THE FATHER'S WILL FOR HIS CHILDREN
The Bible clearly shows that the Sovereign God's primary purpose for creating humanity is to increase his spiritual family and kingdom. Moreover, God must sometimes intervene in human affairs in order to accomplish this purpose.
Although most of the Father's elect children believe that he and his son Jesus Christ are actively involved in human affairs, many are uncertain of exactly what his specific purpose (his will) is for their life, others believe that everything (whether good or bad) that happens in their life is the result of God's intervention.
Does the Sovereign God of all that exists personally micro-manage the lives of his elect children and every human on earth, or is most of what happens in the lives of his elect children and the world dictated by time and chance or decisions we make ourselves?
In order to answer these questions, we must know and understand God's will as it relates to the following areas of life:
PREDESTINED TO BECOME SONS OF GOD
The Bible shows that some individuals were selected for an opportunity to become the first humans to be transformed into sons of the Father's new creation, long before the existence of the world. It is important to understand the awesome opportunity of being called to salvation during this age and that this is a one-time opportunity which must be made the primary focus of one's life if one is to be spiritually successful. Without an understanding of why one exists and why the Father has called one to salvation during this age, one cannot begin to understand his will.
"According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestined us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will . . . in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will, for us to be the praise of his glory, the ones who first trusted in Christ" (Eph.1:4-5, 11-12 KJV Para.).
Before the foundation of the world, the Father determined that those whom he would create and call during this phase of his plan for humanity would become holy and blameless through the sacrifice of his first-born son Jesus Christ, so that they could be adopted into his family as sons according to his purpose for humanity.
Verses 11 and 12 show that the Father predetermined that certain individuals would come into existence in order to perform certain responsibilities for him. The predestination that the apostle Paul speaks of in verses 11 and 12 has nothing to do with a person's decision to repent or not, but it has everything to do with the Father's predetermined plan (his will, i.e., his purpose) for the salvation of specific individuals at a specific time and the salvation of humanity as a whole.
Called According to a Purpose
"But we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, and for those who are called according to a purpose. For whom he foreknew, he predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover those he predestined, he also called: and those he called, he also justified: and those he justified, he also glorified" (Rom.8:28-30 Para.).
"For his own purpose he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures" (Jms.1:18 Para.).
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph.2:10 KJV).
Before the creation of the world and humanity, the Father predetermined the following two things:
Each person the Father has foreordained to be created and given an opportunity for salvation before his son returns to establish his government on earth has either been called in ages past or will be called before his son returns. If one who is called accepts the Father's offer of salvation and performs his will in their life (the purpose for their calling), that person will be glorified as his son in his divine family and kingdom:
"Do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord [Jesus Christ], nor of me [Paul], his prisoner. But suffer hardship with the gospel, according to the power of God [the Sovereign Father] who has saved us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace [favor] given to us in Christ Jesus before eternal times, that is now revealed by the appearance of our Savior, Jesus Christ, making death of no effect and bringing life and incorruption to light through the gospel" (2.Tim.1:8-10 Para.).
Before this dimension of time and space came into existence, the Father had decided that the Creator God (Jesus Christ) would come to the earth and sacrifice his life for the salvation of humanity. Moreover, the Father had decided to favor some people above others with the offer of salvation in order for him to fulfill his purpose for the creation of humanity.
CALLED FOR MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES
One of the first major responsibilities of those who participate in the first resurrection is to assist Jesus Christ in the conversion of humanity (1.Tim.2:4; 2.Pet.3:9). In preparation for this task, one is to grow in grace and knowledge (2.Pet.3:18) and come to a clear understanding of God's will (his purpose) for one's life and his plan for the salvation of the rest of humanity.
If you are one who is now called to salvation, God the Father knew you before the foundation of the earth (2.Tim.1:8); he knew that you would exist, because he had predetermined your existence and the time that you would be born and given an opportunity for salvation. He did this, so that you would have an opportunity to become one of the first-born sons of his new creation in order to fulfill a function and a responsibility in his royal family and holy nation of kings, ambassadors, and priests.
