A Website for Basic Christian Doctrine

What is the Will of God?

By Jeremy Cagle

In 2012, the Christian band Sidewalk Prophets released a song about the will of God entitled “Help Me Find It”1 which has since received 1.9 million hits on YouTube2 and been played on Christian radio stations all across the country. The lyrics are as follows:

I don’t know where to go from here
It all used to seem so clear
I’m finding I can’t do this on my own

I don’t know where to go from here
As long as I know that You are near
I’m done fighting
I’m finally letting go

I will trust in You
You’ve never failed before
I will trust in You

If there’s a road I should walk
Help me find it

If I need to be still
Give me peace for the moment

Whatever Your will
Whatever Your will

Can you help me find it
Can you help me find it3

Most Christians can relate to that. We have all asked for help in finding God’s will. We have all worried about the future. Young people want to know who they are going to marry and what kind of job they are going to have. Old people want to know if their health will get better and how their grandchildren will turn out. Parents want to know if their kids will be safe. Kids want to know if their parents will ever let them leave the house.

So, in that sense, this subject touches us all. We have all tried to know the future. We have all tried to figure out what God has ordained for our lives. However, in another sense, that is not necessary because God’s will has already been revealed to us. John MacArthur says it this way:

You hear people say, “I’m searching for the will of God.” Is God’s will lost? They think God is the celestial Easter bunny who stashes His will in earth’s bushes and then sits in heaven telling believers, “You’re getting warmer,” or “You’re getting colder.”

That isn’t true. God’s will is easy to find; it’s right in His book. When we study the Bible, we find over and over again the phrase, “This is the will of God.”4

The Bible tells us what God’s will is. It takes away the mystery so that we do not have to sing “Help Me Find It.” It has already been found.

With that said, the will of God could be defined as “God’s plans for creation.”5 God’s will is His plans for the world that He has created and specifically His plans for Christians. It refers to what He will do in the future and to what He will do in the present, and here are three words that help to explain it.

I. REVEALED

God’s will has been revealed. It has been made known. While God has hidden some things from us, He has not hidden everything. God has told us what we need to know and He has done so in two specific places.

1. The Bible

There are several times when the Bible refers specifically to the “will of God.” One is found in Ephesians 5:17-18:

So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit . . .

In Paul’s day, pagan religions encouraged their followers to use alcohol or drugs in worship.6 The idea was that the mind-altering substances would give you a “spiritual experience.” They would take you to another realm, but Paul says that Christians are to be filled with something else. We are to be filled with the Holy Spirit. That is God’s will for our lives.7

Another time you see the phrase, “This is the will of God,” is in First Thessalonians 4:1-5:

Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that, as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you may excel still more . . . For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God.

God’s will is for you to be sanctified. It is His will for everyone to be set apart for holiness and to live a life of moral purity,8 which is why there is a specific reference to sexual immorality in this passage (v. 3). God does not want His people sinning by indulging in lustful passion “like the Gentiles do who do not know God.”9

I heard a well-known pastor say that he uses this passage in pre-marital counseling to help his counselees maintain sexual purity. He says that, if they are living in adultery, then it is not God’s will for them to be married yet. They need to repent of that sin and honor the Lord first before seeking to be married.

The will of God is mentioned a third time in First Thessalonians 5:16-18:

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

God’s will is for Christians to be thankful. God wants us to be grateful for all He has done for us.

When we say “thanks” at dinner time, we are saying that the food has been given to us by someone else. When we say “thank you” at Christmas, we are saying that the gifts that we receive are undeserved. Someone has brought them to us out of the kindness of their hearts and that should be our perspective in all of life. That is what God wants for us. We should acknowledge that everything we have comes from God and, therefore, “in everything give thanks.”10

The phrase “will of God” is used another time in First Peter 3:17:

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.

Several translations render this “God’s will” or “the will of God.”11 The English Standard Version says:

For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, then for doing evil.

Peter’s point is that it might be God’s will for Christians to suffer. In the words of one commentator:

The Christian who suffers unjustly while doing good works knows that God is in control and that in his providence God will guide and direct the Christian’s life to its destined end.12

In summary, the Bible tells us that it is God’s will for us to be filled with the Spirit, sanctified, thankful, and sometimes to suffer. But there is another area where God reveals His will to us.

