The Will of God

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. And 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. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.   Romans 12:1-3

Let's examine the verses.
Verse 1: It is our duty to live right and for God.
Verse 2: Don't act like the unsaved. Don't fight against God's desire to change your thinking, actions, and attitudes. If you submit to Him, you'll be walking proof that God wants to rescue and better everyone's life! That's His perfect Will!
Verse 3: I am being gracious and loving when I tell you not to think you are better than other people because you are saved. You need to realize that God has given everyone the ability to become saved. You're not more special than the unsaved.

Now. Without trying to get into a Reformed vs. Basic Theology debate, I want to focus on the "WILLS" of God.

Wills of God

All actions of God's creation can be categorized in the following wills of God: Out of God's Will or in God's Will.

Out of God's Will = Disobedience to God's Word and direction is enough clarification to know you are Out of God's Will.

Some examples of being Out of God's Will are:
1) Satan's Rebellion
2) Adam ate the fruit
3) Cain killed Abel
4) Abraham had a child by Hagar thinking he was helping God fulfill His promise
5) Moses struck the rock
6) Samson went after strange women
7) King Saul slew the priests
8) David watched Bethsheba bathe
9) David had Bethsheba's husband killed
10) Joab killed Absalom
11) Solomon took strange women
12) Solomon built temples to false gods
13) Jonah ran in the opposite direction of Nineveh after God told him to go to Nineveh
14) Saul of Tarsus thought he was doing God's will by killing Christians
15) Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Ghost
16) When people ignore the Holy Ghost
17) When people pass up on an opportunity to be saved

God's Perfect Will occurs when we listen and submit to God's will, guidance, and ways. How do we know what God's will is? We have a standard to measure truth by, the Bible. We can know how to live according to God's will for our lives. God's will is righteousness. God's will is to deny carnal nature. God's will is for us to abstain from sin. To know God's will, read the Bible and go to a local Bible believing church weekly.

Examples of God's Perfect Will:
1) Jesus! (Need I say more?)
2) The disciples followed Christ
3) Paul spread the Gospel to Gentile Nations
4) Abraham listened to God's lead
5) David became King
6) Elijah prophesied and later raptured
7) Moses led Hebrews out of Egypt
8) Job endured
9) Enoch walked with God but disappeared when God took him
10) When people listen to the Holy Ghost
11) When people get saved!
12) I could go on and on and on. But!

Permissive Will of God = I once believed in the permissive will of God but have realized that the concept becomes more of a license to sin. Truth be known, something is either God's will or it isn't. There is no grey area when it comess to God. However when we do delve into disobedience, God is able to repair things and will if we repent. Thanks goes to Miss Robin Scofield for helping me see the light.

Jeremy Brown 2003

The Perfect or Permissive will of God?
by Robin Scofield

All my life I have been trying to measure up to the "Perfect will of God". As we are all painfully aware sometimes we fall short of this. More often than not. Recently through a very interesting experience I have come to realize that this whole thing of either being in the "Pefect will of God" or "The permissive will of God" is a false doctrine. Six months ago I was offered a position with the same company I'm working for now but in a different area of FL. This job would have been a promotion of sorts. I would have been given a place to live with no bills to pay, (except my own.. car payment and insurance) and about $2000 more a year in salary. I didn't take the position.

I knew God was opening this door for me but I freaked out last second because in order to take this position I would have to move out in the middle of nowhere, away from church, friends, family, ect. I wouldn't be guaranteed to be able to go to church every Sunday, and it didn't make any sense to me as to why "God" would ask me to do such a thing. After choosing not to take this position my life became an uphill battle in just about every area. After fighting and fighting for months I was praying and I realized, really realized, I had missed God by not taking this postion. Then everything in my life went from being an up hill battle to being in complete upheaval. Since March of this year when I realized I had missed God I have been toting around with me guilt, shame, and condemnation. I fight every day not to kick myself for "missing God" and well... to put it plainly I've been darn right miserable, and living in a pity party.

Now... I know God is awesome. I know He called me by name before the foundations of the world and He even knew I was going to make that decision in that time. I know He made provision for that so that if I would repent and turn from my own stubborness (which is really what caused me to make that decision in the first place) I could continue in His perfect will for my life. See, here's the thing. I didn't step outside of God's "perfect will" when I chose to stay here and not take that position. That position was merely an opportunity for me to grow some more in the Lord in a different way than I am right now. I got out of God's perfect will when I picked up guilt, shame, and condemation and started carrying them around when I freaked out about missing this opportunity. The way I got out of His will is that I became inward focused, I started trying to fix what I saw as the problem, and I stopped be a good example where I am right now. I don't like my current job but in my search to try to "fix" my mistake I took it.

