God’s Good, Pleasing, and Perfect WillRomans 12:1-2Theme: Trust and obey.This week’s lessons teach us that our happiness is to be found in following God’s will.
LessonThe Lord Jesus Christ was not a creature, to be sure, but nevertheless he took it upon himself to prove that God’s will was indeed good, pleasing, and perfect, even though it involved the pain of the cross, which in itself hardly seemed good, pleasing, or acceptable.
In the garden Jesus prayed that the cross might be taken from him, adding, “Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39). The author of Hebrews says, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered” (Heb. 5:7-8). In the Book of Philippians Paul speaks of Jesus humbling himself and becoming “obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Phil. 2:8).
Robert Candlish writes, “It must have been, it often was, with him a struggle – an effort – to do the will of God. It was not easy, it was not pleasant. It was self-denial, self-sacrifice, self-crucifixion throughout. It was repulsive to the highest and holiest instincts of his pure humanity. It laid upon him most oppressive burdens; it brought him into most distressing scenes; it involved him in ceaseless, often thankless toil; it exposed him to all sorts of uncongenial encounters with evil men and evil angels. But he proved it. And in the proving of it, and as he was proving it, he found it to be good and acceptable and perfect.”1 And what of ourselves, we who confess Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior? We are on trial now, and the matter of our probation is whether or not we will embrace the will of God for our lives, turning from the world and its ways, and so prove by the very embracing of that will that it is exactly what God declares it to be when he calls it perfect.
Who is to do that? You are, and you are to do it in the precise earthly circumstances into which God has placed you.
How are you to do it? You are to do it experientially, that is, by actually putting the revealed will of God to the test.
When are you to do it? Right now and tomorrow and the day after that. That is, you are to do it repeatedly and consistently and faithfully all through your life until the day of your death or until Jesus comes again.
Why are you to do it? Because it is the right thing to do, and because the will of God really is good, pleasing, and perfect.
Of the fashion of the world, it may be truly said that the more you try it, the less you find it to be satisfying. It looks well; it looks fair, at first. But who that has lived long has not found it to be vanity at last?
It is altogether otherwise with the will of God. That often looks worst at the beginning. It seems hard and dark. But on! On with you in the proving of it!
Prove it patiently, perseveringly, with prayer and pains. And you will get growing clearness, light, enlargement, joy. You will more and more find that “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” For “wisdom’s ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned; and in keeping of them there is great reward.”2
1 Robert S. Candlish, Studies in Romans 12: The Christian’s Sacrifice and Service of Praise (Grand Rapids: Kregal Publications, 1989), p. 89. Original Edition 1867.2 Robert S. Candlish, Studies in Romans 12: The Christian’s Sacrifice and Service of Praise, pp. 96-97.
How did Jesus prove God’s will was good and perfect?
Was God’s will easy for Jesus? Was it good and perfect?
In what way are we on trial now?
How do we prove that God’s will is perfect?
ApplicationToday we’ve looked at how we can prove God’s will by standing trial in various circumstances in our lives–now let’s make it personal. What circumstances in your life are your training ground for proving God’s will? Are you succeeding in living out God’s will in this area? What will you do to better prepare yourself to be transformed in this situation?