And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;
Romans 2:18 (KJV)
Knowest his will – Who knows the will of God? Who knows His plan for our lives? We’re always searching for some explanation of what’s to come, but maybe we should be looking to the past? Who knows the will of God? Well Paul tells the Romans that they (the Jews) do – they know His will.
But how can this be? We’ve heard so many times, especially in times of suffering, that we just don’t know His will. And we pray that His will be done even though we may never ascertain it. Well brothers and sisters, let’s stop imagining that His will is some random event in the future and stop looking for signs to discern it better, but rather let’s turn our attention to the here-and-now and realize that the past has the answer.
The words ginōskō thelēma are closely tied. Ginōskō of course meaning knowledge and thelēma meaning will. For rabbis, knowledge is knowledge of the law. Paul is addressing this directly in the verse above. Because Paul was a Rabbi, he ties the will of God with God’s law in a rabbinic way. The connection for him is obvious. “It is clearer still when insight into God’s will is at issue, so that knowledge is acknowledgement or obedient submission” (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, p.321) So knowledge is obedient submission, but to what? Obedient to His will which is His law.
Paul writes in his letter to the Romans that they “know His will” which is “instructed out of the law”. So when we ask that God’s will be done, we’re essentially asking that His law be established and carried out. Speaking of His return, Yeshua states,
And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
I’ve heard many people say they desire to carry out God’s will, but at other times have stated that they just don’t know what God’s will is. Maybe that’s why they are so eager to fulfill His will; if they don’t know what it is, they can manipulate it to become fulfillment of their own desires. But this wasn’t the case for Paul, nor is this what he’s referring to.
Do you truly wish to contribute to the fulfillment of God’s will? If so, it’s time for action – it’s time for obedience to His law. Everyone that comes under the obedience of the law will know the will of God.