"GOD OMNIPOTENT REIGNETH"
The Absolute Sovereignty of Gods Will
What is presented in this writing may not seem to be too practical to some but nonetheless it could be very useful in getting to know the true God who Christians are called to know, not only through His mighty acts, but also His higher ways - Psa.103:7. A clear and correct understanding of the basic truths concerning the supreme sovereignty of "El Elyon" the most high God, in relationship to His creatures, is most essential in unlocking profound mysteries in the operation of what the Bible basically refers to as "the will of God."
A proper understanding of the absolute omnipotent sovereignty of God in His acts and His ways and in His rule and His reign over all His creation (eg.Rev.19:6), is a master key that can unlock the door to much biblical truth. It bypasses contradictions and hurdles all difficulties in relating the divine purpose to human freedom. It cannot be overemphasized that God alone, exercises absolute free will!
"The Lord Reigneth" Psa. 93
The true framework of all proper biblical interpretation rests solidly upon the sure foundation of God's universal sovereignty. Sadly, if one takes the time to inspect he foundation that the vast majority of the church today has built their traditional doctrine upon, it should not be hard to see the many cracks and weaknesses that are evident. These flaws begin in their basic foundational premises and now continue on through the whole of their structure.
The truth of the absolute sovereignty of God has for the most part rested on a weak foundation, a basis of carnal belief and tradition that desperately needs to be torn apart and rebuilt according to the blueprint of God and not man. Unless it is the Lord himself that is also building the house according to His own plan, all the labour of man is in vain - Psa.127:1. Nevertheless, because of His sovereignty, the Lord is doing just that, for He is sovereignly working towards the perfect completion of every minute detail that He has drawn on His divine blueprint.
The real foundational truth of God majestic sovereignty has been greatly undermined in the past by two major false theories still held to by the majority of the Christian church. One is the doctrine of eternally abiding, rather than age abiding judgment. The other is the stubborn insistence on the absolute free will of man. It is the latter that we are concerned with here.
The gross error in this teaching of absolute free will is found in the inevitable conclusion that man's own self-will is absolutely sovereign. This is especially magnified in the belief that he alone has all right and power to choose his own eternal destiny. The results of this choice echo on into eternity.
The absurdity of this popular theology is found in its totally irreconcilably with the fact that there can be only one sovereign authority, either God or man. There can be only one supreme and sovereign will and that will belongs to God. It is His will that is absolute in power and in authority. This human concept of two supposed sovereign wills, is not only absurd and unscriptural, it is also impossible.
Look up the meaning of the word sovereign. The Bible makes it amply clear that GOD ALONE RETAINS HIS SOVEREIGNTY OVER ALL THINGS including that which we call THE WILL. God is influenced by absolutely no one and subject to no one. He is totally independent in carrying out what He has purposed in Himself. Yet, popular theology insists that puny man is sovereign in his right to determine his own destiny in that he has the absolute right to either accept or reject Christ as his saviour.
Religious men have depicted a Creator who ever does what He pleases, and a creation who have been created with the unrestricted ability to do what they please. Where is real sovereignty here? It is said that men do as they please until they either turn unto the Lord or until God takes their own will away, either by eternal torture or annihilation simply because there own self will prevailed in their few short years here on earth. We ask, Is this really God's pleasure? Is this doing what He pleases? Is this His sovereign and absolute will for His creation--to eventually take away the will of man and along with it the right to choose, thereby negating His own desire to fulfill it with His own good will? Would God, in His divine foreknowledge, have insured the failure of His own predetermined good will and pleasure? If you believe all this is true then you may be in for a delightful surprise indeed.
The very word "sovereign" denotes an absolute freedom and independence, a right to rule and reign, that can in no way be limited by external authority or influence. Beloved, that includes the authority and influence of the human mind and human will. It is irreverent and nigh unto blasphemy to think that the sovereign will of the King of kings and Lord of lords can be made void or deterred by the far less than sovereign will of man. Either the will power of the Almighty is to be sovereign and prevail in all things or else the will power of man reigns absolute. You simply cannot have it both ways!
The Bible everywhere indicates it is God alone and not man that retains the right and attributes of exercising a supreme and ultimate power, in and over all things. One of the most important things being the salvation and eternal destiny of all mankind. Even to say the Lord holds the sovereignty in the God created power of human will but doesn't exercise it, in no way negates the evidence that man doesn't have any sovereign will at all. Nor does it negate the fact that only one party, either the Creator or the creature can have the right to sovereignty--in order for there to be any true sovereignty at all.
Again, either God's will in all things is almighty and sovereign in rule and work over every other power of both His old and new creation, or it is not. If it is, and scores of scriptures confirm this truth, then it would be impossible for men to exercise a sovereign power of will over anything, much less over the will of God Himself.
The existence of all thing in the material creation as well as all things in spiritual redemption and restitution, including the presently enduring will of man and Satan, is totally under the Almighty's control - Col.1:16,17. El Shaddai's own sovereign will ever rules over all in divine providential exercise of love, mercy righteous judgment and justice. What God wills, He does - Jb.11:10; 23:13; Isa.46:10,11; Rev.19:17 etc. He unrestrainedly works all things after the counsel of His own pleasing will (Eph:1:11) whose perfect will it is, is to save all men, gradually and progressively bringing mankind into conformity with His likeness. Therein, they shall also ultimately share in His divine dominion, even His divine sovereignty over all creation - Gen.1:26; Psa.8:6.
At present, though man has been created after the IMAGE of God's own spiritual substance and being, he as a unique individual is in different stages of being fashioned into the LIKENESS of His righteous nature and character. This is a divine nature which will ultimately express only the pure will of its Creator, for truly our God reigns.
Purposes of God's Will
Since the beginning of time, everything, whether it appears to us a positive or negative, has been divinely ordered or at the least permitted, and every facet of all things in the universe is in divine harmony, under divine control. God has always had a loving purpose, whereby He plans through a processing of His creation to accomplish His goal. This He will surely do, regardless of whether you or I believe it now or not.
