A Sidekick's Blog

Two Wills of God?

August 12, 2014
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It’s God’s will for EVERYONE to be saved, is it not? Absolutely. He requires all men in all times and all places to repent and believe the gospel (John 3:18), and thus to be saved from His wrath.

But of course, not everyone believes the gospel, and most of humanity is not saved. Does this mean that God’s will is thwarted by men? How can it be His will for everyone to be saved, yet also His will for so many to perish? Does He have “two wills” that conflict with each other? Not at all. Here is why:

Both the righteous and the wicked exist for God’s glory: The righteous to the praise of His mercy and love; and the wicked to the glory of His holiness and justice. BOTH glorify their Creator!

But the question of whether God truly “wants” every person to be saved or not is like the plan of God itself:

this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men… (Acts 2:23)

On one hand, murder is not God’s will! He says, “You shall not kill!” It is not His moral will that anyone should be murdered. And yet even before He created the world He had planned the murder of His only begotten Son, and it occurred exactly as God had determined and planned ages before the fact. His will was not thwarted, but rather carried out “by the hands of godless men,” for a fantastic display of God’s mercy towards undeserving sinners like me!

So while murder is “against God’s will,” we also see that the murder of His Son was God’s will. Is there a conflict between His “moral will” and His “decreative will?” On the surface it looks like it, but His decree – before creation – that the Son would be murdered to purchase a people for Himself from the fallen race of Adam, was in fact, God’s will.

Two “wills” of God?

No. One standard of morality, and one plan to redeem a people. The standard is holiness! The one single attribute of God that is repeated three times by the heavenly beings, in Isaiah and Revelation, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty…” – we never see “Loving, loving, loving” or “merciful, merciful, merciful,” but always, in both Testaments, “Holy, holy, holy.” His “moral will” is His standard. It requires perfection, purity, absolute righteousness from all living beings, period. The plan was and is to have rebellious, fallen men to demonstrate the awesomeness of God’s holiness and purity in the treatment they shall receive at His hands, whether He shows them mercy by granting them repentance and faith, or whether He shows them justice in the everlasting lake of fire.

So is it His “will” for everyone to be saved? That is the standard He holds all men to. He requires faith in Christ of all men (John 3:18). But His plan was to demonstrate BOTH His justice AND His love. The wicked demonstrate His justice, and the redeemed His mercy and love. There is no contradiction between God’s standard and His plan. They are consistent both with who He is and with how He has revealed Himself in His written word.



My Journey: Semper Reformanda (Part Two)

August 8, 2012
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Part Two: The Beginning of the Journey

In Part One I described three stops along my journey. But here in Part Two I want to tell how my journey began. And it isn’t what you might expect. My journey actually began before the Earth and the universe was formed. This part of my journey is described in the Bible! Lie everyone’s journey, regardless of where it leads, all journeys begin in God and end in Him. All of His creatures glorify Him, whether to the praise of His glorious love and mercy, or to the praise of His glorious holiness and justice. Either way, we all exist for His glory. Some of us are delighted to have such a purpose, while others resent it. But inevitably, everyone does in fact fulfill the great purpose which God had in mind for each of us before He formed the worlds. But don’t take it from me, take it from the Creator Himself from His own inspired Book:

  • In whom we also have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11).
  • For the children (Jacob and Esau) being not yet born, neither having done any good nor evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him who calls (Romans 9:11).
  • What if God, willing to make His power known, endured with patience the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction and to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory (Romans 9:22-23_.
  • Having predestined us to adoption as children by Jesus Christ for Himself, according to the good pleasure of His own will to the praise of His glorious grace whereby He has accepted us in His beloved Son (Ephesians 1:5-6).

I’m one of those who delights in the purpose for which God created me. And He has even used sickness, wickedness, abuse, poverty, and pain to achieve it thus far. But if even Christ learned obedience through suffering (Hebrews 5:8) even though He was the sinless only begotten Son of God, why should I feel entitled to a life free of suffering? Indeed, suffering is – for those of us chosen to adoption – God’s means of raising His adopted sons and daughters to the likeness of His Son. The purity and depth of His love, His wisdom, His patience, His love of others, His compassion for the unlovely, all arose from His suffering. From His laying aside His rightful place on the Throne of the Universe and emptying Himself into human form, born to poverty-stricken parents in an occupied country.

Like Him, I too was born into poverty and lack. Like Him, I too suffered abuse and scorn at the hands of those who should have loved me. And my journey will lead me, eventually, to where He is and I shall be like Him, seeing Him as He is.

At the age of 8 years I grabbed any excuse I could find to avoid going home after school to a crowded home where physical, psychological, and sexual abuse were waiting for me. Some kids from school had a “Good News Club” that met at their house after school, and I went every chance I could just to avoid going home. It was there that the Lord found me and called me to Himself. When I heard about what He had done for me, I couldn’t refuse Him, especially because of His offer to adopt me! Wow, a real family with a Father who loves me and a big Brother to protect me. And so He did.

After my conversion to Christ, the abuse at home grew worse, and as I neared adolescence another family member joined in the sexual abuse. But strangely, at least to folks outside of Christ, it never occurred me that “a God of love wouldn’t allow a little child to suffer like that!” Almighty God certainly could have spared me, but look: He didn’t spare the three Hebrew children, Shadrach, Meishack, and Abednigo from their fiery ordeal either did He? He could have prevented them from being discovered, arrested, bound, and cast alive into a furnace! But nooooooo. He just stood by and let it happen! Why!?

Because again, His purpose was and is always to show His power and glory upon vessels of glory and vessels fitted for destruction. How much more does it say about His character that He could accompany His children through their ordeal than if He had prevented it entirely? They emerged from the furnace without even the smell of smoke in their perfectly intact and unsinged clothing. The very same furnace that completely consumed some of the guards who threw them in! So it was with me, His little adopted sidekick. My Big Brother accompanied me through years of abuse so that I could emerge unscathed (except for what scars I allowed by disregarding my Lord’s warnings). The same ordeal that nearly ruined one of my older brothers did not affect me. I had my Big Brother, Jesus – the Fourth Man in the fiery furnace – accompanying me through my trial to show His character and power in a far greater way than simply preventing the abuse to start with could have done.

My journey has taken many turns in the years since that demonstration of His compassion and power, but He was there and never absent even while the flames of abuse licked at me and threatened to consume me with the same hatred, bitterness, shame, and addiction that took an older brother down for many years afterward. Even during these awful years, I got to know my adoptive heavenly Father and His only begotten Son. I learned that my Father has made me a co-heir with His only begotten Son! All that is His is mine as well! And I have many other brothers and sisters as well. They were there too, though not in the midst of the furnace, but by means of prayer and encouragement.

In Part Three I’ll describe the first major bump in the road and how it led me down a side road, away from my Father’s word, with seductive false promises of power and gifts.