Although this world system is presently an organized kingdom of evil, ruled and motivated by the will of Satan, who is “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:1-3), it must be remembered that Satan is not all-powerful. Only God has all authority over all power. God spoke to Isaiah saying, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning…‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure’ ” (Isaiah 46:9, 10). It is God’s pleasure to reveal His will (plan for your life) to all believers. Jesus told His disciples to get into a boat and go to the other side of Galilee. Being omniscient (all-knowing), He knew they would encounter a storm;’ being omnipotent (all powerful), He knew that He would save them from the storm. This was His specific will for His disciples (Matthew 14:22-33). In the will of God they were:
1) Sent into a storm. The will of God is filled with storms. Every believer who walks in God’s will encounters contrary winds. Paul faced opposing winds throughout his ministry (2 Corinthians 11:24-33).
2) In no danger, because Jesus was in prayer (Hebrews 7:25).
3) In darkness. No believer, who is in the will of God, will remain in darkness (John 12:46).
4) Rowing with all their might against contrary winds. Nevertheless, they were making no progress (Mark 6:48).
When God puts it in your heart to do His will and you face contrary winds, remember that He will direct your path (Proverbs 3:5, 6).
29-1 God’s Will Is Sovereign
“I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning…My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure” (vv. 9, 10). These verses declare the fact that God’s sovereign will is in control of all things in heaven and on earth and throughout His universe. No one can alter His purposes. He said, “I will do all my pleasure” (v. 10).
His sovereign will is established in the fulfilling of prophecy. He has declared the end, even from the beginning. He continued, “Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it” (v. 11). In context, God is saying that He has prophesied Israel’s future, and will bring the prophecy to pass. What He has proposed, He will do. God’s sovereign will determines the end of everything; His purpose cannot be circumvented (Daniel 4:35).
The part of God’s sovereign will that is not revealed is often called His secret will. Though we cannot know all of God’s sovereign will, by faith we can know that part revealed through the Scriptures (Deuteronomy 29:29). Most of God’s sovereign will is secret, and we cannot know His secret will until He is ready to reveal it (Acts 1:6, 7; Amos 9:11-15).
We can, however, know God’s sovereign purpose in history for the Jew and the Gentile, for He has made it known to us in His Word. He said to Abraham, “I will make you a great nation…and in you all the families [nations] of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:2, 3). His sovereign will for Israel is well established in the Old and New Testaments, beginning with His promise to make Abraham’s seed (Israel) a great nation, and to bless all the nations of the earth through his seed, which is Christ (Galatians 3:6-9). Ultimately, true Israel will be saved and enter the kingdom where Christ is King of kings (Romans 11:26-29; Matthew 25:31-46). We also know God’s sovereign will for all who, by faith, will accept the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior (John 3:16, 17). They are predestined for eternal life with God (John 14:1-6); but those who reject Christ as personal Savior are predestined to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).
Calvary is a proof of God’s sovereign will. About a thousand years before Christ died on the cross, David prophesied that the Messiah would be crucified (Psalm 22:14-18). About seven hundred years before Calvary, Isaiah prophesied the ignominious death of Jesus Christ, who suffered for our sins (Isaiah 52:13-53:12). God’s will is sovereign.
29-2 God’s Will Is Immutable
“For I am the Lord, I do not change” (v. 6). He does not change: “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent [change]. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19) God will keep His Word and perform His unchangeable will.
Note that according to God’s unchangeable will, “all Israel will be saved… ‘the Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins’ ” (Romans 11:26, 27). This no more means that every Hebrew who ever lived will be saved than that every Gentile will be saved. But it does mean that all elect Jews (the remnant believers) will be saved. “The Redeemer will come to Zion” (Isaiah 59:20, 21), which refers to the second coming of Christ. Every good and perfect gift is a part of God’s unchangeable will. “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth” (James 1:17, 18). It is God’s purpose that this “word of truth” (the gospel)—the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ—be preached to Israel, so that “all Israel will be saved.” God’s will was immutable (or unchangeable) yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). God reveals His immutable will in His eternal Word.
