19th March 2019

God’s Will

“This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
1 Timothy 2:3-4 (NIVUK)

God’s power and the working out of God’s will in the world are often misunderstood and thought of in human terms. Too often humans use power to dominate and impose their will on others, and to humanity at large the power of the cross is an alien and foolish concept. The secular idea of power can have a pervasive influence on Christians, leading to a flawed interpretation of scripture and the gospel message. Reading scriptures such as the one above, some have concluded that since God is almighty and since he wills all to be saved, it must follow that his will must dominate and eventually prevail and that all will be saved—that there is universal salvation.

Although God is almighty, his power and will need to be understood in the context of his self-imposed limits. From Genesis to Revelation, from Adam and Eve to the final judgment, there is a theme that runs through the Bible which reveals God’s will to save but also humanity’s God-given freedom to resist that will. From the very beginning humanity was presented with choices whether to accept or reject what God desires. God revealed his will to Adam and Eve when he said, “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:16-17), but the ‘fall’ occurred because they had the freedom to say ‘no’ to his command and do their own thing. Humanity has been living with the consequences of that choice ever since. At the time of Moses, Israel was encouraged to comply with God’s will, but the choice was theirs: “This day I call Heaven and earth to record against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). At the time of Joshua, Israel was presented with another free choice: “if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…” (Joshua 24:15).

These choices are still relevant today and humanity can choose to go its own way, follow its own gods and to choose or reject eternal life with God—he does not insist on compliance. It pleases God, it is God’s will, that all people be saved, but nobody will be forced to accept his offer. We are given the freedom to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to God’s will. The affirmation that salvation is universally accessible through Jesus Christ is not universalism. This idea also negates the concept that God predestines some to salvation and others to condemnation. The Gospel is good news for ALL.

Prayer
Father, we pray that all of humanity will come to understand and accept the free offer of salvation that comes through accepting Jesus Christ as Saviour. The gospel is good news for all.
Amen

Study by Eddie Marsh

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About the Author:
Eddie Marsh attends Grace Communion International in Sheffield.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Sheffield
The Source Training & Conference Centre
300 Meadowhall Way
Sheffield
S9 1EA

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Email: sheffield@gracecom.org.uk

 

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