Fascination with wickedness obscures what is good, and roving desire perverts the innocent mind.
Wisdom of Solomon 4:12

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

“What is God’s will for my life?”

Discerning God’s will is both extremely easy and at the same time impossibly difficult. The reason for this is the fact that certain parts of God’s will have been clearly and adequately revealed, while other parts have been left a mystery. The church has come to call these two wills: God’s hidden will and God’s revealed will.

God has not told us everything that He knows or plans. There are secrets that belong to Him alone. At the same time, the Lord has revealed certain things that are for us and our children forever (Deut. 29:29).

God’s hidden, or secret will encompasses His sovereign choices which direct all things that come to pass in creation (Ps. 33:11; Isa. 46:8–10). These choices are unalterable, and are what Scripture alludes to when it says God cannot change His mind (Num. 23:19). We cannot know these choices in advance, and they are, “none of our business.” And while God’s choices direct the courses of our lives; they in no way excuse our rejection or trespass of those things which God has revealed. God’s secret will is a mystery, and it is meant to be so in order that the just might live by faith in accordance with what He has revealed (Hab 2:4, Rom 1: 17).

God also has a revealed will, it is found first in scripture, then in the teachings of the fathers, then in the teachings of the ecumenical councils and creeds, then in the ancient liturgies, and finally in the icons. They all contain that which God has revealed to the world for our salvation.

The rub in all of this occurs when we fail to remember that His hidden will (those things which unfold in our lives) is at work in such a way that it tests our faith in His revealed will. Faith is the assurance that God has a good purpose for His people that cannot be thwarted (Rom. 8:28), no matter what may be happening in our lives. Faith then, is living according to God’s revealed will in the midst of His secret will. This is the reason that works can never be separated from faith; where there is faith there must by necessity be works (Jam 2:24), and it is for this reason that everyone will be judged by their works (Rom 2: 5-6).

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