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What Does God Know?


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Good, consider yourself complimented.

The point above is more than peripheral to the topic because it points to God's sovereign will, in this case concerning the covenant he made with the world through Abraham. While Abraham's human will was involved in obeying God, it is not mentioned. In fact man's "freedom of will" goes pretty much without a mention in the Bible. I think it bears asking why.

In the case of Abraham, we see nothing of a request. If that is not what God determined to be said of the record, then we should seek to understand what He did determine to say:

God commanded Abraham to go someplace else. Abraham obeyed, knowing almost nothing except the brief command.

God informed him he would have a son in his old age. Abraham was incredulous. But he did have a son.

It reminds me of the Shunamite. When the prophet informed her she'd have a son in the time of life (ie, normal time of gestation) she scoffed and said "don't lie to me!". But, in the time of life she had a son. Where was her free will? Where was her 'believing'? I say it happened according to God's will alone.

God can exercise His will so thoroughly because His knowledge (past-present and future) is so utterly complete. Nobody had to 'believe for it'.

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Some "whys and wherefores", as I see them:

Our freewill response to God's "request" is a shaky foundation on which to base our Christian life. If we don't feel like it that day, or fail to believe because we doubted somewhere along the line, we're hosed. Our faith becomes self-focused, becasue it's predicated on how our will is doing and how our 'believing' response to truth is doing that day. If we're in a funk, God is out of business as far as His activity in our life goes.

If, on the the other hand, God is all-everything (including all-knowing), then He will act according to his own wisdom (who hath been His counselor?) and exert his sovereign will on a world in no condition to bring about His will because they happen to agree with Him that day. And feel like it. And happen to believe just right that day.

That's the way I see it.

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Nice analysis Tbone, kind of reminds me of my slogan on the bottom.

Words and works I would be especially interested in your commentary on this:

and anyone

Since God has foreknowledge this we know, but wants a rest from his works, (this we know from the bible) Is in not possible that he established things like righteousness and justice so that he didnt have to stand around and busy himself with foreknowledge and in so doing; enable people the capacity to have works that are judged in a righteousness setting?

This certainly makes sense to me. I mean who would want to stand around with a bottle and a diaper and do this forever? Looks to me like there is a reasonable method to the endpoint.

Edited by sky4it
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the wording of this (following below) makes it seem like God is lazy!

Since God has foreknowledge this we know, [b]but wants a rest from his works[/b], ([b][i]this we know from the bible[/i][/b]) Is in not possible that he established things like righteousness and justice so that he didnt have to stand around and busy himself with foreknowledge and in so doing; enable people the capacity to have works that are judged in a righteousness setting?

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usaid: the wording of this (following below) makes it seem like God is lazy!

Serious? well we know he works 6 days a week and not 7 doesnt everyone need a rest? Not lazy I suggest just bored of buttering up sinners.

Anyway that is my op, and I dont think anyone is keeping score.

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Thank you, Evan. I mean that in all sincerity.

I think we do have free will, and by that I mean our minds have the ability to make choices and decisions. If we didn’t, we would be barely above a vegetative state. I do wholehearted agree though, God is sovereign and not at all dependent on either our wills or our “believing.” I only use that word on this board. I prefer “trust,” which keeps waythink out of my brain. At the same time, God doesn’t force anything on us against our wills. He does do things to help people along to change their minds and carry out His will. I am thinking of both Balaam and Jonah on that one. I also agree a “self focus” is not a good thing. It is a quick road to self condemnation, amongst other things. The point is to rely on God and not on ourselves.

I think also about Deuteronomy where God put in front of Israel both blessing and cursing. He put in front of them how it is, they had to make a choice, and He let them choose. It is true the word free will is not in the Bible, but I think it is implied.

As far as the Shunamite woman is concerned, she trusted God in a general sense. The prophet wanted to return her love and care and God gave her the desire of her heart. According to Hebrews, it is impossible to please God without faith (trust) and He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. I don’t however read that to mean she was specifically believing for a child. I just see God’s grace in action toward a great woman that trusted Him.

I think the thing about Abraham is he already trusted God before He made the promises about progeny. Also, the fact that it was quite impossible for Abraham and Sarah to have children is significant because it made it plain that this was a pure act of God and God alone. At the same time, Abraham trusted God would bring to pass what He said, with the result that Abraham was called the father of all those who believe. God was simply bestowing great grace on someone who trusted Him while He also brought to pass what He wanted.

I also agree that God doesn’t function according to either our free will or “believing” in terms of His sovereign will. Yes, we would be hosed, because, spiritually speaking we are a bit dumb….I think that thinking our wills and our “believing” determines what God can or can’t do, or what even what His will is, is putting the cart in front of the horse.

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Nice analysis Tbone, kind of reminds me of my slogan on the bottom.

Words and works I would be especially interested in your commentary on this:

and anyone

Since God has foreknowledge this we know, but wants a rest from his works, (this we know from the bible) Is in not possible that he established things like righteousness and justice so that he didnt have to stand around and busy himself with foreknowledge and in so doing; enable people the capacity to have works that are judged in a righteousness setting?

