• Dr. Ray E. Heiple, Jr.

Found: God’s Will!

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all.

Ecclesiastes 12:13NKJ


Question 93 of the Larger Catechism, asks, "What is the moral law?" It gives the answer, "The moral law is the declaration of the will of God to mankind, directing and binding every one to personal, perfect, and perpetual conformity and obedience thereunto, in the frame and disposition of the whole man, soul and body, and in performance of all those duties of holiness and righteousness which he oweth to God and man: promising life upon the fulfilling, and threatening death upon the breach of it." Last time we looked at the moral law as God's rule given to man for his obedience. This week we consider the moral law and God's will.

Notice that the answer to today's question is found entirely in the first thirteen words of the given response: "The moral law is the declaration of the will of God to mankind." Everything beyond this phrase is merely a description of that declaration, but the moral law itself is nothing more and nothing less than God's own revealing and declaring to us, His own perfect and holy will for our lives. To whom does God declare His will? The Catechism's answer: to all mankind. Today, so many people wistfully talk of finding meaning or purpose for their lives. The search for meaning is considered by many to be the noblest of quests. Everyone wants to feel significant in who they are and in what they are doing. Yet, truly the Christian alone knows and can know the meaning of life: to live according to the will of God. God is the Creator of all things. He created us to fulfill a purpose. That purpose is His will for us. That will for us is fully declared in the moral law of God. Thus, no one should have to seek for God's will beyond the pages of Scripture!

Sadly, few Christians today seem to understand this very basic teaching of the Bible. Every Christian should know God's will, and yet too often it is precisely the Christian who claims to be seeking or searching for God's will; as if God's will was lost and it is the Christian's chief and highest task in life to find it! My friend, if you are seeking for what you should do in your life with regard to any thought, word, or deed, unless you are talking about searching the pages of the Bible, you should never say something like, "I'm just trying to find God's will in this situation," or "I'm praying that I can figure out God's will." Such statements are necessarily expressions of ignorance of Scripture, unbelief, or they are given in order to justify one's rebellion against God's will, because to pray for God to reveal what He has already revealed can only be the act of one ignorant of, unbelieving in, or rebellious against that revelation.

Consider. We have already seen that the moral law of God is necessarily on the heart of every human being from conception (Rom. 2:14-15), for it is this knowledge of the moral law that makes man a moral being. Thus, all mankind deal with guilt and shame, and we all have the irrepressible need to justify ourselves and our actions. Everyone holds himself accountable to some internally adopted standard, and no one can refrain from so doing. Whereas we can and do suppress the conscience and harden our hearts to it, we cannot utterly eradicate it any more than we can make ourselves into different creatures, other than man. Furthermore, though we can corrupt God's law on our hearts, we cannot change the words of the Bible. Consequently, if you are serious about finding God's will for your life, you need look no further than the pages of Scripture, particularly those texts in which you find specific commandments from God.

So why do so many Christians believe or claim that they do not know God's will for their lives? The difficulty is that often when we say we are trying to find God's will, what we really mean is that we want to find what we believe is best for us at a certain time and in a certain situation. Truly we are not looking for God's will at all; we are looking for our greatest advantage as we see it. So a man receives two job offers and says "I'm trying to find God's will as to which job I should take," but what he really means is that he wants to find the job that will be more secure, bring in more money, and be more enjoyable for him. That is not the same thing as trying to discover which job will tend to glorify God more by being more in conformity to His commands! So Christian, the moral law is God's will for your life. It is fully revealed for you in Scripture. No one need be without purpose or in a blind search for meaning. God's will has been fully revealed for all who truly wish to find it. The question you need to ask yourself in a given situation is: "Do I really want to do GOD's will, or am I trying to fool myself so that I can do MY will, and at the same time have the good feeling that I'm only trying to do God's will?" Seriously wrestling with that question will help to rip hypocrisy out of your heart!

A member of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA)

Reformed doctrine. Reverent worship. Real life.

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