Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Foundational Truths - The Will of God

Before us today is a desire to understand God’s will.  Now it should go without saying that God does have a will since all intelligent beings have wills.  But at the heart of the discussion is after accepting the fact of God having a will, is it proper to understand His will as divided into His secret and revealed will; where these are but components of the singular will of God.  Well sure.  His secret will is composed of those things which cannot be known by man, and those which are secret until the providence of time and His good pleasure reveal them to us, either through the unfolding of events or by direct revelation through prophecy of events yet future. 

Now of major importance in the revealed will of God, is His revelation to man in the Scriptures of which the central theme is the glorification of God through the finished work of Christ on the cross thereby securing the salvation of man.  In this is revealed God’s will in the regeneration (or reconciliation) of man to Himself.  God has chosen some to everlasting life and happiness; that he has appointed these to salvation by Christ and appointed him to be their Savior.  This being true, the reverse, that God has chosen some to everlasting damnation and death, is not.  It does not follow that His choice of certain ones to salvation necessitates His choosing the others to damnation for they were born into that state.  Nor is that position, double predestination, presented in the Scripture.

Even so man bristles at the very idea that God would so arbitrarily, at least in our minds, bestow His love on some and yet with hold it from others.  However, for the sake of brevity suffice it for now to accept that it is truly amazing that God would bestow His love on any, as we are all worthy of damnation.  However, in considering sin, John Gill asks “what is in sin, and relative to it: there is the act of sin, and there is the guilt of sin, which is an obligation to punishment, and the punishment itself.”  No rational and sane person would dare to account to themselves anything other than the total guilt of their sin and the deserved punishment accounted thereof.

Also of note is the accounting of God’s will by some, Gill included, of all things not directly from His hand whether good or evil.  Here they make a distinction between what would be His “perfect” will and His “permissive” will.  This, they say, would fall under the things He wills directly and those things which, although not directly willed of Him, fit into His purpose.  They state that while God is “omniscient and omnipotent, He is not omnivolent or all willing.”  Thus they divide into “malum poenae,” the evil of afflictions” that are the result of God’s chastisement of a result of His direct punishment, and “malum culpae,” or the evil of fault and blame.  This is resulted by the afore mentioned sin of the individual.
Now while God does not tempt any to sin nor is He in any way the author of evil, individual actions bring consequences good or bad (Jas 1:13-15).  This position however, flies into the face of the very definition of Sovereignty.  If He is in fact Sovereign He therefore forms light and create darkness, He makes well-being and creates calamity, It is the Lord, who does all these things (Isa 45:7).

So in conclusion the nature and properties of God’s will is essential and eternal to Him.  It is His very nature and essence and given that He is eternal so must His will be.  His will is immutable and efficacious meaning the very nature of God is one of un-changeability, therefore so must His will be.  The efficaciousness of His will is that it must by necessity is always effected.  The will God is without cause outside Himself; else this would place something as being greater that He, and without condition.  In salvic terms God’s salvation of man is not predicated upon sinful man choosing Him.  And lastly, God’s will is Sovereign in all He chooses to do, whether to destroy the earth by flood or by fire.  He is independent and self-governing; no one will bring Him into a court of judgment to question His motives on anything, for He is Righteous.  

This does bring in to question the evil we see in the world and we will look at that next time.

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