Theology

The Romans 12:2 Approach to Knowing God’s Will

Author Amy K. Hall Published on 08/24/2016

The Kindle version of Garry Friesen’s Decision Making and the Will of God is only $1.99 today, and it’s worth getting. (You don’t need a Kindle to read it.) It’s an in-depth biblical defense of the wisdom model for making decisions (as opposed to the model where we learn to hear special messages from God as to what we should do in any given situation).

John Piper describes this approach in his sermon on Romans 12:1-2, the passage that instructs us to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

If you want to know the future details of God’s will of decree, you don’t want a renewed mind, you want a crystal ball. This is not called transformation and obedience; it’s called divination, soothsaying...

The Bible does not tell you which person to marry, or which car to drive, or whether to own a home, where you take your vacation, what cell phone plan to buy, or which brand of orange juice to drink. Or a thousand other choices you must make.

What is necessary is that we have a renewed mind, that is so shaped and so governed by the revealed will of God in the Bible, that we see and assess all relevant factors with the mind of Christ, and discern what God is calling us to do. This is very different from constantly trying to hear God’s voice saying do this and do that. People who try to lead their lives by hearing voices are not in sync with Romans 12:2.

There is a world of difference between praying and laboring for a renewed mind that discerns how to apply God’s Word, on the one hand, and the habit of asking God to give you new revelation of what to do, on the other hand. Divination does not require transformation. God’s aim is a new mind, a new way of thinking and judging, not just new information. His aim is that we be transformed, sanctified, freed by the truth of his revealed Word (John 8:32; 17:17). So the second stage of God’s will of command is the discerning application of the Scriptures to new situations in life by means of a renewed mind.

If you’re unfamiliar with this understanding of decision making, I recommend starting with Greg’s “Does God Whisper?” Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.