This certainly makes sense to me. I mean who would want to stand around with a bottle and a diaper and do this forever? Looks to me like there is a reasonable method to the endpoint.


you're thinking of God as an incredible human, rather than a transcendant being.

Mark 2:27-28 (New American Standard Bible)

27Jesus said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.

28"So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."


God communicates in a manner that fits our little brains,

even if it's not the most technically-accurate manner of explaining something.

Jesus-who knows what he's talking about-said outright that the Sabbath was

made FOR MAN, not for God. God ordained a Sabbath for man to rest and

to remember God. That wasn't because God needed it-it's because MAN

needed it.

God described Himself as resting once His labours were complete- not

because He was tired, but because it was done-and because He was going

to use this to explain why man was to have a Sabbath.

I think God told us the right things to do because He WANTS us to do them-for our

own benefit as well as other reasons. I think He's PROUD of us when we do them

without him dragging us by the scruffs of our necks- but that He's not diminished

even if we don't do it.

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  • 1 month later...

Revisiting freewill:

This is a rather difficult subject and one I hadn’t given much thought to until Evan brought it up. It is however, quite important. The concept of freewill is the result of philosophical thought rather than theological. There is a lot of disagreement in even defining freewill and its function relative to philosophical and theological applications. I spent about an hour reading up on different points of view, and then settled into my own consideration of the matter.

Twi’s position was that God “does not assert His power over individual will and choices” (I got this wording from Wikipedia, I really like it) in the sense of not allowing a choice (or really in any sense), otherwise it would be possession. That the difference between God and the devil is that God is in favor of freewill and the devil is not. That obviously is false otherwise God would not carry out justice (a topic twi carefully avoided and generally blamed on the devil), and when He does, it certainly isn’t possession. The devil is quite in favor of the choice to disobey. Twi’s God only interacted in the affairs of men according to their positive or negative believing and their “freewill” choices. So did the devil for that matter.

Secondly, it was regarded as a right that God always respected and was God given, and that He was obligated to that premise. There is nothing in the Bible about this and it contradicts vast amounts of Scripture. That premise holds God hostage to the will of His creation and denies His sovereignty (His right to rule His creation). The roles get reversed where the determining factor is the will of creation. If you follow that line of thinking to its logical conclusion, then salvation would not have been possible.

Freewill is an attempt to explain why there is evil in the world and how God relates to His creation. Freewill assumes there are always at least two choices.

As best as I can determine, what seems to be true is God did give us the mental capacity to make decisions and choices based on will. He does want us to make choices on issues He asks us to. It stops right there. There are no “rights” associated with it and “free” is limited. God does over ride our will at times. Ex: when you receive revelation it is not something you will to do or have anything to do with other than passively receive it. Contrary to what twi taught, spirit is not required and neither is believing. After receiving it you do have a choice to take heed or not.

Jon 2:10 And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry [land].

God in essence commanded the fish, but how did He make the fish understand the command? He spoke to the brain of that fish, that’s how.

Another example of God over riding the will of a person is Jonah. Jonah was someone who didn’t want to do the will of God. He was supposed to go to Ninevah and “cry against it.” Instead of obeying, he got on a ship and tried to run away. A storm arose, and while Jonah was sleeping, the crew cast lots and determined the problem was with Jonah. Jonah agreed and said they should throw him overboard (his decision and will). Not willing to do this, the crew tried to row ashore unsuccessfully. Finally, they did throw him overboard (their decision agreeing with Jonah. Their combined solution wasn’t God’s.). In spite of Jonah’s state of disobedience, God rescued him with a big fish. God didn’t let Jonah’s decision stand. Jonah made a choice, but God decided the final outcome. What Jonah wanted or thought made no difference. Did he choose to be swallowed by the fish? God did, in fact, “assert His power over individual will and choices.” So how much “freewill” did Jonah really have?

To carry it out a little further: Can satan choose good? Can God choose evil? If you answer that created beings don’t make choices outside their essence, then you have a problem: the angels that sinned and satan himself. In the instant they sinned, then they created (brought something into existence that didn’t previously exist) evil. I propose a difference answer.

Isa 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].

God must have defined good and evil from the beginning, and with that came a choice that had parameters. That is: once satan chose evil, at some point he no longer had the “freewill” choice to choose good. Whatever the circumstances, it had to have been just.

Once man fell, his “freewill” choices were likewise quite limited. He could not choose to do good always, otherwise salvation would not be necessary. A parameter was in place. God has set boundaries to things. He divided the light from the darkness, for example.

Twi taught that God “allows” evil. That notion always made me uncomfortable. It makes God an indirect agent of evil. I think a better word might be “tolerate” in order to accomplish His own will ultimately, that perfect universe I posted earlier. Speaking of which, I mentioned then that at that stage all creation will have made a choice. I would add to that, that at that time all evil will be destroyed and the “freewill” choice for evil will be gone because evil itself will be gone. If there was something somehow righteous about “freewill” and if it indeed exists, then it would remain. Simple logic.

Also in an earlier post I brought up this verse:

Gen 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; [but] God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as [it is] this day, to save much people alive.

I mentioned at the time it seemed likely an underlying principle of God. It was something I sensed, but wasn’t sure about. I am sure about it now. I think it always applies until that final universe.