God’s will is immutable:
1) In salvation. We are saved by grace through faith, not through works (Ephesians 2:8, 9; cf. Acts 4:12; Romans 10:8-10).
2) In judgment. “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22).
a) Christ will judge the believer’s works at “the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:10), to take place at the rapture of the church (Revelation 22:12). Believers will be rewarded for their good works, but for their bad works they will suffer the loss of rewards, not the loss of salvation (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). This is evidence that works alone cannot merit the salvation of God.
b) Christ will judge all nations of the world at the beginning of His millennial reign (Matthew 25:31-46).
c) Christ will judge the wicked at the end of His millennial reign (Revelation 20:11-15).
3) In morals.
a) “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
b) “You shall not make for yourself a carved image.”
c) “You shall not take the mane of the Lord your God in vain.”
d) “Honor your father and your mother.”
e) “You shall not murder.”
f) “You shall not commit adultery.”
g) “You shall not steal.”
h) “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
i) “You shall not covet” (Exodus 20:1-17).
To know God’s immutable will, you must know His Word.
29-3 God’s Will Is Good, Acceptable, and Perfect
Paul urges every believer to “prove [to yourself and others] what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (v. 2). If you are a born-again believer and you do not know God’s revealed will for your life, you are cheating yourself (living beneath your privilege) and grieving the Holy Spirit. God’s revealed will is:
1) Good. It is good in itself because it is God’s will. It is good for you, and good to you. In the will God, the believer can claim His promises, i.e., “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). The key word in this promise is “give.”
a) “The Lord God” is the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17).
b) This Giver is a “sun and shield.” He is the light of the world to guide you each step of the way as you walk in His will (John 8:12), and He is a shield to protect you (Psalm 3:2, 3).
c) He gives “grace and glory.” In the revealed will of God you know the grace of God that brings eternal riches. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become [eternally] rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). His glory is also a gift; can you think of a greater reward? He will share His grace and glory with those who do His good will (Romans 8:17). Paul said, “hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
2) Acceptable. God’s revealed will is the only will that is acceptable to Him. Man’s natural will is rebellious, or carnal (Romans 8:6-8). Satan’s will is totally evil (Isaiah 14:13, 14). Five times Satan said, “I will”; not once did he regard the will of God. The question is, to what degree does your will conform to God’s will? You are either doing the will of Satan (which is evil), or the will of self (which is carnal), or the will of God (which is good, acceptable, and perfect). It is impossible to please God and walk in man’s carnal way, or Satan’s corrupt way (Ephesians 2:1-3).
3) Perfect. Because God is perfect, His will is perfect. His will is pleasing to His perfect nature, in the most infinitesimal detail. The will of God can be discovered and obeyed by every believer. Because He has revealed to us the mystery of His will in His Word (Ephesians 1:9), God wants us to know and understand His revealed will, which is good, acceptable, and perfect (Ephesians 5:17).
29-4 God’s Will Can Be Known
In the old Adamic nature, we are not capable of knowing and doing the perfect will of God. To the unsaved, spiritual things are foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18). The unsaved may be religious, but they do not possess the spiritual capacity to discern spiritual things (1 Corinthians 2:14). If you are a born-again, Spirit-filled believer who desires to know and do the perfect will of God, God will take control of your life and “make you complete in every good work to do His will” (v. 21).
God does have a plan for your life. He did not save you to let you go your way and make your own decisions, according to your carnal nature. God gives the believer a new nature to combat the ways of his old nature (2 Peter 1:4). We have already seen that man’s natural way is carnal, and that Satan’s way is totally evil. But, God’s way is perfect, and is the only way that pleases Him. It is impossible for a carnal, or rebellious, Christian. to please God (Romans 8:5-9). Therefore, it is imperative that you know the will of God for your life and do it.
The question is, how can I know the perfect will of God for my life?
1) You must sincerely desire to do His will. This is an act of faith. “The just shall live by faith” (Hebrews 10:38).
