The Will of Man and the Will of God (Part II)

The Will of Man and the Will of God

Part Two

By Curt Wildy

Return to Part One

Introduction To Part Two

In Part One we addressed the fact that (a) the word will refers that aspect or faculty of a being wherein they determine, resolve, intend, desire, purpose, take counsel, or have a mind towards something and (b) that the will of man is centered, or seated, in the metaphorical heart according to both the Hebrew and Greek words used. If the will derives from the heart, then the will must be patterned after the heart. Said another way, if the heart is right, the will will be right; but if the heart is evil, the will will be evil. A good will cannot come from an evil heart, nor can an evil will come from a good heart. Consider,

Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

Knowing that “[there is] none good but one, [that is], God (Mark 10:18),” we must affirm that Christ alone, through the Holy Spirit, is the Good Man (John 10:11, 14) who, out of the good treasure of His heart, bringeth forth that which is good in our lives. This ties-in with Philippians 2:13 “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.”

We must also affirm that all men by nature, including all Christians, bring forth evil fruit by nature in and of themselves. All good is of God, all sin is of the natural self. If all good is from God, then a good heart must come from God. If a good heart comes from God, a good will must come from God also.

The State Of The Natural Heart = The State Of Man By Nature

Please consider the following verses pertaining to the state of natural man. There are many verses listed here, but this is by design. I want to paint a clear picture concerning God’s declarations on the natural heart of man.

Genesis 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually.

Genesis 8:21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart [is] evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

Proverbs 28:26 He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool:but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.

Ecclesiastes 9:3 This [is] an evil among all [things] that are done under the sun, that [there is] one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness [is] in their heart while they live, and after that [they go] to the dead.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Matthew 15:17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are [the things] which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Mark 7:18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, [it] cannot defile him; 19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? 20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Job 15:14 What [is] man, that he should be clean? and [he which is] born of a woman, that he should be righteous? 15 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. 16 How much more abominable and filthy [is] man, which drinketh iniquity like water?

Psalm 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, [there is] none that doeth good. 2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, [and] seek God. 3 They are all gone aside, they are [all] together become filthy: [there is] none that doeth good, no, not one.

Psalm 53:1 The fool hath said in his heart, [There is] no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: [there is] none that doeth good. 2 God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were [any] that did understand, that did seek God. 3 Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; [there is] none that doeth good, no, not one.

Romans 3:9 What then? are we better [than they]? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat [is] an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps [is] under their lips: 14 Whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet [are] swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery [are] in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 7 And [there is] none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed [it] unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:

The above verses should more than suffice to show that the natural heart of man, and thus man himself, is desperately wicked, totally depraved, and thoroughly full of sin. As stated above, if the heart is in this sorrowful condition, then the will must be as well. Thus the will of all mankind is fallen and corrupted. The natural will is at enmity with God and can never walk according to His way.

The State Of The Natural Heart = The State Of The Natural Will

To drive home the point that the will of man is just as vile as the heart from whence it flows, consider the following will verses:

Ephesians 2:1 And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires [G2307 – thelēma – will] of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

1 Peter 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 2 That he no longer should live the rest of [his] time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 3 For the time past of [our] life may suffice us to have wrought the will [G2307 – thelēma] of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: 4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with [them] to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of [you]: 5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

Romans 7:15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would [G2309 – thelō], that do I not; but what I hate , that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would [G2309] not, I consent unto the law that [it is] good. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will [G2309] is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would [G2309] I do not: but the evil which I would [G2309] not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would [G2309] not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would [G2309] do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

In these passages, we see that the will of the flesh and of the mind, and the will of the gentiles, and the will that leads to sinful acts (stemming from indwelling sin), are all synonymous with the will of natural man. Self will, the will of the self (the outer man), is sin. Whenever we want, or will, to do something against God’s law, we are sinning. That is why the Lord Jesus said unto his disciples, “If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me (Matthew 16: 24).” We are to deny our own will and seek to do, and be at one with, the revealed will of God.

