God’s Will

“Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” —Romans 12:2

THE QUESTION OF the Divine will occupies a prominent place in the teachings of the New Testament. Consecrated Christians who are seeking to walk in the footsteps of Jesus have agreed to think, act, and speak according to the will of God for their entire journey. It is part of God’s will that his children be able to endure hardship and suffering. They may not be able to understand why fully, or be able to analyze their experiences correctly, but to endure suffering they must have faith, especially where they cannot understand the need for the experience. Jesus set the example of resignation and complete submission to the will of God. Through his example we learn how to have God’s will done in us.

From the standpoint of the world, not much may have been accomplished by Jesus. He lived thirty-three and one-half years in the land of Israel. Although he was not well received by all, yet he accomplished everything he had set out to do, fulfilling God’s will. As prophesied of him, he said: “Lo, I come: in the volume of the Book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God.” (Ps. 40:7,8) Had he not been doing God’s will before? Most assuredly he had. Why should he say, then, that he came to do the Divine will? It is one thing to do God’s will under favorable circumstances, and quite another when the circumstances are difficult—and especially if it means setting aside one’s own will.


Jesus, as a perfect man, had a perfect man’s will. He gave up his will and accepted instead the Divine will. He was tested, and continued to do God’s will under these new, difficult circumstances. In the Divine program the responsibility of being the world’s Redeemer was laid upon him. Yet, according to the prophetic utterance of Isaiah, when God set out to put down the rebellion of sin on earth and asked, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” the Logos, Jesus in his prehuman condition, responded saying, “Here am I; send me.” (Isa. 6:8) The Apostle John tells us, “The Word [Greek, Logos] was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”—John 1:14

He came to do God’s will. The Apostle Paul, speaking of Jesus fulfilling the types in the Tabernacle rituals, quotes the Septuagint Version of Psalm 40:6, saying, “Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.” (Heb. 10:5,6) All of this was done so that Jesus could fulfill Psalm 40:7 and come to do God’s will. We note in particular the spirit in which he did it: “I delight to do thy will, O my God.” (vs. 8) He continued to do God’s will as always before. He would not have it be any different. Having been made flesh, he delighted to do God’s will whatever it might be. He said, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.”—John 4:34


God has made arrangements whereby imperfect men who are followers of Christ can do his will as acceptably as Jesus did. None of these can live a perfect life, but they can consecrate their lives to him, and have a perfect desire to do his will. God will make up all their deficiencies. Jesus said to the apostles and his followers after his resurrection, when he was about to leave them: “Ye shall receive power, after the Holy Spirit is come upon you.” (Acts 1:8) Included in that power was the ability to do God’s will. By the power of the Holy Spirit given to all of the followers of Jesus, they are able to say, ‘I delight to do thy will, O my God’. The will of God becomes their ‘meat’ and ‘drink’, even as it was for Jesus. Doing God’s will becomes their whole life, the theme of their life, even as Jesus chose as the theme of his life to do God’s will.

The Apostle Paul’s admonition is very appropriate to those who present their bodies a living sacrifice, when he said, “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.” (Rom. 12:2) Do not conform your lives to the things of this world, but, rather, be transformed through the power that Jesus promises in granting the Holy Spirit.

God’s influence in our lives should be evident, enabling us to see clearly how to live in order to discern God’s will, and enabling us to have faith concerning invisible things. The work of the Holy Spirit in our lives should be as real for us as it was for the apostles. When it was given on that Day of Pentecost, it was the beginning of an experience for all God’s people during the Gospel Age, as in the picture given to us of the anointing of the High Priest of Israel. The anointing oil, representing the Holy Spirit, was poured upon the Head, our Lord Jesus, and continued as it flowed over the rest of the body. This illustrates that the doing of God’s will necessitates coming under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.—Ps. 133:2


As Jesus Christ carried out God’s will, he learned the lesson of obedience, but this is not to infer that he had ever been disobedient, previously. Rather, Paul says, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.” (Heb. 5:8) What, specifically, was it that Jesus had to learn? He had lived long in God’s presence and had done God’s will under favorable circumstances, and was always obedient. Upon earth, in an environment of sin, he proved obedient to a degree and intensity that could not have been realized under previous favorable conditions. He learned to obey God under circumstances that cost him all he had, including life itself.—Matt. 8:20

Obedience required intensity of effort and endeavor, which he could not have learned in any other way. It was part of his development as a New Creature. It pleased God to prove him perfect through sufferings, and to set aside the Gospel Age for the development of the Christ. These tests, trials, and sufferings are inseparably linked with doing God’s will. Likewise, when we agree to do God’s will, we must be willing to endure heartaches, distress, pain, and agony of soul. It is God’s way, and in this age it is ‘the way of the cross’.

