Biblical doctrines

What is the Will of God?

glasses_on_bible_smWhat is the will of God in our lives? To find it we must first gives our lives in service and worship to the Living God. Worship means using our minds and hearts and bodies to express the worth of God and all He is for us in Jesus. There is a way to live — a way to love — that does that. The Apostle Paul wrote:

Romans 12:1,2: I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (KJVER)

04-brain-on-wiresBy renewing–rewiring–our minds we begin to think in a totally new way, not following the way of the world. As the text says “be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

We focus here on the meaning of the term “will of God,” and how we discern it.

I. The Two Wills of God

A. God’s Sovereign (or Decretive) Will

This is sometimes called the secret will of God because we do not generally know what God decrees. Decretive will means that it is the will that God decreed. This is seen in the scriptures where Christ followed what He knew to be the written will of God.

In Matthew 26 the Lord outlines His destiny as decreed and prescribed by the Father. This is not something He relishes but He knows He must endure. He quotes an OT prophecy “I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad” (Matthew 26:31).  When Jesus was taken captive to be crucified, one of them

… drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. 52 Then said Jesus to him, Put up again your sword into its place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 53 Think you that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently [immediately] give Me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? (Matthew 26:51-54)

We see this again in the following.

Acts 4:27-28 For of a truth against Your Holy child Jesus, whom You have anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, 28 For to do whatsoever Your hand and Your counsel determined before to be done.

1 Peter 3:17  For it is better, if the will of God be so, that you suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will:

Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 

Proverbs 16:1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.

Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD. 

Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: He turns it wherever He will.

Daniel 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed [accounted] as nothing: and He does according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay [stop] His hand, or say to Him, What do you?

B. God’s Revealed Will

This is the will that we do know, especially from knowing the Scriptures, which teach us about how we should live a moral and holy life.

Matthew 7:21 Not every one that says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven.

1 Thessalonians 4:3,4 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification [holiness], that you should abstain from fornication: 4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel [control his body] in sanctification and honor.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Oft times the day seems long, our trials hard to bear, 
We're tempted to complain, to murmur and despair; 
But Christ will soon appear to catch His Bride away, 
All tears forever over in God's eternal day. 
— David Stertzbach, "It Will Be Worth It All"

1 John 2:17  And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides [lives] for ever. 

II. The value of these Truths

And corresponding to these two wills are the two things you need in this situation:

  1. God who is mighty and strong to turn the worst life experience for good because He is
    sovereignly in control;
  2. God who is able to empathize with you. He knows what weaknesses, sufferings or pain you have been through.

A. Which Will is referred to in Romans 12:2?

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret [hidden] things belong to the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

“Some Christians obey God because they know that 
obedience is good for them, and they fear chastening. 
Others obey because they find God’s will acceptable. 
But the deepest devotion is in those who love God’s 
will and find it perfect.” — Warren Wiersbe

B. Two Stages of Knowing and Doing the Revealed Will of God

  1. Stage One
    First, God’s revealed will is revealed with final authority ONLY in the Bible.

    2 Timothy 3:16–17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine [teaching], for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect [adequate], throughly furnished to all good works.

  2. Stage Two
    The second stage of God’s revealed will is our application of biblical truth to everyday circumstances that may or may not be explicitly addressed in the Bible.


The aim of Romans 12:1,2 is that all of life would become a “lifestyle of worship.” To do this, you need to be a transformer not a conformer. In order to be transformer, you must allow the God the Holy Spirit to renew your mind. Your mind can only be renewed if you pray and allow God’s Word to saturate your mind and influence the way you think, the way you judge things and the way you live!


Ps David Weng, Providence BP Church (SA) for sermon outline.

By John Gideon Hartnett

Dr John G. Hartnett is an Australian physicist and cosmologist, and a Christian with a biblical creationist worldview. He received a B.Sc. (Hons) and Ph.D. (with distinction) in Physics from The University of Western Australia, W.A., Australia. He was an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA) fellow at the University of Adelaide, with rank of Associate Professor. Now he is retired. He has published more than 200 papers in scientific journals, book chapters and conference proceedings.

One reply on “What is the Will of God?”

Thank you dearly, Dr Hartnett!

I was reading some articles on today and came across the “galactocentric universe” concept. I then googled it and clicked on the google image that took me to your website and then to this website, which I just read your article about God’s will. I have been hungering in my heart to understand more of that reality, and thankfully your message and scriptures taught really blessed my heart tonight as I read them!
So Thank You for writing that article, as I was impacted by it.

Also thank you for sharing and teaching on astronomy from a Biblical worldview and I believe that it really helps us!

May God continue to bless the works of your hands, and the other God honoring creation scientists who are leading the “intellectual charge” (and spiritual too) in Biblical science truth even amidst a large army of evolutionists and atheists and scoffers and God haters. Your band of Christian warriors are really helping in this time and hour and I hope and pray that your outreach and God’s truth impact more and more, literally Generations, for His name and Kingdom amen!

In God’s mercy and agape, Shalom!
Aaron – Ohio


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