Part One of a Three Part Series on God’s Will.
By Pastor Don Strand
What is the will of God for my life? Whom should I marry? Should I take that job offer? When should I retire? Should I go into the ministry? These and more are the many ways in which we would like to know what God has planned for us. What is God’s will? How can I know what God’s will is for me? That is the subject of this post.
There are three ways the Bible speaks about God’s will. The first way is that God has decreed all that happens (and will happen) in His creation. God’s decrees such as “let there be light” are followed by light appearing. These decrees are called God’s decretive will. This aspect of God’s will is intimately tied to God’s sovereignty; a term that means God is in total and complete control of both the spiritual and physical realms of creation.
As the term implies, God’s decretive will are those things that God has declared and will most assuredly happen. Because God is sovereign His decretive will can never be frustrated. Even when God passively permits things to happen, He chooses to permit them but retains the power to intervene and indirectly guide them so that the outcome is according to His decretive will. Insofar as God lets things happen, He has “willed” them in this certain sense.
God’s decretive will is hidden from us until after it comes to pass (Deuteronomy 29:29). But understanding the nature of God’s decretive will, that nothing can stop or confound it is the foundation for Christian assurance. God’s decretive will assures us that He will always be faithful to His promises. One of the greatest examples of God’s decretive will is found in these words from Jesus. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:27–30, ESV).
God’s decretive will is that all the Father has given to the Son will be saved and nothing can frustrate that plan of salvation. How reassuring indeed is this for those who have been given faith! His decretive will is the first way the Bible speaks of God’s will. Next week we’ll look at the second way which is called His preceptive will. Until then, rest assured that God is in total control and what He has decreed will come to pass.