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A Unified Theory of the Will of God (Pt. 1 )


A Unified Theory of the Will of God

1 John 5:14-15 NKJV
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

On a pragmatic level, a solid understanding of God’s will is absolutely essential. We have to know God’s will to pray effectively.

The problem is, there are a lot of theories on the will of God. To the degree they are based upon Scripture, they are right and I agree with them. Unfortunately, that means I also disagree with them all as well because they can’t all be right. My rule for interpreting Scripture is simple: We are all in error to the degree we explain away the plain truth of Scripture.

With so much disagreement about something as fundamental as “What is God’s will?” How can we possibly pray according to God’s will? How can we possibly have confidence?

The Will of God is Threefold

The Body of Christ has been divided for far too long over something that is so simple. The Apostles understood the true nature of the will of God. Jesus lived it. Paul wrote about it. I call this the “Unified Theory of the Will of God.”

The first thing we need to know is that the will of God is threefold. As it is expressed, it explains heaven and hell, faith and works, what God desires, what God permits, and what God has determined from the foundations of the world.

The threefold will of God is summed up in one statement in Paul’s letter to the Romans. The key passage for understanding the Will of God is:

Romans 12:2 HCSB
Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.

I had always read “good, pleasing and perfect” as a description of the will of God. Then one day, I saw it differently. “Good, pleasing and perfect” is an expression of the progressive will of God.

Progressive because:

Good is good—but not pleasing or perfect.

Pleasing is both good and pleasing—but not perfect.

Perfect is perfect—it is the pinnacle of God’s will and cannot be improved upon.

If you don’t see it yet, that is okay. I was preaching 25 years before I got it—but when you get it—what a difference it makes!

The Perfect Will of God

Matthew 6:9-10 NKJV
In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

The Lord’s Prayer is widely known and quoted but it has become like background noise: we hear it but never really listen to it. We parrot the words but too often have been deaf to the meaning. Jesus tells us “this is how I want you to pray” and in verse ten we are told to pray “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Jesus is telling us to pray according to the will of God and then tells us what the will of God is: heaven on earth. Is there sickness in heaven? Is there poverty and lack in heaven? Are you only just able to make it in heaven? Is there death and mourning in heaven? Is there any sin in heaven? Are people at war with one another in heaven? Is there justice in heaven?

Heaven is wonderful. Heaven is perfection. Heaven is a place of healing. Heaven is a place where the streets are paved with gold. Heaven is filled with righteousness, peace and joy. Heaven is the home of the redeemed and perfected saints of the living God. God’s will is done there.

The perfect will of God is heaven on earth. And before you object that this is somehow impossible, Jesus commanded us to pray for heaven on earth, don’t allow your faith to stagger at what Jesus said.

You ask, “If God’s will is heaven on earth then why isn’t it already here? Why does God allow rape and murder and child molestation and poverty, sickness and death?” The answer is simple: God’s will isn’t being done in the earth. This is why Jesus commanded us to pray “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

In heaven, God’s will is done perfectly. When we think about and consider heaven and what He has in store for us there, we can see His desire for His creation. We see there His desire for every one of us.

Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

That which is perfect is not yet here. Most of what we experience is pleasing and good, but not what God truly desires for us. That which is perfect is coming with Him when the Lord returns or when we go home to Him.
The Perfect Will of God, what He DESIRES for us, is heaven on earth.

The Pleasing Will of God

Hebrews 11:6 NKJV
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

The second level is pleasing. It is both pleasing and good but it is not perfect. What pleases God? Our faith.
When Isaiah prophesied the coming of Christ to die for our sins he wrote by the Spirit of God:

Isaiah 53:10 NKJV
Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.

Jesus was beaten, tortured, cursed, and executed. As he hung on the cross, he took upon himself the sins of the whole world and even God turned His back on him. Was this perfect? No. Our sin made it necessary but Jesus trusted. Jesus had faith. Jesus believed that God would raise him from the dead.

And it pleased the Lord to bruise our Jesus when the Father made his soul an offering for sin.

We do not live in a perfect world. Not only do we suffer for our own sins here but we often suffer for the sins of others as well. The man whose godly son was killed by a drunk driver, the son went to heaven but the father suffered dearly. But when the man puts his hope in God and trusts the Lord, this does please God.

The man of God who is persecuted for his faith and sent to prison, is this what God desires? No, but the man’s faith is pleasing to God. When Isaiah was placed in a log and sawn in two, was this the just reward for a righteous and holy man? No. But he is in the heroes of faith because he trusted God no matter what the earthly reward. He wasn’t looking at the seen but at the unseen.

Without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith elevates your walk.  It is by faith you are saved. Sin was not what God had prepared for you. By faith you please Him and receive salvation.

It is by faith that you are healed. Sickness is a result of sin in the world. By faith you can walk in divine healing and see the power of God.

We were created by God to overcome all things. How do we overcome? By faith.

