God’s Will and Man’s Will

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Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2:4).

Does God have a will? Of course.

Do men have wills? Of course.

When God’s and man’s wills agree, it is a good day, but what happens when they don’t agree? Whose will takes precedence over the other’s? Most Christians believe that man’s will takes precedence over God’s. They won’t say it that way, but that is their belief. Most Christians will tell you “God gave men free-will and because of that, God won’t interfere with our wishes.” This, of course, only goes so far. The will of a being extends as far as his power. A dog may wish to go outside, but his will cannot be carried out until someone capable of opening the door lets him out. Even then, the dog requires help to carry out his will, for a being that is powerless to perform cannot expected to do so unless there is direct intervention from a superior being. It is foolish to assume a man’s will can carry him to any extent that surpasses his power, however, being that God is all-powerful; it is accurate to say that God can do whatever He wishes.

Clearly, God cannot be omnipotent if all it takes to stop Him is for man to say “No. Sit. Stay.” This is why the doctrine of free-will is a doctrine of creation over Creator. We can either believe that God’s plans will be carried out no matter what man says (Job 23:13; Isaiah 46:10; Ephesians 1:11) or we can believe that God must ask permission before carrying out His will. Either way, the belief that God would be foolish enough to leave the salvation of a creature that cannot save itself up to that creature is not true or even reasonable. If God wants all men to be saved, then it shall be; regardless of the size of the box that man believes he can put God in.

So, how far does man’s will extend? As far as God wills it to extend. Only a fool would entrust a helpless creature with its own salvation. God, being the Governor of the universe, knows that it is His responsibility and His place to choose who He will save, how He will save them, and how quickly man will return to Eden. Man has no choice in the matter and even if God asked for man’s opinion; man does not have the power to back his will with any meaningful action.

May we all trust in the Lord fully. May we trust in Him, as the all-powerful Governor of the universe, to do what we cannot, but more importantly; to do what He wishes whether or not He first consults with us.

Aaron Locker
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Marred in the Hand of the Potter

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I went down to the potter’s house, and behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter. So he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make (Jeremiah 18:3-4).

Let us consider for a moment the billions of humans which the Potter has made. Is it not staggering to realize we have never looked upon one vessel which was not, in some way, marred? Only one Man has trod this earth Who did not sin, and Who was not condemned by Adam’s death sentence. All the rest are marred. Except for Christ, there is not one vessel that could rightfully occupy a place of honor. All are what the pottery shops refer to as “seconds,” which are usually sold only at a great discount.

While most will agree that all humanity bears the pock marks of sin, very few realize that this situation came about, not by some ancient accident, but as the reasonable result of God’s perfect plan. Some have asked, “But how can imperfection play a part in the plan of a perfect God?” We happily answer, “In order to display His unfathomable wisdom and transcendent love.”

Here is peace for all who will ponder these words! For whatever may be their present condition, each vessel still rests secure in His all-sufficient hands. Without Him all life in this vast universe would vanish. In Him we are living, and moving, and are (Acts 17:28). Only when we realize that all, really ALL is still in the hand of the Potter, can we let nothing worry us (Philippians 4:6); for if, in all these many millenniums, God has not chosen to withdraw His hand from these marred pieces of clay, then we can rest in a future equally secure, never doubting that what He has promised, this He will do!

David E. Knoch (1932- 2014)
Unsearchable Riches
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God Is Love

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We are never told that God is justice, or God is power, or God is wisdom. These are His attributes, not His essence. The distinction is of vital import in the conflicting maze of reasoning concerning God’s ways and words. Justice and power and wisdom are relative, but love is absolute. He is never so just as when He justifies the unjust, for that is in line with His love. He is never so strong as when His weakness overpowers human strength, for that links it to love. He is never so wise as when His foolishness confounds the wisdom of men, for that glorifies love.

All of His attributes appear and withdraw at the beck of love. All serve it and never go counter to its commands. We cannot reason that God will do thus and so because He is just, or strong or wise. Love may not give leave. But we can safely lay our heads on the bosom of His love and there learn the great lesson that He is love, and has both the power and wisdom to carry out the dictates of His affection. What clearer proof can be given that all that He has done and is doing is leading up to that grand ultimate when He will be All in all, and love will rest in being loved?

A.E. Knoch (1874-1965)
Concordant Commentary, page 371
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Not Even Our Trials Can Separate Us From God’s Love

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The trials and tribulations we endure are not tokens of His displeasure. They are all tempered by His loving heart. A sense of His love hovering over us in the midst of our distresses is the most blessed of all balms and will enable us not only to endure them, but to enjoy them. Here all the great forces of the universe are arrayed, and none of them, no, nor all of them together, can come between us and the unconquerable love of our God as displayed in Christ Jesus.

Death will be swallowed up by life. Life may lead us far from Him, but not beyond the reach of His love. The present perplexes us, the future fills us with fear, but only when we lose the sense of His love. Powers, celestial or terrestrial, are subject to His sway. Nothing above or beneath, nothing at all has the power to break the bond that binds the humblest and most unworthy saint to the throbbing breast of our great and glorious God. This is more than salvation from sin!

