Jesus, the Revealer of God’s Will
Jesus is the embodiment of the Father’s will on earth. He is ‘the reflection of God’s glory and the exact representation of God’s very being.’ (Hebrews 1:3) Through his life and ministry, Jesus ‘brought heaven down.’ In every move he made, he was sure to do God’s will.
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.’”
– John 4:34
“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”
– John 5:30
“For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.”
– John 6:38
It is impossible to know and do the Father’s will by any way, except through Jesus.
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
– John 14:6
Thus, the easiest way to do God’s will is to imitate Jesus – to put on the mind of Christ and be led by the Spirit of Truth. (John 16:13) We must abandon all ways that do not conform to the mind and spirit of Jesus, and reject all ideas that conflict with it. So, what exactly is God’s will for man on earth?
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus introduced the perfect will of God to his listeners. After enumerating many things that evidence subjection to God’s will, he summarized:
“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
– Matthew 5:48
This is the universal will of God – that man, along with all of God’s creatures, those in heaven and those on earth, ‘be perfect.’ Of course, for us this is relative perfection since it is impossible for earthling man to be as perfect as our heavenly Father. But it is the mandate and the eternal expectation. In other words, the Father does not expect us to reach absolute perfection while we are on earth; but that goal is progressive and a part of the eternal adventure. (For an indication of why we must be perfect, see Heavenly Contemplations III.)
For us, we might restate God’s will by saying: ‘You must be as perfect in your realm as the heavenly Father is perfect in His realm.’ This is what Jesus demonstrated – a perfect man in the earthly realm. And he remains ready, willing and able to help us reach the divine ideal of perfection, doing the perfect will of God:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
– Hebrews 12:1-3
Since God’s will is perfect, there are a few things we can assume about it. For example, it is holy, just, good, great, true, beautiful, eternal and changeless. It always benefits, never destroys. It has application in every earthly endeavor – there is nothing man does that cannot be improved by applying God’s will.
Nothing can frustrate God’s will. Even when it does not prevail concerning the individual, it always prevails concerning the total. God’s will may not be easy and it may be slow by man’s reckoning, but it is the natural, sure and steady way of accomplishment, like the natural, steady flow of water. (Isaiah 55:11) There is nothing man can do to add to or enhance God’s will. And we can be certain that any attempt to modify or dilute it would be folly, even evil. And deliberate rebellion from God’s will is sin.
Doing God’s will requires that we search for God and share our inner life with Him. As we do, we become more and more like God. We are literally and figuratively coming closer to our Father. We are becoming ‘perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.’
Doing God’s will does not mean we are making perfect choices. We are still imperfect beings living in an imperfect world. What it means is that we are doing the best and right thing under the circumstances. Since the process of perfection is gradual and progressive, it follows that there will be sorrows and trials as we ‘work out’ God’s will for us. But the joys greatly outweigh the sorrows because the primary blessing of doing God’s will is that it is the passport to infinity, the secret of survival after death – eternal life.
“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
– 1 Timothy 2:3-4
“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
– John 6:40
This is God’s trump card. No endeavor can grant survival after death other than exercising faith in Jesus Christ by doing the will of God as Jesus did it. There is no other way.