Rather than maintaining a godly attitude and perspective right where I'm at I chose to become unthankful, disgruntled, and frustrated because "I'm not where I'm "suppose" to be" (meaning that other job I was offered) I hadn't forgiven myself for making the wrong choice, and well to put it simply, by doing all these things I've been in direct disobedience to God. It's time to start calling things for what they are and stop hemming and hawing about it. I truly believe this teaching of being in either the "perfect will of God" but if we miss it, well... we're in His "permissive will"  is a load of garbage and a license to sin. Please be patient with me and let me show you why. I looked up "permissive will" at Biblegateway. It brought up no results so I looked up just "permissive"... still no results. The phrase is not even in the bible. I looked up "perfect will" and only one scripture came up with that exact phrasing:

Romans 12
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

Here's one of the ways I was in disobedience to God. I was not presenting my body as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is my reasonable service. Instead the guilt shame and condemnation I was carrying was causing me to withdraw from God in certain areas and I didn't feel I could go to Him because I didn't feel holy or acceptable to God because I had missed His "perfect will". So in a sense I've been waiting for the "big boom". For God to chasten me for missing it. Then I thought I could go on from there. This is so not true though. God told the woman caught in adultry to "Go and sin no more." He didn't say, "Feel guilty for three months, kick yourself every time you think about the mistake you made, and keep coming back to Me asking Me to forgive you for something I already forgave you for the minute you repented, then maybe you can start walking right again."

In order to present ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God we have got to believe that we actually are those things. We've got to to come to the place where we actually understand that we are acceptable to God. Not that everything we do is acceptable to God, but that WE are acceptable to God. He loves us, He forgives us, and He sets us free from those things that bind us. Unfortunately though, often times we stay in bodage to those things because we don't realize we can be free. We are acceptable and holy to Him not because of what we do, how we do things, or what we say. We are acceptable to Him because we are His children and He loves us. He's more concerned with the motive of our heart for doing things than He is about the actual things we do. We can do all the right things for all the right reasons for the rest of our lives, but if the motive for doing those "right" things is because we feel like we "have" to in order for God to love us, those things we are doing will never be pleasing to Him even if it is the "right" thing because we aren't doing it for the right reason therefore what we are doing is not a sincere offering to Him.

Through not being conformed to this world and letting our lives be transformed through the renewing of our mind we are able to prove what is that good and acceptable and the perfect will of God. I just realized how Paul phrased this statement. He didn't say that you may prove what is the good, acceptable... ect.. He said, "That you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." It took me awhile to get a hold of what this actually  meant. I kept meditating on it and trying to understand the difference between "that" and "the" and how that would impact my view on this scripture. I understand now though. The word "the" implies a specific thing... "the tree", "the couch", "the dog". Where "that" implies there is more than just "the" thing... "that tree", "that couch", "that dog".

How does this apply to this scripture though? Well, we as humans naturally want to reduce God down to a formula. If I do this, this, and this I can obtain righteousness. Specific things we can do to get things we want, to move God, to have His acceptance, ect. God cannot be confined in such a manner though because righteousness does not come through works. If there were specific things we could do, you can be assured that is probably all we would do. Just enough to have our cake and eat it too. When Paul said, "That you may prove what is "that" good..." I believe part of the point he was making here was that there is a good, acceptable, and perfect will of God for every situation we get ourselves into. That we can't reduce it to just doing one particular set of things every time and always have the same results, as we sometimes wish we could.

Rather that God desires we would live continually walking in the Spirit in every situation, understanding we don't have the wisdom we need to live this life righteously before God without His help. Which flows right into verse three of this scripture. If we could in fact reduce God's ways down to some sort of formula we would most definately begin thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought. We would quickly forget that we aren't self-sufficiant because being able to do this would actually make it so we could be self-sufficiant. This was probably one of Saul's bigest problems. Deep inside he believed he could reduce God's ways to doing something specific and forget about being completely obedient to what God had acutally told him to do. What was Sauls end though? God removed the kindom from his hand. God does not look kindly on disobedience. Two examples of his disobedience can be seen in 1 Samuel 13 and 15.