The true God is absolutely sovereign in every sense of the word. I for one am glad He is. I am glad He works good for me in spite of my stupid decisions and limited mental capacity. If what He did for me was dependent on my will, then I’d be in deep trouble.

A side note: Twi didn’t like the idea of God testing anyone. I believe the truth of the matter is that God does indeed test us in the sense of proving. It is similar to how you heat up gold to find impurities (there are verses in the OT about this. Psalms I think). You can’t prove something until it’s been demonstrated. That to me explains the necessity for creating evil. It’s about choice, yes, but the larger view is about proving by demonstration.

I’m going to post this and let it sit awhile. After that, the next logical question is how in fact are we to relate to God? How exactly does He relate to us? These are questions with regard to will. Not “freewill,” but will. As a running start:

Jn:5:19: Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

Jn:5:30: I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

Clearly, Jesus didn’t put much value on His own will. This is in spite of the fact that He was the Son of God, He was perfect, and He was holy at conception. He also said there is none good but the Father, so why are you calling me good? The point that the exertion of His own will would not be just, is interesting if not mind boggling. If we can address this, then we can begin to define ourselves in the grand scheme of things, and in particular, our interactions with God.

“I think God told us the right things to do because He WANTS us to do them-for our

own benefit as well as other reasons. I think He's PROUD of us when we do them

without him dragging us by the scruffs of our necks- but that He's not diminished

even if we don't do it.”-WW

Absolutely gorgeous. Thank you for this thread, WW.

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Nice post, well considered.

As your post implies, there may not be a neat way to wrap up these theological questions in a neat little box. It's more like holding several seemingly competing concepts and 'letting them be'.

I think shifting the discussion from freewill to will is helpful.

Great men have struggled with these concepts.

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Thank you, Evan. I owe you a real debt of gratitude for bringing up the subject in the first place. Thanks to you I’ve got a much deeper (and I think more correct) perception and appreciation for God. It was quite a thought process. My actual starting point was Jesus’ attitude toward His own will. I realized if it wasn’t an important issue to Him, it wasn’t to God either (except for the aspect of choosing God and those things He wants us to choose). The important thing is making God’s will ours. I was amazed when I realized God does in fact over ride our wills at times. The post itself took me two days to write and get satisfied with it.

“Freewill” is a square peg in a round hole as applied to the Bible. It makes no sense at all if you think about it very long. It is a major roadblock to understanding God’s sovereignty.

You were right about the Shunamite (sp?) woman. That’s another example of God over riding a person’s will. It is true she was a great woman of faith and God was rewarding her, but there’s no indication she asked for or was specifically “believing” for it. I didn’t really understand what you were driving at, at the time. But you got me thinking…and my attention.

You’re right. It’s difficult to put this stuff in neat little boxes. Understanding God has parameters helps a lot. That’s not a concept I’ve ever thought about or read about, but became obvious as I thought about the subject, especially when I was considering it isn’t possible for satan to choose good. If you take “freewill” completely out of the picture, then things start to make a lot more sense.

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What does God know? He knew about you and me.

It seems to me that grace is what bridges the gap between man and God. God initiated the bridge doing for us what we can’t do for ourselves. He has done this in sundry ways since the beginning. When Adam sinned, God went looking for him, not the other way around. He then covered them and provided the plan of the redeemer. Did mankind then or at any time earn it? Nope. If it weren’t for grace, there’d be no us at all. When it gets right down to it. God did all the hard stuff, He just asks us to believe what He said is true. How hard even that small thing is sometimes!

Eph 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Eph 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

God is holy and man is not. By God’s grace, we are acceptable and beloved by Him. He made possible the impossible! Some other verses that hit home with me:

2Ti 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

2Ti 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

2Ti 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Before the world began, He knew me. He knew you. He, God almighty, creator of the universe, knew us and called us. He knew we would respond. He did it because He wanted to, not because of anything we did. He loved us for thousands of years before we were even born. He asks us to love Him back.

Man has yet to invent a perpetual motion machine, but God did. Our earth turns in a weightless universe. There is great debate in scientific circles how this is so. But turn it does, day after day at a speed of 1000 mi. per hour at the equator. It circles the sun once per year at 63,000 miles per hour. Yet we feel no motion. The galaxy we are in rotates also. (I forgot the speed). Oddly, Venus rotates in the opposite direction from the rest of the planets in our solar system.

This pattern is carried out on a molecular level. Again a perpetual motion machine. Electrons circle a nucleus. The exact composition determines what matter it is.

God holds it all and keeps it all going. He planned and made it all for His man. That’s you and I. As imperfect as we may be.

How many millions of prayers go to Him each day? But He hears them all and even knows how many hairs are on our heads. He knows what we need before we ask.

When I look at the stars, I see God’s love for me. I also know it is a love I can’t fathom. Why me, Lord? I am nothing. He thinks differently. Somehow He thought we were worth the effort, even knowing man would blow it in a major way.

Grace is the heart of the Father God calling to His man. Each of us by name.