GOD'S WILL, SALVATION, AND REWARDS
One cannot begin to know the Father's will in a given situation without first knowing his purpose for the creation of humanity and his purpose for calling one to salvation; therefore, some of the first things one must study in order to know his will concern one's eternal salvation and rewards for living a righteous life.
"He will give eternal life to those who patiently do the will of God, seeking for the unseen glory and honor and eternal life that he offers" (Rom.2:7 LBP). See also Matt.19:16-17; Lk.10:25-27; 18:18-20.
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides forever" (1.Jn.2:15-17 KJV).
The Bible defines the desire to do and practice evil as "lust and the pride of life". It is this lust to gratify the flesh, that is in opposition to God's purpose for one's life and has an adverse effect upon one's spiritual character. The lusts of the flesh only give temporary satisfaction, but the performance of God's will in one's life brings eternal rewards:
"He will give eternal life to those who patiently do the will of God, seeking for the unseen glory and honor and eternal life that he offers" (Rom.2:7 LBP). See also Matt.19:16-17; Lk.10:25-27; 18:18-20.
It is the Father's purpose to give eternal life to everyone who accepts his offer of salvation through the sacrificial blood of his first-born son Jesus Christ and then live according to his laws, precepts, and principles.
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2.Pet.3:9 KJV). See also Psa.136:1-16; Jn.6:37-40; 1.Tim.2:4.
Although God the Father is concerned about all of his human creation, at this moment in time, he is most concerned about those he has chosen to become the first sons of his new creation.
The following are some of the many rewards that the Father has reserved for his elect children who diligently seek and perform his will in their lives:
This list contains only a few of the enormous rewards that the Father has promised to his first-born children. The magnitude of the rewards for those who do the Father's will in their lives and obtain salvation is so far beyond our imaginations and dreams that it defies human comprehension:
"But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him" (1.Cor.2:9 KJV).
WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION
Although the Father is Sovereign of all that exists and has the ability to save us from any situation in which we find ourselves, it is his will that we learn by experience. Even when he does intervene in our lives to extract us from a difficult situation, we may still suffer the consequences of being in a trying situation in order to teach us a righteous lesson. Remember that the Father and Jesus are ultimately interested in the saving of our spirit, not our flesh. See Matt.5:29-30; 18:8-9.
How one reacts to temptations, trials, and tests and the decisions one makes reflects one's primary focus in life at that time. When we react in a righteous manner to life's experiences, we will know that our primary focus is correct before God. This is one of the reasons that the apostle Paul was inspired to encourage the elect at Philippi to be earnest and sincere in working toward salvation:
"Wherefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which works in you both to will and to do his good pleasure" (Phil.2:12-13 KJV). See also 1.Cor.10:13; Gal.6:3-10.
But, how does one work out their own salvation and what is the will of God and his good pleasure that he is working out within his elect children? The answers to these two questions are essential to spiritual success and entry into the Family and Kingdom of God.
The instruction to work out one's own salvation means that one must manage one's life in such a way that it conforms to God's laws, precepts, and principles. In order to do this, one must expend much sincere and diligent effort. Only when a person sincerely seeks to live according to the Father's laws, precepts, and principles and to respect, love, obey, and please him and his Son can he work his will and purpose in one's life.
THE NUMBER ONE PRIORITY
Jesus gave two illustrations to show the importance of prioritizing one's life so that one can fulfill one's calling and enter into the Kingdom of God.
"Listen carefully, Beware of an excessive desire for things of this world, because a person is more than his possessions. Then he said: A certain rich man's field produced a great crop, and he said to himself, I have so much in my barns that I don't have room to store it, so I'll tear down my barns and build larger ones in which to put all that I get. And I will stop working because I have more than enough to last me many years, and now I will just eat, drink and enjoy a leisure life. But God said to him, You fool, tonight you will die, now who will possess the things that you worked for? So is the person that stores treasure for himself and is not rich toward God" (Lk.12:15-21 Para.).