II. History

We can also know the will of God by looking at history. History, after all, is “His Story.” It tells us what God wants to accomplish with creation.

Proverbs 21:1 says:

The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.

Isaiah 45:7 says:

I am the One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.

In other words, all of history is ordered by the sovereign hand of God. Kings do His bidding and He causes well-being and calamity. In the words of R. C. Sproul:

The word authority contains within itself the word author. God is the author of all things over which He has authority. He created the universe. He owns the universe. His ownership gives Him certain rights. He may do with His universe what is pleasing to His will.13

God owns the universe and He directs it according to His will.

For a few examples of this, history tells that it is God’s will to be faithful. God always keep His promises to His people. You can see this in the Old Testament with the people of Israel14 and you can see it in the New Testament with the church.15 But you can also see it in the life of William Carey.

William Cary served as a missionary in India from 1793 until 1834.16 He was one of the first Englishmen to travel to Asia for that purpose.17 Yet, shortly after arriving there, his wife died and one of his first fellow missionaries went insane. Carey also went seven years before seeing his first convert but, by the time he died, hundreds of souls had come to faith in Jesus Christ.18 He wrote this about his experiences:

I have no doubt but God will establish His name in this country. Our labors may be only those of pioneers, but Truth will certainly prevail, and this kingdom [shall] amongst the others see the salvation of God . . . We cannot be content unless Nineveh shall be brought to repentance. Nothing but the salvation of men can satisfy us.19

In other words, God will be faithful. He will not allow His Word to return void. Isaiah 55:11 says:

So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.20

The Lord will honor His Word in India or Indiana or anywhere it is preached. History teaches us that.

History also teaches us that it is God’s will to uphold the truth. There has never been a generation that has been completely without the truth of God’s Word. William Tyndale provides an excellent example of this. For centuries, the Roman Catholic Church made sure that no one could read the Bible except in Latin, which was a challenge for the people in Europe because very few spoke Latin. So William Tyndale decided to translate the Bible into English at the risk of his life.21

He also did this at the risk of his reputation. Tyndale was a contemporary of Sir Thomas More22 who was a strong opponent of his efforts to such a degree that he said this about Tyndale:

[He is] “a hell-bound in the kennel of the devil,” “a drowsy drudge drinking deep in the devil’s dregs,” “a new Judas,” “worse than Sodom and Gomorrah,” “an idolater and a devil worshipper,” and “worse than a Mahometan.”23

However, it was God’s will to honor the truth. Most of our English translations today rely heavily on Tyndale’s work and, if it were not for him, it would have been years before the English people could read the Scriptures.

II. HIDDEN

Not only is God’s will revealed, but it is also hidden. It goes without saying that God has not told us everything about creation. Some things have been concealed from us and there are several passages in the Bible that allude to this. Isaiah 55:8-9 says:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

God does not think our thoughts, and His ways are not our ways. He is higher than us. He is beyond our understanding.

Deuteronomy 29:29 says:

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.

Psalm 145:3 says:

Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised, And His greatness is unsearchable.

Romans 11:33-34 says:

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor?

All of this goes back to the questions that were raised at the beginning of the article. Where am I going to live? Who am I going to marry? How will my children turn out? And we could add other questions to the list. Is God calling me to the mission field? Does He want me to buy a Honda or a Toyota or a Buick? Does He want me to save my money or give it all away to charity?

It is not God’s will to answer all of those questions for us. It is not His desire to tell us all of His secrets. Some things must remain hidden.

At this point, it might be helpful to talk about impressions since many Christians think that is where God reveals His hidden will to us. He impresses it upon our hearts. According to the charismatic author, Jack Deere:

Frequently the Holy Spirit speaks through impressions. By impression I am referring to the Holy Spirit’s influence on our feelings, our physical senses, or our minds . . .24

Charles Stanley describes impressions this way:

Silence and seclusion before God allow Him to speak to our hearts clearly, positively, and unmistakably. Though God may not speak to us audibly, He will move in our spirits and impress our minds. We will know God has spoken to us.25

To give us a better understanding of this, Deere describes a time when a lady from his church visited him and his wife at their home.