God is sovereignly executing a plan, a purpose, an instrumentality by which to accomplish all He has originally purposed In Himself according to the good and holy pleasure of His own perfect will - Eph.1:11. All things are in divine balance and harmony with every divine purpose of God. Every singly detail is related to and synchronized with the sole overall purpose, in an awesome and intricate design which the carnal mind cannot possibly hope to comprehend. Only to the natural eye and mind does there now appear to be purposeless unbalance and disharmony in creation.
Everything that has ever happened or ever will happen, could never be apart from the allowable sphere of God's own sovereign will. General reasons as to why and how this is true will be interwoven throughout this writing. The exercise of any other lesser will [ie. human will] is only permitted within a controllable sphere of divine limitation, and in these limitations, is still ever subject to the inevitable will of God's overall intentions. Only our omniscient and omnipotent God has the wisdom and the power concerning when or what to allow, as well as when and what to restrict or retrain in all earthly or spiritual things.
The Creator has ever been all powerful in all His creative acts. He did not need any help from man in bringing forth the original creations he planned, nor does He need help in bringing forth the new creation - 2Cor.5:17. God, not man, is the absolute controller of the creative process. God alone is the initiator of our faith and our salvation. He is the primary moving influence in all creation.
Because God alone is sovereign and all powerful, His own will is necessarily the source of His own sovereignty. Because He is controller over all other existing powers, which powers must include the power of the human will, then whatever takes place within the events of creation, has to ultimately be used for the furtherance of his utopian purposes. In time past, because we have been governed mainly by the ungodly will of men, we have reaped the bondage's of corruption this has brought. Yet it is evident that even all of this is mysteriously being used according to the purposes of God for our training and our processing, which processing itself is included in the revealed will of God.
As a part of His overall plan, God created substances that were to be both eternal and transitory in the essence of their nature as well as in their performance and their function. The Lord's sovereign will, not only allowed but also made provision even for the existence of the power of Satan--which includes the rebellion of man and the power of sin.
Hidden in this mystery of iniquity, both sin and its companion, death, were primarily designated of the Lord, to be instruments of divine processing through which His original creative purposes are to be advanced to completion in love. Both sin and death are transitory spiritual substances of creation that will cease to operate or exist when their useful purposes have been fulfilled. These things are being dealt with in the remedial work of Christ through the allotted ages; for He is Lord and is using these things in the working out of His glorious will.
One of the greatest fallacies in general Christendom, is that these factors of evil are hindering God's greatest purposes, and that in the end, he will have been rendered powerless to fulfill all the stated intentions of His own will. Hence, God becomes a failure. The Only Potentate becomes impotent by the powers of evil and the will of man.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is, it is not God's ultimate will and purpose to just hopefully want or merely wish in that sense of being willing all things to end in Christ. Rather, it is in His ultimate will and His power to cause all thing to be reconciled unto Himself. This He has purposed to do through the blood of His cross and through the divinely controlled interplay of good and evil. Neither the control nor the final results of this work are left to the hand's or mind's of man nor devil to determine because the Lord has reserved sovereignty unto Himself and it is threaded throughout all the workings of His ordained and determined will. God is making the mystery of His omnipotent will to be known in progressive stages of truth. Because He is sovereign, who can resist this ongoing process--much less the final results of His sovereign will? It is God who works in you both will and deed - Phil.2:13.
God's Will In Salvation
The Bible gives us great insight into what it is that is God's most specific and perfect will for humanity. The King James translation makes it clear that we serve a Saviour 'who will have all men to be saved and...come unto the knowledge of the truth." 1Tim.2:4. "In due season" the results of Christ's ransom for all will be testified and made evident in His appointed time - 1Tim.2:5,6. Because of the sovereign power inherent in His own will, this cannot possibly fail to come to pass - Isa.43:13. "God who is the Saviour of all men" (1Tim.4:10), "IS NOT WILLING that any should perish but [sovereign will is] that ALL should come to repentance." 2Ptr.3:9. The biblically stated facts of His own words of truth whereby God cannot lie, say that "HE DOETH ACCORDING TO HIS WILL..in...heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and NONE CAN STAY [resist] HIS HAND." Dan.4:35.
He is sovereign. He does whatsoever He pleases - Matt.20:15. His will, His pleasure, His own soul's desire, is to save all man and "WHAT GOD'S SOUL DESIRETH, even that HE DOETH." Jb.23:13. He wills and purposes that all be saved and because He wills and purposes it, He also will do it! Only His counsel shall stand, not man's, and He will do ALL HIS PLEASURE (Isa.46:9-11), for He alone works all these things after the counsel of His own sovereign will - Eph.1:11.
You can continue to disbelieve He will not save all men but your temporary disbelief and tradition cannot make this powerful truth of non effect! God will complete His work and no one can hinder it. The exercise of God's sovereign will is PARAMOUNT in all His works.
As ministers of reconciliation, our unwavering will and desire should be..."Thy will be done." If one is not ready and willing to believe in the will of the Lord for the salvation of all, how shall he be a partaker in the working of this will? In order to be effective participants in the fulfilling of any facets of His will, we must first believe in faith the work of His will shall be done on earth even as it is being done in heaven. As it is being sovereignly done in the spirit realm, so shall it be done in the natural realm, for Christ is the Lord in both realms. Unless God's stated will to save all men through Jesus Christ is engraved in one's heart, then they have not and cannot yet become one with Him in obedience to this portion of His will. How can they as long as they continue to doubt it?
The man Christ Jesus was created to carry out and fulfill all the will of God. He was sent both to do and become His perfect will--and so are we, for which cause He is not ashamed to call us brethren. When through His faith we can see and come to accept the sovereignty of God in His will that all be saved, praying for all men and believing Him at His word that all the workings of His will be done, we become one in union with His purpose one in blessed agreement with His unfailing love. We become one with Him in advancing and bringing into reality, the intended working operation of His unfolding will.