No one can take physical possessions into the Father's spiritual dimension of existence. The only things that a child of God can take with them into the Father's family and kingdom is spiritual knowledge, understanding, and character that is acquired during this physical life:
"Then turning to his disciples he said, Don't have anxious thoughts about your life, or what you will eat or what clothing you will wear. Because life is more than food and clothing. . . The Father will clothe you. . . Don't make what you eat or drink your priority. Don't be anxious about these things, for these are the things that other people make their priorities in life: Your Father knows that you need these things. But rather seek the Kingdom of God and these things will be provided for you. Don't fear, little flock because it is the Father's pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Lk.12:22-32 Para.).
The Father wants to give a person he has called to salvation entry into his kingdom; however, he can only do this if the person he has called will make the fulfilling of his purpose for their existence the first priority in their life. The scriptures clearly show that there is nothing else one can accomplish during this life that is more important than fulfilling the Father's purpose for their life.
GOD'S WILL AND ONE'S DAILY LIFE
"The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill: but time and chance happens to them all" (Ecc.9:11 KJV). See also Matt.5:45.
Although the Father calls each person for a special purpose, none are exempt from time and chance. Therefore, in order to be spiritually successfully in any given situation, one must not only be continually mindful of the purpose for which one has been called but also have the spiritual knowledge and understanding with which to make correct decisions ( See Eph.6:12-18; 2.Pet.1:5-10). However, knowing God's will in a difficult situation does not always ease the pain and suffering of the moment; it just gives meaning to it:
"We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Rom.8:28 KJV).
God the Father gives the opportunity for salvation, but it is the responsibility of each individual to make an ongoing effort to develop spiritual maturity and perform the work to which they have been called.
BE WISE AND UNDERSTAND GOD'S WILL
How important is it to know, understand , and do the Father's will in one's life? Jesus gave many warnings about the fate of people who refused to do his will in their lives The following statements of Jesus clearly show that knowing, understanding, and doing the Father's will is so important that not knowing, understanding, and doing his will in one's life to the best one's ability (Eph.6:6; Col.4:12) separates one from a relationship with Jesus Christ and prevents one from entering the Kingdom of Heaven:
"Not everyone that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that does the will of the Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, and in your name cast out devils and in your name done many wonderful works? But, I will say to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work lawlessness" (Matt.7:21-23 KJV Para.). See also Rom.12:2.
There are many people today that sincerely think they are doing the will of God, because they use the name of Jesus to teach a message about God or seem to have spiritual insight or the ability to perform supernatural works. However, most of these people do not truly know God, and many of those who do know God are living in disobedience to him. Jesus said that only those who are truly doing the will of the Father will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. See Matt.25:1-13; Rev.1:18-20; 2:1-29; 3:1-6, 14-22.
In the end of the age, there will be many of the Father's elect children who truly know the Father's will concerning their lives, but for some reason they will refuse to do what they know they should do. To these unfaithful servants Jesus says the following:
"And that servant, who knew his master's will, and did not prepare himself, and did not perform according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes" (Lk.12:47 para.).
When the warnings in Matthew 7:21-23 and Luke 12:47 are viewed in the context of the punishment that will be administered to the Father's elect children who comprise the six churches mentioned in the Book of Revelation for their failure to perform his will in their lives, the seriousness of knowing, understanding, and performing the Father's will to the best of one's ability should motivate one to seek his will in their life.
In order to obtain eternal life and the spiritual power and glory that the Father wants each of his first-born to have, one must make a serious commitment and effort to put away one's former evil behavior and replace it with the Father's righteous ways. The way to accomplish this type of commitment and behavioral change is through using the power of the holy spirit:
"See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be you not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is" (Eph.5:15-17 KJV). See Rom.8:12-13; Col.1:7-10; 3:5-10.