How Can A Sinful Will Be Free?

Having established that the natural heart is evil, and that the natural will is evil, can we in any way say that the will of fallen man is free? The answer is clearly, No! If the will is evil, it is not free to do good, but is a slave to evil; it is in bondage to evil. All it can intend or purpose by nature is evil.

The natural will is subject to sin in the world and to sinful self

Romans 16:18 For they that are such serve [douleuo – δουλεύω, G1398 (doul-yoo’-o) are a slave to, are enslaved by, are subservient to, are in bondage to) not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

Philippians 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, [that they are] the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end [is] destruction, whose God [is their] belly, and [whose] glory [is] in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

Titus 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes [G4218 pote, meaning once, formerly, aforetime, at some period of time] foolish, disobedient, deceived [planao – πλανάω, G4105, caused to stray, led astray], serving [douleuo – δουλεύω, G1398; being a slave to; enslaved by; subservient to] divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, [and] hating one another. 4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

The natural will is subject to Satan

2 Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient,5  25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26 And [that] they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

John 6:41 Ye do the deeds of your father… 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? [even] because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.1  45 And because I tell [you] the truth, ye believe me not.

1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

The Will Of All Mankind Is Subject to God

Not only is the fallen will of man a slave to sin by nature, it is also a slave to the will of God. King David said in Psalm 17:13 “Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, [which is] thy sword.” God wields the wicked like a swordsman wields a sword. Just as the sword has no control over itself, the wicked have no control over themselves. Consider the verses pertaining to God’s control over the will and action of mankind, both wicked and righteous.

Revelations 17:17  For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. 18 and the woman that thou didst see is the great city that is having reign over the kings of the land.

Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way [derek; H1870; road, course of life, mode of action] of man [is] not in himself: [it is] not in man that walketh to direct [kuwn (koon); H3559, erect, ordain, fashion, prepare, provide, set up] his steps.

Psalm 37:23 The steps of a [good] man are ordered [Kuwn; H3559, prepared; ordered (pulal)] by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

Psalm 105:25 He turned [haphak, H2015, (haw-fak’); overturn, overthrow, turn about/over/around, to change, transform] their heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants.

Psalm 106:46 He made them also to be pitied of all those that carried them captives.

Exodus 10:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened [Kabad (kaw-bad); H3513; to make heavy, make dull, make unresponsive] his heart [leb; H3820], and the heart [leb; H3820] of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him:

Psalm 119:5 O that my ways were directed [Kuwn (koon); H3559, prepared; arranged, settled, set up, established, fixed (niphal)] to keep thy statutes! 6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.

Proverbs 16:1 The preparations [ma`arak (mah-ar-awk’); H4633; arrangements, putting in order, setting / laying in order] of the heart in man, and the answer [lit. response] of the tongue, [is] from the LORD.

Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart deviseth [chashab (khaw-shab’); H2803; considers, ponders, thinks to do, devises, plans; reckons (Piel form)] his way [derek (deh’- rek); road, course of life, mode of action, treadings, marching forth]: but the LORD directeth [Kuwn (koon); H3559; erects, ordains, fashions, prepares, provides, sets up] his steps.

Proverbs 20:24 Man’s goings [mits‘ad (mits-awd’); H4703; steps] [are] of the LORD; how can a man then understand [biyn (bene); H995; perceive, discern, distinguish) his own way?

Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart [leb, H3820] [is] in the hand of the LORD, [as] the rivers of water: he turneth it [natah (naw-taw’); H5186; stretcheth/spreadeth out; inclines, influences, thrusts aside/away] whithersoever He will.

Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will [thelo; G2309; will, purpose, intend, desire] and to do of [his] good pleasure.

Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalm 110:3 Thy people [shall be] willing in the day of thy power.