This is reconciliation!

A.E. Knoch (1874-1965)
Concordant Commentary, page 239
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He Will Not Begin What He Cannot Complete

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Thou wilt have a desire to the work of Thine hands (Job 14:15).

The Great Workman is interested in His work, He has a “desire” to it, and He will not begin what He cannot complete. For the creature to fail of the purpose of its creation implies a failure on the part of the Creator, and this cannot be in the government of God. “My counsel shall stand,” He says, “and I will do all My pleasure” (Isaiah 46:10). Hence we may be sure that the ultimate purpose in the creation of everyone, whatever it may be, will be surely carried out; as the Creator cannot fail, neither can His creations. Thus does it appear that in the final outcome of man’s creation the honor of the Most High is involved, and He is bound to make that outcome a successful and glorious one in order to vindicate that honor.

Arthur P. Adams (1847-1925)
The Purposes of God and the True Basis of Redemption
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Books by A.P. Adams

Bible Harmony
Judgment and the Doctrine of Eternal Hell
The Purposes of God
The True Basis of Redemption
Truth vs. Orthodoxy
The Spirit of the Word

Available at Study Shelf

God’s Fatherhood

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This word [Father], as now, unlocked all mysteries, solved all problems, and explained all the enigmas of time and eternity. Holding God as Father, punishment was held to be remedial, and therefore restorative, and final recovery from sin universal. It was only when the Father was lost sight of in the judge and tyrant, under the baneful reign of Augustinianism, the Deity was hated, and that Catholics transferred to Mary, and later, Protestants gave to Jesus that supreme love that is due alone to the Universal Father. For centuries in Christendom … the Fatherhood of God was a lost truth, and most of the worst errors of the modern creeds are due to that single fact, more than to all other causes.

J.W. Hanson (1823-1901)
Universalism the Prevailing Doctrine of the Christian Church During Its First Five Hundred Years
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Is God Worse than an Infidel?

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But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel (I Timothy 5:8).

How could we arrive at the point of thinking that God would not accept responsibility for all His children that were created by Him in His own image and likeness? The genealogy of Luke 3 ends in :38 saying,

the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

If God has not denied that Adam, the originator of sin to the human race, is His “son,” how is it possible that He would deny the sonship of Adam’s descendants who are victims of the sin nature inherited from him? As Father God has said,

Behold, all souls are Mine … (Ezekiel 18:4).

George Hurd
Triumph of Mercy
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He Is All

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He has to take us all to the place where there is none in the universe but HIM. He is ALL; expressing His “allness” in and through everything, whether positive or negative, good or evil, to bring humanity back “home” to the One Who is love and nothing else.

Norman P. Grubb (1895-1993)
Knight of Faith, Vol. I
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The Earth is the LORD’S, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it (Psalm 24:1).

This verse declares to that all the people on this planet are His!

We should not fall into the trap of thinking that “believers” are the only ones who are HIS.

Consider the term “lost” – it is a declaration of ownership. If something, or someone is lost, that means they are in some way separated from their owner.

When “Christians” refer to the lost, they should realize that that is an acknowledgment of God’s ownership!

We may feel lost – but we are never truly lost. Our God is sovereign and fully aware of each one of us.

Mike Owens
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Human Helplessness

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Being justified gratuitously in His grace, through the deliverance which is in Christ Jesus (Whom God purposed for a Propitiatory shelter, through faith in His blood, for a display of His righteousness because of the passing over of the penalties of sins which occurred before in the forbearance of God), toward the display of His righteousness in the current era, for Him to be just and a Justifier of the one who is of the faith of Jesus. Where, then, is boasting? It is debarred! (Romans 3:25, Concordant Literal Version).

Notice here the succession of terms indicative of human helplessness:

Being justified — requiring to be made right with God;
gratuitously — without a cause, without anything in oneself that would give God reason for doing this;
in His grace — purely as a favor, unearned, undeserved;
through the deliverance — requiring a rescue act;
which is in Christ Jesus, Whom God purposed — not in oneself, but in the One Whom God appointed.

This is the first occasion in Scripture that any act of God is referenced to His purpose, and the next outstanding fact that we must note is that it is centered in “Christ Jesus” – not in “Jesus Christ” as He was on earth, but in “Christ Jesus,” the risen Lord, the One Who, by His victory over death and His resurrection from the tomb, has proved that He has settled once and for all time the problem of sin, and thereby paved the way for deliverance.

John H. Essex (1907-1991)
The Purpose of God
Select Writings of John Essex – Volume 1
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[Editor:] For a further look at the difference between “Jesus Christ” and “Christ Jesus,” see Bible Student’s Notebook #325: “Christ Jesus,” Charles H. Welch; “Christ Jesus” and “Jesus Christ,” A.E. Knoch; “The Names of Jesus,” E.W. Bullinger.