He asks we set His will in our hearts as the standard. We can do this by His grace.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sovereign Will and Moral Will

I apologize for the use of an extra-Biblical expression. I seldom use them. It is a concept I read about a few months ago, and have devoted a lot of time thinking and considering it Genesis to Revelation to see if it holds up. As far as I can see it does. Feel free to chime in if you disagree and teach me.

I think of this in human terms. You and I have goals and objectives as humans that hopefully we carry out in an ethical manner. The difference is God’s sovereign will is thought out from the beginning (foreknowledge) and will absolutely come to pass. His moral will stands resolutely and isn’t debatable. Separating His moral will from His sovereign will helps in understanding some things, especially our interaction with Him.

God’s foreknowledge and His sovereign will are closely intertwined. It is possible for Him to have sovereign will because He does have foreknowledge. If He didn’t absolutely know the future, He couldn’t ordain His sovereign will as absolute, such as the coming (at one point) of the Redeemer. Further, all of His promises to us would be somewhat nebulous.

Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

Some folks take this to mean God’s foreknowledge subtracts our option to choose Him. Read it again. Given that we would choose Him, He determined our destiny, that is we would have an inheritance. His sovereign will.

Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Again, according to His sovereign will, God determined our destiny to be according to the above if we choose it.

Does God have a “blueprint” for our lives we must somehow divine? Is the following Biblical?

1. I “feel led” or “inspired.”

2. I “feel a peace about…”

3. God “opened” or “closed” this “door.”

4. “My gut feeling…”

5. “The will of God is for me to…”

6. “I was called to….”

7. “Walking by the Spirit” equals guidance.

8. “God works in me to will and do of His good pleasure” equals guidance.

9. “Still, small voice.” (We shall look at this one, and the others).

I’ve heard all of the above in the sense of guidance and as basis for decision making. I’ve done it myself. The attempt to acquire guidance comes from a sincere desire to do God’s will. It is an attempt to tap into His sovereign will based on a belief He has a “blueprint” for every decision we make. Is that Biblical? There are many methods (tricks, secret knowledge for the “mature”) to accomplish this published in many books. Twi had its own set.

A side note on God’s sovereign will:

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose.

This is a verse thrown about in twi frequently. Taken out of context it implies all will be sweetness and light sooner or later. But, read the next verse.

Rom 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

It doesn’t refer to circumstances. It refers to God’s sovereign and moral will that we be conformed to the image of His Son. “Good” as defined by God in context is verse 29.

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Sovereign Will and Moral Will

I apologize for the use of an extra-Biblical expression. I seldom use them. It is a concept I read about a few months ago, and have devoted a lot of time thinking and considering it Genesis to Revelation to see if it holds up....

...God's foreknowledge and His sovereign will are closely intertwined....

Great posts Another Spot!!! I started a thread awhile back Decision-making and the will of God with some ideas from a book of the same name – the book gets into God's sovereign will and moral will. I think the terminology is good - and this subject is a BIG DEAL when it comes to the Christian walk!!!!!! I hope you don't mind me quoting my first post from that thread - I think it goes right along with your post here. You ought to check out that thread - I also quote some great stuff from Jonathan Edwards too.


The book is Decision Making & the Will of God: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View by Garry Friesen with J. Robin Maxson, 1980, Multnomah Press.

This kind of stuff I find very interesting because of the practical consequences.

I've started this thread after thinking about some of the discussions on CES threads…and perhaps The Great Principle thread by LikeAnEagle. With posts about prophecy, how God works in people, TWI's "Great Principle," guidance, and things like that – I've been remembering how these were big issues with me around the time I left TWI. Being a Christian these things were important to me [and still are] in terms of understanding their place in my decision-making process. I thought it may be interesting to discuss some ideas from a book [or at least start out discussing…I know how threads go :rolleyes: ] I read shortly after leaving TWI – and consider it to be one of the most helpful books to my Christian walk. The book is Decision Making & the Will of God: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional View by Garry Friesen with J. Robin Maxson, 1980, Multnomah Press.

Traditional view on principles of decision-making presented in the book:

For each of our decisions God has a perfect plan or will and the goal of the believer is to discover God's individual will and make decisions in accordance with it. The way to figure out God's individual will for them is by awareness of inner perceptions and outward signs. Validating this guidance system is an inner sense of peace and successful results from their decision.

Alternative view on principles of decision-making presented in the book:

The expression "the will of God" is used in the Bible in two ways: God's sovereign will is His secret plan to determine what happens and God's moral will which consists of the revealed commands in the Bible. The Bible indicates nothing of an "individual will" governing each decision we make. In all decisions, the believer should humbly submit in advance to the outworking of God's sovereign will as it touches each decision and does not exclude the need for planning on our part. Circumstances define the context of the decision and must be weighed by wisdom – not read as a "road sign" to God's "individual will for you." "Open doors" are God-given opportunities for service not specific guidance from God requiring one to enter.

The authors point out difficulties of the traditional view of decision-making: Christians usually abandon the process on "minor" decisions. Believing there is only one correct choice generates anxiety and tends to promote rash decisions. Certainty of finding God's individual will is impossible without an objective source of knowledge, it fosters irresponsible decisions based on "God told me to do that," and lets circumstances dictate decisions.

