Endnotes: Chapter 1

  1. For a fuller explanation of the points that follow, see Part 1 of Singleness, Marriage, and the Will of God: A Comprehensive Biblical Guide by J. Robin Maxson with Garry Friesen (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2012). For a comprehensive presentation of the wisdom view of guidance, see Garry Friesen with J. Robin Maxson, Decision Making and the Will of God, revised edition (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2004).
  2. This is one of two ways the phrase is used by biblical writers. The other usage is the sovereign will of God, discussed in chapter 2.
  3. In addition to Colossians 1:9-10, some other passages that refer to “God’s will” in this sense include Romans 2:18; 12:2; Ephesians 5:15-17; Colossians 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; 5:18.
  4. We are using command to denote both God’s authority in telling his creatures how they should live and the binding (not optional) nature of his directions.
  5. The Christian’s goals should reflect God’s stated purposes for his life: to glorify God in all things (1 Peter 4:10-11; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 2 Corinthians 5:9; Colossians 1:10), to minister to others (1 Corinthians 10:23; Romans 14:19), to fulfill God-given responsibilities (Ephesians 5:22–6:9; Galatians 6:9-10), to evangelize lost people (1 Corinthians 10:31-33; 2 Peter 3:9), to do good works (Ephesians 2:10; Titus 3:8), and to produce spiritual fruit (John 15:8; Colossians 1:10). It’s not hard to imagine how a self-centered person, on the one hand, and a God-glorifying one, on the other, would approach the same decisions. They would likely make very different choices about use of time, expenditure of money, needs of others, and even the selection of a spouse.
  6. A partial listing of God’s will for this area of our lives includes love (Mark 12:28-31), trust (Proverbs 3:5-6), humility (Philippians 2:5-8), gratitude (Colossians 3:17), integrity (Colossians 3:22), diligence (Colossians 3:23), eagerness (1 Peter 5:2), generosity (1 Timothy 6:17-19), courage (John 16:33), submission (Ephesians 5:21), contentment (Hebrews 13:5), and joy (James 1:2). A list of corresponding vices includes lust, independence, pride, presumption, irresponsibility, laziness, compulsion, selfishness, self-advancement, cowardice, and greed.
  7. The moral will of God for divinely approved actions may be summed up in two broad principles. First, our choices must be biblically lawful—that is, they may not be forbidden by the revealed moral will of God (Ephesians 5:1-14). Second, they must be wise—that is, the believer may not make a decision he knows to be foolish (Ephesians 5:15-17; Luke 14:28-32).
  8. The concept of a specific ideal will for each decision has been inferred from statements Scripture on the basis of faulty exegesis. And because the interpretation of the passages is flawed, attempts to apply this theology of guidance in everyday life often break down in practice. A detailed critique of this view may be found in chapters 3–7 of Decision Making and the Will of God, revised edition.
  9. In many instances in the Bible, we encounter freedom within specified limits. For instance, see 1 Corinthians 10:27 and 2 Corinthians 9:7. Examples could be supplied from both testaments. For amplification, see chapter 9 of Decision Making and the Will of God, revised edition.
  10. J.I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1973), 80.