Is there a difference between:
- God's Will and the Commands of Jesus
- God's Will and the 10 Commandments
- The Commands of Jesus and the 10 Commandments
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
The entire bible deals with God's Purpose, God's will and God's resolving of all matters within that compass. The entire bible is a progressive revelation of the will of God and is a progressive revelation of the righteousness of God expressed in a covenant on earth (in order to demonstrate, practically, what the coming covenant will be) and an everlasting testament which fulfils that first covenant.
The purposes of God are expressed, are demonstrated and are realised in his only begotten Son - Jesus Christ.
Man, in the first humanity (Adam), failed of these purposes and was banished from Eden, and a representation of God's true purpose in humanity (cherubim) was 'settled' at the eastern extremity of Eden to await forthcoming events.
Man had turned (deceived by serpent and tempted by woman) from God's word and had turned to the knowledge of good and evil, by which humanity cannot live. Thus he died.
God's own righteousness is not a matter of law. It transcends law. (Otherwise, Law would be god, which breaks the commandments of law itself.)
The commandments of Jesus Christ are that we should believe on the Son of God and that we should love one another. This transcends law. But it also fulfils the requirements of law. (But not by legal means.)
God's salvation, in his Son, Jesus Christ, saves from the legal commandment. Otherwise, we perish, under law, in our own sinful capacities being condemned as transgressors, and as children of the first humanity (Adam).
It is vitally important to understand what the will of God is.
It is vitally important to perceive the difference between the commandments of the law and the commandments of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
This is a good question.
In order to find, and in order to experience, the answer, will require focussing on a variety of subjects, one after the other, in order.
It will be the study of one's lifetime.
(And it is mine, and I am now over seventy years old.)
Christians mean two slightly different things when they talk about "God's Will".
The first is God's "General Will". These are the things that God requires of all his followers. These are his statements in scripture and/ or the teachings passed down to the church. They would include things like "Love the Lord your God", "Do not commit murder", "Love your neighbour", "Act with justice", "Do not oppress the poor". The Ten Commandments would be part of this. You can get this from the Bible and/or the church, aided by wise and knowledgeable teachers.
The second is God's "Specific Will". These are things that he wants you to specifically do in your situation. He may want you to be a schoolteacher, or a foreign missionary, or a business person. He may want you to give money to a specific cause, or help a specific person. But the career he wants for you will be different from the career he wants someone else to have, and his specific will may also change with time. These are things that you will need to work out for yourself, aided by other Christians around you, through prayer and discernment.
God's specific will is never in conflict with his General Will - it will never be his will that you become a murderer or a pimp, because that would be in conflict with his will for everybody. The discernment of God's will for you is an ongoing matter. You should consult with people in your church. There are also books on the subject if you want.
Now that your initial question has been changed so that it is more specific, I can adjust my initial answer.
God's will is ascertained through various means, ranging from his written word, to how Jesus explained the Father to us and how he did God's will constantly, and to how the Holy Spirit has now been sent to believers, to guide them into all truth. It is actually the indwelling Holy Spirit in those who belong to Christ by faith that is a main way of us ascertaining God's will in our daily living. But that has to go hand in glove with searching the scriptures to know God's stated will, and to learn from Jesus what he did and said about that.
That's a very incomplete answer to how how God's will is discovered.
The clarified question seeks to know if there are differences in 3 respects. I would say that the Bible builds up a developing picture of how God gradually reveals his will to those who seek him. It'd a bit like an artist starting with a blank sheet of white watercolour paper. It's spotless and brilliantly clean - think conditions in the garden of Eden at the start. But then a wash of grey is applied all over when sin enters in. Dark strokes appear, but the artist has carefully applied cream masking fluid to certain areas so that no paint or marks can touch there. At first, it's just a muddle of not very attractive shades. Yet the artist knows exactly what the finished picture will look like, and every stage is designed to build up, and up, delicate layers of colour.
With watercolour, "wet into wet" happens, and it's astonishing what results with the different colours bleeding into each other. In the hands of a skilled artist, this is part of the plan. Yet people observing the work of the artist could think it's unclear and even uninteresting. Critics might say it's just a mess and cannot be salvaged.
Well, God has been at work over the centuries, the Old Testament being the initial stages, with various laws, regulations and promises of a brilliant future. Nobody at that time would be able to envisage how it would happen, things sometimes looking so hopeless and bleak.
Then the New Testament bursts forth with the light of the promised Messiah arriving, and this is where the "masking fluid" in the illustration gets peeled off, revealing the pristine white paper beneath. This is where the bleeding of the Saviour transforms everything, and the light of heaven illumines what is below. The finished scene is depicted in words in the last book of the Bible. There we see how God's will has been working out, leading to many souls getting to be in the very presence of God. Not everyone, though. Those not interested in finding out God's will (let alone doing it) will never see the glories of heaven.
This might not seem like an answer to the question, but it is, for it encourages looking at the matter from a different perspective; it's not about what we do, for our efforts mess things up. It's all about what God has already done, from Eden to the Law leading us to Christ, to following Christ in faith, knowing and enacting his teachings. Having already 'seen' the 'picture' that the Bible 'paints' we have faith that it will culminate in the glorious scene of heaven. So we do what Jesus said:
"Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33 KJV
That's it, in a nutshell.
That is a very good question and one that I have often pondered. But a better question is, can we truly speak of God's "will" as if God had human wishes and desires? Does an omnipotent being truly desire anything? I think not.
But that does not mean God does not want us to come to Him willingly and with our hearts opened wide. It just can't possibly be the same as us wanting peace in our time or wanting a new car. Our desires are petty in comparison to God's wish that all of humanity will eventually be reconciled with Him. As Christians, we should always be mindful of keeping God at the center of our lives at every moment, which is one of the most difficult things to do in life. The first commandment wraps this entire concept with a tidy, although often inconvenient, bow. This is why it was also Jesus first "commandment" to his disciples.
This fact often gets lost by casual Christians and those who just want everyone to be "nice" to one another. They skip directly to "Love your neighbor as yourself," which encapsulates most of the 10 commandments. But the primary commandment, and the one from which all of the others flow, is the first. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Without an understanding that God is the supreme benefactor and giver of life, we have little hope of knowing how to execute the remaining 9.
The way I look at it, Moses brought down the 10 and Jesus gave us the Big Two. The 10 commandments were specific and seemed to suggest that anything we might do that was not covered by these 10 was okay (which is not exactly true). In the Big Two, Jesus broadened the scope and made it much more general and applicable to everyone no matter their culture or situation. Essentially, he was saying as long as you always try to follow these two simple directives, you will be pleasing to God. But you can't just jump to the love your neighbor part and expect to be saved.
So to answer your question, God's will is that we put all things in His hands so that we might eventually return to His loving embrace. This is the first commandment(s). Both God (through Moses) and Jesus said the same thing but in a different way for a different historical context. Between the time of Moses and the time of Jesus, the world changed tremendously, but at the same time, people did not change at all. We became more intellectually sophisticated through the influence of Greek culture, but we still behaved like Romans. Jesus was the bridge between the ancient and the modern worlds so he used a different paradigm than the ancient Hebrew prophets. But his meaning was exactly the same: Keep God first in all things and do what has been commanded. If you can do this, it is inevitable that you will also love your neighbor as yourself.