The will of God is good, acceptable and perfect. It is not good at one point and acceptable at another time, and then perfect at a later time. It always contains these three attributes. I treated God’s will as good in the last study. I would like to dwell on God’s will as acceptable.
Romans twelve two wants us to renew our minds so that we can discern God’s will as acceptable. God’s will is acceptable and pleasing. Acceptable to who? Acceptable to God. He prescribes it, so it has to be acceptable to Him. Nothing else pleases Him except His will.
“This is my beloved Son in whom I’m well pleased” said God the Father about Jesus the Son at His baptism. Jesus is God’s will personified, and God was pleased with Him. Jesus did the will of His father, which was acceptable and well pleasing to God.
Any remedial way or measure we take, short of God’s will, cannot be pleasing to Him, no matter how we fine-tune it. Only the will of God and a life that does His will is accepted by Him. For He created all things; for His pleasure they are and were created (Revelation 4:11).
Some well meaning christians and bible scholars have interpreted this acceptable will to mean the permissive will of God. I have also been a victim of this interpretation in the past. But with careful and holistic study over the years, and gleaning from other believers, I discovered that there is no such qualifier of God’s will as permissive. I found out that many believers have used the permissive will of God as a perfect coverup to indulge their own will.
One common example in the bible that these well-meaning believers use to justify their ‘permissive will’ theory, is that about the leadership of Israel that I cited in the last study. They usually render it thus. “God’s perfect will for Israel’s leadership was that He ruled them directly through judges, but they didn’t want it. So they pleaded with God that they needed a king like the other nations, and he obliged them. This is His permissive will.”
I would say, they didn’t read first Samuel eight well, because if they did, they would have found out that after the elders of Israel told Samuel that they wanted a King instead of judges, Samuel was displeased, and God too. And God told Samuel in verse nine, “hearken unto their voice, howbeit yet, protest solemnly unto them and show them the manner of the king…” That doesn’t look like the permissive will of God to me, but what is clear was God allowing them to do their will, not His.
Another commonly referenced example is that of Hezekiah, the king of Judah. The Lord sent the prophet Isaiah to him in Second Kings twenty, asking him to put his house in order because it was time for him to die. But Hezekiah prayed begging God, and God obliged him and added fifteen more years to him. Many call this God’s permissive will. But I don’t see how Hezekiah living more fifteen years was God’s will at all, because from the above Scripture, God made His will known to Hezekiah, he wanted him to die at that time. God obliging Hezekiah was He granting Hezekiah his own will, which we would later find was not good, neither was it pleasing.
In the fifteen more years that Hezekiah lived, his life didn’t exactly please God. For when the king of Babylon sent ambassadors to him, in a prideful gesture, he displayed all the treasures of God’s house to them, from which the prophesy of Judah’s exile to Babylon stemmed. It was also within this fifteen years that his son Manasseh was born, who went on to be one of the most wicked kings in Judah, making his sons to pass through the fire.
I could mention more and more of such misinterpreted examples from scriptures. What I consistently find is this. Once God makes His will about a matter known, He is only pleased when it is done. The famous teacher of God’s word, Kenneth E. Hagin described the concept of the ‘permissive will’ of God as washing your feet with your socks on. It doesn’t work, because such concept really doesn’t exist.
Jesus is our perfect example. For when he was faced at Gathsemane with His will and that of His Father, He did not beg to have His own will by refusing to go to the cross, but He chose the will of God which was acceptable and pleasing to God.
The will of God is only that that satisfies Him. And for Him to be well pleased with you, you have to accept and do His acceptable will.