By Oscar M. Baker
1. “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the WILL of God.” Does this mean that God in absolute sovereignty made Paul an apostle by fiat or decree, by a determination that it could not be otherwise? This is what some would tell you. But in 2:3 you will find this word translated desire. You will find it in appendix 102.2 in the Companion Bible. So we discover that Paul was an apostle by the wish or desire of God. Paul had a choice in the matter. He was not a puppet or machine in the hands of God.
2. “Having predestinated us...according to the good pleasure of his WILL.” In connection with the pleasure, we must conclude that it means the same here. The blessings, the choice of us, and that we should be holy and without blame before Him, all express a wish. And the work of the Son is to accomplish that desire on the part of God.
3. “Having made known unto us the mystery of his WILL.” Here is a desire that had been kept secret, and that desire was fulfilled, for the Son was obedient, even unto death, and so was exalted above all and made Head of all things in heaven and earth.
4. “According to the purpose of Him worketh all things after the counsel of His own WILL.” Again we find what the desire of the Father was, and that desire was as good as a command to the Son, through Whom this is done. Time means little to God and so we find that He can wait till His wishes come true. Satan and man may rebel, but God can outwait them.
5. “Be ye not unwise, but understanding what the WILL of the Lord is.” It is our business to search the Scriptures and understand what the desires of God are for us. By understanding and doing the will of the Lord, we can have joy and success in life and be to the praise of His glory at the same time. But we can have our own desire or will and make our belly our god and mind earthly things. We have the choice. That is why that believers reap what they sow. If somebody entices you and makes you believe that your are what God willed, and that what you do is what God determined, you are in for a great disappointment, for such can rob you of your crown, your reward, your ruling with Christ, and the reward of your inheritance.
6. “As the servants of Christ, doing the WILL of God from the heart.” Note that this does not indicate that a believer does what he does because of a tyrannical God Who determines what he is to do, but one is to do the desires of a Master, even Christ. Beware of fatalism which is against the truth of God and makes God a monster who whips His subjects into doing exactly what He has determined they should do.
The word will with this latter meaning is found twice in New Testament; Acts 13:36 and Rom. 9:19.
[Reprinted from Truth For Today, Vol. 23, No. 3]