After a few minutes of polite conversation, I asked her, “Why do you feel like crying?”

“I don’t know,” she replied, “It’s the strangest thing. I’ve felt like crying ever since I walked into your home. How did you know?”

“The Lord is showing me something about you.”

“Do you know why I feel like crying?”

“Yes, I do. You are about to be born again,” I said.

“What do you mean by born again?” As Leesa and I talked with her, Kristy was born again, right there in our living room. Without those impressions from the Lord, I wouldn’t even have thought to talk to her about her salvation.26

Does the Lord do that? Does He reveal His hidden will through impressions?

There are several ways to answer this but one way is to point out that the Lord does not give faulty revelation.27 In the story above, the Lord “told” Jack Deere the truth but that does not always happen. In fact, most of the time, it does not. We have all heard stories of television preachers who said that God was healing someone when He was not. Does that make God a liar? After all, they received an impression. Does that mean that God gives wrong information?28

What if Kristy was crying because she was feeling guilty? What if she was crying because she was tired? What if she was crying because she was going through a hard time? What would that say about Jack’s impression?

Another way to answer this is to point out that impressions are terribly subjective. They could mean anything. In the words of Gary Friesen:

How can I tell whether these impressions are from God or from some other source? This is a critical question. For impressions could be produced by any number of sources: God, Satan, an angel, a demon, human emotions (such as fear or ecstasy), hormonal imbalance, insomnia, medication, or an upset stomach . . . One encounters a quagmire of uncertainty . . . Tremendous frustration has been experienced by sincere Christians who have earnestly but fruitlessly sought to decipher the code of the inward witness.29

This leads to a final reason why we should avoid putting our trust in impressions: they are confusing. They send mixed messages. For an example of this, several years ago, a man told me that it was God’s will for him to go to seminary. The Lord had revealed that to him. The bizarre thing about the conversation was he was not attending seminary at the time. So what was he telling me? Was he telling me that he was living in sin? Was he telling me that he was disobeying God?

Confusion runs rampant when we say that God told us to do something that He did not tell us in His Word. Because of this, the Scriptures make it very clear that the Word of God is finished. Revelation 22:18-29 says:30

I testify to everyone who hears the words of prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

We are not to add to the words of Scripture. We are not to go beyond what is written in the Bible.31

This does not mean that God is hiding His will today. This means that God is hiding His hidden will. To say it positively: God is only telling us what He has already told others in the Bible. He is not revealing new information to the church today but old information. Information that has been around for thousands of years.

What this means is that Jack Deere was right in thinking that God was telling him to evangelize because Matthew 28:18 says:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

He was also right in thinking that God was telling him to pray for Kristy because Philippians 4:6 says:

Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

However, he was wrong in thinking that God was telling him why Kristy was crying. He was wrong in thinking that God was allowing him to read her mind. That is going outside of the finished Word. That is adding to the Scriptures and we are not to do that as Christians.

III. VOLITIONAL

God’s will is also volitional. Volition refers to “the act or power of using the will.”32 It has several synonyms including “choice, option, and willingness.”33 It basically means that God has the freedom to do whatever He wants. He can act in any way that He pleases. Psalm 115:3 says:

But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.

Psalm 135:6 says:

Whatever the Lord pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all the deeps.

Daniel 4:35 says:

All the inhabitants of earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, “What have you done?”

God does whatever He wants. No one hinders Him in any way, which raises an important question: Does that apply to us? What about our volition? What about our will? Can we do what we please?

The Bible teaches that, in a sense, our wills are free.34 We are held accountable to our actions. If we decide to believe in Jesus Christ, then we will go to Heaven. If we decide to reject Jesus Christ, then we will go to Hell.35 If we decide to live a life of wickedness against God, then we will suffer the consequences of that. If we decide to live a life of holiness, then we will enjoy the benefits of that.36

This does not mean that our will is as free as God’s will, but it does mean that we have real freedom.37 It is one of the great mysteries of theology that God has planned everything out from the beginning38 but He still holds us accountable for our actions.39 Yet this is what the Scriptures teach. In the words of A. W. Pink:

There are Arminians who have presented the “free will” of man in such a way as to virtually dethrone God, and I have no sympathy whatever with their system. On the other hand, there have been some Calvinists who have presented a kind of fatalism (I know not what else to term it) reducing man to nothing more than a block of wood, exonerating him of all blame and excusing him for his unbelief. But they are both equally wrong, and I scarcely know which is the more mischievous of the two.

