For many Christians, finding the will of God is right up there with finding the holy grail—it’s a fascinating yet difficult task, bordering on unlikely. The biggest difficulty seems to lie in certainty. How can I know for sure that this is God’s will? Of course, the will often in question here is what I call God’s micro will, His personal leading and preference for how my life should look. Where to go to school, what to do for a living, who to marry, what to buy, where to live? God has a micro will for each believer and also a macro will for Himself. The problem is, we are often preoccupied with God’s micro will and ignorant or negligent in God’s macro will. The Lord Himself identifies ignorance and negligence as two dangers regarding God’s will (Luke 12:47-48).
Macro and Micro Wills
This is a problem for two reasons. God’s macro will is the reason for the universe and the context of our Christian service. If we do not apprehend the will of God, our human existence is meaningless and our Christian service is worthless. Two verses make this clear:
You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, for You have created all things, and because of Your will they were, and were created. –Rev. 4:11
And when [God] had deposed [Saul], He raised up David for them as king, to whom also He testified and said, I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man according to My heart, who will do all My will. –Acts 13:22
The universe exists because of God’s will and our service to God is to do all His will. God’s micro will for our life is important, but if we take the wrong job or buy the wrong house, not all is lost. If we miss the macro will of God though, we miss everything. In fact, we may make errors in discerning God’s micro will, but still be in the center of God’s macro will with no problems. But if we miss God’s macro will, the reason for our existence, what benefit is it if we go to the “right” school?
Paul probably foresaw this danger and so he charged us,
Do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. –Eph. 5:17
Certainly the will here is God’s macro will. In response to Paul’s command, we should pray, “Lord cause me to know Your will, and grant me a doing that matches my knowing.” Thankfully Paul didn’t leave this up to us to figure out on our own. His writings pretty much explicitly tell us what God’s macro will is. Hebrews is a great place to begin.
Christ Doing the Will of God
Hebrews chapter ten is bracketed by the thought of doing the will of God (vv. 7, 36-37).
Hebrews 10:7-10 says,
“Then I said, Behold, I have come (in the roll of the book it is written concerning Me) to do Your will, O God.” Saying above, “Sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You did not desire nor delight in” (which are offered according to the law), He then has said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second, by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
This passage speaks of Christ doing the will of God in His first coming.
Through His death on the cross Christ replaced all the sacrifices and offerings of the Old Testament with Himself as the reality. His death was substitutionary in the fullest sense. There is a difference between a sacrifice and an offering. A sacrifice is for propitiation, whereas an offering is not necessarily so. Offerings were also for fellowship with God, for God’s satisfaction, and for both God and the priests’ food. In the OT there were five basic offerings—the burnt offering, the meal offering, the peace offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering. All of them were for various needs in fellowship with God. Sacrifice and offering then represent judicial redemption and organic salvation. That Christ has replaced all these offerings with Himself means that we are to enjoy Him as everything in our daily life, worship, and fellowship with God. The all-inclusive Christ as the reality of all the OT shadows, types, and figures is for our experience and enjoyment. THIS is the will of God that Christ came to establish in His first coming.
The Believers Doing the Will of God
Hebrews 10:36-38 says,
For you have need of endurance in order that, having done the will of God, you may obtain the promise. “For in yet a very little while the Coming One will come and will not delay. But My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, My soul does not delight in him.”
This passage speaks of the believers doing the will of God in view of Christ’s second coming.
In the context of Hebrews, this means to take the new and living way of the new covenant dispensation and remain in the church life. Back in chapter nine, the writer said that the Holy of Holies was “a figure for the present time”, the time of the NT (Heb. 9:9). In other words to come forward to the Holy of Holies, practically speaking, was for those Jewish background believers to come forward to the church life and experience the realities of Christ in the new covenant and not shrink back to Judaism. When the writer says, “in order that, having done the will of God”, he means, “in order that, having lived the church life.” THIS is the doing of the will of God for Christ’s second coming.
The Relationship Between the Two
In Christ’s first coming, He did the will of God and separated a people unto Himself to live the church life and experience Him as their everything. The experience of Christ for the church is the present will of God in light of Christ’s second coming. According to verse 38 and 39, this is to be righteous, this is to live by faith, and this is to delight the Lord. God delights in a group of people who experience Christ for the church. This is also to not shrink back to ruin and to gain our soul.
In short, the entire church age is bracketed (with reference to the two comings of Christ) by the doing of the will of God—initially by Christ in the opening scene, and then consummately by the believers in the final act. Christ did the will of God by establishing Himself as the all-inclusive NT reality for our experience and enjoyment. The believers do the will of God by experiencing that all-inclusive Christ for the reality of the church. Christ’s doing the will of God has made possible and was in view of our doing the will of God.
Next time someone bemoans not knowing what the will of God for their life is, encourage them with the fact that they can know for certain something much greater—God’s will for God’s life. Then walk them through Hebrews 10.