“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4 KJV).
The next two studies will feature several observations from an author who addresses an important subject: the will of God…
“…The Bible is deeply concerned about the will of God—His sovereign authority over His creation and everything in it. When we speak about God’s will we do so in at least three different ways.
The broader concept is known as God’s decretive, sovereign, or hidden will. By this, theologians refer to the will of God by which He sovereignly ordains everything that comes to pass. Because God is sovereign and His will can never be frustrated, we can be sure that nothing happens over which He is not in control. He at least must ‘permit’ whatever happens to happen.
Yet even when God passively permits things to happen, He chooses to permit them in that He always has the power and right to intervene and prevent the actions and events of this world. Insofar as He lets things happen, He has ‘willed’ them in this certain sense.
Though God’s sovereign will is often hidden from us until after it comes to pass, there is one aspect of His will that is plain to us—His preceptive will. Here God reveals His will through His holy law.
For example, it is the will of God that we do not steal; that we love our enemies; that we repent; that we be holy. This aspect of God’s will is revealed in His Word as well as in our conscience, by which God has written His moral law upon our heart. His laws, whether they be found in the Scripture or in the heart, are binding. We have no authority to violate this will. We have the power or the ability to thwart the preceptive will of God, though never the right to do so.
Nor can we excuse ourselves for sinning by saying, ‘Que sera, sera.’ It may be God’s sovereign or hidden will that we be ‘permitted’ to sin, as He brings His sovereign will to pass even through and by means of the sinful acts of people. God ordained that Jesus be betrayed by the instrument of Judas’s treachery. Yet this makes Judas’s sin no less evil or treacherous.
When God ‘permits’ us to break His preceptive will, it is not to be understood as permission in the moral sense of His granting us a moral right. His permission gives us the power, but not the right to sin…”
(1) Sproul, R. C. (1992). Essential truths of the Christian faith. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House. Pages 42-43.