Jesus said, "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish the work." Jn.4:34. "Lo, I come...to do thy will o God." Heb.10:7. He accomplished all His Father's will which was required of Him during his time on earth. Just before His death, burial, resurrection and ascension, He proclaimed, "It is finished." Jn.19:30. Up to that point, Jesus knew that "all things were now accomplished that the scripture might be fulfilled." Jn.19:28.
If He was able to complete the will of His Father on earth, how shall He not complete from the heavens, the will of His Father to save all men? The finished will of God is not the condemnation of the inhabitants of it, but His sovereign will is their salvation - Jn.3:17; 1Jn.2:2. The continual working of His will and the completion of it, does not include the total destruction of men's lives. It does include however, the total salvation of their lives - Lk.9:54-56; Lk.19:10.
Jesus didn't fall short of God's will in the past, nor will He in the future. If you believe Christ is doomed to fail in fulfilling the Father's will because of the self determined will of men, then you do not believe in the sovereignty of God which includes the absolute right as well as the absolute power and determination of God to carry out His own will unto divine perfection and completeness.
Oh ye of faithless, doubtful and unbelieving ears. Be truthful. Look deep within and ask yourselves what Spirit it is that desires that all men be saved! Is it the Spirit of Christ or that of antichrist? It is Christ of course! It is His will! The spirit that would desire even one man not to be saved, to matter how wicked that person was, is a spirit other than Christ's. It is a spirit that is founded in pride, rebellion and tradition that cannot and will not believe for the salvation of all. Doubt is a lack of faith and whatsoever is not of faith is sin - Ro.14:23. Let us examine ourselves whether we be in the faith - 2Cor.13:5.
Does not the same godly spirit that desires all to be saved have the right to believe that it shall be so? After all it is the will of God! If His Spirit dwells in our spirit and we choose not to agree with it, are not we ourselves then, in opposition to this inevitable will of God? If there is doubt or unbelief that His sovereign will shall be fulfilled is that not the spirit of antichrist?
The Spirit of God says and believes all things are possible. Any spirit that remains negative, is one that is not flowing in that divine will. Even to believe that it is improbable that all of God's will shall be accomplished, is still harbouring a spirit and a will that is in opposition to the stated will of the Lord. It is other than Christ's and therefore antichrist. This is the real antichrist. Although this spirit in no way hinders the sovereign spirit of the Lord it does hinder the church. It must be destroyed, taken out of the way by the Spirit and word of God - 2Ths.2:7,8. Thanks be to God, His sovereign will ensures that this shall surely come to pass.
In not agreeing with the Lord's sovereign and omnipotent will to carry out to the uttermost His every intent and purpose, many are yet unknowingly opposing it. They are allowing the carnal mind to rule the temple of their bodies, believing that the human mind has sovereignty in the will of it self - 2Ths.2:4. Thank God that there are people who are rising out of this grave of deception; a people who dare to believe God and who desire to flow in oneness of His revealed will.
Ye that have been dull of hearing, listen to the Holy Spirit as He exhorts through Paul, that "first of all, supplications, prayers, intercession and giving of thanks be made for ALL MEN..."1Tim.2:1. This is the same "ALL" in vs. 4 and vs. 6. This exhortation is in the will of God for a purpose. Do you not know that "whatsoever you shall ask the Father [in the name or nature of His will in Christ Jesus], He will give it you." Jn.16:23. This is the confidence we should have in Him, "that if we ask ANYTHING ACCORDING TO HIS WILL, He heareth us. And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desire of Him." 1Jn.5:14,15. It is impossible for one to pray in the will of God for all men, if one disbelieves and has no faith for it.
All scripture aside, it is evident that there are few alternatives concerning the working of God's sovereign will in the salvation of His creatures. Since God ever wills all men to be saved, then either He cannot, could not, would not, won't or will not if it is never to happen. To say that He cannot or could not, is to take away His sovereignty and to contradict the truth that all things are possible with Him. To say he would not, is to plainly contradicts scriptures that teach he would have all to be saved. Saying He will not or won't, demeans and belittles the sovereign power of the Almighty, and attempts to make of little effect and result, the totally efficacious power of the blood of Christ that was shed for all. It renders it for the most part, to be very inefficient and ineffective and largely in vain.
In the only other alternative, to say and believe that God "is the Saviour of all", not just could be, would be, desires to be etc., greatly upholds the full truth of His sovereignty in all things whereby He is determined and able to subdue all things unto Himself - Phil.3:21. The will of man is a primary "thing" and certainly is no exception!
God's Work In Salvation
Human salvation itself, is not man's work for God. No, not at all. It is totally a work of God for man - Jn.6:28, 29; Eph.2:10. Man's personal salvation is a necessary higher creative process in the furtherance of the Creator's plan, and the Lord alone is in intimate sovereign control of the whole spiritual process, including its timing - 1Cor.15:23; Eph.1:4-10; 1Tim.2:6; Jn.3:8. He is ever active in heavenly spiritual things doing whatsoever He wills and pleases - Psa.114:3. Whether anyone as an individual chooses to disagree with this at the present time, that person really does nothing to negate nor frustrate God's present will.
Does all of what we have been saying then, mean that man does not have a personal will to make personal choices? Not at all. It only means that God's personal, overall, perfect and ultimate will and the final outcome of His will for any person can never be thwarted, overturned, forever resisted or in anyway changed by the subordinate and imperfect self will of man. That is all the weak influential will which originates in the carnal mind of man can ever be...SELF will. There is no power in it that could cause God to accept it and begin to save it. It is only the activated inspirational higher will of God that can begin to change and bring the unrighteous will of man into conformity with His own righteous will and purposes.
Right biblical understanding of the doctrinal foundation of repentance from dead works (Heb.6:1) reveals in it, principle truths of the total sovereignty of God's own will. Contrary to popular theology, God doesn't require the help of man's natural will in order to fulfill His will concerning their initial salvation from sin. In fact, the word of God says that man is unable to add even one cubit of godly stature unto himself by his own works or even by this own thoughts.
