What is God’s moral will for us?

Here’s a quick review of this series on God’s will before we examine a third way that God guides us, through His moral will.  God’s sovereign will, our first study, is seen when we look back on a day or period in our life.  If God allowed things to happen, it must be part of His will.  A second way God guides is through His special will.  There are people in the Bible, like Moses, to whom God speaks and reveals exactly what they should do with their life.  While rare, this does occur.  The rest of us are free to choose our life path, as long as it doesn’t violate God’s moral will.  This will be the subject of our third installment. 

We can know God’s moral will when we read the Bible.  The Ten Commandments in Exodus 20 are probably the most well-known verses regarding His will for us.  Yet the Bible is full of other laws that tell people how to live.  Some laws were for the Israelites in the land of Canaan, relative to their time and space; some are universal for all people, regardless of when or where they live. An example of a law just for the Israelites would be Leviticus 13:45-46; this describes how to deal with a person with an infectious disease so it doesn’t spread throughout a camp. “The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp.”

However, an example of a law that is universal for all people would be Exodus 20:15, “You shall not steal.” This is a law for all people because even in the New Testament Paul writes this to people who aren’t Jews. One such example is found in Ephesians 4:28, “He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.”

If God hasn’t given you a special revelation like Moses regarding your future, you are free to choose what to do with your life, provided it doesn’t break God’s moral laws.  Here’s an example.  Adam and Eve were told to be fruitful and multiply, filling  the earth.  While Adam was given the job to take care of the Garden of Eden (Genesis2:15), which was the special will of God, Adam and Eve were told that they could eat from any tree in the Garden, except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17).  This is an example of the moral will of God.  All the fruit on the trees were available for consumption except for one. 

The same rules apply today.  Unless God  has talked to you via a burning bush like Moses (Exodus 3), then you are free to make choices in your life as long as they align with God’s moral will.  For example, you could be a banker, but not a bank-robber.  You could be a spouse, but not an adulterer.  What freedom God has given us!  Paul said it repeatedly in the Scriptures: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).  Likewise, Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

As stated before, this gives us great freedom to choose within the moral will of God whatever we wish.  Yet sometimes we wish that God would tell us precisely what to do; in other words, we desire the special will of God.  Since most of us don’t get that specific direction, the next blog will explore decision making when the choices are non-moral, and there’s no clear-cut verse to fall back on for guidance.

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