So where did this whole concept of God's "Perfect will" vs His "Permissive will" come from? The best answer I can give you is it derived from the doctrines of men. A way to make our flesh feel better because if we are in God's "permissive will" sin is no longer sin. It becomes ok in our mind to do things that we know are against God's will and just say "Ahh, I'm still in His permissive will though." It becomes ok to be partially obedient to what God said, but leaves room for us to not have to be completely obedient. That's what this whole issue is really about. Obedience vs disobedience. I was speaking with a friend about this who believed there is a perfect and permissive will of God. It was through this conversation that this revelation began to develop in my mind. The example he gave me to suppport the idea of God's permissive will was the situation with David and Bathsheba. His point in saying that David had to be in God's "permissive will" was the fact that God had brought Jesus out of the lineage of that union with Bathsheba. I would like to take a look at this situation for what it really was though:

2 Samuel 11
1 It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.

The first thing we see here is that it was the time of year that the kings went out to battle and David did not go. David, being the king, should have gone. It was his responsibility because of the office of "king" that he held. God did not tell David to take this desired "vacation". As-a-matter-a-fact, if anything I would have to say David had just had a vacation because the scriptures says it was the season for kings to go out to battle, implying there is a season they don't go out to battle. David was not where he should have been and was in direct disobedience to God because of this decision. Disobedience opens the door for temptation to come in:

2 Samuel 11
2Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king's house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful to behold.

First of all, this is how the people bathed in those days. I'm sure they didn't have "bathrooms" as we know them, and the roof was the most private place a person could bathe because it was up above where most people could look and see you. With this knowledge David went to his roof in the evening while a beatiful woman happened to be bathing while her husband was most likely out to war where David should have been in the first place. Was what David did intentional? I would say probably yes. Did he know she would be out there? Who knows, the bible doesn'ts specifiy that he did or didn't know. But truthfully speaking I will dare say that his flesh knew that if he went out on the roof at that time there was a good possibility he could catch a glimse of someone bathing. The chances of it being a man he would see were pretty slim since most, if not all, the men were out to war.

2 Samuel 11
3So David sent and inquired about the woman. And someone said, "Is this not Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?"

So, David see's something he ought not to see but he doesn't stop there. He gives more room to this temptation by inquiring about her. Note that one of the the servants David inquired of concerning her did not neglect to meantion to David that she was someone's wife. Yet David decided to take it one step farther:

2 Samuel 11
4Then David sent messengers, and took her; and she came to him, and he lay with her, for she was cleansed from her impurity; and she returned to her house.

Was this all completely Davids fault? Absolutely not. At this point Bathsheba had a choice too. Prior to this she may not have even been aware that he had been checking her out. Though she may have been aware and chosen not to cover up or remove herself from his gaze. Regardless of how it call came about she accepted his offer. This wasn't the beginning of the sin and disobedience though. It actually began when David chose not to be where he was suppose to be when he was suppose to be there. Can you imagine what was going through Davids mind? It probably even seemed like it would be ok because no one would know what had happened, they were all gone to war. It was their little secret you see.

2 Samuel 11
5And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, "I am with child."

"Uh oh, now what am I suppose to do?" is what I would have been thinking had I been in David's shoes. The right thing to do at this point would have been to be honest about what had happened. To admit what they had done, repent, and turn from the sin they had committed. Yet because the origonal disobedience was still unrepented for there was room for still more sin to be allowed in:

2 Samuel 11
6Then David sent to Joab, saying, "Send me Uriah the Hittite." And Joab sent Uriah to David. 7When Uriah had come to him, David asked how Joab was doing, and how the people were doing, and how the war prospered. 8And David said to Uriah, "Go down to your house and wash your feet." So Uriah departed from the king's house, and a gift of food from the king followed him. 9But Uriah slept at the door of the king's house with all the servants of his lord, and did not go down to his house.

David actually called Uriah away from the battle. Maybe David did this because his intentions were to tell Uriah that he had slept with his wife who was now pregnant with his child. Never-the-less he ended up doing nothing more than beating around the bush. He played it off as if he were interested in what was happening with the war when in fact that was probably the last thing on his mind at that point. He was letting fear drive him farther into sin without even realizing it. So he sends Uriah away, maybe to buy so more time to get up the courage to tell Uriah the truth. One problem... Uriah won't go away:

2 Samuel 11
10So when they told David, saying, "Uriah did not go down to his house," David said to Uriah, "Did you not come from a journey? Why did you not go down to your house?" 11And Uriah said to David, "The ark and Israel and Judah are dwelling in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord are encamped in the open fields. Shall I then go to my house to eat and drink, and to lie with my wife? As you live, and as your soul lives, I will not do this thing."