True Freewill Found Only In The Sovereign Will Of God

There cannot be more than one being with a free will. How can two separate free and sovereign wills exist; where there is conflict, one would have to be subservient to, or at odds with, the other. The only truly free will is the will of the Triune Godhead, for the will of each Person is precisely the same will as the will of the other Persons of the Godhead. For a will to be free, it must be sovereign. It must be unhindered, unencumbered, unrestrained, and independent. The only limitation one can place upon the will of God, if you want to call it a limitation, is the fact that God can only operate in keeping with His holy, perfect, just, and righteous nature. Those who would make the will of God dependent upon the will of man, seek to strip Him of His sovereignty and of His liberty to do as He pleases with the sons and daughters of men. In light of all that has been said in this study, for anyone to think that God would forfeit any aspect of His sovereignty and freedom of will to make it subservient to, or reliant upon, the will of man is the height of arrogance and insanity (why would God make His will dependent upon that which is weak, corrupted, wicked, and enslaved by sin? He wouldn’t and it is absurd to think for a second that He would). The idolatrous false christ of modern (so-called) Christendom may be so foolish and impotent, but not the Lord Jesus Christ of the Bible. The Saviour God of the Christian is “…in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased” (Psalm 115:3) and “Whatsoever the LORD pleased, [that] did He in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places” (Psalm 135:6 ).

Please consider the following:

Isaiah 14:27 For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, [ya‘ats; יעץ H3289 (yaw-ats’); advised, given counsel, counselled, purposed, devised, planned] and who shall disannul [it] [parar; פרר H6565; (paw-rar’); break, violate, frustrate, make ineffectual, make void, defeat]? and his hand [is] stretched out, and who shall turn it back?

Proverbs 16:4 The LORD hath made [pa`al; פָּעַל H6466; (paw-al’); made, worked, done] all [things] for Himself [ma`aneh; מַעֲנֶה H4617; (mah-an-eh’) 1. a reply (favorable or contradictory); himself]: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil [ra`  רַע רָעָה  H7451 (rah): bad, evil (natural or moral), wickedness].

Acts 4:25 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? 26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. 27 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, 28 For to do whatsoever Thy hand [cheir; χείρ  G5495; (kheir’); 1. the hand; 2. (figuratively) power; 3. (especially by Hebraism) a means or instrument {literally or figuratively}; 1) by the help or agency of any one, by means of any one; divine might, activity, power; 2d) in determining and controlling the destinies of men] and thy counsel [boule; βουλή G1012; (bou-lay’); volition, the act of willing or resolving; advice; purpose] determined before [proorizo; προορίζω G4309; (proh-or-id’-zo); limited/bound in advance; pre-bordered; predetermined; foreordained] to be done.

Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained [prographo; προγράφω G4270; (prog-raf’-o) written previously; afore written; of old set forth; designated before hand (in the scriptures of the OT); depicted/portrayed from before] to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 45:5 I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else, [there is] no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that [there is] none beside me. I [am] the LORD, and [there is] none else. 7 I form [yatsar; יָצַר H3335; (yaw-tsar’); mould into a form (especially as a potter); fashion; frame] the light [‘owr אוֹר H216; (owr); light; light of day; light of heavenly luminaries (moon, sun, stars); c) dawn / morning light; lightning; light of life; light of prosperity; light of instruction; light of face (fig.)], and create [bara’; בָּרָא H1254; (baw-raw’); create, shape, form; fashion] // darkness [choshek; חוֹשֶׁך H2822; (kho-shek’); the dark; darkness; 3. (figuratively) misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness; obscurity]: I make  peace shalowm; שָׁלוֹם /  שָׁלוֹם H7965; (shaw-lome’); peace; safety; welfare (health, prosperity, peace, happiness)], and create [bara’; בָּרָא H1254; create’shape/form/fashion] evil [ra`  רַע רָעָה  H7451 (rah): bad, evil (natural or moral), wickedness]: I the LORD do [`asah; עָשָׂה H6213; make/accomplish/fashion/work/ produce/effect] all these [things]. 