When I first read the book – the only difficulty I had with their alternative view of decision-making was learning to think for myself – coming out of a group that did everything in its power to either immobilize, manipulate or control my thinking. After I read their book some passages they pointed out – intrigued me because it indicated a process of thought behind the believer's decisions.

Acts 6:2,3 NASB

2 So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.

3 "Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.

Acts 15:25-29 NASB

25 it seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,

26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

27 "Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will also report the same things by word of mouth.

28 "For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials:

29 that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell."

Romans 14:5 NASB

One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.

I Thessalonians 3:1-7 NASB

1 Therefore when we could endure it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone,

2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith,

3 so that no one would be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this.

4 For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know.

5 For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor would be in vain.

6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us, longing to see us just as we also long to see you,

7 for this reason, brethren, in all our distress and affliction we were comforted about you through your faith;

Edited by T-Bone
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Hi, Sunesis!!! Thank you.

Hey John!!!! Glad to “see” you!!! (T-bone). Thank you for your comments. Wordwolf and Evan really did light a quite fire in my brain. I’ve been running with it ever since. I read the beginning of your post. I am sorry, I don’t want to read the meat of it right now. I will just as soon as I finish my train of thought. Also your thread. I am in this really highly focused state (doesn’t happen often) where I just want to finish what’s on my mind. Of course jump in. Anyone please do. Just let me ignore you for a little while, please. (I get like this when I’m oil painting…don’t bother trying to talk to me, I won’t hear you, even if you yell).

By his silence, I am assuming this direction is OK with Wordwolf.

After this, I will read anything posted, and consider any errors anyone sees or things I hadn’t considered. I have spent a very involved and long period of time examining the meaning and how of performing the will of God. I’ve considered it in light of the life of Jesus and I’ve considered it from our perspective. I’ve considered it from what I can know of God’s perspective. I have read and reread a lot of Bible.

This was really the thing on my mind when I came to GS to start with. I had realized (the hard way) I was walking on broken crutches. I was devastated. If I never understand anything, this one thing I want to get.

While this has been going on, I’ve also had a personal crisis taking place. My husband had taken a new job in June which may or may not be panning out (involving someone buying a company which was supposed to close in July. Many delays. Is it or is it not going to happen? Because of this, his salary was cut in half, and we can’t live on that amount. What to do? Besides all that we own a house in a dinky town with no jobs over 2 hours away from a town of any size with jobs. Major headache. Oh yes. So far, we’ve had enough money to manage. Different things have happened to provide it. We have a meeting Saturday with a lady in town my husband has known for many years who owns an accounting firm. She is in desperate need of help, and wants it from us in particular. This came about by “accident” last night.). So, I have very personal reasons for understanding this thing.

Part Two:

Jon 1:1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,

Jon 1:2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

God’s sovereign and moral will expressed. He also foreknew they would respond.

Jon 1:3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

Jon 1:4 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.

Knowing Jonah was going to end up jumping in the sea because of it, God sent a storm. Pretty determined, dontcha think? Lol, they both were.

Jon 2:4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.

Jon 2:5 The waters compassed me about, [even] to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.

Jon 2:6I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars [was] about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.

Jon 2:7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.

Jon 2:8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

Jon 2:9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay [that] that I have vowed. Salvation [is] of the LORD.

Evidently Jonah prayed while in the sea, and while he was in the belly of the fish he realized some things and had a real change in attitude. His “soul fainted.” I would guess he was pretty scared. After this, God spoke to the fish which then vomited up Jonah on dry land.

After the people repented, Jonah was mad. (In the early 80’s I got curious why he was so mad. If memory serves, this city was in Assyria, which was prophesied to attack Israel. Assyria was an enemy. It took me a long time to piece together and I don’t want to take the time right now to do it again. My memory may not be right). In any case, Jonah was so mad he prayed to die.

Jon 4:9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, [even] unto death.

Jon 4:10 Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:

Jon 4:11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and [also] much cattle?

Does God in any way explain His sovereign will? Not at all. He explains His moral will. Jonah was going to have to be satisfied with that answer. All these events were supernatural and divine intervention. There was nothing subtle about it.

Eph 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him:

Eph 1:11In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

The above verse is a good illustration of God’s sovereign will in relationship to His foreknowledge. He conducts His sovereign will according to His own counsel. Hold that thought.

How about Job? Job desired an audience with God. He basically wanted to explain he had done nothing to deserve the calamity that befell him. God answered him out of a whirlwind (not subtle) with an interesting response.

Job 38:1Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said,

Job 38:2Who [is] this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?

Job 38:3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.

Job 38:4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.


What follows is a discourse of some of the detail of God’s ability and sovereignty. Whose “counsel” is being referred to? God never does explain why the calamity occurred. His moral will? He repays Job double and more.

My point is this: It simply is not the Biblical pattern for God to reveal His sovereign will, except for instances where He imparts bits and pieces to prophets who will record them in His written Word. We see His sovereign will as a whole concerning man (what He has chosen to reveal), but we have to read a substantial portion of the Bible to see it.

