Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"God has a wonderful plan for your life"

I have previously noted the importance to me of Decision Making and the Will of God: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View (1980) by Garry Friesen and J. Robin Maxson and was pleased to find it still in print. It is one of several books that seem to have come along at just the right time in my life. From Chapter 9, "Thy Word is Truth":
The expression will of God is used in the Bible in two ways. God's sovereign will is His secret plan to determine everything that happens in the universe. God's moral will consists of the revealed commands in the Bible that teach how men ought to believe and live.

To these biblical usages, a third has been added. It is commonly taught that for each person, God has an individual will — an ideal, detailed life-plan for each person. In this traditional view, the key to decision making is to discover God's individual will, and then do it. Accordingly, the burden of most books on guidance is to explain how God's specific leading is to be discerned in each situation.

By contrast, the emphasis of Scripture is on God's moral will. In fact, the Bible reveals nothing of an "individual will" governing each decision. Rather, the teaching of Scripture may be summarized by these basic principles:
  1. In those areas specifically addressed by the Bible, the revealed commands of God (His moral will) are to be obeyed.
  2. In those areas where the Bible gives no command or principle (nonmoral decisions), the believer is free and responsible to choose his own course of action. Any decision made within the moral will of God is acceptable to God.
  3. In nonmoral decisions, the objective of the Christian is to make wise decisions on the basis of spiritual expediency.
  4. In all decisions, the believer should humbly submit, in advance, to the outworking of God's sovereign will as it touches each decision.
By "spiritual expediency" in point three they mean wisdom, and say "The ultimate Source of the wisdom that is needed in decision making is God. Accordingly, we are to ask Him to provide what we lack. God mediates His wisdom to us through His Word, our personal research, wise counselors, and the applied lessons of life."