The will of man is totally unable to advance itself one iota toward personal salvation till it be motivated, activated and changed by the grace of God's own will. Only then, can man will any good and righteous thing pleasing to the Lord - Psa.110:3. Simply to will anything whatsoever is of unholy self nature, but the ability to will what is holy and of God, is totally through the grace of divine intervention.
In the dawning realization and truth of salvation's grace, we begin to understand that man's personal will was free to an extent in respect of sinful acts [and still is] but was totally bound in respect of truly righteous and holy works. The enlightening realization of our personal salvation is wholly God imputed and imparted in the form of a gift to us. It happens as an awakening from within the human spirit.
First comes conviction of sin, and with it the enabling of our will to lay hold of Him who is our Salvation and is God's will for us---even the Lord Jesus Christ. Finally, the essential self is sovereignly persuaded to surrender. With that, the initial will of God begins its ongoing process of spiritual regeneration in the many remaining unregenerate areas of our independent soulish will.
Traditional theology teaches that man is a responsible creature. That is, he is responsible for choosing His own eternal destiny. Truth teaches that man is born spiritually dead in trespass and sin when he enters this earth. He is birthed in a helpless, innocent, and irresponsible lifeless state of being, alienated from the righteous will of God. Without total divine enablement from God, he cannot choose of himself to be saved - Psa.65:4; Jn.15:16,19; Eph.1:4; Ac.22:14 etc.
Man as a unique created individual, was not directly responsible for this spiritually dead state he entered into in his natural birth. Likewise, he is not the one responsible for entering into his spiritual rebirth in salvation. God has taken the full responsibility to propitiate and appease man in his helpless condition by sending us a Saviour to shed his blood for all, rise again, and commence giving of His life to all.
It is actually man who needs to be soothed and comforted, not God as is commonly taught. Though it was man that originally disobeyed and sinned, because of the divinely planned influences and circumstances which made this sin inevitable, God takes the primary responsibility for it. In the sovereign operation of His plan of redemption and restitution al all things, He is thereby rectifying and ensuring the complete success of all that is in His will for His creation.
The Nature and Operation Of Human Will
We are now going to look at this same operation of the human will from some other perspectives. With reasonable simplicity, the will of man could be described as that faculty of the human soul whereby man can chose or refuse things which are ever present within this God governed sphere of human limitations. This would be true according to biblical revelation which indicates that human will is only relative in power of determination when compared to that sovereign absolute power of determination found in the personal will of God.
Comparing the nature of the will of man to that of the will of God, we find they operate under totally different divine laws - Ro. chptrs. 7 and 8. The basic adamic nature of man operates under a controlling and dominating law of "sin and death." Only God has sovereign power and control in these laws.
God's higher will also operates in absolute freedom in the law of the Spirit of life of His own nature. The Bible reveals that the unregenerate, unassisted mind, is confined to choosing only out of its own separate nature which is said to be enmity against God - Ro.8:7. We didn't choose of ourselves for it to be hostile to God. "By reason of Him" we were born that way. According to His plan and as part of the curse, God chose to separate [conceal] Himself from the mind of man. It is after the same principle as when in the beginning, He separated the light of His spirit from a part of his creation causing all forms of darkness.
Man didn't choose any of these things to be so. Now as a result, the carnal minds choice is limited to choosing only natural and carnal things...things apart from His holy truth and light.
In the darkened state of spiritual death, the natural mind cannot receive of its own will, those life creating things of the Spirit of God - 1Cor.2:14. Hence, the alienation, ignorance and blindness of heart (Eph.4:18) is still playing a part in the will of God; a process He chose to incorporate for a time into His plan in creation. This state man finds himself in was not at all an accident, nor was it entirely apart from the will of the Almighty. It was not of the will of man but it was the will of God - Ro.8:20; Psa.90:3; Jer:18:1-6; Eccl.1:13; 3:10-11; Ro.11:32.
In the execution of mercy and justice, a new heavenly nature and will must be sovereignly imparted to man. It must be brought forth into light and life to man, before man can ever hope to choose that which is truly spiritual and holy in nature. The choices of the yet unregenerate man can never be made out of an effectual, spiritual righteousness. They can be made only out of iniquity which has total dominion over his human nature. Until the gift of righteous faith in grace in imparted to begin inspiring and regenerating the mind and spirit, man cannot even begin to know the things of God, which things also include His will in His plan of salvation from beginning to end. The will to be saved is a God given will!
The very nature of man's personal will is not sovereign to always do as it pleases. But this is not the case in reference to God's own will. Man's will is greatly influenced by its surroundings and circumstances and by many other such things. Our personal will does not determine for, or of itself. This is an important factor to note in the understanding of the true sovereignty of God's own will.
Our own human will is not a self determining agent. This is simply because it is always determined of something else. The will is merely a servant to the input which has already been presented, or is being presented to the mind.
Popular human philosophy believes the will is the primary source of human motivation. The Bible teaches that it is what has already been put, or is presently being put into the mind which primarily rules, controls and even directs the human will. The will then makes a choice in action according to the motivating input or influence. The motivation has its source in the mysterious power of iniquity which plays a part in the control of the carnal mind. Or, it can also have its source in the mysterious power of godliness which has its base in the mind of Christ. The will power for salvation comes from this source.
It is not the will which controls the mind and governs the man. The condition of the heart and soul [mind] always influences the will and consequently its acts - Mk.7:21; Prv.4:23. The will is not free to do entirely as it pleases--to make choices on its own! It is bound under all kinds of God created human limitations, bound to being an obedient servant to external or internal influences or conditions. It is free though, in the sense of being a servant to righteousness as well as unrighteousness, when the regenerate mind and will of Christ is present. In unregenerate form, the mind and consequently the will of man, is not yet being set free to will any choice in true righteousness.
