Have you ever heard a Christian say, “God has a wonderful plan for your life”? What does this mean? What plan does He have? What is His plan? According to the Four Spiritual Laws, the first law states that God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life. If you lost a loved one, you might think that plan is terrible. If things are not going well, is that His plan? If we see cancer and disease in the world, is that His plan? If your child died in an automobile accident, is that His plan? Today, we will find out that cancer and disease and car accidents are not in His sovereign plan. If you had a miscarriage or lost a loved one, it is a tragedy, but it is not His sovereign plan. I actually went on a mission trip one time where they train people to avoid talking about the very important fact that God has a good plan for your life. They were afraid of the topic. They were afraid that the topic might confuse someone. As Christians, we need to get a better understanding of what we mean by God has a good plan for you, plans not to harm you. The first spiritual law is true. God really does have a wonderful plan for you. He wants you to have a biblical understanding of his plan.
Q6/7: What are three characteristics about the divine plan as they are described in the Bible? What are the three different aspects of the will of God? Is the divine plan good for all people or just some people?
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
- HIDDEN WILL & REVEALED WILL – God’s plan is from eternity. It is from Him. No one advises Him. We can learn some of the divine plan – not all of the divine plan. Deut. 29:29 – “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” It would be accurate to say that some of God’s plan is hidden. The hidden will of God is not for us to know at this time, but the revealed will of God can be known. We have been given prophecy to know some things about the future, and at this time in history, we have been given a lot of amazing history where we can see the fingerprint of divine work. We have telescopes for us to see amazing photos of His creation. We can learn plenty of the revealed will/plan/work to live an abundant life. We exist for His glory/fame. He does not exist for our glory/fame. He is not the genie in the bottle who we command. We exist for His sake and for his good pleasure. He takes no pleasure in evil, wrongdoing, or tragedy. The wonderful story of redemption is His revealed plan, and it is currently operating and functioning worldwide.
- SOVEREIGN WILL – No one can stop His plan. What He has planned will come to pass. This can be called the Efficacious Will; efficacious means to be successful in producing an end result. It can also be called a De-cre(ee)-tive Will. The most common term is called the Sovereign Will. This plan is active and good. There is never a time when the sovereign will is not good. The sovereign will is good all the time no matter what. It involves creating, preserving, sustaining, directing, and redeeming. Our Father in Heaven is guiding history according to His goal. He is directing His plan. While this will is active, it also allows for the problem of evil, pain, and suffering. Some types of suffering are in His sovereign will, but not all suffering. Jesus suffered a painful death, according to the divine sovereign will. Other times, a painful death is not according to the divine will. It is evil. For example, inducing abortion is not the sovereign will of God. Taking the life of an innocent unborn baby is not in the sovereign plan. Aquinas defines evil as something that is lacking good. The Sovereign Will is only good all the time. It includes things like Creation, the Old Covenant, the New Covenant, the Gospel message, end time events, Judgement Seat, Great White Throne Judgement, and eternal life.
- PRECEPTIVE WILL – The divine plan also relates to His work in individuals. This aspect of His will can be resisted or it can be welcomed. It is called the Pre-(ee)cep-tive Will, and it directly relates to His Word, His commandments, and His Law. The Preceptive Will has been revealed to us. Tomorrow, we will be looking at several key items that will help us know for sure God’s plan for our life – for all people, everywhere. The Preceptive Will includes a responsibility on our part. It includes prayer, evangelism, apologetics, and using our gifts and talents to bless one another in the kingdom on earth.
The Divine Will includes the 1.) Hidden will 2.) Sovereign Will and 3.) Preceptive Will.
Aquinas explained that the purpose of man is for man “to rest in the knowledge of God alone.” This is why I believe the study of the Trinity is so important. Studying the attributes of God is incredibly significant. Studying the character, nature, and works of God should be a top priority.
Over the past six days, we have discovered what God wants from us. He wants us to have perfect happiness in the way that He has intended for us to have it. We can find this perfect happiness in knowing and delighting in the divine essence of His presence. He wants us to know Him, His nature, and His work. His work includes his hidden work, His sovereign work, and His work in human beings. Tomorrow, we will examine His divine will in us.