“Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”12:2© NIV
Pre-requisites to test and approve the will of God.
The big picture of Romans 12:1-2 which we are analyzing in the past few days provides the pre-requisites for testing and approving God’s will in your life. People often ask the question, how do you know and do the will of God? The answer to this age-old question is given here.
In view of the manifold mercies from God- how God loved you, saved you, forgave you and bless you with everlasting life in heaven with Him, (1) Dedicate your body as a living, a holy and acceptable sacrifice to God, (2) do not conform to the present age but (3) be transformed by the renewal of your mind by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit and the word of God, results in your ability to test and approve the will of God.
I understand this is a mouthful of many words. Let me slice these into only three areas. Do you want to test, approve God’s will? Then read on.
God loves you and He gave Jesus Christ to pay for all of your sins. Jesus became a sacrificial lamb whose blood became the ransom for your salvation and eternal life. Therefore, in view of God’s mercies, first of all dedicate your whole being (body, soul, mind, heart, legs, hands, and all) to God by ‘living’ your life until God takes you from this world, ‘setting you apart’ for His plans and purposes and ‘developing the mind of Christ’, which is love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, patience, and perseverance.
Secondly, do not allow the present evil age and its standards and norms to drag you into its mold because Christ gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age. (Galatians 1:4).
Thirdly, allow yourself to be transformed by the renewal of your mind by yielding to the Holy Spirit who is indwelling in you as a believer in Christ (Ephesians 5:16-18) and sanctify (set apart) yourself by the truth of the word of God- the Bible (John 17:17). The two powerful tools God gave you so that you would not conform to the sinful, lustful and prideful pressures of this present age but transform to the divine plan are the indwelling Holy Spirit and the word of God- the Scripture that is the Bible.
Finally, the above three things enable you to test and approve what God’s will is.
Now the Bible reveals three different kinds of the will of God. First is His sovereign will or decree. This means God’s supreme and sovereign control over all things. Everything in this universe works and moves according to his sovereign will and decree. He is the King of king and Lord of lords. God governs from the throne in heaven according to his will. God’s sovereign will or decree is unalterable. Bible says in Acts 4:27-28, “ Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you anointed. But everything they did was determined beforehand according to your will.” Jesus would die for our sins was the sovereign, eternal and unalterable will of God. Jesus Christ wraps up the whole history standing at the end of it (which is indeed His story) and embrace all who would come to him in faith by raising and transforming them, that he destroys death as the last enemy to be destroyed and that God the Father has put all things under the authority of His Son, Jesus Christ is yet another sovereign will or decree of God that would fulfill in the near future (1 Corinthians 15:24-27).
Secondly, there is the revealed will of God that includes his commands and desires for us to follow or do. He commands his will for us to do. We can do or fail to do it. (For example 1 Thess. 4:13 and 1 Thess. 5:18.)
Thirdly, there is a personal will of God in our life. Your parents, the way God brought them together, your unique DNA, the generation in which you are born, and living are all part of his plan for your personal life. Psalms 139:16 says, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Is it not a mind-boggling thought? When Jesus in his earthly incarnation, lived each moment of his life according to the direction and plan of God. He was not early or late in reaching a place or reaching out to a person in need. He moved according to God’s clock of the divine plan. It was all pre-determined. So is your life when you think about God’s will for your lives. Now we can live in obedience to his plan for our life, or we can disobey his will. This is where God’s will and our human choice either match or does not match. It always paired with God’s plan in Jesus’s life.
Jesus Christ tested and approved Father’s will in the garden of Gethsemane when his sweat became like the drops of blood falling upon the ground. In his indescribable agony and mental anguish there in the garden, He said not “My will, but yours be done.” Jesus fervently prayed there and thereby tested and approved the will of God for his life. Beloved, you would also test and then approve the will of God in your life.
Got a moment for today’s prayer? “Father in heaven, I want to know and do your will in my life. I dedicate and surrender my body and all of me to live as a holy and acceptable sacrifice to you. Help me not to conform to this present evil age because you gave yourself totally and completely to save me from this sinful, lustful, prideful present age. Lord, transform me by renewing my mind by the power of the Holy Spirit and the word of God-the Bible. In the name of Christ, I pray. Amen.