God’s Decretive WillMay 20, 2015 at 1:41 pm | Posted in Where There's a Way There's a Will | 10 Comments
Tags: Acts 4, commentary on Acts, God's absolute will, God's omnipotence, human agency, sovereignty of God, Sunday School lessons on Acts, will of God
There are two main ways to think about the will of God. One is to think about His will in general. What is He doing? What is He accomplishing with His existence? The other, more common way, is to think, “What is His will for my life?” I would like to offer some ways in which we can think about God’s will systematically.
The first of these falls under the heading: God’s Decretive Will (His will of decree), meaning what He has decreed or commanded to come to pass. Or, to put it another way, what He has ordered, or spoken into existence. This is sometimes called His absolute sovereign will. This is how we think about God’s will in the sense that it can not be resisted. For example:
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
God’s decretive will can not be resisted, much less overcome. Other examples of this kind of exercise of God’s will would be: the speaking into existence of all of creation; the manna falling from Heaven; and the unredeemed and Satan being cast into the lake of fire at the final judgment; just to name a few.
God’s decretive will often acts through the means of human agency, and sometimes completely overrules human choices. In Acts Chapter 4 Peter and John healed a lame man, and ended up being brought before the council. The authorities could not deny the divine healing, nor even the truth of their message, but they threatened them to stop preaching, to which they responded that they could not. They had to obey God even if the government said it was illegal. Then they went back and reported to the other disciples what God had done, and here is what they said:
And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:
God did the acts ascribed to Him in Verse 24 by His decretive will.
Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
The people who instigated and demanded Jesus’s execution were furious at Him for claiming to be God.
The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
The people in charge summoned all their authority and effort. The Jewish leaders and Roman authorities worked together for one evil, united purpose.
For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
But, despite their total assumption of the control they wielded, they ended up doing exactly what God wanted done.