Discerning the Will of God


“How can I know God’s will for my life?” is a common question among those who do not adhere to tychism (pure chance or indeterminism), a philosophical position unwarranted by the teachings of the Bible, which asserts that God is carrying out His eternal purpose through Christ Jesus our Lord (Eph. 3:11). In the O.T., Isaiah specifically addressed this issue: “O Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done marvelous things, things planned long ago” (Is. 25:1). God also spoke through Isaiah to remind the Israelites of His sovereignty: “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient time, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please’” (46:10).

Princeton theologian Charles Hodge (1797-1878) wisely taught that “the reason why any event occurs, or, that it passes from the category of the possible into that of the actual, is that God has so decreed. The decrees of God, therefore, are not many, but one purpose. They are not successively formed as the emergency arises, but are all parts of one all-comprehending plan….History in all its details, even the most minute, is but the evolution of the eternal purposes of God.”

The language of the Bible is that God has an eternal plan and contends “that His revelation provides the one and only reliable exposition of human meaning and worth.” We are made for God and have been invited to know Him, to do His will, and fulfill His calling on our lives.

When we consider the eternal existence of the triune God and embrace the truth that He has clearly spoken through Creation, His only-begotten Son, the imago Dei, and His inspired, infallible, inerrant, and authoritative Word, it is not difficult to accept the reality that we can actually “think His thoughts after Him” (analogical thinking) and live our lives in ways that are pleasing to Him. Thus, we can accept biblical ethics based on God’s lordship and self-disclosure. Ultimately, “everyone who rejects divine authority must accept some other authority” (Frame), whether it be utilitarianism, hedonism, egoism (self-interest), cultural norms, moderation, existentialism, or one of the twenty-six religious books that claim to be from God.

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Discerning the Will of God