Q. I’m going home after graduation, and want to get a job and then get married. That’s my will. What has God’s will got to do with me? What’s His will anyway?
A. God’s will is much larger than what you have painted it to be. Allow me to frame it in its wider sense before narrowing it down to you. Theologians have classified God’s will into several categories. First, there is the distinction between the secret & revealed will of God.
• Deut 29:29 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.
Some things are secret and belong to God alone. There are mysteries which we don’t understand, because God never told us in the Bible. For example, no one knows the day or hour of the Second Coming of Christ.
• Mt 24:36 But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
Not the angels, not even the Son, only the Father knows. So there’s no point in trying to calculate what the Father chooses not to reveal. However, He revealed other things and these belong to us, so that we may do them.
Within God’s revealed will, there are several levels:
1. Decretive will,
2. Preceptive will, and
3. Will of disposition.
The highest level is called the decretive will. God decrees it, and it is done. An example is creation.
• Gen 1:3 God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.”
God said it and it was done. No questions asked. No if’s, or but’s about it. This will cannot be broken or disobeyed, because God is sovereign.
The next lower level, however, can be broken or disobeyed, and is called the preceptive will. This will is found in God’s Law. An example is the Ten Commandments (Ex 20:1-17). God said, “You shall have no other gods before me”; but people worship other gods. He said, “You shall not murder”; but people murder. So this will can be disobeyed, but there are consequences because God is just and must punish sin.
A third level is called God’s will of disposition. It expresses God’s attitude towards His people, what pleases and grieves God. An example is our salvation:
• 1 Tim 2:4 He desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
It pleases God for men to know Him, but He does not force it on anyone.
He does not decree that everyone will be saved, whether they like it or not.
When we talk about knowing God’s will, we mean those that are:
• Revealed – because there’s no point in trying to find out something God never intended to tell us;
• His preceptive will – because this is what He told us to do; and
• His will of disposition – because this is what pleases Him.
So you see God’s will is not all about you – it is cosmic in scope. While He may not be in your plans, you are certainly in His, to which we will turn next.
(To be continued)