When Jesus gave his disciples closing words of advice, he said, “Whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” (John 14:4) They knew he was going back to the Father. But how did they know ‘the way’ to go to God? They knew ‘the way’ by acute observation of our Lord’s life, and his example in doing God’s will. They knew that he had to walk in ‘the way of the cross’, as he frequently mentioned.—Luke 9:23

Jesus presented ‘the cross’ in his teachings, and made it a requirement of discipleship. He said, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mark 8:34) It is God’s will that all followers of Christ should have their portion of life’s disciplines and sufferings. All of us might question the need for certain experiences: “Why is this test being given to me?” “Why must I endure this trial?” “Why must I suffer this affliction?” “Why must I suffer this loss?” God does not always answer these questions for us as we like, but he permits these things to happen, and we must draw upon our faith and trust in his providential overruling to endure.

Today, at the close of the Gospel Age, the matter is no different than it was at its beginning. The test is to continue to do God’s will, being properly exercised by our experience, and being transformed by the renewing of our minds. The aim of each disciple is the attainment of the character of Christ, or, “to be conformed to the image of his Son.”—Rom. 8:29

God has not called us to convert the world. God’s plan is not to convert the world now, but when he does, the results will be astounding! This does not mean that when we are called to discipleship and fellowship with Jesus, we have no privileges of working with him. Rather, we do have the privilege of letting our light shine and should proclaim the message of the kingdom. But the important work that God is doing in the Gospel Age is the sanctification of those called to be in the body of Christ, as we read: “This is the will of God, even your sanctification.”—I Thess. 4:3

The services and ministries we perform today will be insignificant in comparison to those we will be able to perform during the kingdom of Christ. We are being prepared for the great work of “reconciliation” (II Cor. 5:18), and are developing the necessary qualifications by making ourselves “sufficient for” our “share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.” (Col. 1:12, Rotherham Translation) It is necessary that we be fitted and qualified as priests and kings in order that we can “reign with him a thousand years.” (Rev. 20:6) We do so by proving what is “that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”—Rom. 12:2

Those who follow Christ are those who have learned of him, as was recognized and spoken of Peter and John: “that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13) If others can see the Christlikeness in us, we should be most pleased, and praise God for the fulfillment of the Apostle Peter’s admonition to us: “As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [conduct].”—I Pet. 1:15

It is necessary for us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. (Phil. 2:12) Yet when the Apostle Paul thus advised us, he did not expect that we could do so in our own strength. He follows this admonition by saying, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (vs. 13) God does this by imparting his Holy Spirit to us, illuminating our minds and assisting us in the transformation work through the renewing of our minds. This is possible for those who have made God’s will their will.

In ‘renewing’ the mind, we make it new by dwelling upon the Word of God—then the great transformation occurs. Our flesh is called the ‘outward man’, and the New Creature is called the ‘inward man’ by the Apostle Paul: “Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”—II Cor. 4:16

The most important factor in the Christian warfare is to control our thoughts, and to bring them into subjection to God’s will. This warfare is not with carnal weapons. Paul explains: “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”—II Cor. 10:4,5

By dismissing from our minds those thoughts that are of this world, and replacing them with “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report” (Phil. 4:8), we will provide great assistance to the work of transformation and renewing of our minds in proving ‘what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God’.

The importance of controlling our thoughts is well expressed in the saying:

Sow a thought, reap an act
   Sow an act, reap a habit
Sow a habit, reap a character;
   Sow a character, reap a destiny.


Our goal or destiny is Christ. If our thoughts are on things of this earth, we will be conforming our lives to this world. If our thoughts are on spiritual things, we will transform ourselves by the renewing of our minds. As a man “thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Prov. 23:7) Jesus advised us to lay up for ourselves treasure in heaven, because, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”—Matt. 6:21

If we succeed in regulating our thoughts, our motives, and our ambitions, we will please God in doing his will. We will be bound to hear his commendation: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: … Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”—Matt. 25:21

Dawn Bible Students Association
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