Saturday, May 4, 2013
P2 of 3 Understanding God's Ultimate Will Specifically
Deuteronomy 29:29-30:1,5 29:29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law." 30:1 “So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the Lord your God has banished you." 30:5 "The Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers."
God's Will in the Bible
Yesterday we discussed in general God's Ultimate Will. In defining the term "will" itself, we discover in the Bible that God's will is Him being both passionate and planning through how He would execute His Sovereign purposes - both saving and eternal. As we began to consider the various aspects of God's will, we covered the idea of God's ultimate will, which we defined as follows:
God's Ultimate Will = God's Overall or Sovereign Will that covers all creation, redemption and eternity. No one can be outside the Ultimate Will of God, since His Ultimate Will covers all things.
The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 has this to say about God's Ultimate or Sovereign will: "God is all powerful and all knowing; and His perfect knowledge extends to all things, past, present, and future, including the future decisions of His free creatures."
Having looked at God's ultimate will in general, today I want us to consider His ultimate will in particular. We will be considering the aspects of His will that are included in His ultimate will: God's Unrevealed, Revealed and Permissive Wills.
God's will has important distinctions
In Deuteronomy 29 and 30 we see Moses laying out the prophetic future for Israel. If we work our way back from Deuteronomy 30, we will see some necessary categories for understanding God's Will:
God's Ultimate Will (Deuteoronomy 30:3-10) = Again, it is God's Overall or Sovereign Will that covers all creation, redemption and eternity. No one can be outside the Ultimate Will of God, since His Ultimate Will covers all things.1 When God says in Deuteronomy 30:5 of how He "will bring" Israel into the land, He is stating that future event by His Ultimate Will.
God's Unrevealed Will (Deuteronomy 29:29a) = Moses writes: "The secret things belong to the Lord". God unrevealed will is what God
only knows and has not revealed to any creature. This would
include such areas as what will happen tomorrow and the day
and hour of Christ's second coming. This is called by some
theologians God's Decretive Will, since He decrees things for
reasons only known to Himself.
God's Revealed Will (Deuteronomy 29:29b) = Moses writes again in Deuteronomy 29:29b "the revealed things belong to us and our sons forever." What God has revealed to people through the Bible for their responsibility and salvation. Though people can never be outside God's Sovereign will, they can violate His revealed will in the Bible and thus be outside the moral will of God. If we can picture God's revealed will as a car and His Ultimate will as a garage. While in the car I am protected and can go places. However when I get out of my car, I am still in the garage. Whenever you and I disobey God, though we may go outside His morally revealed will (the car), we cannot escape His Ultimate Will (the big garage), which includes His willing to permit trials to correct us so that we will repent and get back into His known revealed will of scripture. (Hebrews 12:5-6) Some theologians term this God's "preceptive will",
meaning that by the "precepts" or "teachings of revealed
scripture", man can know God's morally revealed will for their
God's Permissive Will (Deuteronomy 28:1-29:28; 30:1-2) =
God wills to permit both good and evil to accomplish His ultimate
will, to accomplish His saving purposes and grant space for
responsible creatures (humans) to repent in response to His
drawing grace or reject him freely. Thus for example, God willed
to permit evil men to crucify the Lord Jesus as part of His
Ultimate will in which He and the Son decreed and agreed to
accomplish salvation. (Acts 2:23-24) God permits what He declares evil in His
revealed will to accomplish His Ultimate will, even though He
has not revealed in detail why He wills to permits certain things
(like evil, suffering, disease). I often will use a little phrase to
summarize this: God permits what He hates in order to
accomplish the Good He intends. (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28)
In using the above designations, we can navigate our little boats of understanding through the vast sea of God's will. As you may have noticed, we placed God's unrevealed, revealed and permissive wills underneath His Ultimate Will to convey how God orchestrates all things by means of the other aspects of His will.
In tomorrow's blogpost we will list out some implications of this understanding of God's Ultimate Will and its aspects of Unrevealed, Revealed and Permissive Wills.
1. Wayne Grudem in his Systematic Theology, mentions the following references to what we are discussing concerning God's Ultimate Will (which he terms "God's Will in General"):
-Ephesians 1:11 "who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of His Will", also Ephesians 1:10,23; 3:9; 4:10; Col 1:16.
-Revelation 4:11 "For you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created"
-Acts 4:27-28 ..."to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place."