Isaiah 45:11 Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. 12  I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded [tsavah; צָוָה H6680; 1) to command, appoint, charge, give orders, lay charge, give charge to, order, put, set up, ordain (of divine act)]. 13  I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct [yashar; יָשַׁר H3474; (yaw-shar’); make right/smooth/straight; lead, direct (Piel)] all his ways:

Isaiah 46:9 Remember the former things of old: for I [am] God, and [there is] none else; [I am] God, and [there is] none like me, 10 Declaring [nagad; נָגַד H5046; (nä·gad’); 1) declare; tell; make known; expound; inform; publish] the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel [‘etsah; עצה H6098; (ay-tsaw’); counsel, advice, purpose; prudence; wisdom] shall stand [quwm; קוּם H6965; (küm / koom); arise, stand, rise up, stand up; be established; be performed], and I will do [`asah; עָשָׂה H6213; make/accomplish/fashion/work/ produce/effect] all my pleasure [chephets; חֵפֶץ H2656; (khā’·fets); delight, pleasure; good pleasure; desire; will; purpose.]: 11 Calling [qara’ קָרָ H7121 (kaw-raw’) summoning, calling and commissioning/endowing, calling by name, appointing] a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel [or “the man of my counsel/ purpose:” ‘etsah; עצה H6098; (ay-tsaw’); counsel, advice, purpose; prudence; wisdom] from a far country: yea, I have spoken [it], I will also bring it to pass  [bow’; בוא H0935; (bo); lead/carry/ bring in; bring to pass, cause to come]; I have purposed [it] [yatsar; יָצַר H3335; (yaw-tsar’); moulded it into a form (as a potter); fashioned; framed], I will also do it  [`asah; עָשָׂה H6213; make/accomplish/fashion/work/ produce/effect].

Daniel 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and He doeth [‘abad (Aramaic); עבד H5648; (ab-bad’); maketh; doeth; worketh; executeth; performeth] according to His will [tsᵉba’ (Aramaic); צבא H6634; (tseb-aw’); will, desire, inclination, pleasure] in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

Job 14:1 Man [that is] born of a woman [is] of few days, and full of trouble. 2 He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. 3 And dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgment with thee? 4 Who can bring a clean [thing] out of an unclean? not one. 5 Seeing his days [are] determined [charats חרץ H2782 (khaw-rats’); decided, cut, decreed], the number of his months [are] with thee, Thou hast appointed [`asah; עָשָׂה H6213; make/accomplish/fashion/work/ produce/effect] his bounds that he cannot pass.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [His] purpose [prothesis; πρόθεσις G4286; (pro’-the-sēs); setting forth of a thing; purpose; determination; before setting or putting in place]. 29 For whom He did foreknow [proginōskō; προγινώσκω G4267; to foreknow; to know/understand/perceive beforehand; idiom for sexual intimacy, knowing someone intimately + beforehand], He also did predestinate [proorizō; προοριζω; G4309; (pro-or-id’-zo / pro-o-rē’-zō); predetermine, foreordain; decide beforehand; appoint beforehand; mark out, beforehand, the boundaries or limits (of any place or thing); decree from eternity; pre-horizon (i.e. pre-bound, for the Light)] [to be] conformed to [summorphos; συμμορφος; G4832; (soom-mor-fos’); together conformed; together fashioned like unto; shaped together into the likeness of] the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

[Note the past tense (aorist) usage above for predestinated, called, justified, and glorified — all four done from eternity].

Romans 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18 Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will [have mercy] [thelo; θελω; G2309; (thel’-o); (note: various spellings/forms exist); to will, have in mind, intend; resolved; determine, purpose], and whom He will hardeneth [skleruno; σκληρυνω; G4645; (sklay-roo’-no); 1) to make hard, harden; 2) metaph. to render obstinate, stubborn]. [Note: God, Himself, renders people obstinate, stubborn, disobedient, hardened against his commands. He does this according to His will, not theirs – though their natural will is to be obstinate, stubborn, and disobedient]. 19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted His will [G1013 – boulēma βούλημα; G1013; (boo’-lay-mah); deliberate will, counsel, and/or purpose]? 20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus? 21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22 [What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to [katartizō; καταρτίζω; G2675; (kä-tär-tē’-zō); completed; put in order, arranged, prepared, rendered)] to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? 

