Romans: An Expositional Commentary
Volume 2: The Reign of Grace (Romans 5-8)
Author: James Montgomery Boice
Publisher: Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1992
When James Montgomery Boice gets to Romans 8:27 in his four-volume commentary on Romans, he makes some generous remarks about Decision Making.
My own evaluation of this book is that it is extremely helpful and is a significant breakthrough in cutting away many of the hangups on this subject that have nearly incapacitated some Christians. Its exposure of the weakness of subjective methods of determining guidance is astute. Its stress on the sufficiency of Scripture in all moral matters is essential. Its proposal of a 'way of wisdom' in (most) decision-making matters is liberating. My only reservation is that it does not seem to deal adequately with special (and therefore also very important) situations (p. 895).
Boice then discusses Romans 8:27, which reads: "And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." Boice equates "God's will" in verse 27 with the "purpose" of God in Romans 8:28 ("called according to His purpose"). The sovereign will of God overlaps His moral will as God is sovereign over the process that is conforming us to "the likeness of His Son."
According to Boice, the Spirit is praying for us concerning God's sovereign will. It will come to pass since "God has decreed it and because the Holy Spirit is praying for us in this area" (p. 896). By way of personal example, Boice includes his "call to the ministry" when God gave him a specific sign to confirm this vocation. He did not regard the sign as special revelation and he did not give it revelatory authority. But he did follow it and received additional confirmation (p. 897).
The sovereign will of God is detailed. Boice concludes, "There is a perfect will of God for all people and all events, and therefore there is also a perfect will of God for each individual believer" (p. 897). He does not think that Decision Making denies this (and he is correct). I tried to use the term "individual will" only as the traditional view used it-to specify a plan that must be discovered in advance. That sense of an individual will I contested as unbiblical. However, God's sovereign will is detailed and thus applies to each person individually.
God's sovereign will thus includes a perfect plan for each individual. This cannot be found nor do we need to try. The Spirit is praying for each of us that God's sovereign will be realized perfectly as it will.
Finally, Boice does not deny that God may give His will by special revelation, but this is not normative guidance, a view that is in harmony with Decision Making.