By God's Will

Romans: The Righteous Shall Live By Faith  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  46:22
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Romans: The Righteous Shall Live by Faith: Romans1:8-10.

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Romans 1:8–10 ESV
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.
1. “What is God’s will for my life?”
a. What devout person has not asked a question like this?
b. Often asked even pertaining to mundane things like one’s career, where to live, etc.
-- How can we live in harmony with the will of God?
2. Paul mentioned his desire to live in harmony with God’s will...
a. As he made plans to visit his brethren in Rome
b. As he prayed regarding such plans - cf. Ro 1:9-10
-- He sought to “find a way in the will of God” to come to them

What Is the Meaning of “Will”?

Like a prism, the word will reflects many different sides.
• When making a choice, you are communicating your will.
• The word will is also used to express the desire or mandate of someone having authority. (God reveals His will.)
• Another meaning of the word will carries the idea of having a disposition to act according to one’s desired goals. (A child may be born with a strong will.)
• Further, by use of your own will, you can exercise power and control over your own actions or emotions.
Luke 22:42 ESV
42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Decision Making: Discerning the Will of God (p. 2). Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.
[Paul’s comments provide an opportunity for us to consider some thoughts related to the will of God, especially on how to determine God’s will for our lives. It might be of benefit to first review some...]



1. God has made His will known in many respects - e.g., 1 Th 5:18; 1 Pe 2:15
1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Peter 2:15 ESV
15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.
2. This He has done through revelation
a. By sending inspired prophets in the past - He 1:1
Hebrews 1:1 ESV
1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,
b. By sending His own Son - He 1:2
Hebrews 1:2 ESV
2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
c. By having the Spirit guide the apostles - Jn 16:12-13; e.g., 1 Co 14:36-37
John 16:12–13 ESV
12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
1 Corinthians 14:36–37 ESV
36 Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.
3. It is this proclaimed will of God that we must do to be saved - cf. Mt 7:21
Matthew 7:21 ESV
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
God’s Perfect Will
— God has an ideal plan.
— God’s plan is pleasing and good.
EXAMPLE: God’s perfect will is for everyone to repent of sin and for no one to perish.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Decision Making: Discerning the Will of God (p. 3). Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.
-- God’s Perfect Will or Proclaimed Will is essential to know, God has revealed it through Scripture - 2 Ti 3:16-17
2 Timothy 3:16–17 ESV
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Romans 12:2 ESV
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.


Biblical Counseling Keys on Decision Making D. What is Meant When Scripture Refers to the Will of God?

God’s Prevailing Will

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21)

— God’s plans cannot be thwarted.

— God’s ultimate purposes are achieved because He is sovereign.

EXAMPLE: God’s prevailing will is to grant full forgiveness and a home in heaven to all who repent of their sins and trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

“I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2)

1. God acts providentially in our lives, as implied in our text - cf. Ro 1:10; also Ro 15:32
Romans 1:10 ESV
10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.
Romans 15:32 ESV
32 so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company.
2. For such reason we are to pray regarding our plans - cf. James 4:13-15
James 4:13–15 ESV
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
3. Our requests are answered as it may suit God’s will - cf. 1 Jn 5:14
1 John 5:14 ESV
14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
-- We may not have certainty as to what is God’s providential will for us


Biblical Counseling Keys on Decision Making D. What is Meant When Scripture Refers to the Will of God?

2. God’s Permissive Will

“Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD.” (Proverbs 1:29)

— God permits each person to exercise free will … in opposition to His will.

— God is ultimately sovereign over all that He permits.

EXAMPLE: God’s permissive will allows everyone the option of choosing right or wrong, spiritual life or spiritual death, being blessed or being cursed.

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

1. God allows things to happen that are not necessarily according to His desired will
2. He permits people to sin and even hurt other people
a. He is not pleased, and will one day render judgment - Ac 17:30-31
Acts 17:30–31 ESV
30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
b. He is able to fulfill His own will, despite such rebellion - cf. Isa 10:5-7
Isaiah 10:5–7 ESV
5 Woe to Assyria, the rod of my anger; the staff in their hands is my fury! 6 Against a godless nation I send him, and against the people of my wrath I command him, to take spoil and seize plunder, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. 7 But he does not so intend, and his heart does not so think; but it is in his heart to destroy, and to cut off nations not a few;
3. God permits people to do things that are indifferent to Him
a. There are some matters of indifference to God - e.g., Ro 14:5-6
Romans 14:5–6 ESV
5 One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.
b. Likewise, some decisions we make might not really matter to God
-- Thus not all choices please God, nor are they necessarily required by God
What are three facets of God’s Will? 1. Proclaimed/ Perfect Will; 2. Providential/ Prevailing Will; 3. Permissive Will
[With these thoughts in mind, let’s now consider some thoughts on...]



1. I.e., study diligently to learn what God has revealed
a. If you don’t embrace and practice the revealed will of God...
b. ...what difference does it make to seek areas of God’s will unknown to you?
2. The value of focusing on the proclaimed will of God
a. We will not be ignorant of what is essential for us to know and do
b. We can avoid choices that are clearly contrary to God’s will


1. Discuss your alternatives with older, mature Christians - Pro 11:14; Pro 11:12:15
Proverbs 11:14 ESV
14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
Proverbs 12:15 ESV
15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
2. Consult the wisdom found in the Bible (especially in books like Proverbs, Ecclesiastes)


1. I.e., pray diligently for the ability to discern wisely -
James 1:5–8 ESV
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
2. Wisdom is that spiritual insight that enables you to evaluate situations clearly, and helps utilize what options and abilities you have
3. Use such wisdom to eliminate what appears less acceptable


1. Whatever you do, do it for the Lord’s sake - cf. Psa 37:5-6; Psa 37:23-26
Psalm 37:5–6 ESV
5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
Psalm 37:23–26 ESV
23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; 24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. 25 I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. 26 He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing.
2. Make your plans subject to God’s will, both proclaimed and providential - Ja 4:15
James 4:15 ESV
15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
a. Give God permission to close the door on your choice if that is His will
b. If He closes the door on your choice, look for alternatives


1. God is not like a train; he is able to run on more than one track
2. A choice may not be between good and bad, but between good and better
3. God can use us in many different ways
4. If need not choose right away, wait; that will give you time to grow and gain wisdom
5. Whatever your hands finds to do in your existing circumstances, do it with all your might
1. Our goal should be to “stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” - cf. Co 4:12
Colossians 4:12 ESV
12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.
a. Especially as it pertains to the proclaimed will of God
b. Even as much as possible in the providential and permissive will of God
2. Epaphras’ desire for his brethren serves as a good example; as does that of our Lord...
a. Who taught us to pray, “Your will be done on earth as it in heaven” - Mt 6:10
Matthew 6:10 ESV
10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
b. Who Himself prayed, “Not as I will, but as You will...” - Mt 26:39-42
Matthew 26:39–42 ESV
39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”
Are you seeking to “find a way in the will of God” as it pertains to the plans in your life?
God’s Will is that you be saved
Here is His Plan for Your Salvation


Romans 10:17 ESV
17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.


1 Corinthians 1:21 ESV
21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.


Luke 13:3 ESV
3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.


Romans 14:11 ESV
11 for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”

Be Baptized

Acts 2:38 ESV
38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Remain Faithful

Hebrews 3:12 ESV
12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.
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