True revelational insight reveals that decisions, even when made, are along with their acts, also actually subject to be influenced, to be restrained, to be restricted, to be hindered, to be constrained, to be compelled etc. by many variable and often uncontrollable human factors. So the will alone is not the only thing subject to be influenced by the strongest of the present stimulants, emotions, powers of persuasion [spiritual or otherwise] or whatever else may be the cause of its subjection. Either man or God can be the cause of human choices.
The Bible often depicts the spirit of God as being a primary cause of human willing. In all that we have been saying, it is obvious that man's own will or choice is never primarily determined by his very own "sovereign" decision---but by something else that is also less than sovereign, unless of course it be a direct influence of the Holy Spirit. But whatever it is, it is always this something else which influences man, causing him to make the choice and actions he takes.
The human will goes into action only when man has been influenced to do something. Not before. In other words, human will is not the original cause or source of man's choice of actions. It wasn't in the garden of Eden nor will it be in the kingdom of God.
The human will merely reacts to either past or present influences and factors which are conscious or sub-conscious, positive or negative, good or evil. Eve, a type of our natural mind and soul, reacted in the only way she really could have. She chose according to restrictions in her yet unwise, unknowledgable and untested character. This internal condition, together with the external situation and circumstances wherein she was placed, had an influence on her decision to disobey God's command, even as God had already foreknown she would.
Do you think God did not know the thoughts and intents of the hearts which he created? Do you think He did not know their weakness and strengths of His own creation?
He had not only foreknown what the woman's decision would be but He planned it to be this way as a further working of His will in His creation. If as the Bible says, the Father foreordained the death of the last Adam (Ac.2:23; 4:28; Lk.22:22), why should it be so hard to believe that he also foreordained the death of the first man Adam? Ro.8:20. Just as the Father's will is to forgive (Lk.23:34) those He ordained in this act, so flows from His mercy seat that forgiveness for the unavoidable disobedience of the first Adam and his progeny - Ro. chptr. 5.
It was not the will of the first man which caused him to act. His will was controlled within the sovereign will by God's own designs. Adam has no conscience, no values of right or wrong. he was innocent and immature, not yet holy or righteous as he was to be a the finish of God's will for him--at the conclusion of His plan for the ages.
In order for man to know all of God's will, and in order him to exercise it, it was a part of the divine design and determination that he experience all facets of God's will throughout the dispensation of time as we know it. First coming through death and the unrighteous self conscience he acquired, and lastly in godly life, sharing the imparted likeness of the righteous God-conscience for eternity.Now back to the present, we see that the will merely reacts to either past or present influences which are conscious or sub-conscious, positive or negative, good or evil. Our spiritual state determines whether it will act assisted or unassisted by the Spirit of God. In all of this we have been showing how that the dominant motives, and/or the strongest powers that are brought to bear on the will, determine men's choices. However, God Himself always remains in sovereign control over these influences. His sovereign control extends from before the Garden of Eden to the willing subjugation of all things in the love of the Creator. He is Lord of all and He reigneth forever.
Concerning the initial personal experience of man's salvation, it should now be easy to see that no one can will, in and of themselves, to be saved. The inspiration must be given through a totally sovereign act on the part of God who wills it to be so in His time. God must work before we act. Our will must be won by the love of God as a faithful acknowledgment and justifying act of God's mercy and love towards all his creatures. In the power of His divine prerogative, He implements the predestined calling of His election in salvation of whosoever He has given the will to come and to receive Him, until He draws all men back unto Himself whereby all will confess to the glory of the Father that Jesus is their Lord.
n the meantime, if the Saviour of all is not at any time directly executing His sovereign saving powers of grace upon the human will, then man will make a choice or continuing choices according to whatever else is impelling the will to act. In all of this He is the Potter and we are the clay. We have been brought forth from the banks of the river of life, being molded and formed by His gentle hands on the wheel of life and then put into His hot and fiery furnace in order to bring forth the finished work of perfected vessels.
Obedience To God's Will
The things of which we speak are some of God's higher ways in the sovereign working of His own mysterious will. All things are involved in what men call free will. Men make choices according to a multitude of influences, including impulses, right or wrong understandings and reasonings, emotions, conscience, and fleshly and devilish temptations. If this be so, then as we have said, choices can also be made in accordance with the influence of the Holy Spirit who in God's sovereign will, moves upon man thereby affecting a needful salvation - Ro. chptr. 9; Jn.1:13; Eph.1:4-9,11; Jas.1:18.
In this initial matter, it is not man who has the absolute freedom of will to either receive or reject the power of God unto his salvation. All these things are entirely given of, and received, at the will of God - 2Cor.5:18. If it is not so, then God's will is not truly sovereign!
Yes, God's covenant will is sovereignly brought into the beginnings of a glorious unity with the will of man
through the working power of His own absolute will. The foreordained covenant of salvation is personally revealed at the time it is given of him to be able to receive and accept. Man could never alter it. The will and testimony of this gracious covenant is being distributed as a rightful inheritance to all of God's children. The covenant will was Godward to man. He willed it for our sake and it is in no way conditional upon our human will. Our will is powerless to refuse this higher will of our Creator.
In beholding God's higher way, we can see that the will of man is only relatively free, compared to the operation of the perfectly sovereign will of God. The human will is merely a servant. It is certainly far from being sovereign, even during the working out of man's salvation inasmuch as it remains a servant to whomsoever or whatsoever it has chosen to obey. Like a child, the regenerate mind and will is taught to obey the Father. Like a student, it must be taught by the School Master.
In all of this operation, we see Christians are accountable for wilful disobedience. But, they are not necessarily responsible for what they choose. Certain judgment or blessing lie in the fact that they reap what they sow in these choices. In conformity to His plan of creation, the Creator is in responsible control of the presence of sin and death. After all, He was the One that allowed it to manifest in reality. Man is given a portion of responsibility to learn of its consequences and to turn from this sin when the Spirit reveals it. This calls for obedience.
