Permissive Will Of God: Its Essence To Christian Living

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Published by Kenneth Garcia


Co-Founder of Biblekeeper, Author & Theologian

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“The secret things belong to our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29).

The perfect will and permissive will of God is an important concept for Christians. We live in a world where God permits evil to stand out, fear, fall, suffering, and darkness to exist, and it can be difficult to reconcile that with the idea of a loving Father.

However, the Bible tells us that God’s perfect will for us is to be in a relationship with and to believe in Him, to know that He answers us when we pray in the church or through our mind, to find the truth in Him, and to live according to His commands. The lenient will of the Father is different from the perfect will of the Lord, yet it is still part of His sovereign plan.

What Is The Perfect Will Of God?

Anything you are doing in God’s kingdom that God permits you to do is part of God’s acceptable will. And God will always permit it as long as it pleases Him. But we are aware that God can only be pleased through faith (Hebrews 11:6).

The permissive will of God[1] is part of the Lord’s sovereign plan for us. It is His desire for us to live in a relationship with Him and to obey His commands. As you obey Him, God blesses you with His Word and answers your prayers.

His perfect will is the way He allows things to happen in our lives. The perfect will of God is what He desires for us to accomplish. The Lord’s blessing will come upon you once you are in His perfect will. However, His permissive will cannot stand against Jesus Christ’s perfect will for your life. In ministry, you must always strive for Jesus Christ’s perfect will. The Lord’s full blessings will come upon you once you are in His perfect will.

Stop thinking of the crumbs you have now as a blessing in and of themselves. God’s best is yet to be revealed in your life and ministry. Because you are in His acceptable will, Jesus will allow many small blessings into your life. But the Lord truly desires to give you much more as you align yourself with His perfect will.

What Is The Permissive Will Of God?

God’s permissive will is the freedom that God in heaven gives us to choose our actions in life. The term “permissive” means “allowing or permitting.” It is God’s plan that allows us to make choices and execute judgment that is contrary to God’s divine plan. In other words, it is the sovereign will of God that allows us to choose to do things in our own way that are not in accordance with His perfect will.

God’s permissive will is not the same as God’s permission to sin. God does not condone sin or give us permission to sin. Rather, God allows us to make choices that are contrary to His perfect will.

God desires that we choose to obey Him for the greater good, but God also allows us to choose otherwise, giving us sovereign will. It is important to note that God’s sovereign will is not the result of indifference or lack of concern on His part—rather, it is an expression of God’s love for us and His desire for our good (Romans 8:28).

lady on a swing during golden hour and permissive will of god

What Is The Difference Between The Perfect Will Of God And The Permissive Will Of God?

The Holy Spirit is gentle, and He will not force anyone against his or her will. The Most High wanted to be the king over the Israelites, but they saw how other nations had kings and desired a king for themselves (1 Samuel 8).

It was not God’s will for them to have another ruler because He was already their ruler, but they kept asking for a king, so God gave them a king—King Saul. That was God’s permissive will, not His perfect will. God did bless them, but they did not receive the full blessing of God.

When God was their king, they had peace, but after they received their king, they had burden after burden and war after war. Understanding the distinction between the two is important. There are examples of the perfect will of God and His permissive will:

  • Romans 12:1–2. I urge you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living devotion, sacred and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
  • Deuteronomy 24:1. If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him. He writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her, and sends her from his house.
  • Romans 7:2–3. By law a married woman is bound to her spouse as long as he is alive, but if her spouse dies, she is released from the law of marriage. 3 So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.
  • 1 Corinthians 7:39. A woman is bound to her spouse as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.
  • Genesis 1:29. Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.
  • Matthew 19:8. Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.
  • Romans 14:15a, 20b. If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love…. it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.

How Does The Permissive Will Of God Affect Our Lives?

It affects us in many ways. It allows making choices that are contrary to God’s perfect will and, as a result, to experience the consequences of our choices. It is through the benevolent will of God that we are able to experience the fullness of His grace and mercy.

The permissive will of God also allows us to learn many things from our mistakes in life. When we make choices that are not in line with His perfect will, we are able to look back and see what went wrong and how to avoid making the same mistake again in the future. In this way, we can learn and grow in our faith.

In theology, God allowed Satan to afflict Job, but through this, Job proved his faith in Him and he was blessed. The permissive will of God also allows us to experience His power through His Word. As we make choices that are contrary to the Lord’s perfect will, it works to convict us of our sins and draw us back into a relationship with God and walk his way.

Through the power of the sacred Spirit, we can experience the forgiveness and restoration that only God can offer. We can demonstrate our control over ourselves by applying our knowledge and wisdom from the scriptures. We must never forget the sacrifice that He has made.

side view face of woman and permissive will of god


“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).

The perfect will of God is His perfect plan for us. It is the will of His Almighty that is sacred, righteous, and just. His permissive will, on the other hand, is God’s will that allows us to make choices in life that are contrary to His perfect will. It is the will of God that permits us to choose to do things that are not in accordance with the Lord’s perfect will.

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