The Doctrine of Divine Guidance,
Knowing the Will of God for Your Life.
1. Divine guidance is the doctrine of determining the will of God for your life, related to both specific and general things, by the function of your own thinking in the application of Bible doctrine. It is the communication of God’s Divine will through the Divine revelation of His Word resident in your soul.
a. Today God’s revelation is confined to the Canon of Scripture and through the pain of discipline for the reversionist in the cosmic system.
b. In the ancient world, Divine guidance included direct communication from God through dreams, visions, dialogues, the Canon which then existed, discipline, and the teaching of angels.
c. During the Church Age, the only way to know positively what the will of God is for your life is to understand Bible Doctrine and metabolize it. You cannot know the will of God apart from knowing the Word of God.
2. Classification of the will of God. There are three classifications of God’s will. The story of Balaam in Numbers 22-24, communicates this well.
a. The Directive Will of God, which is the same as the desire of God, Num 22:12. These are direct commands like, “do not do such and such,” or “do such and such” as we have in Eph 5:17, where we are commanded to “not be foolish,” but instead, “understand the will of God,” which means we will not be foolish.
b. The Permissive Will of God, where God allows certain things to happen but they are not His desire, Num 22:20, 35.
c. The Overruling Will of God is that Jesus Christ controls history, Num 23:5, 8, 23, 25 26; 24:13, in that God will or will not allow certain things to happen, even though man or angels have chosen to do the opposite.
d. Therefore, the will of God can be declared under four principles.
1) The will of God is directive. God has a plan for your life.
2) The will of God is determinative. God has permitted non-meritorious volition to bring us to the place of blessing or discipline.
3) The will of God is permissive. Negative volition to Bible doctrine is permitted, but Divine justice provides discipline.
4) The will of God is preventative providing doctrine, establishment laws, and discipline to keep human volition in the will of God.
3. Besides God’s sovereign will that is manifested in three ways towards angels and man, and is consistent with His attributes, there are two other categories of will:
a. Angelic will or volition.
b. Human will or volition.
Both are sovereignly bestowed by their creator God as part of the Angelic Conflict.
4. The will of God is manifest in the decree of God; His sovereign plan for angels and man. The decree teaches us the will of God.
a. The decree of God is His eternal, holy, wise and sovereign purpose, comprehending at once all things that ever were or will be in their courses, conditions, successions, and relations, and determining their certain futurition.
b. The contents of His one eternal purpose is perceived by us in partial aspects and in both logical and revealed relations, because of the limitation of our mentality and faculties, Isa 55:8-9.
Isa 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. 9“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
c. The decree of God is His eternal and immutable will regarding the future existence of events which happen in time, and the precise manner and order of their occurrence.
d. Therefore, the decree expresses the eternal plan and will of God by which God has rendered certain all events of history in the past, present, and future.
e. As such, the will of God is the sovereign choice of the Divine will and mentality inherent in the essence of God by which all things are brought into being, controlled, made subject to His pleasure, and producing His glorification.
f. It is the pleasure of God to permit creature volition in both angelic and human beings. This explains why man and angels have free will.
5. The will of God. There is one all-inclusive will and purpose of God concerning all that ever was or is or ever will be among creatures. This will and purpose originates within God himself without any outside influences. The will and plan of God were objectively designed for His pleasure, glory, and satisfaction in eternity past.
a. All creatures have been placed in space and time, and all events relating to space and time were simultaneously and instantly decreed. These simultaneous decrees result in all Divine action. Divine action falls into two categories.
1) Within the Godhead, the interaction between the members of the Godhead is called immanent, intrinsic, and subjective.
2) Actions related to creation are the actions of God which are called extrinsic (outside of God), transient (they function in human history chronologically), and objective (the function of Divine justice in human history).
6. God’s decrees are efficacious. They determine all that ever was, is, or will be. Efficacious refers to the directive will of God. Efficacious is used in a technical sense for that which is the direct work of God, in contrast to permissive will, which is the will of God accomplished through man’s free will and through the action of God’s creatures. There is a distinction between the decrees of God in eternity past and the actions of God in time. The action of God in time is the execution of the decrees of eternity past. The execution is not the decree, but logically follows the decree. One follows the other, but they are not the same.
7. As part of God’s will there is a distinction between what could have happened and what does happen. God knows both, but only puts what is going to happen in the decrees.
8. Regarding God’s Will there is a difference between God’s decrees and God’s laws. God’s decrees occurred in eternity past; God’s laws function in time. The decrees are the action and plan of God. God’s laws regulate human conduct and function, so that the decrees can be fulfilled by the action of God in time. The laws of God are completely revealed in the scripture, while the decrees of God are only partially revealed. The laws of God can be broken by human volition or frustrated by man’s volition, but the decrees of God cannot be broken or frustrated by man’s volition because the decrees already existed before volition was ever created by God.