When the Calvinist says, All things happen according to the predestination of God, I heartily say Amen, and I am willing to be called a Calvinist; but if the Arminian says that when a man sins, the sin is his own, and that if he continues sinning he will surely perish, and that if he perishes his blood is on his own head, then I believe the Arminian speaks according to God’s truth; though I am not willing to be called an Arminian . . .40

While it is not the purpose of this article to go into the Calvinism/Arminianism debate,41 the point is well made: man has a free will. It is not as free as God’s will, but it is free nonetheless. We will be held accountable for our actions.

CONCLUSION

The will of God has been revealed and yet it still remains hidden. The Lord tells us what we need to know and yet He still keeps His mysteries. And, in all of this, He has given us freedom. We can make decisions. We do not have to sit back and wait.

What this means is that when you are figuring out who to marry, obey God’s revealed will in passages like Second Corinthians 6:14:

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?42

Then do whatever you want. Do not wait for Him to reveal His hidden will. He will not do that.43 So if your boyfriend/girlfriend is a believer, you can marry them.44 You have that freedom.

If you want a lost family member to come to Christ, follow the revealed will of God in Romans 10:14-15:

How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him, whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!

Follow that teaching and then do whatever you want. Tell your loved ones the Good News. Tell them there is a Savior. Tell them that there is forgiveness at the cross and that God loves to show grace to sinners. Just understand that how and when you do that is up to you.

Kevin De Young says it well in his book, Just Do Something:

So go marry someone, provided you’re equally yoked and actually like being with each other. Go get a job, provided it’s not wicked. Go live somewhere in something with somebody or nobody.

But put aside the passivity and the quest for complete fulfillment and the perfectionism and the preoccupation with the future and start making some decisions in your life. Don’t wait for the liver-shiver. If you are seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, you will be in God’s will, so just go out and do something.45

You do not have to wait for God to give you a light from Heaven or a “liver-shiver” or an inner impression to know His will. God’s will has been revealed to you in the Bible and God has given you the freedom to act on it. So just do something.

 

 

