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The bible says “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4)

I’m wrestling with this: Is God’s will always accomplished? If it is, then Hell will be empty. If it isn’t, then that limits God.

Someone help!

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15 thoughts on “Does God always get what He wants?

  1. One explanation is there is a difference between God’s decretive will (what happens) and his desire (what He wishes but knows because of sin can’t happen). That would explain why people are in hell. The other explanation (preferable) is that the phrase “all men” refers to all types of men: Jews, Gentiles, etc. It’s clear that God’s will includes evil acts, yet He doesn’t cause evil. That is really a harder problem. In the end, all He wills comes to pass. And we are responsible. And He isn’t the author of sin. I believe this will only make sense when we enter eternity and dimensions beyond the four we are aquanted with experientially!

  2. Amazing Grace

    I would like to share a testimony with you, I was asked to preach in a Dorset village called Lychett Maltravers. I had never been there before so I decided to visit the church the day before I was scheduled to preach. I found the church down a very narrow lane, I prayed to the Lord and said, “Lord, what word do you want me to preach to these people.” He told me in my mind to enter the church. On entering the church I met the cleaner, who told me that I was welcome to have a look around. I walked over to the pulpit and noticed the communion rail, then the Lord began to speak to me again and said, “You see this communion rail,” I replied, “Yes, Lord.” “Well, when you preach tomorrow, you must tell the people that many times in the past they have come to the communion rail to receive the bread and the wine, but this time they must come to receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour, publicly, for where two or three are gathered together in my name there I am in the midst,” saith the Lord.

    Well, the following day I did as the Lord had said, I began to preach my sermon, then I remembered what the Lord had said, so I told them that Jesus is standing by this communion rail, and as they had received the bread and the wine in the past, today, they were to receive Jesus, fully into their lives. I stood to one side of the rail, and we all began to sing Amazing Grace ! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see. Then one lady who had been attending that church for many years came to the front and knelt down, and gave her life fully to Jesus. Praise God. It reminds me of a scripture, where Jesus said, “ I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance,” {St Luke 15 v 7}.

    Now, for those who did not receive Jesus that day, they became very troubled. I received a letter from one of the Elders who could not understand how I could of heard Jesus speaking to me. He said, “Who do you think that you are? God doesn’t speak,” Obviously he was not listening to God’s word; I perceived that he to needed to come to Jesus. Another gentleman came to my home, and he was very troubled as well, he said, “Now that this lady is saved, how are you going to disciple her? For we are not going to.” Well, I thought to myself, it is Jesus who saves, and it is Jesus who keeps us, for Jesus said, “That it is He who has begun a good work in us and it is He who will finish it.” So I guess that this gentleman needed to receive Jesus as well. Maybe many others in that church should have responded to the altar call that day; my prayer is that they don’t leave it too late. But as for me, I’m going to rejoice with the angels in heaven over that one soul that was saved. Praise God.

    Oh Jesus, Lord and Saviour, I give myself to Thee; For thou, in Thine atonement,
    Didst give thyself for me; I own no other Master, My heart shall be Thy throne,
    My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.

  3. Rest in Christ. We must labour as the Bible says to rest in Christ. The easiest thing to do is to strive by creating our own good works, but if we do we will become so frustrated because we will simply get no where in our service for God. You see our Lord has finished all the works which He has appointed for us to do from the very beginning when He created this world. On the seventh day He rested from all His work which He had created and made “It was finished.” Now that we have accepted Jesus as the Lord and Saviour of our lives, we have entered into His rest, for on that cross at Calvary, everything was provided for us, and Jesus cried, “It is finished.”

    Hebrews 4:9-11. “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God for he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

    To remain in our Lord’s rest we now labour to do nothing in our own wisdom, we must just rest in God and let Him guide us into all the good works which He has prepared for us to do. The people of Israel in the wilderness had the Word of God just like us, but it was not mixed with faith. They refused to rest in God’s provision, they continued to disbelieve that God could take care of them. Our Lord promised to feed them, clothe them, heal and save them from all their enemies, yet, they provoked God by their blatant unbelief, in other words they refused to rest in God and let God guide them through the wilderness.