In addition, you simply won’t see in God’s interactions with man, a sense of a personal blueprint to divine (or anywhere). Is there any record in the Bible where you can get that sense? I haven’t found one. Does God care about every detail of our lives? You bet!!! Does He promise us things, answer prayer? Of course.

Certain leadership at times carried out God’s sovereign will. (Jonah did too, finally). They did this because of divine intervention. Moses and the burning bush is an example of God’s initial contact (not subtle. Yes, I know, I keep repeating that. For a reason.). Peter and the sheet.

When and if God intervenes in a direct fashion in our lives, it is crystal clear and it is His sovereign will. That is the general pattern of the Bible. If He can make a fish understand, He can make us understand something if He deems it necessary. We are a little smarter than even a big fish. Maybe not a dolphin.

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Part Three:

Jam 4:13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:

Jam 4:14 Whereas ye know not what [shall be] on the morrow. For what [is] your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Jam 4:15 For that ye [ought] to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

Jam 4:16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

This concerns attitude, not guidance or the necessity for it. They were free to make decisions, but they were to recognize there is no knowing what tomorrow brings (“if the Lord will, we shall live”). It is respecting God’s sovereignty.

Mat 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Mat 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven.

This again is respecting God’s sovereignty.

Rom 1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;

Rom 1:10 Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.

Rom 1:11For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;

Here Paul is saying he prays for the opportunity to come see them. He doesn’t know if it will happen or not. Very different from twi-style prayer!

The infamous comma verse:

Act 21:14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.

I’m sure you remember various individuals had prophesied that if Paul went to Jerusalem, he would be bound.

Act 21:11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver [him] into the hands of the Gentiles.

Does this say it was not the will of God for him to go? No, it only says if he goes what will happen. There is no indication anywhere it was not God’s will.

Act 20:22 And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:

Act 20:23 Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

We are told very specifically the followers didn’t want him to go. That doesn’t mean their response was reflective of the will of God.

Act 21:12 And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.

Act 21:13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.

PFAL pg. 140

“Paul moaned, so-to-speak, “Don’t you people know that I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus?” Doesn’t that sound magnanimous and sincere! But Paul was totally wrong. The will of the Lord was for him not to go to Jerusalem.”

I disagree. Vp paints a picture of a foolhardy Paul. By this time in the book of Acts, Paul had been beaten, stoned and raised from the dead, imprisoned, and in peril of his life numerous times. So, no it wasn’t a foolhardy attitude. He had experienced God’s deliverance many times and really wasn’t afraid.

Act 21:14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.

I couldn’t find a verse that clearly states one way or another what God’s will was, or if He had a preference. We only know from the above verse the followers stopped saying “the will of the Lord be done.” This could simply be in the sense whatever happens, it’s in God’s hands. We know Paul felt “bound in the spirit” to go. Does that mean revelation or internal desire? I don’t believe he was outside the will of God in a general sense.

Phl 1:13So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other [places];

Phl 1:14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

2Ti 2:9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, [even] unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.

2Ti 2:10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

The end result of Paul being in prison is “many brethren” became more confident. By this time all Asia minor had heard the Word. While in prison, Paul had safety from those who wanted to kill him. During this time, he wrote a number of what is now books of the Bible. Overall, the church was helped and not hindered by his imprisonment. We benefit from it today.

Was Paul in error to go to Jerusalem? Some want to say definitely, others no. From what I can read, Scripture is silent on that issue. Perhaps the truth of the matter is God let Paul make that decision, letting him know that if he went, what would happen so he could make it with his eyes open, mentally prepared.

The nature of our circumstances is a false criteria for determining whether we’re within the will of God. So is how our decisions work out. Vp clearly thought being in prison was equal to being outside the will of God. He thought God was trying to keep him out of the soup. It is shallow thinking.

The thing that really drives people to want God’s endorsement on their decisions is to keep from making a mistake or having bad consequences. They believe God when things are good and some back away when they are not. They doubt themselves and then they doubt God. This record of Paul to me demonstrates clearly circumstances are not a reason to believe or disbelieve. It is conditional and assumes God should serve us and not the other way around. God wants us to love Him with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength with no strings attached. Jesus was the greatest example of this.

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Another Spot – tremendous posts – very thoughtful and thought-provoking…keep it up. I’m enjoying this thread - an interesting progression…from “What does God know?” to “What do we know?” ….Great stuff! This is the kind of thing that helps reorient the wayward Christian in decision-making – especially one coming out of a cult that prides themselves on having God on their side. I’m of the opinion a humble Christian would desire to be on God’s side…I remember vpw saying “We don’t know it all but we know Him who knows it all.” Yeah, right…that’s what he said – but he sure acted like he knew it all!

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Just a thought: but maybe the whole point of this part of the life of Paul is to demonstrate that neither the life of Paul nor the ability of God is ever limited. Physical bonds didn’t really hinder either of them. A big reason not to judge ourselves or God by our circumstances.

I’m glad you’re enjoying it, T-bone. I hit a stopping point and read your post thoroughly and also your thread. Good stuff and it sparked some things that helped with my next post, which I will do tomorrow. I have more comments, but will wait a bit.

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Part Four:

God’s will in the life of Jesus.

