know that there are certain things that are God’s will for the entire human race and certain things that are God’s will for believers. God in His grace allows man’s free will to supercede even His will at times. At times, however, God must intervene and overrule the will of man.