    Now we have entered by Christ Jesus into His rest when we accepted Him as Lord and Saviour, and we are to trust Him for all our needs. We must let Christ guide us through this life, not by a fire by night and a cloud by day like the children of Israel, but by His Holy Spirit. For if we let the Holy Ghost teach us, then He will guide us into all truth. You see, God does not want us to worry about anything, for it is God’s good pleasure to supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

    Our Lord just wants to take care of us, for all these things which He has promised in His Word for us already exists, being created in the beginning by Him. So let us just seek peace which is in Christ and pursue it. It really couldn’t be any easier for us, if we only rest in Him. The children of Israel could not enter into the promised land, where God had prepared an unimaginable life of many blessings, which were there for them, because of there unbelief.

    Let us not fail to receive God’s blessings which He has for us, by striving and impatience instead, let us have faith, hope, patience and then we will surely have the peace of God which passes all understanding, by resting in Christ.

    Reading Ephesians 2:10

    “Buried with Christ, and raised with Him to; what is there left for me to do,
    Simply to cease from struggling and strife; Simply to walk in the newness of life.”

  4. I believe that it is clear that there are two wills in God. One will is that which God desires, and the other which God decrees, or allows to come to pass. For example: Christ’s death. In one sense, the death of Christ was a terrible thing, and God did not desire it. In another sense, God obviously allowed it; even decreed and desired it. “It pleased the father…”

    For a thorough explanation of the topic, which has been very helpful to my own understanding, I would recommend reading the essay: Are There
    “Two Wills in God? Divine Election and God’s Desire for All to be Saved” by John Piper. It can be found here:
    http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Articles/ByDate/1995/1580_Are_There_Two_Wills_in_God/

  5. Yes, He does will that none would perish but all would have eternal life. I agree with the above comment about the difference between His will as in His desire, and His will as in His plan/purpose/directing of events.

    We were created with a free will – we are able to do whatever we choose. We can choose to serve Him or we can choose to serve ourselves. Serving Him in Truth takes more effort than most realize because it requires us to be holy as He is holy and it requires that we forsake what our natural self longs for. We need to submit our wills to His will, but that doesn’t mean that we’re puppets on a string. We’re still in control of what we do, how we behave, what we entertain, etc.

    Hell was created for HaSatan and those fallen angels who serve him. It was not intended for man. But with our free will we can land ourselves there by living in unrighteousness, contrary to His commands.

    Yes, His will is always accomplished in that He is the Creator of the Universe and He is soverign. But we don’t always live out His instructions according to His desire.

  6. I thought of this post last night as we were reading through Ezekiel. Let me quote a small passage for you here:

    Ezekiel 18:21-23
    “However, if the wicked person repents of all the sins he committed, keeps my laws and does what is lawful and right; then he will certainly live, he will not die. None of the transgressions he has committed will be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done, he will live.. Do I take pleasure at all in having the wicked person die?” asks Adonai ELOHIM. “Wouldn’t I prefer that he turn from his ways and live?”

    Then I’ll fast forward to where He shares His heart, His desire, for all of His children in verses 29-32.
    “Yet the house if Isra’el says, ‘ADONAI’s way isn’t fair.’ House of Isra’el, is it my ways that are unfair, or your ways that are unfair? Therefore, house of Isra’el, I will judge each of you according to his ways, ” says Adonai ELOHIM. “Repent, and turn yourselves away from all your transgressions, so that they will not be a stumbling block that brings guilt upon you. Throw far away from yourselves all your crimes that you committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit; for why should you die, house of Isra’el? I take no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” says Adonai ELOHIM, “so turn yourselves around, and live!”

    I believe that the Apostolic Writer had this very passage in mind when he penned, “He wills that none would perish but all would find eternal life.” He wishes that all of us would obey His Word, do His will and live in holiness and pursuit of righteousness (though ours is as filthy rags and we are abundantly blessed to, through no merit of our own, be covered by the righteousness of the Messiah). How He longs for each of us to walk in His ways, yet He is sovereign and He has given us each the opportunity to obey or not. He is just.