Jhn 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

It’s what He lived for. It was His sustenance. “Finish his work.” He was going to complete what God had started.

Jhn 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

Jhn 6:36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.

Jhn 6:37All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

Jhn 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

Jhn 6:39And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

Jhn 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Jesus reflected God’s moral and sovereign will (as the redeemer), which the above verses describe. They also describe a life and attitude of complete submission. It wasn’t conditional.

He had complete confidence His judgments were just because He relied utterly on God for His standard (loving God with all His heart and soul). God’s moral will was His foundation. That put him in the position to love God with all His mind, and He did have a superb, logical mind.

Jesus very often used logic to teach and confront. He expected people to use their reason to understand what He was saying and expressed puzzlement when they couldn’t. He used logic when confronted by the Pharisees.

Mat 21:23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?

Mat 21:24 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.

Mat 21:25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?

Jesus’ question was neither idle nor evasive. His formal priesthood and ministry began with the Baptism of John in accordance with the law. It was a unique baptism in that baptism was for sinners, which is why John objected initially. God then sent the Holy Spirit which descended upon Him. From the point of view of the law, the authority of Jesus came from John’s baptism. This is the exact reason He approached it this way.

Since the object of the Pharisees was to discredit Jesus to the people, they were in a tough spot. The people believed John the Baptist was a prophet. If they acknowledged his authority of God, than they had to also acknowledge the authority of Jesus who John had confirmed. It was a logic thing. It was quite a question Jesus asked!

Mat 21:26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.

Mat 21:27And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

End of argument. By refusing to answer or acknowledge the spiritual authority of John, they condemned themselves by their own reasoning (logic) and unbelief. Jesus didn’t have to. His object was not to set a bigger trap than theirs, but let them make their own decision. It was fair and it was just. He isn’t done. He goes on to tell them three parables.

In Mat. 21:28, The first one seems to have no connection with them, but confronts their error. It’s a story of two sons. One initially refused to work, but finally did. The second promised to work, but never did. Jesus then asks, which one did the father’s will? They respond the second. It was a direct comparison to the claim of righteousness of the Pharisees, but the lack of demonstration of it.

The second parable in verses 33-46, he tells of the landowner who had a vineyard. He had leased it out, but when he sent messengers for his shares, the messengers were beaten and killed. Jesus then asks the Pharisees another question. What should the landowner do? Their answer was to destroy the renters and get someone to lease it that would produce fruit.

Jesus responds to their answer with a prophesy wherein he would be rejected by the “builders,” meaning them, resulting in the Kingdom of Heaven being taken from them. He would then grind them to powder, and later there would be spiritual fruit in the kingdom. The Pharisees realized He was speaking of them, wanted to lay hands on Him, but didn’t for fear of the people. Interesting He used a parable involving killing the messenger. Jesus was God’s messenger. Now for the third parable.

Mat. 22:1-14 He describes the wedding feast. A king (God) sends servants to invite guests (the Jews) to his son’s (Jesus) wedding feast (the Kingdom). Some declined (the Jews who didn’t believe), others (the Pharisees) killed the servants. The king sent armies and destroyed the murderers and the city. Next he invited guests from the highways (gentiles and any Jews who would believe). A man arrived without a wedding garment (he wasn’t properly clothed. Righteousness). He was speechless (no evidence of his faith), and subsequently cast out. Many are called and few are chosen. The ones chosen are the ones who respond inwardly, but all were given the opportunity.

Jesus has now stopped asking questions of the Pharisees. He has just spelled out the consequences of their unbelief. This too was just. In this exchange, we see God’s moral will to be just, and His sovereign will to carry out judgment. The judgment was in response to something in reality they did to themselves. Jesus carried out God’s will to expose the hearts of men and gather the chosen (the ones who responded).

This exchange is just so loaded. We see a magnificent use of logic presented one truth at a time, each building on the other. Understanding that Jesus spoke for God, we can understand that God wants us to see the logic of His Word, and accept it and believe it on that basis.

It is fascinating to me that the Pharisees’ condemnation was not simply on the basis of unbelief, but their own reasoned rejection. In doing so, they condemned themselves. I am guessing this point is larger than I currently fathom. Jesus could have just stated some truth, and left them to believe it, or not. Yet justice required a reasoned out decision. From this we can also see that just because God has foreknowledge of who will respond, the choice to do so remains for all. His justice (moral will) requires it.

We can see logic and reason is important to God. We use reason to discern truth from error and recognize false teaching. He gave us the mental capacity to be self-aware. That is: we have the ability to recognize where we are in comparison to what the Bible says. That is important or we’d never be able to tell if we were merely professing righteousness (going through the motions) like the Pharisees, or really are inwardly. It also important so that we can recognize when we’ve been deceived. We use logic to recover ourselves. There is more to it than believe or disbelieve.

1Pe 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

1Pe 1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

1Pe 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (behavior);

1Pe 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

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Part Five

God’s will in our lives.

Gird up the loins of your minds cont. From Thayer’s:

“1) to gird up

2) metaph. be prepared

a) a metaphor derived from the practice of the Orientals, who in order to be unimpeded in their movements were accustomed, when starting a journey or engaging in any work, to bind their long flowing garments closely around their bodies and fastened them with a leather belt.”

