Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Decision Making and the Will of God - Part 5

Having finished Part Two of the book last time, we now enter Part Three of Friesen's book with chapter 8, Your Word is Truth.

Chapter 8 is really setting up the need for the Christian to know the moral will of God. This chapter, really, tells us that where God commands, we must obey. That is what the moral will of God is all about!

Even though Friesen uses the concept of the moral law to describe the revealed will of God, he goes further than the mere duty of obeying God's commands. He brings in the idea that we should love the Lord our God with everything and then also to love our neighbour as ourselves (Mt 22:37-40). It is in love that the law is fulfilled. Or as Friesen quotes one of his professors, "The law is what love would do."[1]

The nature of the moral will of God is that it is the expression of the character of God, it has been fully revealed to us in the Bible and it touches every facet and moment of life.

In its specifics, the moral will of God guides us in attaining our goals, our attitudes in attaining those goals and the means we use to achieve those goals. Friesen explains that the means must first be lawful and next must be wise.

"Since no decision is made in a vacuum, the degree to which we pursue godly goals with righteous attitudes and wise actions will be largely determined by our perspective on life. In particular, the Christian whose worldview is shaped by Scripture will have a sense of self-identity different from the world's."[2]

The final attribute of the nature of the moral will of God, is that it is able to equip believers everywhere for every good work (2 Tim 3:16-17).

Friesen makes a self-evident point that somehow escapes the understanding of so many Christians, that to gain a good understanding of the moral will of God, one has to go to the source of that knowledge, the Bible! It amazes me how many Christians do not get this point!

Once we come to an understanding of God's moral will, obedience must follow. We need to do God's will, not just know it. Friesen notes that John expected those born of God to give evidence that they were new creations by their obedience to the moral will of God. This obedience is not the basis for salvation, but rather is the evidence for it.

Finally, Friesen gives some practical suggestions on how to become acquainted with the moral will of God. First, it is important to read large portions of the Bible in a sitting to gain the big picture of those portions. This may even be good in a group setting, discussing those points that really spoke to the readers. Second, it is important to memorize Scripture. Repetition is of utmost importance. Finally, memorize short titles for each chapter of the Bible. That way, it will become a quick reference to just about any main subject in the Bible.

What is important in the learning of Scripture, is not to win some trivia competition, but rather to be trained for godliness.

What really interested me at the end of this chapter, is that Friesen seems to believe that God can still give us special revelation in terms of guidance, but that such revelation must be subject to Biblical tests. These cases of special revelation may include the divine voice, angels, dreams or some other special revelatory miracle. Friesen does limit this type of guidance by saying that although "special guidance is possible, it is not promised nor do most believers have reason to expect it."[3]

I did not see this one coming from Friesen. While he was debunking the whole idea of the Traditional View and its inner impressions, I assumed that Friesen would not be open to such "special revelation" at all! We will have to wait however for chapter 15 when he deals with the subject of special revelation to see what he has to say on this matter.

Anyhow, next we will deal with the God-given freedom to choose what we want to do in our lives.

Continue with Part 6...

[1] Friesen, p119.
[2] Ibid., p123.
[3] Ibid., p136.

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