What the Will of the Lord Is
‘Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.’—Eph. v. 17.
ARE we not apt to connect the thoughts of God’s will with efforts to submit to what is not very pleasant to us? Is this fair, when all that He Himself tells us of His will should make us love and admire and rejoice in it? Truly our thoughts are not His thoughts1 about it, or there would not be so many a sigh over that glorious petition, ‘Thy will be done.”
Let us see what He says it is, for He hath ‘made known unto us the mystery of His will;” and in proportion as we are filled with the knowledge of it, shall we walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing.4
1. It was the good pleasure of His will to predestinate us unto the adoption of children,5 that we should be His own ‘sons and daughters,’ His own ‘dear children.” And if He had told us no more than this, ought not ‘Thy will be done’ to peal forth as an ‘Amen chorus’ from all His adopted ones?
1 Tsa. Iv. 8. 2 Matt. vi. 10. 3 Eph. i. 9.
< Col. i. 9; ib. i. 10. & Eph. i. 5. ^2 Cor. vi. 18; Eph. v. i.
2. It was the will of God our Father that the Lord Jesus Christ should give Himself for our sins, ‘that He might deliver us from this present evil world.’1 Jesus said, ‘Lo, I come to do Thy will,2 O God,’ and ‘gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity.” And day by day He is delivering those who believe that He ‘doth deliver,’ and ‘trust that He will yet deliver;’* for this is ‘the will of the Lord.’
3. By this will we are sanctified.5 Sanctification is the continual fulfilling of the good pleasure of His goodness in us. It is the making us partakers of His holiness and of the divine nature itself. It is making us like Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifest even in our mortal flesh.6 It is granting the desire, the thirst of thirsts, of every renewed heart.7 And ‘this is the will of God, even your sanctification !’8
4. It is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning us, that in every thing we should give thanks, ‘always for all things.’9 This implies a life full of cause for praise, and full of power to praise;—can any one describe a brighter ideal? Yet this is the will of God concerning^*.
5. Perishing, failing, dying,—how the very words ‘everlasting life “° shine out to us in the darkness! a resplendent gift purchased for us by the one transcendent gift of God!” It includes everlasting salvation, light, joy, love, glory; and it is for every one ‘which seeth the Son and believeth on Him :’ for Jesus says, ‘ This is the will of Him that sent ME.
1 Gal. i. 4. 2 Heb. x. 9. 3 Titus ii. 14.
* 2 Cor. i. TO. 5 Heb. x. 10. 6 2 Cor. iv. 11.
7 Matt. V. 6. 81 Thess. iv. 3. 9 Eph. v. 20.
10 John iii. 16. ” 2 Cor. ix. 15.
6. Is not this enough? is there yet a misgiving and a haunting fear lest we should lose this great gift? Again the glorious will of God is our security; for, though our numb hand might let it slip, we are ourselves in the grasp of a Hand which holds us and our eternal life too; for, of all which the Father hath given Him, He ‘shall lose nothing,” ‘not the least grain shall fall upon the earth,’ not you, not I: for ‘this is the Father’s will.”
7. Now for the climax; and this time it is the Son, our own Lord Jesus Christ, who tells His Father that He is one with Him, and then, in His own divine name, declares His divine will :4 ‘I will that they also whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am. This is the consummation of His will concerning us, that we should be for ever with the Lord!6 Shall we like ‘strangers’7 ‘submit to this’? Shall we bow to this? Shall we dare to sigk over ‘Thy will be done’? Shall we not rather ‘submit ourselves wholly to His holy will and pleasure,’8 bow under the very load of the benefits of His will in deepest adoration and intensest thanksgiving, and not wait for ‘the happier shore,’ but here and now sing out of the abundance of a simply believing heart, ‘Thy will be done’?9 For truly it is ‘good will to men;’ and may we be so ‘transformed by the renewing of our minds,’ that we may daily and joyfully ‘prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.’1
1 John vi. 40. 2 John vi. 39. 3 Amos ix. 9.
4 John xvii. 22, 5 John xvii. 24. ^ j Thess. iv. 17.
7 Ps. xviii. 44. 8 Ps. Ixviii. 19. * Luke ii. 14.
With quivering heart and trembling will
The word hath passed thy lips,
Within the shadow, cold and still,
Of some fair joy’s eclipse.
‘Thy will be done!’ Thy God hath heard,
And He will crown that faith-framed word.
Thy prayer shall be fulfilled,—but how?
His thoughts are not as thine;
While thou wouldst only weep and bow,
He saith, ‘Arise and shine!’
Thy thoughts were all of grief and night,
But His of boundless joy and light.
Thy Father reigns supreme above;
The glory of His name
Is Grace and Wisdom, Truth and Love,
His will must be the same.
And thou hast asked all joys in one,
In whispering forth, ‘Thy will be done 1’