Each person whom the Father has called to salvation in this age must know and prove what his will is for their life. This demands that one put forth the time and effort to determine what the Father's will is and is not.
If a person does not know what is expected of them, they cannot perform what is expected. Therefore, in order to serve and please the Father and fulfill his purpose for one's life, a person must know what he expects of them and how to accomplish what is expected. And in order to know this, one must diligently seek this knowledge:
"Teach me to do your will; for you are my God: Your spirit is good; lead me into the land of righteousness" (Psa.143:10 KJV).
GOD'S WILL CAN BE KNOWN
While reprimanding the spiritual leaders of the Jews in Rome, Paul said that these Jews understood the will of God concerning their moral and spiritual behavior because they understood God's law and were schooled in his word from their youth:
"You Jews think that all is well between yourselves and God because he gave his laws to you; you brag that you are his special friends. Yes, you know what he wants [these Jews understood God's will]; you know right from wrong and favor the right because you have been taught his laws from earliest youth. You are so sure of the way of God that you could point it out to a blind man. You think of yourselves as beacon lights, directing men who are lost in darkness to God. You think that you can guide the simple and even teach children the affairs of God, for you really know his laws, which are full of knowledge and truth. Yes, you teach othersthen why don't you teach yourselves? You tell others not to stealdo you steal? You say it is wrong to commit adulterydo you do it? You say, Don't pray to idols, and then you make money your god instead. You are so proud of knowing God's laws, but you dishonor him by breaking them. No wonder the Scriptures say that the world speaks evil of God because of you" (Rom.2:17-24 LBP).
Just as these Jews knew and understood God's will through the study of his written word, the Father's elect children can know and understand his will. Although God the Father and his Son have intentionally hidden much of their awesome purpose from most people, this knowledge and understanding will not be kept hidden from any of the elect of God who will make a diligent effort to obtain it. See Dan.12:4,10; Eph.6:19; Col.1:24-27; 1.Pet.1:12.
Notice the following things that Jesus and the apostle said concerning the knowledge that the Father reveals to those who are called to salvation during this age:
"And the disciples came, and said to him, Why do you speak to them in parables? He answered and said, Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. . . Therefore I speak to them in parables: because seeing, they see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand" (Matt.13:10-13 Para.). See also Isa.6:9-10.
"But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For truly I say to you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which you see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which you hear, and have not heard them" (Matt.13:16-17 KJV). See also Mk.4:11-12; Lk.8:10.
"Having made know to us the mystery of his (the Father's) will, according to his good pleasure which he has purposed in himself: That is the fullness of time he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; in him (Jesus). In whom we also have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things after the council of his own will: That we should be the praise [i.e.,acknowledgment/declaration] of his glory, who first trusted in Christ" (Eph.1:9-11 KJV).
Yes, the Father's will can be known and understood by those who he has called to salvation, because knowing and understanding his will is part of one's calling.
Listen And Obey God's Instructions
Jesus said that he came to do the will of his Heavenly Father and to be an example of how to please him. If anyone wants to know and understand the Father's will and please him, they must look to the example of Christ :
"All who listen to my instructions and follow them are wise, like a man who builds his house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents, and the floods rise and the storm winds beat against his house, it won't collapse, for it is built on a rock. But those who hear my instructions and ignore them are foolish, like a man who builds his house on the sand. For when the rains and floods come, and storm winds beat against his house, it will fall with a mighty crash" (Matt.7:24-27 LBP). See also 1.Tim.6:17-19.
"I, of myself can do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father who has sent me" (Jn.5:30 KJV Para.).
"For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me" (Jn.6:38 KJV).
"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (Heb.13:20-21 KJV).
The apostles Paul, Peter, and John clearly understood that Jesus had been sent by the Father to reveal his purpose for humanity; therefore, they taught that one of the primary ways to know, understand, and live within the Father's will is to study what Jesus taught and model one's thoughts and behavior after his example.
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil.2:5 KJV).
