There is a common notion that God is up in Heaven, helpless and dependant on the so-called ‘free will’ of man. We hope that we in our last few posts have helped shed light on the fact that man’s will is not free. It is slave to sin and the passions of the flesh (Ephesians 2:3). One’s spirit is dead in trespasses (Ephesians 2:1) until God graciously makes it alive (Ephesians 2:4-5). The Bible presents God as sovereign and working ALL things according to the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11) and what hope we can have in this!
But what about verses like 1 Timothy 2:3-4?
In looking at verses that describe the nature of God, we must be, and desire to be careful; approaching them and ultimately God with reverence.
1 Timothy 2:4: “…God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Looking at the cross references, we also learn that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23, 32). So the question is raised, “If salvation depends not on the will of man, but upon God — who desires all people to be saved — why doesn’t He save everyone?”. I’m not God, but I do believe He has graciously given us the answer to this in His Word: Romans 9:22-23: “What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory…”. Here we are presented with twin truths; God is merciful, loving and compassionate toward sinners, but He is also just, righteous and angry at sinners (Psalm 5:4-6). He has two wills:
1. A ‘will of desire’ or His ‘revealed will’ — He does not enjoy sending sinners to Hell.
2. His eternal purpose, or ‘secret will’ — which is ultimately to make known His glorious mercy.
It is only because of the wrath of God that the grace of God is so beautiful. “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” — Matthew 10:28