“God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfil his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ – everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.” (Ephesians 1v9-11).
These verses tell us about the counsel of God’s Will (Ephesians 1v11). God’s Will is inextricably linked with the future and Things to Come. The future has us naturally wonder what are God God’s Purposes and Will? What are His decrees and how is Jesus interacting with us now?
1. God’s Purposes
What is the reason for creation? (Ephesians 1v3-11; Revelation 4v11). The glory of God – that God will be praised.
a) God’s purposes and plans are in eternity (Psalm 33v11)
b) God’s purposes originate in God’s wisdom and holiness.
c) God is free to do anything in accordance with His character. He cannot do anything contrary to His character.
2. God’s Will
Directive Will – Things God determines to come to pass. (Isaiah 14v24)
Permissive Will - Things God allows or permits to occur.
Sin and rebellion (not directive will). God is big enough to grant and cope with the free will He as given humanity.
Sin – God permits sin, but is not the author of sin. God made man with a free will, allowing for the possibility of sin. Although sin and corruption entered the world with great human loss, and the resulting death on the Cross: God thought freedom of will was worth giving to us. It is to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1)
Salvation – Election – God chooses individuals to fulfil His purposes (Romans 9). God chooses those who are/will be saved (John 15v16). These are the chosen ones or the elect. However, it is not His will that any should perish (2 Peter 3v9), it is His will all men should be saved (1 Timothy2v3-4).
We need to accept both these statements as equally and absolutely true. When we use words about God with a time element such as ‘chose’, ‘elect’, we need to use these in God’s infinite time framework (timelessness), not in our human finite time framework.
Preservation – Doctrine of Continuance
God maintains the existence of all He has made. God has created but not left the universe while He watches from a distance. This thinking is erroneous because it stipulates that God rules only by natural laws and simply observes its progress. However, the Bible tells us that God is actively involved in sustaining creation. For without His involvement, the universe would cease to exist. He does this in two ways.
Continuous Creation – God maintains the universe by continual creation.
Concurrence – God co-operates with all subordinate powers. Men retain their natural powers and exercise them but without God’s concurrence, no force or person can continue to exist or act. (Colossians 1v17; Acts 17v28; Hebrews 1v2-3)
Particular Names Of God reflect His Purposes and Will
Jehovah Jireh – (Genesis 22v14) – The Lord will provide
Jehovah Tsidkenu – (Jeremiah 33v16) – The Lord our righteousness
Jehovah Nissi – (Exodus 17) - The Lord is our banner / leader
Jehovah Shalom – (Judges 6v24) – The Lord is our peace
Jehovah Rapha – (Exodus 15) - The Lord is our healer
Jehovah Rohi (Psalm 23) – The Lord is our Shepherd
Sovereignty of God or His decrees.
The sovereignty of God dictates that God is in control at all times and nothing can occur outside of His control and will. God is not impersonal and He is involved with all creation. God loves His creation and cares for it. He has created all humans with the power to make decisions by them self. God wont deny our humanity when He deals with us. He speaks to our minds though the Bible and seeks us to respond to him with love and affection.
Sovereign decree: When God says “Eternal life is available for all. You may choose to accept or reject it. Those that accept it, I will call my children.” Our reaction as Christian Disciples should be to trust and obey.
Conditional decree: When God says “I am willing to give you my opinion and help when you ask.” Our reaction as Christian Disciples should be read the Bible, to pray and talk with God.
Natural decree: When God has created a lemon tree, that lemon tree won’t produce potatoes.” Our reaction as Christian Disciples should be to plan ahead knowing the way the natural laws work..
How does Jesus interact with Christian Disciples?
Jesus interacts with us by faith in four ways: caring, praying, coming and helping.
Jesus cares and is concerned for us We all go through storms and troubles. When we find ourselves in these situations, we have four assurances about Jesus as Christian Disciples.
By faith – He is praying for us Jesus Christ is making intercessions for Christian Disciples (Romans 8:34). He knew the disciples troubles (Mark 6:48), just as He knows our troubles now. He feels our cares and knows what we are going through (Hebrews 4:14-16).
By faith – He will come to us Ever felt like God is far away? Well you aren’t alone! King David often felt God was far away and unconcerned. However he also knew God would ultimately rescue him. Paul, the great Apostle, also felt “burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life” 2 Cor 1:8 Jesus always comes to us through difficult times, although He may not come in the time we think He should come, because He knows when we need Him most.
By faith – He will help us to grow Take the example of when the disciples were in the storm and Jesus came to them walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33). The purpose of this incident was that Jesus would be leaving them soon, so they had to learn to trust in Him when He wasn’t physically present. Perhaps this is what he was thinking of when he later wrote in his letter “for the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers” (1 Peter 3v12). This all helped Peter to grow in the knowledge of the Lord
By faith, He will see us through
Jesus said “Come” and Peter went with Him and walked to the ship. The other disciples must have encouraged by this. Seeing Jesus’ power they worshipped him. Whatever troubles we are undergoing are temporary, and Jesus, for His praise and glory, will see us through.
For more to think about please do ask your self the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.
Q1. Read Colossians 1v15-20. How can I deepen my relationship with Jesus knowing these things about Him?
Q2. Read Acts 17v24-28. How is God reaching the nations through me?
Q3. How does knowing about God’s Purposes and Will affect my life as a Christian Disciple?
As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk. Thank you.