Uriah had to be questioning at this point, "Why am I here while everyone else is out there fighting?" He knew that something had to be up. If I understand what I've read about other wars in the bible there were actually servants who's job it was to report the happenings of the war to those who needed to know. Uriah was not one of those servants, he was one of the men who were suppose to be out there fighting the war. This had to have raised questions in his mind as to why David choose to have him sent back to report what was happening. And he clearly states that he does not feel right about being there while everyone else is out there fighting. Oooh, the conviction this statement must have brought upon David! He was suppose to be out there too. Instead he had stayed back and ended up sinning with this mans wife! So David gives into his flesh once again:

2 Samuel 11
12Then David said to Uriah, "Wait here today also, and tomorrow I will let you depart." So Uriah remained in Jerusalem that day and the next. 13Now when David called him, he ate and drank before him; and he made him drunk. And at evening he went out to lie on his bed with the servants of his lord, but he did not go down to his house.

I am sure was thinking, "Surely if I get him drunk he will go home and lay with his wife..." The true motive is now exposed. David had called Uriah back from the battle hoping he would go home and sleep with his wife so that Uriah would believe the child she was pregnant with was his when it was actually Davids. He was trying desperately to cover his sin.

2 Samuel 11
14In the morning it happened that David wrote a letter to Joab and sent it by the hand of Uriah. 15And he wrote in the letter, saying, "Set Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retreat from him, that he may be struck down and die." 16So it was, while Joab besieged the city, that he assigned Uriah to a place where he knew there were valiant men. 17Then the men of the city came out and fought with Joab. And some of the people of the servants of David fell; and Uriah the Hittite died also.

The morning comes around once again. David has now had two days to come clean about what he did, but that was never his intention at all. Uriah has had two days now that he could have gone home and been with his wife yet he didn't want to because he knew that was not where he was suppose to be. David must have been pretty frustrated at this point so he decides the only way out is to have Uriah killed and to take his wife as his own. This way there will be no question from anyone as whether or not this child was born out of a sinful relationship. Isn't our flesh like this? The snowball effect of sin continues:

2 Samuel 11
18Then Joab sent and told David all the things concerning the war, 19and charged the messenger, saying, "When you have finished telling the matters of the war to the king, 20if it happens that the king's wrath rises, and he says to you: "Why did you approach so near to the city when you fought? Did you not know that they would shoot from the wall? 21Who struck Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Was it not a woman who cast a piece of a millstone on him from the wall, so that he died in Thebez? Why did you go near the wall?'--then you shall say, "Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also."' 22So the messenger went, and came and told David all that Joab had sent by him. 23And the messenger said to David, "Surely the men prevailed against us and came out to us in the field; then we drove them back as far as the entrance of the gate. 24The archers shot from the wall at your servants; and some of the king's servants are dead, and your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also."

Do you realize that David's sin has now crossed a major boundary? It is no longer his own. His sin is now causing others to sin. Joab had a part in this murder too. Joab new the intent of putting Uriah in the front of the hottest battle was so that he would be killed, and he consented to this action by following through on it for David. So now the blood of Uriah is not only on the hands of David, but Joab too. Not only Uriah's blood though. There were many others who died as a result of this action. Joab could not send Uriah alone to the wall where he got killed. It would be too obvious. By putting him in a high risk place he was risking the lives of many others and some of their lives were lost as a result. All to cover one man's sin.
2 Samuel 11
25Then David said to the messenger, "Thus you shall say to Joab: "Do not let this thing displease you, for the sword devours one as well as another. Strengthen your attack against the city, and overthrow it.' So encourage him."

Just the fact that David sent to encourage Joab tells me there must have been some recognition on Joab's part of the wrong that had just been committed. David's response? "Oh, don't worry Joab, this kind of thing happens all the time when you are at war. Just keep going and it'll be alright." David is completely deceived and unable to see the sin he is now living in and that he has caused others to live in as well.

2 Samuel 11
26When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband. 27And when her mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD.

