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According to His Will
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By Pastor Mick Wolfe
March 25, 2019

1 Jn.5:14-15 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. (15) And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

First, if we are told to “ask…according to His will,” it is clearly implied that it is possible to ask contrary to His will, meaning that not everything happening in the human experience can be explained as part of His will (as some theological determinists have insisted). As well, this corresponds with the parable Jesus told in Luke 11:7-

Ask

Regarding the concept of asking, it has been suggested by some that it demonstrates a lack of faith if you ask more than once. However, the word “ask” in this passage and in Matthew 7:7-12 and Luke 11:7-13 (which is preceded with a parable about persistence) is in a present tense indicating an ongoing state of asking (and receiving).

His Will

John would have heard Jesus teach, “Whatever you ask in My name (according to His will and authority), that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (Jn.14:13). John also indicated that doing His will effects our asking when he stated, “…whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 Jn.3:22).

When considering how to understand the will of God, it is best to start with that which is clearly stated in Scripture. Some people immediately want to move in the direction of a very narrow, deterministic idea of God’s will, assuming the will of God refers to a specific future that is already established by God.

As we read Scripture, Old and New Testament, we can identify standing principles of God’s kingdom and proper human relationship and conduct and know that when we pray according to such things, we are praying according to His will.

For example, we are told “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Dt.5:7). When praying for people, we can pray that they realize the reality of the supremacy of God.

Consider, “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1Ti 2:1-4).

A number of things surface in this passage. We are to pray for all men (people). Based on the way the passage develops, we should pray according to that which is pertinent to them as individuals. If they are not saved, we can pray for their salvation, that they repent, recognize the supremacy of God, love Him with all their heart, etc. We do not have to attempt figuring out if they are predestined in order to pray for them (assuming it is God’s will to save some and not others). We are not to assume that the passage under consideration means that when we pray for the salvation of an individual, there is a guarantee that they will be saved. We have the guarantee that God, who is otherwise impartial and drawing all men to Himself, will increase His draw and influence in response to our prayers so that He is impartially partial in so doing. If they are saved, we can pray that they come to a deep knowledge of the truth (epiginosko). For those in various positions of authority or influence, we can pray that they exercise such authority consistent with God’s purposes for such roles and positions (which requires that we understand such) and that they produce appropriate outcome (“…a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity…”).

We could continue drawing such conclusions from the revelation we have in Scripture so we can ask according to His will.

Along with this general understanding of God’s will, we should be aware of the guidance and insights provided by the Spirit of God when He grants specific understanding about His will that pertains to a particular person, event or activity. We are told “…He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God” (Rom 8:27).

Along with this, God often seeks out those who are spiritually sensitive to His presence and guidance as is revealed in Ezekiel 22: 30-31 which reads, “‘I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one. Thus I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; their way I have brought upon their heads,’ declares the Lord GOD.”


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Pastor: Mick Wolfe
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