The Will of God, what is it and how can we know it? By Jack Kettler
In this study, we will seek to understand God’s will for man and in particular what is known as His preceptive or revealed will, and then His decretive or hidden will. When we understand God’s will for us, it leads us to a proper response to His will on our part. As in previous studies, we will look at definitions, scriptures, commentary evidence and confessional support for the purpose of glorifying God in how we live.
“Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths.” (Psalm 25:4)
Definitions from two sources:
Preceptive will: God’s revealed law or commandments; what God has declared that we should do. Also called revealed will, moral will, will of command, expressed will, or signified will. *
Decretive will: is that will of God by which He purposes or decrees whatever shall come to pass, whether He wills to accomplish it effectively (causatively), or to permit it to occur through the unrestrained agency of His rational creatures1; the plan of God which contains everything he has determined to bring to pass. Also called sovereign will, secret will, or will of God’s good pleasure.*
The Preceptive will: of God is the will of God for man. For example, God wills that man does not sin, that we do not lie, do not steal, etc. It is the will of God for man that is revealed through his Law (Exodus 20:1-17) where God is concerned with man following his precepts. It is also the will of God for us to be holy, repent, love, etc. (1 Pet. 1:16; Acts 17:30; John 13:34) **
Decretive will: of God is that which is God’s sovereign will that we may or may not know, depending on whether or not God reveals it to us. The decretive will is God’s direct will where he causes something to be, he decrees it. For example, God has caused the universe to exist as well as Christ’s incarnation. **
God’s preceptive will is His revealed will and is seen predominantly in His law or commandments. His revealed will is in distinction, from His decretive or secret will. God’s decretive will is which by He brings things to pass thru His sovereign decrees.
Scriptural passages on God’s Preceptive Will:
“And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. And thou shalt say to Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.” (Exodus 4:18-23)
“Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people. Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD. And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.” (2 Kings 20:5, 6)
“Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
“For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matthew 12:50)
“Jesus saith unto them, my meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” (John 4:34)
“If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” (John 7:17)
“Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” (Acts 2:23)
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)
“Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;” (Ephesians 6:6)
“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.” (1 Thess. 4:3-6)
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
“For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.” (1 Peter 3:17)
“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” (I John 2:17)
Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible makes some relevant comments on Matthew 12:50:
“For whosoever shall do the will of my Father, This is not to be understood of a perfect obedience to the will of God, revealed in his righteous law; for since this cannot be performed by any mere man, no one could be in such a spiritual relation to Christ: but of the obedience of faith to the will of God, revealed in the Gospel; which is to believe in Christ, and have everlasting life; see John 6:40. This is the will of Christ’s Father,
which is in heaven, and which is good news from heaven, to sinners on earth; and which Christ came down from heaven to do, and to declare to the children of men: such as “hear the word of God and do it”, as Luke says, Luke 8:21 that is, hear the Gospel, understand and believe it, and become obedient to the faith of it; these are in this near manner related to Christ, evidentially and openly, as well as those who were now present:
the same is my brother, and sister, and mother; as dear to me, as such are to those, to whom they stood thus related in the flesh: and these natural relations serve to convey some ideas of that relation, union, nearness, and communion, there are between Christ and his people; all these relative characters may be observed in the book of Solomon’s Song, to which our Lord may be reasonably thought to have respect; see Sol 3:11.” (1)
Scriptural passages on God’s Decretive Will:
“The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29)
“But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.” (Job 23:13)
“The counsel of the LORD standeth forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.” (Psalm 33:11)
“The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand.” (Isaiah 14:24)
“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands.” (Acts 17:24)
The Pulpit Commentary on Deuteronomy 29:29:
“Verse 29. – By secret things, here, some understand “hidden sins,” which are known only to God, and which he will punish (Targum Jon.); but the meaning rather is, things in God’s purpose known only to himself: these things, it is affirmed, belong to him, are his affair, and may be left with him. On the other hand, the things revealed are the things made known by God to man in his Word, viz. his injunctions, threatenings, and promises; and with these men have to do. This verse is by some regarded as part of the answer given to the question of ver. 24; but others regard it as a general reflection added by Moses by way of admonition to his previous discourse. This latter view is the more probable, and the scribes may have had this in their mind when they distinguished the words, unto us and to our children, by placing over them extraordinary points , in order to emphasize them, though by many this is regarded as a mere critical notation, indicating a various reading (Buxtorf, ‘Tiberias,’ 1. c. 17, p. 179; Havernick, ‘Introd.,’ p. 281; Bleek, ‘Einleit,’ p. 799).” (2)
Now for an expansive exposition on God’s will from one of the great systematic theologians:
The Will of God by Charles Hodge
A. The Meaning of the Term.
If God is a spirit He must possess all the essential attributes of a spirit. Those attributes, according to the classification adopted by the older philosophers and theologians, fall under the heads of intelligence and will. To the former, are referred knowledge and wisdom; to the latter, the power of self-determination, efficiency (in the case of God, omnipotence), and all moral attributes. In this wide sense of the word, the will of God includes: (1.) The will in the narrow sense of the word. (2.) His power. (3.) His love and all his moral perfections. In our day, generally but not always, the word “will” is limited to the faculty of self-determination. And even the older theologians in treating of the will of God treat only of his decrees or purposes. In their definitions, however, they take the word in its wide sense. Thus Calovius56 says, “Voluntas Dei est, qua Deus tendit in bonum ab intellectu cognitum.” And Quenstedt defines it as “ipsa Dei essentia cum, connotatione inclinationis ad bonum concepta.”57 Turrettin says, the object of the intellect is the true; the object of the will, the good. Hence it is said, that God wills Himself necessarily, and all things out of Himself freely. Although the word seems to be taken in different senses in the same sentence, God’s willing Himself means that He takes complacency in his own infinite excellence: his willing things out of Himself, means his purpose that they should exist. Although the theologians start with the wide definition of the word, yet in the prosecution of the subject they regard the will as simply the faculty of self-determination, and the determinations themselves. That is, the power to will, and volitions or purposes. It is altogether better to confine the word to this it’s proper meaning, and not make it include all the forms of feeling involving approbation or delight.
God then as a spirit is a voluntary agent. We are authorized to ascribe to Him the power of self-determination. This the Bible everywhere does. From the beginning to the end, it speaks of the will of God, of his decrees, purposes, counsels, and commands. The will is not only an essential attribute of our spiritual being, but it is the necessary condition of our personality. Without the power of rational self-determination we should be as much a mere force as electricity, or magnetism, or the principle of vegetable life. It is, therefore, to degrade God below the sphere of being which we ourselves occupy, as rational creatures, to deny to Him the power of self-determination; of acting or not acting, according to his own good pleasure.
B. The Freedom of the Divine Will.
The will of God is free in the highest sense of the word. An agent is said to be free, (1.) When he is at liberty to act or not to act, according to his good pleasure. This is liberty in acting. (2.) He is free as to his volitions, when they are determined by his own sense of what is wise, right, or desirable.
Freedom is more than spontaneity. The affections are spontaneous, but are not free. Loving and hating, delighting in and abhorring, do not depend upon the will.
God is free in acting, as in creating and preserving, because these acts do not arise from the necessity of his nature. He was free to create or not create; to continue the universe in existence or to cause it to cease to be. He is free also in keeping his promises, because his purpose so to do is determined by his own infinite goodness. It is indeed inconceivable that God should violate his word. But this only proves that moral certainty may be as inexorable as necessity.
C. The Decretive and Preceptive Will of God.
The decretive will of God concerns his purposes, and relates to the futurition of events. The preceptive will relates to the rule of duty for his rational creatures. He decrees whatever he purposes to effect or to permit. He prescribes, according to his own will, what his creatures should do, or abstain from doing. The decretive and preceptive will of God can never be in conflict. God never decrees to do, or to cause others to do, what He forbids. He may, as we see He does, decree to permit what He forbids. He permits men to sin, although sin is forbidden. This is more scholastically expressed by the theologians by saying, A positive decretive will cannot consist with a negative preceptive will; i. e., God cannot decree to make men sin. But a negative decretive will may consist with an affirmative preceptive will; e. g., God may command men to repent and believe, and yet, for wise reasons, abstain from giving them repentance.
The distinction between voluntas beneplaciti et signi, as those terms are commonly used, is the same as that between the deeretive and preceptive will of God. The one referring to his decrees, founded on his good pleasure; the other to his commands, founded on what He approves or disapproves.
By the secret will of God, is meant his purposes, as still hidden in his own mind; by his revealed will, his precepts and his purposes, as far as they are made known to his creatures.
D. Antecedent and Consequent Will.
These terms, as used by Augustinians, have reference to the relation of the decrees to each other. In the order of nature the end precedes the means, and the purpose of the former is antecedent to the purpose of the latter. Thus it is said, that God by an antecedent will, determined on the manifestation of his glory; and by a consequent will, determined on the creation of the world as a means to that end.
By Lutherans and Remonstrants these terms are used in a very different sense. According to their views, God by an antecedent will determined to save all men; but, foreseeing that all would not repent and believe, by a subsequent will He determined to save those who he foresaw would believe. That is, He first purposed one thing and then another.