1 John 5:4 NKJV
For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith.

The Pleasing Will of God is where we walk in faith, receive answers to our prayers and choose to trust Him and rely on Him even unto death.

The Good Will of God

Romans 8:28 NKJV
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

The last level of God’s will is good. What does this mean? Good is often neither pleasing nor perfect. It isn’t what God desires. God’s justice and judgment is good but it does not please God nor is it what He desires.

Ezekiel 33:11 NKJV
Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’

Good is the level of God’s sovereignty and what we call predestination. This is what God has determined beforehand and nothing and no one can bend Him from His purpose.

For the believer, God has determined beforehand that all things will be bent toward the good. He has determined to conform all those who believe to the image of Christ.

Romans 8:28-30 NKJV
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

He has determined beforehand that all those who believe are called and those who are called shall be predestined to the adoption of sons.

Ephesians 1:3-6 NKJV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

God has determined beforehand that we who believe should be to the praise of His glory and inherit all things.

Ephesians 1:11-12 NKJV
In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,  that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

God is good. And He has determined to bend all things together for good—even the determined sin and rebellion of Satan himself and of all those who follow him.

For the unbeliever, “good” is neither pleasing to God nor perfect. Evil falls upon the wicked.

Ecclesiastes 12:14 NKJV
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.

It is good that the wicked are judged. It doesn’t please God. Nor is it what he desires.

Ezekiel 33:11 NKJV
Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die…?’

You see, it is not God’s desire that any person die in his sins but God has determined that anyone who refuses Christ will die in their sins and be condemned.

2 Peter 3:9 NKJV
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

How can God not desire that any person die in his sins and yet send people to Hell? The answer is: His will is threefold.

How can God be a God who heals and yet so many die sick? The answer is that His will is threefold and they did not receive what He desired to give.

How is it that some men of faith are enormously prosperous and successful while others struggle or endure great hardship and persecution for the same faith? The will of God is threefold.

In our walk with God, we need to know what God desires for us and that He is a good God. We also need to know that the troubles, trials and tribulations of this life are things that God permits. He calls on us to overcome all things by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. We also need to know that when the truly terrible things happen to us in our life, God is there. He does not leave us nor forsake us. We can trust Him. We can know that the sparrow does not fall to the ground and die but that He wills it. We need to know that God will transform our greatest tragedies into something for our good and His glory.

So God’s Will is not black and white. God’s will is good, pleasing and perfect.

That is not what I believe or was taught!

Well, how is that working for you? How much of what Jesus taught are you having to “spiritualize” to explain away?

Who are you that I should listen to you?

I am no one of any importance. I am just a man whose heart is held captive to the Word of God. The real question is: “Does this Unified Theory agree with the Word of God?”

So are you saying it is always God’s will to heal?

I am saying it is always God desire to heal. What He does will depend upon us.

Are you saying prosperity is always God’s will?

I am saying that prosperity awaits us in heaven. The degree of our prosperity in the earth is dependent upon us—both individually and corporately.

Are you saying that anyone who doesn’t walk in prosperity and in divine health is not in faith?

Not at all. I’m only saying that prosperity and divine health are what God desires for us and that we should pray accordingly. How the threefold will of God operates in an evil and wicked world is something that I will cover in part 2.

Conclusion

The lower limit on the Will of God is that God will make it produce good. Not that it is good but God is good and He will make it good.

The upper limit on the Will of God is perfection. It is life more abundantly and joy unspeakable. It is an abundance and prosperity that infuses all that you are and all that you do. It is eternal life.

Between the lower limit and the upper limit is the full range of God’s will. Our faith can be small or it can be great. Where we walk and live is dependent upon the level and degree of our faith and our ability to hear from God and receive what we desire from Him in prayer.

Perhaps a believer really believes that he deserves the sickness and has no faith whatsoever to be healed. He dies in faith. God will make it good.

Perhaps a believer has some faith—but not enough for a miracle. God can use doctors to heal. We pray in faith and recover.

Perhaps a believer has more faith. God can use doctors to heal but he believes God will speed his recovery. He prays and the doctors and nurses are astonished at the speed of his recovery.

Perhaps a believer has more faith. He grabs the horns of the altar and cries out to God until God moves miraculously, has mercy and he is healed by a miracle.

Perhaps another believer has yet more faith and walks in divine health and escapes the world through a martyrs crown! (You probably didn’t see that one coming).

How do we pray then?

Jesus told us:

Matthew 6:9-10 NKJV
In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.

We are to pray for God’s best and trust Him with all our heart, knowing that God is good and He will make it good.

Now that you know and understand the will of God for your life and what He desires for you, you can pray according to His will and know that He hears you. You can walk in faith and pray in faith and know your answer is on the way!

Follow this link to go to Part 2! You won’t want to miss it!

Ken Van Horn is pastor of My Father’s House Family Church at 501 Broad Street in Cusseta, Georgia and author of the book: “A Greater Reward,” which is available from Amazon on Kindle. Questions for him should be asked in the form below. You may also contact him through Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

 

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