9. God’s decrees do not originate from His foreknowledge. In the logical order of things, the function of the foreknowledge of God makes nothing certain. God’s decrees originate from God’s omniscience, not his foreknowledge. The order is: omniscience – decrees – foreknowledge. The foreknowledge of God merely perceives the things that are certain. It is the decree of God that makes all things certain. The decrees are from omniscience; foreknowledge only confirms what has been decreed. Therefore, all things depend on God’s will, and nothing is certain apart from God’s will, Rom 8:28-30.
Rom 8:28-30, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; 30and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
10. The decrees of God and the desires of God. Sin, suffering, reversionism, death, human good, and evil are not the desires of God, but they are in the decrees of God. God desires His perfect will, but both human and angelic volition, using Divinely-created free will, violate the desires of God, 1 Thes 4:3-8. This is how sin and evil come into the world.
a. When human will equals God’s desires, this equals Divine guidance, cf. Eph 5:10-17. For example:
1) God does not desire to throw creatures into the Lake of Fire, but that judgment is decreed for all who reject Christ as Savior.
2) God does not desire to discipline believers, but that punishment is decreed for all believers in reversionism under the influence of evil or persistent carnality.
Therefore, it is the justice of God which reconciles desire and decree. And it is the justice of God to which we adjust when we obey, do, or function under the will of God.
11. The Divine objective is the preservation and deliverance of believers to the point of maturity. To achieve this God works to mold all events into the fulfillment of His eternal purpose, (which is often called Divine providence). Preservation continues the existence of things, but providence directs their progress. Advancing believers progress to the Divine objective. Therefore, the will of God is:
a. Directive. God has a plan for each of our lives communicated in His Word.
b. Determinative. God has permitted non-meritorious volition to bring us to the place of blessing or cursing.
c. Permissive. Negative volition to Bible Doctrine is permitted, but Divine justice provides a horrible life and death.
d. Preventative, providing Bible Doctrine, establishment laws, and discipline to keep human volition inside the will of God.
12. The axiom for Divine guidance is found in 1 John 3:23, “And this is His commandment, that we believe in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He has commanded us.”
This verse is the desire of God. It reduces the will of God to its utmost simplicity; i.e., that the entire human race believes in Jesus Christ; and that all believers function under impersonal love of the Royal Family Honor Code toward all other members of the human race. So the chief principle of Divine guidance: for the unbeliever, salvation; for the believer, spirituality.
13. God’s will for your life is found in three categories. These three categories are discovered by the believer who is consistently taking in and applying Bible Doctrine while growing in spiritual maturity. They include:
a. The viewpoint will of God is what God wants you to think.
b. The operational will of God is what God wants you to do.
c. The geographical will of God is where God wants you to be.
Each of these revolves around the three wills of God, directive, permissive, and overruling, as God has given free will to man, so that man would be a rational creature who would resolve the Angelic Conflict.
You can know the viewpoint, operational, and geographical will of God for your life only by having maximum Bible doctrine in your soul. You receive Divine discipline for not knowing the right answer and being outside of God’s will.
14. All Divine guidance depends on the perception of Bible doctrine and then its application. This principle of Bible Doctrine in the soul is found in Psa 32:8; Isa 58:11. The pure thoughts of doctrine, not the deceptive thoughts of man, are the basis for Divine guidance, Prov 3:1-8; Rom 12:2.
Psa 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.”
Isa 58:11. “And the LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”
Rom 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
15. Acts 11:1-18, gives us the mechanics of knowing and walking in the will of God.
a. Guidance through prayer, vs. 5.
b. Guidance through objective thinking of Bible Doctrine, vs. 6.
c. Guidance through perception and recall of doctrine, vs. 7 10.
d. Guidance through providential circumstances, e.g. the people we meet, vs.11.
e. Guidance through the filling of the Holy Spirit and humility, vs. 12.
f. Guidance through fellowship and comparison of spiritual data, vs. 13 14.
g. Guidance through recalling Bible doctrine, vs. 16.
h. Guidance through doctrinal conclusions, vs. 17.
i. Guidance through obedience to the Word of God, vs. 18.
16. The principle of Divine guidance is based upon the fact that man possess volition/free-will designed to resolve the Angelic Conflict, designed to respond to God’s purpose, God’s will, God’s policy, and God’s law. That is the basic concept of guidance. We have volition which must become totally subordinate to and compatible with Divine volition. Therefore, we have to know what God’s policy is, what His will is, and what God’s desire is on any given subject. Then it is simple. All we have to do is do it and do it in the power of the Spirit. Bible doctrine in the soul, plus free will in man, equals Divine guidance, the execution of the will of God.
17. Divine guidance reaches its peak in spiritual maturity, as witnessed in the lives of the visible heroes of the OT. in Hebrew 11. The ultimate in the will of God is found in, 2 Pet 3:18, “But grow by grace and by knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and in the day of eternity.”
18. And as we will see in Eph 5:18, Divine guidance is achieved through yieldedness. Yieldedness, is simply a technical term for the filling of the Holy Spirit, as per Rom 6:13. It is found in Rom 12:1, “present,” which is yieldedness or the filling of the Spirit. Basically the concept comes from 1 John 1:9, the mechanics of yieldedness.