E. Absolute and Conditional Will.
These terms, when employed by Augustinians, have reference not so much to the purposes of God, as to the events which are decreed. The event, but not the purpose of God, is conditional. A maw reaps, if he sows. He is saved, if he believes. His reaping and salvation are conditional events. But the purpose of God is absolute. If He purposes that a man shall reap, He purposes that he shall sow; if He purposes that he shall be saved, He purposes that he shall believe. Anti-Augustinians, on the other hand, regard the purposes of God as conditional. He purposes the salvation of a man, if he believes. But whether he believes or not, is left undetermined; so that the purpose of God is suspended on a condition not under his control, or, at least, undecided. A father may purpose to give an estate to his son, if he be obedient; but whether the son will fulfil the condition is undetermined, and therefore the purpose of the father is undecided. It is, however, manifestly inconsistent with the perfection of God, that He should first will one thing and then another; nor can his purposes be dependent on the uncertainty of human conduct or events. These are questions, however, which belong to the consideration of the doctrine of decrees. They are mentioned here because these distinctions occur in all discussions concerning the Divine Will, with which the student of theology should be familiar.
In this place it is sufficient to remark, that the Greek word qe,lw, and the corresponding English verb, to will, sometimes express feeling, and sometimes a purpose. Thus in Matt. xxvii. 48, the words eiv qe,lei auvto,nare correctly rendered, “if he delight in him.” Comp. Ps. xxii. 8. It is in this sense the word is used, when it is said that God wills all men to be saved. He cannot be said to purpose or determine upon any event which is not to come to pass. A judge may will the happiness of a man whom he sentences to death. He may will him not to suffer when he wills him to suffer. The infelicity in such forms of expression is that the word “will” is used in different senses. In one part of the sentence it means desire, and in the other purpose. It is perfectly consistent, therefore, that God, as a benevolent Being, should desire the happiness of all men, while he purposes to save only his own people.
F. The Will of God as the Ground of Moral Obligation.
The question on this subject is, whether things are right or wrong, simply because God commands or forbids them? Or, does He command or forbid them, because they are right or wrong for some other reason than his will? According to some, the only reason that a thing is right, and therefore obligatory, is, that it tends to promote the greatest happiness, or the greatest good of the universe. According to others, a thing is right which tends to promote our own happiness; and for that reason, and for that reason alone, it is obligatory. If vice would make us happier than virtue, we should be bound to be vicious. It is a more decorous mode of expressing substantially the same theory, to say that the ground of moral obligation is a regard to the dignity of our own nature. It makes little difference whether it be our own dignity of our own happiness, which we are bound to regard. It is self, in either case, to whom our whole allegiance is due. Others, again, place the ground of moral obligation in the fitness of things, which they exalt above God. There is, they affirm, an eternal and necessary difference between right and wrong, to which God, it is said, is as much bound to be conformed as are his rational creatures. (3)
Life applications or the specifics of keeping God’s revealed will:
From the Scriptures above and commentary, the believer knows that he or she is to do God’s will. What are the specifics exactly? In the second definition of God’s preceptive will, it said that we are not to lie. This is specific. Some other examples would be, giving to the poor, doing evangelism, visiting the sick, attending public worship, etc. Thankfully when going through the Westminster Catechism on the Ten Commandments, there are many specifics outlined. This will be seen in the questions regarding what is required in each commandment. God’s law is where we learn the standard for His holiness.
Someone may ask, why is it important to know the source or standard of morality, to answer this, consider the following quote:
“The moral absolutes rest upon God’s character. The moral commands He has given to men are an expression of His character. Men as created in His image are to live by choice on the basis of what God is. The standards of morality are determined by what conforms to His character, while those things which do not conform are immoral.” – Francis A. Schaeffer
“Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good…For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.” (Romans 7:12, 14)
From The Westminster Shorter Catechism:
Q. 39. What is the duty which God requireth of man?
A. The duty which God requireth of man, is obedience to his revealed will.
Q. 42. What is the sum of the Ten Commandments?
A. The sum of the Ten Commandments is, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbor as ourselves.
Q. 43. What is the preface to the Ten Commandments?
A. The preface to the Ten Commandments is in these words, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Q. 44. What doth the preface to the Ten Commandments teach us?
A. The preface to the Ten Commandments teacheth us, that because God is the Lord, and our God, and Redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all his commandments.
Q. 45. Which is the first commandment?
A. The first commandment is, Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Q. 46. What is required in the first commandment?
A. The first commandment requireth us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God; and to worship and glorify him accordingly.
Q. 47. What is forbidden in the first commandment?
A. The first commandment forbiddeth the denying, or not worshiping and glorifying, the true God as God, and our God; and the giving of that worship and glory to any other, which is due to him alone.
Q. 48. What are we specially taught by these words before me in the first commandment?
A. These words before me in the first commandment teach us, that God, who seeth all things, taketh notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other God.
Q. 49. Which is the second commandment?
A. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Q. 50. What is required in the second commandment?