True godly obedience involves two wills. God and man's. One must agree with and merge with the other. It is God's unchanging sovereign will, that the lesser progressively become one with the greater and the weaker come into perfect obedience to the stronger. He is ever working in these His higher ways, unopposed toward His goal. Obtaining the goal, will never happen by our might or by our own will power, but only by the power and grace in the Spirit of the Lord - Zec.4:6; Phil.2:3; 2Cor.4:7.
Without His sovereign Spirit we can do nothing - Jn.3:27; 5:30; 15:5. When the two wills finally flow together in perfect unison, this brings about a realm higher than obedience. It is the realm of perfect love abiding in the fulfilled will of Almighty God. The obedience that was acceptable in the Old Testament but could never bring perfection, has been graciously fulfilled for us in the New Testament obedience in the life and death of Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Bible leaves few stones unturned in revealing the total sovereignty of God's will, both in and over the natural and spiritual creations. Truly the Lord reigneth in all his providential majesty, for there is "no power but of God." Ro.13:1. He has ruling power and dominion over all principalities and all powers, whether they be earthly or heavenly.
The power of the human will is no exception to this. When one really gets even a small revelation of the vastness of this great truth which proclaims, "If God be for us, who can be against us?", the truth can set them free. Free from the restricting and condemning doctrines of men. Free from fears and eternal damnation. Free from the accusation of a devil who appears to be constantly unleashing his diabolical works and asserting his will in a steady unlawful opposition to the normal will of man and of God. In the knowledge of God, the devil is not really in opposition to the purposes of God. He is but an interim tool which God has chosen to use to show the sin nature of man to himself in direct contrast to the beauty of His own holy image.
The very fact that the scriptures no where say that the devil is an omnipresent being, much less an omnipotent being as is the Almighty Himself, should bring some relief and comfort to the soul. Ask yourself this, "is there really any horrendous evil that the devil is doing in the earth which man himself is not doing or has a part in? Is man's evil nature any different than his? Can the two really be separated? Do not mortal men walk according to the prince of the power of the air? If Christ can deal perfectly in His will with our nature, why do men think He is any less effective in dealing with the devil's nature?
The universality of His all perfect will, involves the reconciliation of all things--including all principalities and all powers - Col.1:15-20; Eph.3:9-11. No power of the created will shall not bow in willing love to its Creator! The Lord omnipotent reigns.
Reconciling God's Will With Man's Will
The origin of all creation came forth in the power of God's will. The evidences of redemption exist in the grace and power of God's will. And so also, is the reconciliation of all things assured in the same sovereign power of His will. The stubbornness and rebelliousness of carnal man does nothing to limit the ultimate will of God and make His word of one effect.
In His abode of eternity before the eons were set (2Tim.1:9), God willed for their existence. The ages were framed by the will and word of God - Heb.11:3. He is the design architect of every age He purposes to unfold. He set Himself to be the supreme authority and providential ruler over them all. Thus He is seen as the "everlasting [aionial] God", meaning the God of the ages. The Creator is sovereignly controlling his plan of the ages which was purposed in Christ our Lord - Eph.3:11.
The Lord's overall purpose for the ages has many parts, many plans which proceed toward completion according to His will in each age or dispensation of time. Whatever God does, directly or indirectly, or whatever He tolerates to happen in the course of the earth's ages---no matter how gross or perverse these happenings are---they are still obviously taking place within the boundaries of His overall will for the creation. The Bible tells us that nothing in the universe takes place that the Most High does no know about, has not foreseen, and does not allow to happen.
God's providence moves through history and nature. In order to keep sovereign control, He not only allows extraneous events to happen, but at times he also sovereignly causes events to either supplement or negate these things. He does this to ensure the progression and perfection of His own original will and purpose. From the human perspective, which is greatly limited in knowledge and understanding the detail of God's higher way, man finds it beyond himself, how that God would allow, much less subject man to fall into sin - Ro.9:18-20; 11:32. He finds it humanly impossible to reconcile the inequities and horrors of this world with a totally sovereign and loving God.
How could there be a supreme loving Being who would allow such things? This is a very relevant and somber question which perplexes even devoutly religious people who profess to know God intimately. Beloved, there is an answer to this dilemma which is in harmony to God's own word and to His higher ways, albeit not to men's carnal minds. The answer is found in the revelation of the absolute sovereignty of God---most specifically, the sovereign operation of His own will.
The Bible teaches that God the Father, revealed His will in His Son Jesus Christ, in order that men should know that history and nature, serve moral and spiritual ends in this life. It also teaches that God's eternal ultimate purposes extend even beyond this portion of His will - Ro.8:28; 2Cor.4:11.
The Circumference Of Supreme Will
Scripture indicates that man, Satan and God all have the authorized power to will, choose and oft times act. These acts of the lower creation very often are seemingly contrary to the will of our loving God. Yet, we can rest assured, that the Almighty One of all creation has everything under a divine control.
All that seems to be so contradictory to the revealed ultimate purpose of God's will, is still not apart from the sovereign control of His present will. The fact is, God has total sovereignty OVER all things but is by His own design, is not directly activating nor manifesting toward men, the power of His sovereignty IN all things at all times. He ever retains an overall will and the omnipotent power that accompanies it.
Perfect Will vs. Permissive Will
Yes, the Lord remaineth ever in intricate as well as overall sovereign control in all things. He has the pre-eminent will. He is the sovereign ruler over all realms of mind and matter...over spirit, soul and body. At any given moment, all things must be as He wills overall, whether in the past, the present or in the future. No other power is omnipotent. God's will has never been, nor ever could be, negated or made void by any other will in His creation. It shall prove to be an irresistible will.
Absolutely no will operates outside of what could be termed His tolerable will, His allowable will or His permissive will. To be specific, these aspects of His will are none other than that portion of carnal human will, a rebellious will, a contrary will, an opposing will which has for the time being, been ALLOTTED to man to exercise as he wills. All men have this personal self will.