2) You must search the Scriptures if you are going to know the will of God for your life. The apostle Paul tells us that the Bereans “were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). The Berean believers did two things—they heard and accepted the Word of God as it was preached, and they “searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” The best way for believers to know the will of God for their lives is to search the Scriptures, which continually point to Christ (John 5:39; 8:31, 32). If you choose to “grow in the grace and knowledge of…Christ” (2 Peter 3:18) through the study of His Word, God will equip you to know and lived out His perfect plan for your life.
3) If you sincerely desire to know God’s will, you must recognize the ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
a) He communicates with our spirit, always in harmony with the Scriptures, assuring us that we are the children of God (Romans 8:16). When we are not sure of God’s will in our daily decisions, we can trust the indwelling Holy Spirit to reveal His perfect will, because He always intercedes for the believer “according to the will of God” (Romans 8:27).
b) Jesus promised the apostles that the Holy Spirit would guide them into all truth (John 16:13). Through the Scriptures the Holy Spirit also leads us into all the truth we need to know about God’s will for our lives. The Holy Spirit will guide us day after day, as we walk according to the will of God revealed in the Scriptures (Ephesians 1:9).
4) You must read outward signs of God’s providence. Jesus said to the Philadelphia church, “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it” (Revelation 3:7, 8). When a church or an individual is living in God’s perfect plan, God will open doors of service that no one can close (2 Corinthians 2:12), or He will close doors that no one can open. You must be fully committed to Christ and His will before the Lord can show you His open doors. When you are seeking the will of God and there is before you an open door, wait upon the Lord (Isaiah 40:31). Pray as you wait—pray that the Lord will close the door to you if you should not enter. Yes, God does use outward circumstances to reveal His will to us. If you have a desire to serve the Lord in a special ministry and the door is closed, don’t try to force it open. Learn to wait on the Lord, and He will direct your path (Proverbs 3:5, 6; 13:10).
5) Seek the counsel of godly leaders such as pastors, teachers, elders, deacons, and also parents and spiritually mature Christians (Proverbs 11:14).
God has a purpose—a perfect plan for every born-again child of God who desires to know and do His pleasure. If you sincerely desire God’s will, He will cause everything to work together for your spiritual good (Romans 8:28, 29).
29-5 God’s Will for Individuals
Are you filled with the knowledge of God’s will for your life? Paul said he desired “that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (v. 9). This verse tells us God has a perfect plan for each believer, so that he or she can please Him and be fruitful in good works. Everyone can know God’s will for his or her life in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. This spiritual wisdom does not come from within the natural (carnal) man (1 Corinthians 2:14); it comes from the throne of God by the prayer of faith.
James tells us that there are two kinds of wisdom. The first is earthly wisdom, born of carnal man. It is a superficial sort of wisdom, a part of this world system that says, “If there is a God, we do not need Him.” “This wisdom does not descend from above [from God], but is earthly [beastly], sensual [lust of the flesh], demonic [demon-controlled]. For where envy [jealousy] and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there” (James 3:13-16). This earthly wisdom will never lead you into the perfect will of God.
The second kind is heavenly wisdom, and is a gift of God to all who meet the requirements in James 1:5-8. “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17). This heavenly wisdom will reveal God’s perfect will for your life when you seek it with your whole heart through prayer and His Word.
Wisdom to know the perfect will of God for your life is a gift of God; spiritual understanding comes from a knowledge of God’s revealed will in the Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15). “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:17). Yes, God wants you to know His specific plan for your life and understand that in it “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
We pray for spiritual wisdom to know the will of God. We pray for wisdom to read outward expressions of God’s providence, to recognize open or closed doors, and always to be spiritually conscious of the indwelling Holy Spirit, who has promised to guide us into all truth. Remember that these outward and inward leadings never contradict the revealed will of God in His Word.
God has made known His perfect will to individuals in every biblical age, and the evidence is overwhelming.
