Identifying God’s Will

The Bible consistently states that we have God’s undivided attention and support, yet many are uncertain and insecure when we try to understand God’s actions on this earth and our assurance of salvation.

WHEN DOES GOD ACT?

1 John 5:13-14
13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.
14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

God only acts or hears us when we ask anything according to His will. When he hears us he will give us what we ask. The implication is that when he does not act it is because we are not living and thinking and acting and asking according to His will. For us to know this is spelled out explicitly directly before and after the verse.

HOW DO WE KNOW WE ARE FOLLOWING GOD’S WILL?

1 John 5:2-5
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. 4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our[a] faith. 5 Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

The steps here are in reverse order. Believe/have faith/trust in the person of Jesus described and pointed to in the Old Testament and demonstrated in the New Testament, then overcome the world, and then keeping the commandments of God will not be burdensome. For those who willfully remain ignorant of God and have an empty faith or those who want to do all the work themselves keeping commandments of God WILL be burdensome and difficult.

James 2:19
19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!

Belief referred to in 1 John must be greater than acknowledgment of the existence of Jesus. As pointed out here in James the devil and his angels believe in the existence of God and know of his character, but they take the step of fear instead of trust.

GOD’S WILL CONTRASTED WITH THE ALTERNATIVE

1 John 5:18-21
18 We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.
19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Those who follow God:
* Do not sin
* Are not under the world
* Know, have knowledge of, and have a relationship with God and Jesus
* Keep from devotion or admiration of things of this earth

Those who do not follow God:
* Commit sin
* Are under the influence of the world, which is under the influence of the wicked one
* Are ignorant of or have false conceptions of God
* Make idols of things in this world. Value highly and follow with devotion things without substance

IF THOSE BORN OF GOD DO NOT SIN, WHY DO WE CONTINUED TO COMMIT ACTS OF SIN?

Daniel 9:11
Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him.

Romans 3:23
…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 5:12
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.

Job 1 (Job)
1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.

Genesis 17 (Abraham)
2 And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” 3 Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him

2 Samuel 22 (David)
21 “The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness;
According to the cleanness of my hands
He has recompensed me.
22 For I have kept the ways of the LORD,
And have not wickedly departed from my God.
23 For all His judgments were before me;
And as for His statutes, I did not depart from them.
24 I was also blameless before Him,
And I kept myself from my iniquity.
25 Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
According to my cleanness in His eyes.

2 Timothy 4:6-8 (Paul)
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

If all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God how can so many individuals in the Bible with documented and recorded sins be registered as blameless and upright and righteous?

The answer is there is two different types of sin:

1 John 5:14-16
14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
16 If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life for those who commit sin not leading to death. There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is sin not leading to death.

Sin is all actions that are unrighteous and not according to God. But as this verse explains, there is sin that does not lead to death. A good example of the distinction can be found in the law itself:

Exodus 21:28-29
28 “If an ox gores a man or a woman to death, then the ox shall surely be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be acquitted. 29 But if the ox tended to thrust with its horn in times past, and it has been made known to his owner, and he has not kept it confined, so that it has killed a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death.

Intentional sin, premeditated sin, unrepentant sin destroys the relationship with God and deforms the character of those who commit it. This is deadly sin. The unforgivable sin is the known sin that you do not ask forgiveness for. Unintentional sin is still harmful but does not destroy the relationship, as long as once it is discovered or pointed out by the Holy Spirit and is repented and reformed it will not lead to death or condemnation by God.

ACCOUNTABLE TO THE LAW

Romans 2:13-15
13 (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; 14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)

Our conscience, what we know as right or wrong will be what is used to judge us. If we choose to do what is right no matter what knowledge we have God will count that as righteousness. When we do wrong by our human nature and our thoughts accuse us, if we repent we remain righteous, if we do not repent our conscience bears witness against us and condemns us as guilty.

Luke 11:1-4
1 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”
2 So He said to them, “When you pray, say:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
3 Give us day by day our daily bread.
4 And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.”

This is how to pray according to God’s will. In humility seeking knowledge of God’s will, asking only for our basic human needs of the moment, and seeking continual repentance for our inadvertent wrong actions and asking for God to change our characters and protect us from all sources of evil.

KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

Hosea 4:6
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.

Hosea 6:3
3 Let us know,
Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD.
His going forth is established as the morning;
He will come to us like the rain,
Like the latter and former rain to the earth.

THE SOURCE OF CONFIDENCE AND STRENGTH

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

2 Samuel 22:32-33
32 “For who is God, except the LORD?
And who is a rock, except our God?
33 God is my strength and power,
And He makes my way perfect.

We should have full confidence in God as our doctor. Our doctor will diagnose what is wrong with us, give us something that is not too difficult to bear, and use His skill and not our skill in order to cure us. Do we have enough knowledge to identify our doctor? Are we listing to our doctor? Are we following the instructions of our doctor?

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