Do you think that God had not seen what was going on the whole time? David probably thought that. God did see though. Why did He not stop it then? Because He will never cross the boundary of our free will. Never. Having said all this I need to now ask you a question: Do you really believe that God willed for David to covet his neighbors wife, committ adultry with her, and steal her from him through murdering him? Through doing this he broke at least four of the commandments in one foul swoop. Do you really think that God consented any of to this? Look at what permission means:

1 : the act of permitting
2 : formal consent : AUTHORIZATION

To be in God's "permissive will" literally means that He is permitting us to do what we are doing, has given us His formal consent and or authorization that what we are doing is perfectly ok with Him. Does God consent to sin? If so, why does verse 27 say, "But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD."? So how in the world could anything good come of this awful situation then? Because God is a God of mercy. He wills that we would be willing to see, repent from, and sincerely turn from our sin. When we do this God can then move on our behalf and bring good out of even the bad things we do. Jesus is the prime example of that. What saved David in the long run was his obedience in the end when God confronted him with this issue.

The difference between David and Saul was that when Saul was confronted with his sin he chose to remain blind to it because of pride. His response was, "But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord..." Not only that, after being told the consequence of this sin Saul still did not get it but rather just said what he knew was the right thing to say in the hopes of being redeemed. How do I know this was all talk with no motive behind it? Look at what Saul says in 1 Samuel 15:24.25:

24Then Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 25Now therefore, please pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the LORD."

Sauls response was pretty much, "Ok, I was wrong Samuel, now come on lets go worship the Lord." Repentance should have been what Saul was doing at that point, not worship. Falling down on his face before the Soverein God who was about to remove all that He had give to Saul to ask for mercy. Note: Saul did not even admit that what he had done was wrong to God, the One He had sinned against. He didn't ask God to pardon His sin, He asked Samuel to pardon his sin. Saul did not fear God. I believe this response came more out of thinking he had offended Samuel than actually realizing he had sinned against God. Davids response was quite different though:

2 Samuel 12
13So David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD."

Do you see the difference? David saw that the sin he had committed was against the Lord. All Saul had seen was that he had offended Samuel and transgressed the commandment of the Lord. He couldn't admit he had actually sinned against God Himself. David was able to see this sin because he feared the Lord. He actually knew and believed that God would go through with what He said He was going to do. The Lord forgave David but David's was not without consequence:

2 Samuel 12
13...And Nathan said to David, "The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die. 14However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die." 15Then Nathan departed to his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and it became ill.

David ultimately lost the son that was born to him through this sin. And yet another life lost as a result of Davids sin. Can you imagine? David however did not dwell in self pity over this thing. He got up and moved on:

2 Samuel 12
19When David saw that his servants were whispering, David perceived that the child was dead. Therefore David said to his servants, "Is the child dead?" And they said, "He is dead." 20So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate. 21Then his servants said to him, "What is this that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive, but when the child died, you arose and ate food." 22And he said, "While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, "Who can tell whether the LORD will be gracious to me, that the child may live?' 23But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."

David understood God's mercy, and still held hope that even though he had done this awful thing God would relent. God chose not to. I believe there was a two fold reason for this. That child would have served as a constant reminder to David of the sin he had committed. Living with contant reminders is an easy way to fall back into the same kind of sin. So God was protecting David. I believe this also would have caused a wedge in David's relationship with his son which ultimately would have wounded him. (the son) So God was also protecting  David's son. The second reason I believe God went through with this is because David needed to see that there was a real consequence to his sin. That we truly reap what we sow. God is a merciful God, but He is not a "push over" so to speak. He designed things the way they are for a reason. That with our free will also comes the consequences or rewards of the choices we make.

If we lived our life and never had to face any negative consequences for the bad choices we make we would no longer see a need for Jesus. We wouldn't need a Savior because there would be nothing to save us from. That is the problem with this doctrine. It doesn't acknowledge that we have actually sinned against God, but rather that we have maybe transgressed His command (no big deal) and offended a few people, but well... IF there really is anything that needs to be forgiven God will forgive us cause after all we are still in His "permissive will" and we are living under the law of grace now. Living under this belief has brought much needless suffering in my own personal life. How? Because I never believed I could measure up to God's "perfect will". Try as I might I kept falling into His "permissive will" which in fact was nothing more than disobedience I couldn't acknowledge because of the pride in my own heart.

Had David chosen not to acknowledge his sin I have no doubt His end would have been much the same as Sauls. Because David chose to acknowledge his sin, repent, and turn from it though God, in His absolute unfathomable mercy and awesomeness, took this horrible thing that David had done and turned it for the good of not only David but literally millions through giving us Jesus from the lineage of David and Bathsheba. How awesome is our God? He is willing to do the same for all of us if only we would take off the blinders and begin taking an honest look at ourselves.

by Robin Scofield 2003
used with permission

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