I can see this as “prepared.” I can also see it as do something about the loose flapping around that gets in the way. (Sounds like an apt description of twi, lol. Please, someone turn that fan off!).

Phl 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Phl 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.

“For” indicates reason. What is His will and good pleasure? Isn’t that spelled out in His Word? It is saying God energizes His will in us in the category of obedience and salvation. Obedience and Christian conduct is the general subject of this chapter. His moral will. It isn’t guidance or anything extra-Biblical. It isn’t a blank check in all matters. This is probably where “I feel led” or “inspired” comes from. Or perhaps from:

Mat 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

It is unlikely Jesus just felt led, or took for granted every thought that passed His mind was being led. To me, feeling led, feeling at peace, gut feeling or inspired are all based on feelings. This is not to say God can’t work that way, there’s just no Scriptural basis for it. That is not how the instances of revelation are described.

Especially, in all examples I looked at with regard to manifestations, I did not see any instances of manifestations for every day personal decisions major or minor. Even I Cor. speaks of them in light of service to the body of Christ. I am not saying God couldn’t or wouldn’t for some reason provide revelation for personal decisions, but owing to the fact it isn’t described in the Bible (that I could find), I shouldn’t think it would be normative. If it did occur, it would certainly be very plain. There is no verse that says feeling at peace is a validation for decisions or guidance from God.

Rom 8:1 [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Rom 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

Rom 8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Rom 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

Context for walking by the Spirit is walking according to God’s moral will. This phrase was SO abused in twi to mean guidance. It was almost as if revelation was a shortcut to moral law, if not a substitute.

Open and closed doors:

Act 14:27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.

The opportunity for faith to the Gentiles was provided.

Act 14:28 And there they abode long time with the disciples.

Col 4:3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:

This is speaking of an opportunity to speak the Word. How these verses transformed into a doctrine that God opens and closes doors in our lives for decision making in the sense of guidance is beyond me. In all instances of the phrase it refers to witnessing.

The concept of “called.”

Act 16:9And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.

Act 16:10And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

In this instance, the “called” was preceded by very plain revelation. Paul was called to be an apostle and we all were called into the body of Christ. I heard in twi, many times we were called into it. Ok. If so, then there would have been plain revelation about it. The fact I made a decision to take a class is not proof God called me into that group or anywhere else.

Still, small voice:

1Ki 19:11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; [but] the LORD [was] not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; [but] the LORD [was] not in the earthquake:

1Ki 19:12 And after the earthquake a fire; [but] the LORD [was] not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

1Ki 19:13 And it was [so], when Elijah heard [it], that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, [there came] a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

Notice all the drama. Afterward Elijah hears the still small voice. He then leaves, and it is AFTER that, that God talks to him. We don’t know if it was still and small or not. Can’t twi read???

Somehow, this became the standard for all revelation. Dangerous, I think. Once you believe revelation is subtle, it is easy to believe an emotion or some such is guidance. Remember the test of a prophet is does it come to pass. Is it 100% accurate? Did it come from God for a fact? We don’t want to become false prophets unto ourselves or to others and set ourselves up for feeling like utter failures. Been there, done that. It isn’t funny.


T-bone: Comments about your thread.

Yes, you’re right it is a big deal. Could be wrong, but seems to me decision making based on things like open doors, being at peace, really falls in the category of seeking after signs. Thayer’s gave a definition for signs that is along the lines of a supernatural event. So I don’t see a difference between looking for signs in the negative sense and looking for a supernatural validation for decisions. And the more I think about it, the more perverted it seems to me. You’re right, there’s a certain amount of laziness to it. Jesus said he would send the comforter to lead us into the all truth, not identify which job to take.

“The Bible indicates nothing of an "individual will" governing each decision we make. In all decisions, the believer should humbly submit in advance to the outworking of God's sovereign will as it touches each decision and does not exclude the need for planning on our part.” From your thread. That hits the nail on the head. I would add that we don’t need to know God’s sovereign will. He can drive His own car. We get to decide if we want to be passengers and whether to sit with our legs crossed or uncrossed and what clothes we’ll wear. Our job is to learn to be good passengers. He’s already told us the destination. And we don’t need to be backseat drivers.

The wrong teaching in twi with regard to “guidance” caused me far more harm and condemnation than even the law of believing. While I knew all 9 all the time was bull, it took digging into this in detail to pull the whole mess out by the roots. I’m not nearly so confused and everything is much more simple. The burden and anxiety of trying to divine God’s will in every day situations is lifted.

It is interesting twi taught “the word of God is the will of God” but also taught and practiced something else and that was what was preeminent . They virtually discarded moral will in favor of trying to live by sovereign will. As a lifestyle. They made everything so blasted difficult, complicated and impossible. Funny we were so proud and arrogant of it. I’m sure we got an “A” for effort. Good thing God looks on the heart. Huh!

The conversion from what does God know to what do we know. Pretty good, T-bone. Hadn’t thought about it that way, but you’re right. Succinct.

Thank you for taking the time to locate the thread and for expressing your thoughts. I’ve learned a lot from you in the last 6 mos.

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