1) In the age before the Flood, God revealed His plan to the following persons:
a) To Adam, when He placed him in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15-17). When Adam and Eve sinned, God sent them out of the Garden and made known His will for them and their descendants, under the curse of sin (Genesis 3:1-24).
b) To Enoch, who walked with God for three hundred years (Genesis 5:18-24).
c) To Noah, who built the ark according to God’s revealed instructions (Genesis 6:9¬22).
2) In the age of the patriarchs, from Abraham to Joshua, God revealed His plan to Abraham, whom He called and commissioned to walk in His will (Genesis 12:1-9). He failed in his first test and went down into Egypt (Genesis 12:10-20). He returned to Bethel, where he had built an altar, “And there Abram called on the name of the Lord” (Genesis 13:1-4). In Egypt he did not build an altar, nor did he. call on the name of the Lord. He disobeyed the will of God when he chose his own course of action. No believer is capable of making the right decision merely on the basis of natural wisdom; Abraham was a wise man, but not that wise. When a believer has a decision to make, and he does not know the will of God, he can ask God for wisdom, “and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting” (James 1:5¬-8).
3) God raised up the judges, from Othniel to Samuel, to do His will. Some failed the Lord, others walked in His will.
4) In the kingdom period (from King Saul to King Zedekiah) God, through the prophets, revealed His plan to the kings of Israel and Judah. Some kings rebelled and did evil, but others walked in His will and were blessed by God.
5) In the church age Jesus said, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38). Jesus (the God-Man), whose will is as perfect as the Father’s, united His will with the will of the Father. In this He is our great example. Therefore, we must seek to know and to do the will of God in everything (Colossians 3:16, 17). It would be difficult to mention all of the New Testament saints who walked in the will of God. Think of the millions of believers, since Jesus’ day, who have walked in His will; add to that all the saints of the future who will now His plan for their lives and walk in it. Yes, God does- have a perfect plan for your life; may you not rest until you know it, and learn how to walk in it.
Master Outline 29 – God’s Will
 Only God has all the authority over all power. TRUE or FALSE. Explain.
 Is it God’s pleasure to reveal His will? TRUE or FALSE. Explain.
 What four (4) things do we learn from the encounter the disciples of Jesus had in Matthew 14: 22-23?
 When we know God’s will, we will have no more problems. TRUE or FALSE. Explain.
 What five (5) facts does God establish in Isaiah 46: 9-10?
 Can God’s purpose be circumvented?
 The part of God’s sovereign will that is not revealed is called what?
 Do we know God’s sovereign will for history? YES or NO. Explain.
 _______________________ is a proof of God’s sovereign will. Explain.
 Will God keeps His word and performs His unchangeable will? Explain.
 Is God’s will immutable? YES or NO. Explain.
 Name three (3) areas in which God’s will is immutable.
 How do we come to know God’s will?
 If you do not know God’s revealed will for you, what two (2) things are you doing?
 What two (2) things will God share with the believer who does his good will?
 God’s _______________________ will is the ________________________ will that is
_______________________ to him?
 What two (2) words can describe natural man’s nature?
 In your life you are conforming to one of three (3) wills. Name them.
 Because God is ______________________, His will is ______________________.
 Can the will of God be known by every believer? YES or NO. Explain.
 To the unsaved, spiritual things are ______________________. Explain.
 The unsaved may be _____________________, but they do not possess the
______________________ Capacity to discern __________________ things.
 What two (2) types of promises have been given to us to help us be partakers of the divine nature?
 Can a carnal or rebellious Christian please God?
 What three (3) things must the obedient believer do to know the perfect will of God?
 When we’re not sure of God’s will in our daily decisions, what can we do?
 When an individual or a church is living in the perfect will of God, what will God do?
 What is the most important thing a believer can do to learn the perfect will of God?
 How does spiritual wisdom and understanding come?
 Will earthly wisdom ever lead you into the perfect will of God? YES or NO. Explain.
 Describe eight (8) attributes of Heavenly wisdom.
 Wisdom to know the perfect will of God for your life is a ____________________
 Remember that these ____________________ and _____________________ leadings never contradict the revealed will of God in His word.
God does have a perfect plan for your life. May you not rest until you know it, and learn how to walk in it.