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ: 4 According as He hath chosen [eklegomai; ἐκλέγομαι G1586; (ek-le’-go-mī); picked out, chosen, picked/chosen out for one’s self; electing; choosing one for an office] us in Him before the foundation [katabole; καταβολη G2602; (kat-ab-ol-ay’); throwing or laying down; the injection or depositing of the virile semen in the womb; of the seed of plants and animals; founding (laying down a foundation)] of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us [proorizō; προοριζω; G4309; (pro-or-id’-zo / pro-o-rē’-zō); predetermine, foreordain; decide beforehand; appoint beforehand; mark out, beforehand, the boundaries or limits (of any place or thing); decree from eternity; pre-horizon (i.e. pre-bound, for the Light)] unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure [eudokia; ευδοκια G2107; (yoo-dok-ee’-ah); will, choice, delight, pleasure, satisfaction, desire, good pleasure, good will] of His will [thelema; θελημα G2307; (thel’-ay-mah); will, choice, inclination, desire, pleasure; what one wishes or has determined shall be done; commands, precepts].

Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated [proorizō; προοριζω; G4309; (pro-or-id’-zo / pro-o-rē’-zō); predetermine, foreordain; decide beforehand; appoint beforehand; mark out, beforehand, the boundaries or limits (of any place or thing); decree from eternity; pre-horizon (i.e. pre-bound, for the Light)] according to the purpose [prothesis; πρόθεσις G4286; (pro’-the-sēs); setting forth of a thing; purpose; determination; before setting or putting in place] of Him who worketh all things after the counsel [boule; βουλη 1012; (boo-lay’); counsel, will, purpose] of His own will [thelema; θελημα G2307; (thel’-ay-mah); will, choice, inclination, desire, pleasure; what one wishes or has determined shall be done; commands, precepts]:

Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship [poiema; ποιημα G4161; (poy’-ay-mah); thing that is made, workmanship; that which is brought forth; that hich is performed], created [ktizo; κτιζω G2936 (ktid’-zo); created, made, formed, shaped, completely changed or transformed. Note that it also means “to make habitable, to people, a place, region, island” and “to found a city, colony, state” as in Mount Zion / New Jeruslaem] in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained [proetoimazo; προετοιμαζω G4282; (pro-et-oy-mad’-zo); prepared afore, before ordained; make ready beforehand] that we should walk in them.

God Creates Evil (Ordains Wicked Acts) While Remaining Sinless Himself

Mankind can scarcely handle the truth of God ordaining all that is benevolent in this world; how much more do they fail to handle, and even scoff at, the precept that God ordains and brings about all that is wicked and evil as well. They like to think that God bringing wickedness and evil somehow makes Him wicked and evil; they simply do not understand that a sovereign LORD is free to do that which seemeth good to Him (1 Samuel 3:18). God is the master potter; he molds the sin of mankind to suit Hs purposes. The sinful wrath of man that He ordains praises Him, but the remainder of wrath He restrains (Psalm 76:10). Mankind would naturally commit all manner of sin, simultaneously if possible, every moment of the day were it not for God’s restraining hand. But in His foreordination of all things, God only makes manifest those sins that suit His purposes. Whatever sins would not be for the good of His glory, and for the good of those who love Him and are the called by His purpose, He does not allow to manifest. 

Please consider the following verses:

Proverbs 16:4 The LORD hath made all [things] for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil [ra` – H7451].

Isaiah 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil [ra` – H7451]: I the LORD do all these [things].