A. The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his Word.
Q. 51. What is forbidden in the second commandment?
A. The second commandment forbiddeth the worshiping of God by images, or any other way not appointed in his Word.
Q. 52. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the second commandment are, God’s sovereignty over us, his propriety in us, and the zeal he hath to his own worship.
Q. 53. Which is the third commandment?
A. The third commandment is, Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Q. 54. What is required in the third commandment?
A. The third commandment requireth the holy and reverent use of God’s names, titles, attributes, ordinances, Word, and works.
Q. 55. What is forbidden in the third commandment?
A. The third commandment forbiddeth all profaning or abusing of anything whereby God maketh himself known.
Q. 56. What is the reason annexed to the third commandment?
A. The reason annexed to the third commandment is, that however the breakers of this commandment may escape punishment from men, yet the Lord our God will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment.
Q. 57. Which is the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment is, remember the sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservent, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Q. 58. What is required in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment requireth the keeping holy to God such set times as he hath appointed in his Word; expressly one whole day in seven, to be a holy sabbath to himself.
Q. 59. Which day of the seven hath God appointed to be the weekly sabbath?
A. From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, God appointed the seventh day of the week to be the weekly sabbath; and the first day of the week ever since, to continue to the end of the world, which is the Christian sabbath.
Q. 60. How is the sabbath to be sanctified?
A. The sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days; and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship, except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy.
Q. 61. What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission, or careless performance, of the duties required, and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about our worldly employments or recreations.
Q. 62. What are the reasons annexed to the fourth commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment are, God’s allowing us six days of the week for our own employments, his challenging a special propriety in the seventh, his own example, and his blessing the sabbath day.
Q. 63. Which is the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment is, Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
Q. 64. What is required in the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment requireth the preserving the honor, and performing the duties, belonging to everyone in their several places and relations, as superiors, inferiors, or equals.
Q. 65. What is forbidden in the fifth commandment?
A. The fifth commandment forbiddeth the neglecting of, or doing anything against, the honor and duty which belongeth to everyone in their several places and relations.
Q. 66. What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment?
A. The reason annexed to the fifth commandment is, a promise of long life and prosperity (as far as it shall serve for God’s glory and their own good) to all such as keep this commandment.
Q. 67. Which is the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment is, Thou shalt not kill.
Q. 68. What is required in the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment requireth all lawful endeavors to preserve our own life, and the life of others.
Q. 69. What is forbidden in the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment forbiddeth the taking away of our own life, or the life of our neighbor, unjustly, or whatsoever tendeth thereunto.
Q. 70. Which is the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Q. 71. What is required in the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment requireth the preservation of our own and our neighbor’s chastity, in heart, speech, and behavior.
Q. 72. What is forbidden in the seventh commandment?
A. The seventh commandment forbiddeth all unchaste thoughts, words, and actions.
Q. 73. Which is the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment is, Thou shalt not steal.
Q. 74. What is required in the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment requireth the lawful procuring and furthering the wealth and outward estate of ourselves and others.
Q. 75. What is forbidden in the eighth commandment?
A. The eighth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever doth, or may, unjustly hinder our own, or our neighbor’s wealth or outward estate.
Q. 76. Which is the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment is, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
Q. 77. What is required in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment requireth the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbor’s good name, especially in witness-bearing.
Q. 78. What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own, or our neighbor’s, good name.
Q. 79. Which is the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.
Q. 80. What is required in the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment requireth full contentment with our own condition, with a right and charitable frame of spirit toward our neighbor, and all that is his.
Q. 81. What is forbidden in the tenth commandment?
A. The tenth commandment forbiddeth all discontentment with our own estate, envying or grieving at the good of our neighbor, and all inordinate motions and affections to anything that is his.
Praise God for the significance and value of His commandments! When looking at the questions what is required in the commandments, we are not talking about law keeping for salvation, simply doing God’s will. If we do God’s will: “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” (Matthew 12:50)
Nearly every verse in Psalm 119 acclaims some part of God’s law. Psalm 119 is an ode to God’s law and every believer should agree and pray along with the Psalmist.
Would any believer disagree with this?
“Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.” (Psalm 119:12)
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
1. John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Matthew, 9 Volumes, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 369.
2. H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Deuteronomy, Vol. 9, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 449.
3. Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Vol. 1, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing), pp. 402-406.
“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)
Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com
For more study:
* For a great source of theological definitions go to Rebecca writes at Rebecca Writes: http://www.rebecca-writes.com/theological-terms-in-ao/
** CARM theological dictionary https://carm.org/dictionary-hermeneutics
To see Scriptural proofs the Westminster Confession on the Ten Commandments and application go to:
What Is the Will of God and How Do We Know It? By John Piper