God's permissive will is really His patient tolerance of human self will, a universal will which is permitted to operate under subservience to the divine auspices of His own personally perfect will. This perfect will is His own sovereign will, His supreme will, His absolute will. The permissive will is an independent, subservient and subjective will. It includes the will of man, the will of the flesh and the will of the devil. This is all part of the interim will of God.
Man's will is also an immature will. It is an imperfect will in contrast to the higher standard of God's own perfect will. Beloved, we are God's will on earth, however imperfect we yet may be. One day we shall be His perfect will--as the wheel within a wheel - Ezk.1:16.
The whole will of God, in its form of being the divine perfect will, has it source in Himself. It is also a preordained and determined will. It operates in perfect knowledge and wisdom and in the perfect timing of His own Spirit. This God does, in order to work this redemptive will into man's to eventually bring about an ultimate perfect will in the human and angelic creation.
The Bible depicts a Sovereign who is never subject to man's carnal will, to human will, but declares man's will is ever subject to God's will in love and in correction. The perfect will of God cannot fail to fulfill its determined purposes, for it is not an imperfect will such as is true of the will of man. It truly is a dominant will!
Man has been permitted the use of a finite will which can end, a transitory and changeable will which can easily be influenced and directed. It is an influential and easily swayed will, especially under the power of God's influential and persuasive will. Often man's will can go no further than wishing, but God's transcendent will always brings the desired results. This is because He is Lord and possesses an eternal infinite will that is progressive and ever expanding in its work, yet changes not. This unchangeable, perfect will of God never changes in motive nor in goal, but His interim directions and operations change in an ever progressive expansion of His dispensational will. Seen from man's point of view, there is a progressive revelation of God's perfect will. Because it is perfect, it is also a sure and unfailing will, an invincible will, an inevitable will.
Revelation and understanding of God's will is subject to changes, but the acts of God's progressive will work in perfection unto their ultimate fulfillment. God's infinite will is not bound by time nor anything else which exists in His creation. But man's finite will is bound and limited by many things in creation. God's permissive will which He has give to man is a will which lacks His sovereignty. It operates in a finite realm of time, wherein God has allowed some latitude for its operation but only as much as the wisdom of His perfect will permits. Man's will cannot add nor detract anything from the perfect sovereign will of God. Nothing, including the will of man, is left outside the scope of God's concurrent will.
Since the Lord's universally perfect will is sovereign in its reign over all human will power and is an absolute will being absolutely free in every aspect of its divine operation and subject to no one and no thing, then man's will must obviously be limited in power and freedom. This it is, being subject to many forms of influencing restrictions and directives. God has unlimited, unrestricted will. Man has a limited will, a restricted will. It is included in God's will that men have a right to choose evil!
The perfect will of God is a will that is never devoid of righteousness. On the other hand, the created permissive human will is devoid of effecting divine righteousness. It is not a divine will, nor can it of itself effect a divine righteousness nor a divine destiny. It must of necessity be replaced by the perfect divine will of God. In contrast to the self will of man, that perfect will is a selfless will, always working towards the goal of creation's perfection.
The perfect will progressively works in the revealed will of God, but more often than not, it operates as the hidden or concealed will of God. It works in the mysterious process of changing the selfish self centered will of man. Judgmental corrective processes of God's will are most necessary in bringing man's will in line with His Creator's will.
In all of this, God's will is also operating in created laws and active forces which govern chance and causality. Nothing is apart from the providential will of God. That which the Bible calls providence, also denotes a control by the Almighty...a control of situations He did not directly cause or will. These things are all a part and parcel of His present interim permissive will which He tolerates in the earth, until all His plans, purposes and will for creation be fulfilled through His purposefully determinate and omnipotent will.
The Fulfillment Of God's Will
The sovereign will of God is an ever present will which rides on His plan of the ages. This continuing yet always present will, obviously includes both His perfect will and His permissive will, and both are being used in positive and negative senses as a means of obtaining to a future will...even to the obtaining of that final goal of His ultimate will. We could also refer to this present, perfect will of God as a proximate will, or a fixed will, which in its ultimate intent and purposes remains always the same. It remains the same until all His interim will in creation is fulfilled and God's perfect will is found complete in all things.
We have been looking at the term "will" as it applies to God Almighty in past, present and future aspects of His creation of man. It is evident that what man refers to as God's will, involves a progressive process and divine working of deliberate action on the part of the Creator. In these actions, he is sovereignly carrying out all His intentions...which intentions are aimed towards a final, inevitable, predetermined purpose. This is His decreed will. This many faceted will, is being dispensed to the creation, in transitory stages of heavenly and earthly manifestations by the superior will of our Creator.
Even before the beginning of His universal creation, the Lord exercised His primary will making a deliberate predetermined choice, both through, and in the agency of His supreme volition. He foreordained how all things were to be, even to the final consummation of this creation. Now, during the interim dispensation of the ages, this divine will or volition, is the personally controlled faculty in which the Holy Spirit in a supreme connation, is sovereignly acting as His active will. He is carrying out the Lord's transitory desire to an unlimited, unrestricted, absolutely perfect fulfillment.
In the finitude of His plan, God has a past, present and future will. The perfect will and its goal never change in their absolute sense (Heb.12:5), but the events, variables, and circumstances of/in the finite creation...within the time span and working of that will...do constantly change.
God's highest overall will, past, present and future, is---that man's own lower will and its nature, eventually be voluntarily willing to conform to the total righteousness, understanding and higher purposes of his God of love. In the meantime, to achieve the fulfillment of this most high will, God in His yet unfulfilled portion of will, is purposely permitting all apparently opposing wills to function autonomously. The right of self government is apparent at all levels. Yet, it is actually only to the extent that the Lord in His omniscient wisdom, for a time chooses to tolerate, and many times will use it further to His eternal glory.
In light of all this, it has to be God's present will...that the carnal mind for the most part, currently be in opposition and at least partially ignorant and oblivious to God's already revealed future will. It is the present intention of God, in His plan of an interim permissive will, for man to live in temporary enmity to God's highest, yet for the most part, purposely concealed will. This remains so, until man is sovereignly given of God, first to desire, then to finally experience through the salvation process, all the intentions and the inevitable blessed results of His ultimate will...which is also a part of His eternal will. This comes to every man, and all shall be vivified in the divine timing of God's own order - 1Cor.15:22.