We have already seen that the Hebrew word ra` H7451 means bad, evil (natural or moral), and wickedness. When God says that he hath made all [things] for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil, that day of evil isn’t just Judgment Day. The day of evil is an idiomatic expression denoting the day that the Lord brings about His judgment; whether it be final judgment or the day-to-day judgements in any person’s life. Any day that a wicked man does wickedly is a day of evil for Him. Any day that God uses such wicked ones to bring judgment against others, that is a day of evil for them. Any judgments brought upon a people, be it from drought, famine, tsunami, earthquake, etc., constitute a day of evil for that nation.

Again, God creates the wicked (who are His sword as per Psalm 17:13); these natural brute beasts are made [gennao; γενναω; G1080; (ghen-nah’-o); born, begotten, brought forth] to be taken and destroyed and shall utterly perish in their own corruption (2 Peter 2:12). Yet while they live on this earth, God wields them as a sword to accomplish His purposes; namely the working of all things together for the good of them that love Him[Romans 8:28].

Specific examples

At this point, I would like to wrap up Part Two with some specific examples of God ordaining the wicked acts of men to suit His righteous purpose. As we shall see, God ordains war, murder, cannibalism, rape, famine, drought, and all manner of other evil:

Zechariah 14:1 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2  For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

Isaiah 13:4 The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the LORD of hosts mustereth the host of the battle…. 15 Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined [unto them] shall fall by the sword. 16 Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished. 17 Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and [as for] gold, they shall not delight in it. 18 [Their] bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.

Jeremiah 4:6 Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction. 7 The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; [and] thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant.

Jeremiah 19:3 And say, Hear ye the word of the LORD, O kings of Judah, and inhabitants of Jerusalem; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, the which whosoever heareth, his ears shall tingle. 4 Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents; 5 They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire [for] burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake [it], neither came [it] into my mind: 6 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter. 7 And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hands of them that seek their lives: and their carcases will I give to be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth. 8 And I will make this city desolate, and an hissing; every one that passeth thereby shall be astonished and hiss because of all the plagues thereof. 9 And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend in the siege and straitness, wherewith their enemies, and they that seek their lives, shall straiten them.

Ezekiel 5:8 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, [am] against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations. 9 And I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like, because of all thine abominations. 10 Therefore the fathers shall eat the sons in the midst of thee, and the sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments in thee, and the whole remnant of thee will I scatter into all the winds. 11 Wherefore, [as] I live, saith the Lord GOD; Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish [thee]; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity. 12 A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them. 13 Thus shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted: and they shall know that I the LORD have spoken [it] in my zeal, when I have accomplished my fury in them. 14 Moreover I will make thee waste, and a reproach among the nations that [are] round about thee, in the sight of all that pass by. 15 So it shall be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment unto the nations that [are] round about thee, when I shall execute judgments in thee in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I the LORD have spoken [it]. 16 When I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for [their] destruction, [and] which I will send to destroy you: and I will increase the famine upon you, and will break your staff of bread: 17 So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee; and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the LORD have spoken [it].

Genesis 45:4 And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I [am] Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. 5 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years [hath] the famine [been] in the land: and yet [there are] five years, in the which [there shall] neither [be] earing nor harvest. 7 And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.4  8 So now [it was] not you [that] sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

 Summary

In Part Two, we covered the fact that the state of man’s heart is wicked, which makes his will wicked as well. The natural will of man is enslaved to sin in self, sin in the world, and to Satan. We also covered the precept that the will of man is subject to God, because He alone has a free and sovereign will. He exercises His will to bring about all that occurs in this world… and beyond. All of the good, all of the evil, all of the seemingly inconsequential events and things, everything is ordained, and brought, about by the predetermined will and purpose of God.

In Part Three, I hope to look into the state of the Christian’s will. I want to consider whether the will of a regenerate soul is free, in bondage, or somewhere in between. I also wish to address those verses used by will-worshipers to argue that man has a freewill.

Continue to Part Three

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