Class Notes: 4/24/2022
The book of Romans part 44; The doctrine of God's will
In our verse by verse study of Romans we just completed Rom 1:10 with the expanded translation: "Always in my prayers when offering a petition, that if somehow now at last I will succeed by the will of God in coming face to face with you all."
This verse brings us to a couple of side trips. Last time we did a brief study of the categorical doctrine of prayer. Today we will look at the doctrine of God's will followed by an example of Paul rejecting God's directive will to operate in God's permissive will pursue his own agenda that God stopped with his overruling will.
The phrase "will of God" is translated from the Greek words "thlema o Theos" we see this phrase Rom 1:10;
When used for God's will for the believer it refers to the purpose and plan that God decreed for his life in eternity past. For the believer, the will of God is the sovereignty of God expressed in the decrees of God on the basis of omniscience and foreknowledge.
In history there are three sources of will or desire. First there is divine will or the sovereignty of God. Second there is angelic will that is related to fallen angels. It seeks to frustrate God's will by tampering with human history through the arrogance and evil of cosmic 1 and cosmic 2.
Third, on the basis of free volition there is human will through the exercise of free will. Believers may submit to divine will through rebound and know the God's will by learning God's Word of truth but they may also be ignorant of God's will and oppose God's will by means of sin and involvement in the arrogance and evil of satan's cosmic systems.
God's will for mankind can be separated into three categories.
First, is God's directive will that is incrementally revealed to mankind through the process of divine disclosure during the course of human history. In the Church Age God's directive will is revealed through the mandates of the completed canon of Scripture with priority placed on the mystery doctrines of the New Testament epistles.
Second is God's permissive will. When men oppose God's directive will then under the principle of free will, sometimes God permits it. By permitting these decisions to be made God permits the subsequent ramifications and consequences that occur but they are not God's desire.
Third, is God's overruling will. When through negative volition, sin, arrogance and evil man rebels against God's directive will, God does not allow that believer to die the sin unto death and instead rescues him by means of His overruling will.
The overruling will of God may be described in two categories. First is the Divine Decree where God's decree is His eternal, holy, wise, and sovereign purpose, comprehending simultaneously all things that ever were or will be in their causes, courses, conditions, successions, and relations and determines their certain future outcome.
Second is Jesus Christ's control of history. He does this directly by divine omnipotence providing a wall of fire for believers who are out of the will of God but who he knows will recover and return to God's directive will.
He also does this indirectly through the function of the laws of divine establishment especially within client nations. We will see that this is what He used in Jerusalem to save Paul from the sin unto death.
He uses the hostility of mankind on the basis of the fact that He uses the negative volition and wrath of men to praise him. Examples of this are the 5th cycles of discipline on Israel by Assyria, Babylon and Rome.
He uses the law of volitional responsibility whereby the sovereignty of God and the free will of man must coexist on the basis of the divine decree.
His divine preservation of planet earth until the entire universe comes under the aegis of His destructive decree that reveals that the entire universe will be completely destroyed by fire at end human history. For every individual believer God's will can be expressed in three categories.
The viewpoint will of God answers the question of what does God want me to think? The answer is divine viewpoint as expressed in Bible doctrine circulating the seven compartments of the stream of consciousness. To understand God's viewpoint will the believer must have doctrine in the soul that is how God the Holy Spirit guides the believer who is filled with the spirit.
God's operational will tells us what God wants us to do. The answer is found through the inculcation of biblical mandates, that are comprised of positive and negative imperatives.
Examples include Rebound, filing of the Holy Spirit, Bible study, application of problem-solving devices such as faith-rest, royal law, unconditional love, prayer, witnessing, and courage and confidence when under pressure.
God's geographical will tells believers where God wants them to be. As always it is all about Location, location, location! If you are doing what God wants you to do that is to execute the mandates of Scripture then you will eventually end up where God wants you to be.
We see this in the story of Abram who became Abraham, with Jacob who became Israel and with Joseph and Mary who went to Egypt after Jesus' birth.
In the Church Age the general key to being in the geographical will is to be wherever Bible doctrine is being taught. The priority is learning God's Word of truth.
However, there were those in the first century who did not have a local pastor but were able to grow in grace by means of the epistles that were circulated in written form.
Today's counterpart to this involves the use of technology starting with tapes, cassettes, and phone hookups and more recently the internet, cds, dvds, mp3 audio and live streaming video and audio.
For the missionary the geographical will is the mission field where the objective is to establish local churches. For the evangelist the geographical will is in front of unbelievers who will give the gospel an objective hearing.
Even though their work is outside of the church both the missionary and the evangelist must function under the authority of a pastor to maintain accurate doctrine.
God's geographic will for the pastor-teacher is to be in front of those members of God's flock assigned to him. In Paul's case, he was being directed to Rome, which was west but instead he went east to Jerusalem this ended up with Paul going to Rome as a prisoner rather than a free man.
Paul used his free will to reject God's directive will and God's warnings at Tyre and Caesarea. He persisted under God's permissive will in Caesarea and went to Jerusalem against the instruction of Agabus and he ended up going to the Temple and becoming involved in publicly compromising God's grace policy for the church by submitting to ritual of the Law.
This brought about major discipline that under normal circumstances would have led to the sin unto death were it not for Paul being rescued by God's overruling will by the Romans use of the laws of divine establishment to protect Paul and remove him from Jerusalem.
By agreeing to go into the Temple and participate in a Levitical sacrifice and a Nazirite vow, Paul violated God's protocol plan for the church and moved back under the rescinded ritual plan for Israel.
Because of his position as apostle to the church this places him under the law of volitional responsibility and puts him in danger of committing the sin unto death.
The only thing that can deliver Paul from his situation is rebound. The only thing that could preserve him until he does is the overruling will of God.
Next time we will look at the ramifications that resulted from Paul using his free will to reject God's directive will and operate under God's permissive will until he is restrained and protected by God's overruling will.
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