I have written one article on the will of God already, but I wanted to take another look at it.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’
Those who do the will of God will enter heaven. What IS the will of God that we are supposed to do?
Some think that it means following the Mosaic Law (especially given that Christ will say those who do the will of God will enter heaven but He will tell many who practice lawlessness to go away). But before we can make that statement, we need to realize that lawlessness does not necessarily relate to the Mosaic Law (or even Torah). Peter told us in 2 Peter 2:4-10 that those in Sodom and Gomorrah lived lawless lives. These people were never given the Torah. In fact, the Law had not yet been given to Moses – indeed, it would not be written for centuries.
4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;6 and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; 7 and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men 8 (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.
We also have to realize that Christ has fulfilled the Law (John 19:28-30), and we are no longer under the law (Galatians 3:25), but have been released from the Law and are serve in the new way of the Spirit (Romans 7:6). Indeed, all who rely on the Law are cursed (Galatians 3;10). In fact, reading the passage in Galatians 3:10-14 tells us that we are to live by faith.
10 All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” 12The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.
We see in Galatians 3:19 that the Law was given until Christ came.
19 Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.
Indeed, we are no longer under the Law.
23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
So if that’s the case (and it is), then we need to look at what IS lawlessness. According to Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary, to be lawless is be in rebellion. We see in Romans 6:19, 2 Corinthians 6:14, and Hebrews 1:9 that lawlessness is a condition which is in contrast to righteousness. We see in 1 Peter 2:24 that “Jesus bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness.” So sin and righteousness are contrasted, just as lawlessness and righteousness are contrasted. We see this more clearly when we realize that 1 John 3:4-6 tells us:
4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness ; and sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that He appeared in order to takeaway sins ; and in Him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in Him sins ; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.
Thus we see that sin is lawlessness.
The word translated as lawlessness or lawless deed is Anomia. This means
- the condition of without law
- because ignorant of it
- because of violating it
- contempt and violation of law, iniquity, wickedness
We see it in a number of places in the New Testament:
23 ”And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’
41 ”The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,
28 ”So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
7 ”BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN, AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED.
2 Corinthians 6:14
14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers ; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness ?
2 Thessalonians 2:3
3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,
2 Thessalonians 2:7
7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work ; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.
14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself apeople for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
This being the case, who are those who are lawless? Obviously those who do not do God’s will. But who are they? In Romans 6:19, we see it was those who presented their bodies to lawlessness.
19 I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.
We see in Romans 1:13 that at least part of the audience of the book of Romans were Gentiles. And in Romans 2:17-3:4 we see the other part of the audience were Jews. So we can conclude from this that the audience were a mixed group of Gentile and Jewish believers. Thus we can see that Gentiles and Jews can be lawless (which is what we saw in Matthew 23:28, where we saw Jews who outwardly followed the Law but inwardly were rebellious and full of hypocrisy).
Indeed, the apostle Paul (a Jew) was clear that HE was not under the Law. But he acted as though he was under the Law to win them. And he acted as though he was not under the Law to win those who were not under the Law. Yet in both cases, he was under the Law of CHRIST (just not the Mosaic Law).
1 Corinthians 9:19-21
19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.
So then, Jews (before and after the Law was given) and Gentiles (who were never given the Mosaic Law) can be lawless, and lawlessness is to be without law, to be rebellious – and this is not talking about being without or rebelling against the Mosaic Law, but being without law and rebelling against God. We must now look at what we ARE to obey.
What IS the will of God that Jesus will reject people for not having done?
- what one wishes or has determined shall be done
- of the purpose of God to bless mankind through Christ
- of what God wishes to be done by us
- commands, precepts
- will, choice, inclination, desire, pleasure