When Job was suffering from boils, one of his perplexed friends asked him, "Can you understand the secrets of God? Can you search the limits of the God All-Powerful? God's limits are higher than the heavens. You cannot reach them!" Job 11:7-8a (EB). Of course, the answer is, "No." However, in this chapter, we will endeavor to somewhat classify the various aspects of God's wills which all come under His Sovereign Will; such as does the Holy Spirit, Christ, and the angels under the Father.
God's Sovereign Will is His thoughts and actions without human invention or intervention. God can do everything possible according to His Will - except fail! His Sovereign Will is manifested in the Holy Scriptures, which reveals the Whole Counsel Of God. He predestined all to be saved, but not everyone accepts His Provision. Those that do accept Jesus as Saviour, are sealed with the Holy Spirit at that moment, and His Will of Predestination becomes eternally effective for them then and there (Ephesians 1:1-14).
God's Conditional Will
God's Conditional will was frequently referred to in Old Testament times; e.g., "if you will do this ... you will receive this" (Deuteronomy 28). His laws were given not to make them righteous, but to help them realize they couldn't be righteous of themselves! His Conditional will also includes His Intervention and Restrictions. Intervention is aptly illustrated when He sent Jonah to warn the people of Nineveh about coming doom because of their wickedness. When they repented, God canceled His threatened judgment (Jonah 3:3-5, 10). When King David wanted to build a Temple for God's Glory, God's Restrictive will said, "No" (1 Kings 8:17-19). God's will is also Restrictive when we intentionally regard sin in our lives (Psalm 66:18, James 4:3). The Apostle Paul was Restricted in following his own plans of where to go to preach the Gospel (Acts 16:7, 9). At times, God will deny us a good request, only to give us something better! This conditioning, as in Prevenient Grace, is the countenanced preparatory work within hearts He was/is going to call, and is totally God's Work; for the appropriate timing when God would interfere with profound causation in circumcising the fleshly heart with His Keeping Grace of being Born-Anew for each one's appointed opportune Spiritual True Work - as He did Paul - on the way to Damascus (Acts 9:1-23).
God's Practical Will
God's Practical will is also His Pleasurable and Providential will inclusive of the permissive, protective provenances towards circumstances/ situations of His Unseen, therefore unknown already, but not yet deployed impact or employed redirection. Scripture teaches that God's Practical/ Pleasurable will is for ALL of His Creation in an intuitive sense at first - but inanition of spiritual understandings of the truths in place biblically - for spiritual bread/foods/drink (Revelation 4:11). "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." Philippians 2:13. "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace." Jeremiah 29:11a. He has also assured us of His Providential Will: "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the lord upholdeth him with his hand." Psalm 37:23-24. See also Psalm 25:4, 8-9. God's Permissive will grants ALL persons permission to make unwise choices as well as good choices. However, when unwise choices are made, undesirable results follow (Romans 1:24-25). His Protective will is manifested numerous times throughout one's lifetime (Rom. 1:10, Psalms 41:1; 91:1-3).
God's Individual Will
God speaks His Expressed will to each individual personally through His "Still Small Voice" which is a peaceful, gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 30:21). His Individual will is also manifested within each Believer through specific Spiritual Gifts so that they may edify the Body of Christ and witness to unbelievers. These gifts are recognized as those that come easiest in the sense that they are not chosen by one's own self or others to be worked on; rather they are given by God for the Believer to work out! "Paul was specially called by God to preach about Jesus Christ.... One assignment may seem more spectacular than another, but all are necessary to carry out God's greater plans for the world (1 Cor. 12:12-27). Be available to God by placing your gifts at his service. As you discover what he calls you to do, be ready to do it [according to the moderation of your available strength (lps)] in his service." - Life Application Bible, p. 1995. God's Individual will for each one does not take away or limit entirely our capacity of each one's likes and dislikes; such as colors, sights, sounds, foods, drink, style, Bible texts, worship, prayer, study habits, etc., as long as each humbly condescends to within and throughout God's pleasings and countenance. The end result of all that God wills, inclusive of the three integrationals, consummate being a confluence in our total relationship to God's Almighty Sovereign Will.
Quotation Credits. (1) Scriptures quoted from The Everyday Bible, New Century Version, copyright © 1987, 1988 by Word Publishing, Dallas, Texas 75039. Used by permission. Indicated by (EB). (2) Life Application Bible Notes Used By Permission. Life Application Study Bible 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1996 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL 60189. All rights reserved. Life Application is a registered trademark of Tyndale Publishers, Inc. (3) All other Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version, and indicated as (lps) when the authors have inserted explanations within the text.
Copyright 2013, 2016 Covenant Of Sovereign Grace Ministry. This article may be printed in its entirety for personal study and free distribution. Please include the following statement: "Permission granted by Covenant Of Sovereign Grace Ministry for Free Distribution Only - Never To Be Sold". "Buy [possess] the truth and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding" (Proverbs 23:23). Jesus said: "The kingdom of heaven [He Himself] is at hand ... freely ye have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:7, 8).