Many Christians recite the Lord’s Prayer. They ask that God’s, “…will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”. But do they understand what they are asking for? Do they really know God’s will and how it impacts on their lives? A lot of people are confused about God’s will. It is a complete mystery to many. There should be no confusion! It is not a mystery! God has made His will known! The accomplishment of His will is something to get excited about!
The Apostle Paul said we would be wise to know God’s will, “...be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:17). He said that it is not a mystery, “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:” (Ephesians 1:9). And he prayed that believers might, “...be filled with the knowledge of his (God's) will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;” (Colossians 1:9)
It has been God's will from before the foundations of the earth were laid that the time will come when we appear before Him to receive an inheritance, “… 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: 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: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:10-12).
It is His will that we become His children, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will” (Ephesians 1:3-5).
In order to comprehend what we are requesting when we ask that God’s will be done we need to understand what ‘all spiritual blessings in heavenly places’ includesand what it means to be 'in Christ', how that transforms us so we are; 'holy', 'without blame' and perfected 'in love'.
Spiritual Blessings in Heavenly Places
The spiritual blessings that God has in store for those who are ‘in Christ’ are greater than we can imagine, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (I Corinthians 2:9). During His famous Sermon on the Mount Christ gave indicated what those blessings will be, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled (with the righteous nature of God). Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:3-9). He said, “And (I) will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (II Corinthians 6:18).
It is God’s will that we become His children and share those blessings as joint heirs with Christ, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;” (Romans 8:17). It is no mystery! He has revealed these things for us to know. This is what we should pray for.
What does it mean to be ‘in Christ’? Those who are 'in Christ' are being created in the likeness of Christ, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10). We receive Christ’s Spirit, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” (Galatians 4:6). That Spirit empowers us to become sons (and daughters) of God like Christ, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” (John 1:12). It enables us to be like Christ, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,” (Galatians 4:19).
We receive the Spirit through belief, or faith in Christ, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29). The promise made to Abraham in Genesis 12:3 that all families on earth will be blessed through a descendant of his is being fulfilled by Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:16). Through him we are blessed, “Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Galatians 4:7).
In the beginning God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:” (Genesis 1:26). Notice the use of the word 'us' and 'our' which indicate that 'God' is more than one person. The Hebrew word translated as ‘God’ in your Bible is ‘Elohim’ which is plural. The word 'Elohim' can be likened to a surname, or family name, in western culture where it may refer to a family with more than one member. Each has the same family name, but is identified by a personal, or first name.
According to the Apostle John there was another spirit being with God the Father called the ‘Word’ by whom all things were created, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:1-4).
It was the 'Word' who later became Jesus Christ, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (verse14). This clearly indicates that there were two members of what can only be described as the God family, the patriarch who we know as God the Father and the Word who became Jesus Christ. Christ was the Father’s first-born son (Colossians 1:18). Although Christ became human He is still part of the Godhead (deity), or family, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9).
Together they created mankind in their physical likeness and placed us on this earth to be perfected in their spiritual likeness. The spiritual aspect of the creation is still taking place,“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:13). The more we grow in knowledge of Christ the more we grow in God’s favour, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (II Peter 3:18). Christ is our example. He is the express image of His Father (Hebrews 1:3) and we are being created in His likeness, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10). That is God’s will.
Paul said that, “...if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:” (II Corinthians 5:17). It means that a transformation takes place, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2). Our mind is transformed by Christ's Spirit, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (Philippians 2:5). It is to be renewed to become like Christ’s.
The Spirit of Christ also is referred to as both the Spirit of God and Holy Spirit, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” (Romans 8:9). The Holy Spirit is not a third person. The Holy Spirit is the very essence, mind and divine righteous nature of the God family. It is the spiritual essence of both the Father and the Son. Christ is described as the express image of His Father (Hebrews 1:3). Not only are the Father and Christ holy, they are also spirit beings (John 4:24, II Corinthians 3:17, I Corinthians 15:20). They are by definition - Holy Spirit.
We are given the Holy Spirit by Christ because it is through Christ that God creates all things (John 1:1-4). It is received when we repent and are baptized in to Christ's name (Acts 2:38). If we do not have His Spirit then we are not 'in Christ'.
The transformation of our minds can only take place when we receive the Holy Spirit from Christ,“For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost (Spirit) teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (I Corinthians 2:11-16). The Holy Spirit in us is the very mind and nature of Christ.