    Anyway, I thought of your blog entry when we were reading last night. I thought I’d share, for what it’s worth.

    Blessings ~

  7. That is the logical concluson: that He chooses not to save all. The clearest book I ever read on the topic is “Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God” by JI Packer. “The Death of Death in the Death of Christ” by puritan John Owen is a classic.

  8. and the logical conclusion from that is that He chooses that some are destined for Hell. This is a very erroneous view of the character of God. I am familiar with John Owen but I prefer what the apostle Peter has to say about the matter when he states that “[He] is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9)

  9. I think there is a nuance between saying God predestines some for hell instead of not electing all to be saved. I’m not sure what it is, but it feels like it to me. Also, I’d be careful to call something erroneous that many theologians believe is true. Who knows what the ultimate truth is in matters that are so divisive? We really won’t know the truth til heaven. Frankly, I think it will all make sense when we transcend our four dimensions in eternity. We simply can’t comprehend things that seem logically contradictory (God’s will and desire; our responsibilty and God’s sovereignty…).

  10. I would recommend finding the passages that concern you in their original language and doing some word studies. A lot is lost in translation from language to language. Then look for those hard to digest words as they are used in other instances to get a better understanding as to their fuller intent.

    He does not want any to perish but remember we have free will and choose to worship and obey Him or not. Adam and Eve had the same options that we do today. Many of us choose not to do things His way, so we will perish. This is not what He wants for us. Just like He hardened Pharaoh’s heart – it wasn’t that He made Pharaoh do anything he wasn’t already resolved to do, He just strengthened his resolve to do what was already in his own heart to do. He allows us the same opportunities.

    He knows the beginning from the end and He knows who will choose Him and who will not. None of us are forced to serve Him, but He will compel some more than others. He is sovereign. There are those who are chosen for His service before their birth and whether or not that means that He makes it impossible for them to do anything else or that His call in their lives is harder to ignore, I am not fully sure. I tend to believe the latter though.

    When we have a sense of uncertainty it is not the safest idea to simply rely on church doctrine or theology as the final answer. There is a reason something is bothering you and won’t settle. Search it out, don’t let it go with the cop-out that “This is what those studied guys believe so I’ll believe it too.” The Reformation came for a reason and it continues today. We must continue to reform our understanding and theology when we continually test everything against the whole of the Scriptures. Scripture tells us that if we seek Him with our whole being that we will find Him and that the Spirit will guide us to all truth. Seek Him, ask Him for His wisdom. He’s not so mysterious…

  11. I forgot to respond to one of the comments you left:
    So, could God save all if He so desired?

    He doesn’t because He is Just and Righteous. He will not give the rewards promised to the righteous (righteous being right standing with Him) to those who are not righteous. Our righteousness is as filthy rags but we are covered by the righteousness of our Messiah if we follow Him and come under His Headship. Those who choose another path are not entitled to the rewards reserved for the righteous (covered).

    In Deuteronomy, Moses lines the people up and reminds them of the whole of the Torah and G-d instructs the people through Moses that there are blessings for obedience as well as there are curses for disobedience. The same is true for us – if we are grafted into the lineage of Abraham then it is as if we were standing at Mt Sinai or here at the end of Moses’ life with the rest of the people there. If we come under the Headship of the Creator of the Universe and live according to His Word then we are covered with the righteousness extended to us by His Son. There are many who choose to do otherwise, they do not receive the blessings that comes from obedience and trust.

    To extend the blessings and rewards set aside for the righteous (covered) to the unrighteous (non-covered) would be invalidating Who He Is. That is something He cannot do. Not one stroke of the pen will pass away…

    If you are a parent you understand. You tell your child not to eat the cookies on the counter that are reserved for something special. You give firm and direct instructions and they understand that there is punishment for their disobedience. If your child chooses to obey, will you ignore it and give them a cookie after dinner, or will you discipline them as was earlier explained and they forgo the cookie after dinner?

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