  1. “‘Help Me Find It’ by Sidewalk Prophets” by Kevin Davis, February 26, 2013 at www.newsreleasetoday.com. []
  2. “Sidewalk Prophets – Help Me Find It (Official Lyric Video)”by sidewalkprophets, April 17, 2013 at www.youtube.com. []
  3. These lyrics are taken from www.songlyrics.com as of 8/5/15. []
  4. How to Study the Bible (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2009 ed.) 62. []
  5. Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000 ed.); John Frame, The Doctrine of God (Philipsburg, N. J.: P & R Publishing, 2002); Stanley J. Granz, David Guretzki, & Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1999). This is my definition but other definitions include: “The attribute of God whereby he approves and determines to bring about every action necessary for the existence and activity of himself and all creation” (Grudem, 1257). “God’s will is anything he wants to happen” (Frame, 528). “God’s divine purpose for creation as a whole and for human beings in particular” (Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms, 121). []
  6. John MacArthur, Ephesians in The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1986) 232-234. “In light of the Ephesian situation, however, it must be recognized that Paul’s primary concern in the present passage is religious, not moral. To the Ephesians, as to most pagans and former pagans of that day, drunkenness was closely associated with the idolatrous rites and practices that were an integral part of temple worship . . . He was not only speaking of the moral and social evils of drunkenness, but of the spiritually perverted use of drunkenness as a means of worship.” []
  7. For more on this, see the JTST Theological Question: “What Does It Mean to be Filled with the Spirit?” []
  8. Joseph H. Thayer, Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1996 ed.) 6. The Greek word for “sanctification” is hagiasmos. The verb form of hagiasmos can mean “to render or declare sacred or holy, to consecrate.” []
  9. Gene L. Green, The Letters to the Thessalonians in The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002) 194. “What determines the sexual conduct of the pagans is their desire to satisfy their sexual passions, but the guide to Christian sexuality is knowing God and longing to serve him.” []
  10. Numerous other passages that tell us to give thanks include Ephesians 5:20; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 3:15-16; 4:2; 1 Timothy 2:1; Hebrews 13:15. []
  11. J. Ramsey Michaels, 1 Peter in Word Biblical Commentary (Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1988) 192. The phrase could be translated “‘if God should require it’ . . . Peter has not forgotten that he is examining a possibility rather than an actuality . . . The ‘will of God’ is of course an appropriate term by which to express such a contingency.” []
  12. Simon J. Kistemaker, James, Epistles of John, Peter, and Jude in New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1995) 137. []
  13. Chosen by God (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1986) 24. []
  14. Deut 32:4; Joshua 2:14; Neh 9:33; Ps 33:4. []
  15. Rom 3:3; 1 Cor 1:9; 10:13; 2 Cor 1:18; 1 Thess 5:24. []
  16. The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. by J. D. Douglas (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1978) 192. []
  17. S. Pearce Carey, William Carey: The Father of Modern Missions (London: The Wakeman Trust, 1993 ed.) 133. “Thomas and Carey were the first Englishmen to voyage to India, indeed to Asia, for sheer love of Asia and of Christ.” []
  18. This information is taken from S. Pearce Carey’s William Carey: The Father of Modern Missions. []
  19. Ibid., 190-191. []
  20. Edward J. Young, The Book of Isaiah, Volume 3 (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972) 384. “The word is God’s; it belongs to Him, and for this reason it fulfills its task. The word does not return to God in vain, but rather accomplishes what He has desired and succeeds in that for which He has sent it. What is stressed is the utter efficaciousness of God’s word to accomplish the purpose for which He has sent it forth.” []
  21. All of this information and the following is taken from David Daniell’s William Tyndale: A Biography (London: Yale University Press, 1994). []
  22. The World Book Encyclopedia, Volume 13 (Chicago: World Book, Inc., 1994) 801; The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, 990. Tyndale lived from 1494-1536 and More lived from 1477-1535. Ironically, they were both executed by representatives of the Roman Catholic Church (Daniell, 280). []
  23. Quoted in William Tyndale: A Biography, 277. More also spent more than 1,000 pages attacking him (Ibid., 275). []
  24. Surprised by the Voice of God (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996) 151. []
  25. How to Listen to God (Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1985) 103. []
  26. Deere, 153. []
  27. John MacArthur, Strange Fire (Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2013) 118, 119. “In an attempt to circumvent the clear-cut parameters of Scripture (and maintain some form of modern prophecy), charismatics are forced to propose there are actually two kinds of prophets described in Scripture – one that was infallible and authoritative, and a second kind that was not . . . The notion of fallible New Testament prophets – spokesmen for God who reported divine revelation in an erroneous and corrupt way – may fit the contemporary charismatic scene. But it has a fatal flaw: it is not biblical. In fact, the Bible only and always condemns erroneous prophets as dangerous and deceptive.” []
  28. Ibid., 108. “Any inaccurate prediction or statement made while claiming to relate revelation from God constituted a serious crime. Not only was an erroneous message proof positive the prophet was a fraud, but it also meant, under Old Testament Law, he was worthy of the death penalty. God does not take lightly the offense of those who wrongly presume to speak for Him – saying, “Thus says the Lord,” when in fact the Lord has not spoken.” []
