1 John 2:17 - And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (NKJV)
Philippians 2:12 - Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; (NKJV)
ONE: God's plain, revealed Will in Scripture
- Should I cheat on my taxes?
- Should I get divorced because I love someone else?
- We're engaged, can we sleep together?
- Is it okay to get drunk occasionally?
TWO: God's Will for the "gray" areas NOT plainly and directly addressed in the Bible
- Is it a sin to drink a glass of wine?
- Should kids go to public school or be home schooled?
- Can you ever see a Rated-R movie, or any movies at all?
- What clothing is appropriate?
- Should you celebrate Halloween or Christmas?
- Can a Christian be in the military and kill someone in a war?
We'll do the "simple" part in this post, and begin next time looking at how to determine God's will for the "gray" areas.
The "simple" part is when our questions are directly and plainly answered in Scripture. It's only "simple" however in the sense that we can know God's will; obedience however is frequently NOT so simple.
The command might be simple;
obeying the command is often difficult.
Now I want you to prepare yourself. I'm about to impart to you some incredible, ground-shaking wisdom. Here goes: when it comes to knowing God's Will about those things that are plainly and directly addressed in Scripture...
Find out what the Bible says, and do it.
Okay, that wasn't exactly original or earth shattering, but it is beautiful in its simplicity and incredible in its effectiveness. And, I have to confess, I didn't make it up either.
James 1:22 - But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
While in concept "finding and doing" is simple, it is NOT simple to actually do it. You have to diligently search the Scriptures (2Tim 2.15; Acts 17.11) and when you find a plain answer, you must obey it, or you are in danger of deceiving yourself about your walk with God.
Obedience has many benefits:
- You can know you are in God's will
- You can be assured God is pleased with you
- You don't have to worry you're doing the wrong thing
- It brings assurance of salvation (1 John 5.2)
- You can trust that you aren't deceived about your faith (James 1.22)
For questions to which there is a plain answer in Scripture, we must not fall prey to "relativism" where we decide that in "some" situations, exceptions can be made to plain Scripture. We fallen and sinful humans are masters at making excuses and justifying sin. Once we open the door of "relative truth" then everything is up for grabs because we can always formulate a "reason" why we are the "exception" to God's Word.
Let me give a few examples where the Bible gives a black and white answer to certain questions about God's will:
- Can I divorce my spouse because of " irreconcilable differences"? No (Matthew 5:31; 1 Corinthians 7:10-16)
- Can I lie if it is for a "good" reason? No (Colossians 3:9)
- Can we sleep together if we're engaged and in love? No (Col 3.5; Heb 13.4)
- Is it okay to gossip for any reason? No (Matt 12.36; Prov 17.9)
- Am I supposed to read my Bible every day? Yes (2Tim 2.15; Acts 17.11)
- Should we assemble together with other Christians regularly? Yes (Heb 10.25)
- Should I care for widows and orphans? Yes (James 1.27)
- My employer treats me bad, do I still have to work hard? Yes (1Thess 4.11-12; Col 3.17; 1Pet 2.18-19)
- Is it okay to treat some people better than others based on their social status or income? No (James 2.2-4)
These are just a few examples of God's will where the answer is "black and white". But you can't know these plain answers if you don't diligently search the Bible for them. God has promised to reward the sincere seeker of Scriptural wisdom though (James 1.5).
How can we know God's will? First, find out if God's Word has a plain and direct answer to your question or circumstance. If it does, then obey God regardless if you like it, agree with it or how you feel about it.
If there is no plain or direct answer in Scripture.... well, that's where we will pick up next time I post on this topic.
What are your questions about Knowing God's Will, or your comments about this post? Leave us a comment...