When we receive the Holy Spirit from Christ we actually receive a portion of the very spiritual essence of God. It is like receiving an implant of 'spiritual DNA'. The same 'spiritual DNA' that is in both the Father and Christ is now in us. This is what is meant by ‘God dwelling in us’. There are many scriptures especially in John that talk of Christ and the Father living in us and we in them (John 6:56, 14:10-11, 16-17 , 20, 23 also 15:5 and 17:21,23). It is like receiving a seed from which the characteristics of God's divine nature develop within us. Over time we learn to live God’s way and those developing characteristics will bear the fruit of God's divine nature to perfect us in Christ, “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;” (Ephesians 5:9). And, “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith” (Galatians 5:22).
Without the Spirit of Christ we cannot become righteous like Him, but with His Spirit we can produce much fruit, “He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5). In bearing fruit we bring glory to God, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” (verse 8). He has ordained that the spiritual fruit we develop will remain in us, “…I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain:” (verse 16). It will remain until we are resurrected to spirit ourselves.
To Be Holy
As that divine nature develops in us we become holy, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:15-16).
To be holy means to be set apart. God is holy (Psalm 99:9). His inherent righteousness sets Him apart from mankind. Righteousness means that He is right, good, true and just in everything He does and says. His righteousness is established in love – God is Love (I John 4:8). Man on the other hand does not have that inherent righteousness, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” (Romans 3:10). Human nature is an unrighteous mixture of good and evil (Genesis 3:5) motivated by selfishness, envy and greed. It prevents us from inheriting the blessings God has prepared, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?” (I Corinthians 6:9) because it is not compatible with God's righteousness, “…for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness” (II Corinthians 6:14).
The righteousness that sets God apart is the same righteousness that makes Jesus Christ holy (Heb 7:26). If we are to come to the fullness of the stature of Christ we must also become holy like God. Because we don’t have the righteous nature of God a change in our nature is required so we can be holy, or set apart like Him.
To be without blame means to be without sin. Sin is the transgression of God’s law ( I John 3:4). And we have all sinned, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” (Romans 3:23). Because we have all broken God’s laws the only way to be ‘without sin’ is to be forgiven for our transgressions. That forgiveness comes only through the grace of God, “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” (Ephesians 1:6-7). God’s grace incorporates His love and mercy toward us when we truly repent of our sins.
When we have been forgiven of sin we are no longer under the death penalty incurred by those sins, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23). It does not mean we will not sin again. Indeed as physical human beings we are fighting a constant spiritual battle to overcome sin for the rest of our physical lives. But each time we sin we can seek God’s mercy and forgiveness for those sins through repentance. Although Jesus Christ has already paid the penalty for our sins through the sacrifice of His own life we are still required to repent and overcome sin, “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall by my son (or daughter),” (Revelation 21:7 see also II Corinthians 6:17-18). It is not until we are resurrected as spirit beings in the fullness of the stature of Jesus Christ that we can come before God ‘without blame’ (i.e. permanently free from sin) to receive our inheritance.
To come before God ‘in love’ is to come before Him with the same righteous nature that is in Christ who is the express image of His Father (Hebrews 1:3). It is a righteous nature that is established in and motivated by love, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1 John 4:8). I am not talking about sentimental emotion that most call love, but a genuine outgoing and righteous concern for the welfare of others. God wants us to come before Him with the sort of love defined in the Bible as benevolent or brotherly love, which is translated from the Greek word ‘agape’ as charity, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth:” (I Corinthians 13:4-8).
The Holy Spirit is given to us for our own personal development. By focussing on the attributes defined as ‘fruit of the Spirit’ and developing them with God’s help from an aspect of love, our minds will be transformed to be like Christ’s. Having the mind of Christ in us we can come before the Father with a mind that is the epitome of love, perfected in the fullness of Christ’s stature as joint heirs with Him.
The Bible says that we cannot receive our inheritance while still in our present physical form, “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God;” (I Corinthians 15:50).
So we will be resurrected to spirit in a state of holiness to be Holy Spirit like the Father and Christ, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (I Corinthians 15:52). Our creation in God's image will then be complete and we will be able to receive our inheritance.
We will be created in Christ's likeness andaccepted into God’s family to receive our inheritance, “ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:14). The Holy Spirit is not only our guarantee that God’s will is to be done, but it is the power by which it will be accomplished, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God,” (John 1:12). It also bears witness of our relationship with God, “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God... ...The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,” (Romans 8:14, 16-17).
There should be no confusion about God’s will. It is not a mystery. He has made it known that we are to become His children receiving all the ‘spiritual blessings in heavenly places’ when we come before Him; ‘in Christ’, how that transforms us so we are; ‘holy’, ‘without blame’ and perfected ‘in love’.
That is God’s will and it is being accomplished right now, here on earth in the lives of those who are ‘in Christ’. Does that include you?
END [Updated 26/8/18]