  29. Decision Making and the Will of God (Sisters, Ore.: Multnomah, 1980) 130-131. []
  30. Jay Adams, the Christian Counselor’s Commentary: Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter, and Jude (Stanley, N.C.: Timeless texts, 1996) 339-340. Adams has a helpful thought on this. He actually wrote this in relation to Jude 3 but it applies to Revelation 22:18-19 as well: “The faith had been given to the saints in a full and final way. Nothing more need be added; none dare say that God had given an insufficient revelation to His people. Yet you will discover [people] who are looking for ‘something more.’ What they need is not something more, but more of the something that they already have in Christ . . . Whenever [someone] refers to ‘something more’ than that which is a part of the deposit of the faith now found in the Bible alone, warn him that what he is playing around with is dangerous because, in reality, it isn’t something more but something different. Whatever is added to the once-for-all delivered deposit of the faith always becomes more important than the truths contained in that deposit itself.” []
  31. Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 8-22: An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1995) 518. “This is a warning not just to the would-be prophets themselves, who might try to continue prophetic ministries beyond the time of Revelation’s writing, but also to ‘everyone who hears,’ i.e., those in the churches who needed to refuse any authority that challenged the divine authority, accuracy, and finality of this prophecy. The observation is true that this warning applies specifically to the book of Revelation only, but by extension it entails the termination of the gift of prophecy and the NT canon also.” []
  32. Webster’s New World Dictionary, ed. by Michael Agnes (New York: Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2003) 723. []
  33. The New American Roget’s College Thesaurus in Dictionary Form, ed. by Philip D. Morehead (New York: Penguin Books, 1985) 620. []
  34. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. By F. L. Battles (Philadelphia, Penn.: Westminster Press, 1960) 1:217. In a sense, we are slaves to sin as Jesus says in John 8:34: “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin.” In another sense, we are free because we are held accountable to our actions. John Calvin says it this way: “Thieves and murderers and other evildoers are the instruments of divine providence, and the Lord himself uses these to carry out the judgments that he has determined with himself. Yet I deny that they can derive from this any excuse for their evil deeds. Why? Will they either involve God in the same iniquity with themselves, or will they cloak their own depravity with his justice? They can do neither.” []
  35. John 3:36 says: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” []
  36. Galatians 6:7-8 says: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” []
  37. Francis Schaeffer, Escape from Reason in The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer, Volume One (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 1985) 267. Francis Schaeffer, in his usual intellectual way, said that: “The fact that man has fallen does not mean that he has ceased to bear God’s image. He has not ceased to be man because he is fallen . . . So it is a truly wonderful thing that, although man is twisted and corrupted and lost as a result of the Fall, yet he is still man. He has become neither a machine nor an animal, nor a plant. The marks of ‘mannishness’ are still upon him – love, rationality, longing for significance, fear of nonbeing, and so on.” []
  38. Psalm 139:16 says: “And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” []
  39. Romans 2:5-8 says: “But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.” []
  40. Quoted in Iaian H. Murray’s The Life of Arthur W. Pink (Carlisle, Penn.: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2004 ed.) 107. []
  41. Other articles in JTST have discussed the issue of Calvinism Versus Arminianism. For example, see the Theological Question: “What Does Foreknowledge Mean?” and the Book Review on The Doctrines of Grace. []
  42. Colin G. Kruse, 2 Corinthians in The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1987) 136. “The expression . . . contains the idea of being unevenly yoked. The verb heterozygeo is found only here in the New Testament, but is used . . . as part of a prohibition on yoking different types of animals together . . . Using language reminiscent of these prohibitions, Paul exhorts his readers not to enter into ‘partnerships’ with unbelievers. But what sort of partnerships did he have in mind? Were they marriage partnerships or was it the more general notion of partnership in pagan practices? In the light of what follows the latter seems more likely.” With that said, it only makes sense that you should not marry someone you cannot worship with. In other words, Christians should not marry non-Christians. []
  43. John MacArthur, Found: God’s Will (Colorado Springs, Col.: Victor, 1977) 32. Connecting this to First Thessalonians 4:3, which was referred to above, John MacArthur writes: “It is absurd for a young person (or anyone else) who is living in sexual impurity to say, ‘God, show me your will.’ Such a person is not even doing what this text of Scripture says is His will. Why should God disclose some further will?” This is an excellent little book on the will of God. []
  44. Obviously, there are many things to consider when pursuing marriage; the intention here is to make the decision-making process as simple as possible. If both parties are saved and are honoring God with their lives, then there is nothing Biblically-speaking to prevent them from getting married. []
  45. Just Do Something: A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2009) 59. []