Friday, June 11, 2010
What is the Will of God? Part II
The revealed will of God is made known to us, his creatures in the Bible. Deuteronomy makes an interesting distinction that helps us to clarify these things. "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deut 29:29, ESV)
God’s will, or as we have seen, his determined purpose cannot be thwarted, hindered, reversed, or altered in any way. When God decrees or determines something it will come to pass. The bible is replete with this certainty. For example, Psalms 115:3 says:
“Our God is in the heavens; he does as he pleases.” Daniel 4:17 tells us that God rules in the affairs of men; “The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the Word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.” (ESV)
“At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, ‘What have you done?’" (Daniel 4:34-35, ESV) God does what he wants according to his decree or determination and no one can stop God nor even say to him what have you done?"
Romans 9:18-19 makes it clear that God can love whom he determines to love and hate who he determines to hate. As a matter of fact it also makes it clear that we as the created being [clay] have no right to question the creator [God] in regards to why God has made us the way he has made us. God as the creator has the right to make whom he wants to make and for the purpose he has determined because he is the creator. If God chooses to make some men to hate and some men to love, some men for blessing and some men for destruction, God being God has that right.
"As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory-- even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? As indeed he says in Hosea, "Those who were not my people I will call 'my people,' and her who was not beloved I will call 'beloved.'" "And in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' there they will be called 'sons of the living God.'" And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay." And as Isaiah predicted, "If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah." (ESV)
God’s will includes determining and carrying out events that he has determined for his purposes that many times seems incomprehensible to us. God’s will is more than a simple “willingness” on his part for things to happen the way he would like to see them happen. The most usual meaning of the “will of God” is his good pleasure (eudokia) which is sovereignly efficacious, immutable, and identical with God’s character.
Isaiah 46:8-11 says; "Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,' calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.” (ESV)
There is much about the will of God we don’t understand. God determined that. We know that was the great sin of Satan or Lucifer; he wanted to be like God. He tempted Adam and Eve with the promise that they could be like God. Man has not stopped seeking in many ways to be ‘gods,” or to be like God.
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?" "Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?" For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever.” Amen. (Romans 11:33-36, ESV)
Tomorrow, Lord willing, I want to look at some practical things concerning the will of God. There is so much unbiblical, foolish, and even dangerous teaching on God’s will available. This is one subject that most believers struggle with the most, and quite frankly it seems to be among the more easy things in relationship to God.
Posted by Gregg Metcalf at 1:00 AM