"But grow in the grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. . ." (2.Pet.3:18 KJV).
"But whosoever keeps his word, in him truly is the love of God [the Father's love] perfected: hereby we know that we are in him. He that says he abides in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he [Jesus] walked" (1.Jn.2:5-6 KJV).
The scriptures clearly show that God's will (his purpose) for humanity and for his elect children is no secret, and it can and must be known and understood if one is to grow toward spiritual maturity. But, how does one determine and understand God's will well enough to be able to set a correct course for one's life and make correct decisions concerning one's spiritual life?
Ancient Israel relied on the priests and the prophets to reveal God's will to them. Today, the elect of God must rely on the written word of God and the guidance from the holy spirit (Jn.14:26) to reveal the Father's will to them. Because the Father speaks to us through his written word and the holy spirit that resides within us, we should diligently study his word and ask him for spiritual enlightenment through his spirit so that we can know and understand his will in order do what pleases him.
Study God's Word
A person is not given perfect knowledge and understanding of all the mysteries of God at the instant one receives the holy spirit. A short review of the apostles' letters to the churches shows that the acquisition of spiritual knowledge and understanding requires that one ask the Father for it and then spend the time and effort to diligently seek it through study and meditation on God's word.
"The heart of the righteous studies how to answer: but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things" (Pro.15:28 KJV).
"Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of God. But shun profane and vain babbling: for they will increase to more ungodliness" (2.Tim.2:15-16 KJV). See also 1.Thes.4:10-12; 2.Pet.3:13-18.
Knowing, understanding, and doing the Father's will is important to being a productive citizen within the Father's holy nation of kings, ambassadors, and priests. Moreover, it is vitally important to one's salvation, because, if a person does not do the will of the Father that person is not a member of the Family of God. As Jesus was being crucified he said, "Whoever does the will of God, that person is my brother, and my sister, and mother" (Mk.3:35 KJV).
There are many scriptures that clearly show what the Father's will is concerning the conduct of those he has called to salvation in this age. The following are few of the instructions given by the apostles Paul and John, which give an overview of the things that one should be doing if one is serious about one's opportunity for salvation and doing the Father's will:
"For this is God's will concerning your being set apart for a holy purpose (sanctification). You should abstain from sexual sins. And all of you should know how to maintain their holy vessel in purity and honor and hold back lustful passions that are practiced by the nations who do not know God. Do not defraud a brother in any matter, because the Lord will punish the wrong doer. You have been forewarned. The Father has not called us to uncleanness, but has called us to holiness" (1.Thes.4:3-7 Para.). See also 1.Thes.5:12-22.
"Do not be conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, acceptable, and perfect, will of the Father" (Rom.12:2 Para.).
"Do not love the world or the things of the world, because if anyone loves the things of the world, the Father's love is not in them. For all the things of the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. The world will pass away, and all the lust thereof, but the person who does the will of the Father will exist forever" (1.Jn.2:15-17 Para.).
A fundamental issue that each person who is called to salvation during this age must come to grips with is whether or not to grow in grace and knowledge and perform the Father's will in one's life to the best of one's ability and change one's character from unrighteousness to righteousness.
When all is said and done and all of one's tests and trials of this life are over and one stands before the Father and his Son to be judged for what one has done with the opportunities that were given, the fundamental issue that will determine whether one is punished with the second death in the Lake of Fire or what kind of rewards and positions one is presented with as an eternal and immortal spirit-being in the Father's heavenly Kingdom and Family is how one performed the Father's will during one's physical life. If one has grown in grace and knowledge and performed the Father's will to the best of one's ability and changed one's character from unrighteousness to righteousness, eternal and immortal life is assured.
Because knowing and understanding the Father's will is vitally important to those he calls to salvation, he has provided easily understood methods through which his children can receive help to gain this knowledge and understanding. These two methods are communication with him and the study and meditation of his truth that is contained in the Bible.
By B.L Cocherell, file b6w16