The Mechanics Of God's Will
It is not necessary for the Lord to be "willing" in order for Him to permit or allow something. Nor does He personally always have to be willing in order to cause it. "Will", "permit", "allow" or "cause" do not always have the same sense of meaning and usage. Consider the following illustration.
In like manner to my heavenly Father, I as an influential father, give my young children a certain limited amount of leeway to make their own personal choices and decisions. I often allow them to carry these decisions out, at times knowing from experience, that they will not always have positive consequences. This is likened unto the Lord granting a limited free will to his children. I don't actually will my children to disobey my set rules and regulations [compare this to spiritual laws of life and death], nor do I will them to break any laws of the land. Neither do I cause them to exercise disobedience or sin. But yet, in this concept of free reign, I am still permitting or allowing them to do right or wrong. This is how I will to do it.
Some times however, at my discretion, I do restrict or limit them. In all of this, my control is not always an absolute influence nor factor in every moment and in every personal act in their growth. Though in important things it is. Because I am their father, I retain the sovereign right to train them unto maturity accordingly as I will. So I see it also this way with our heavenly Father. The same principles of this concept apply in His heavenly household here on earth.
Because I love my children dearly, I choose [like our heavenly Father] to tolerate their wrongs to a certain extent of my own choosing...while they through it all are learning that which is righteous]. I like our heavenly Father, have different methods of dealing with them to correct their mistakes. The chastisement part is done in love, whether the little child can comprehend that at the time or not. Of course, our Father's methods are always ultimately be found perfect, whereas my methods may be far from it.
What I am basically saying is this, and it is a paradox of sorts. It is not from carnal mans limited viewpoint, our Father's own perfect will, nor is it really and truly at all times the child's own will that leads to disobedience or trouble. Nor did God personally cause it. But, as it was even in the case of the first man Adam, He does allow it and tolerate it to a limited extent. It is purposed and allowed as an integral part of His own all-wise sovereign will and His own methods in bringing us to maturity.
Without the parent or guardian's influence at various stages of their children's growth, much would be lacking in their development. All this interplay works within the scope of His own higher will. So it is with our "Father of spirits" (Heb.12:9), "the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh." Jer.32:27. Over all things, our mighty Lord God omnipotent truly reigns.
God's Will Overall
Beloved, just as we now have a personal spirit and a permissive will in the earth which can produce both positive and negative results, so also does our Almighty God. The big difference is, His motives and actions are always just and clothed in love and correction. They are working for the good of the creation, though often in our natural minds we may not comprehend how this could be. Nevertheless, let us as God's new creation children, stand firm on His word that all things, either positive or negative, are working together in a humanly incomprehensible harmony as divine agents of the Almighty's will. He is now making known unto His firstfruit church, the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself.
This working of all things after the counsel of His own will, shall in the fullness of the ages, find all things united together in complete and perfect union - Eph. chpter. 1. The original will of a salvation for all men and a glorious universal reconciliation of all created things, shall ultimately redound to the sovereignty and power of God's will alone. How truly deserving He shall be of all praise and glory and honour and power - Rev.4:11; 19:1.
We have seen how that God is the source of all will, divine and human. This is according to His own plan--His own will. Out of Him it sprang forth. Through Him all human will continues to exist, even if it be in the present glory of self. Ending in Him, all will magnify the worthy power and honour of His glorious Self - Ro.11:36. All volition shall be found to be subservient only to the advancement and accomplishment of the glorious purposes of God's divine decretive will.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the alpha and the omega of the entire will of God. He is the same yesterday, today and forever in His love toward mankind. He is God's peace on earth and good will toward men. He who has been highly exalted in a name and nature above every nature, has promised, "I...will draw [Grk."drag"] all men unto me." Jn.12:32. "I make all things new." Rev.21:5. "And He said unto me, write: for these words are true and faithful." Rev.20:5. It is guaranteed in His word and in the irreversible sovereignty and nature of His redemptive will.
The spirit of the word asks emphatically, "Who hath resisted His will?" Ro.9:19. "Who shall not fear Thee and glorify Thy Name?" Rev.15:4. Only the truth can answer back in joyous proclamation. Not one! No, not one! The purpose of His sovereign will cannot be frustrated. Justice, love, mercy and judgment will dance together in an embrace of love, rejoicing evermore at having fulfilled their perfect part in the triumphant victory of the Almighty's will.
"And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye His servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great." Rev.19:5. "Praise the Lord from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: Fire and hail; snow; and vapours; stormy wind [Spirit] fulfilling His word." Psa.148:6-8. Shout "Hallelujah: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth." Rev.19:6. "Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord." Psa.150:6.
Listen! Hearken to the sound! Other voices are beginning to fill the heavens in glorious adoration proclaiming, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty.." The firstfruit saints fall willingly before Him, casting down the crowing will of their former self-serving glory, shouting, "Thou are worthy O lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou has created all things, and for thy pleasure, they are and were created." Rev.4:8-11. Slowly but surely, the whole of creation begins to burst forth in a wilful majestic harmony of adoring praise and worship, singing and shouting in a blending of voices, like that of many waters:
'Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive [thanks for the sovereigntyof His] power, and [spiritual] riches, and wisdom, and strength,
and honour, and glory, and blessing.
which is IN HEAVEN,
and ON THE EARTH,
and UNDER THE EARTH, and
such as are IN THE SEE, AND ALL THAT ARE IN THEM
saying blessing, and honour and glory and power, be unto Him
upon the throne [even the ruler ship of His sovereign will
in the throne of all men's hearts], and unto the Lamb
ever and ever."
Rev.5:12,13. "..ALL DOMINIONS SHALL SERVE AND OBEY HIM." Dan.7:27.
K. Ross McKay