The Prevailing Will of God

Posted under The Rectory Bulletin | Westminster Confession of Faith

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11)

When I drive north to Scotland I turn right, and head south to Ross-on-Wye. All the time I’m driving I am getting further from the grey granite of Aberdeen, but my Sat-Nav insists that this is the quickest way to the border. Head south to the M50, and then it’s motorway most of the way. It might be fewer miles to trundle up the A49, but you have to deal with the traffic in Hereford. And tractors. And that level crossing at Onibury. No, better to go south to the M50 first.

The Westminster Confession of Faith speaks of God “working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will”. It might well be that God’s will is beyond our fathoming, and that we seem to be heading in the wrong direction but if God is God (and he is) then we will get there just as he intends. The absolute, sovereign, creator God completes what he wills.

That is not to say that in the process we are steamrollered, and are reduced to mere robots. No, our wills are involved but it is just that God works at a deeper level. Our wills inevitably align with his overall purpose. It’s often the case that you can see the activity of God most clearly in retrospect. As you live your life you are convinced you are in control, but as you look back you realise God was there all along.

To have this confidence in God’s will is something which will keep you going through the darker turns of life. Rather than just fatalism, it is knowing that you are being shepherded by a God who both loves you and sent his son to die for you. The prevailing will of God is the most wonderful thing.

The Most Absolute God

I am the LORD, and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me (Isaiah 45:5) - “Besides me there is no God”. In a world which is skeptical about absolute truth, here is one absolute which we cannot avoid. We may not be aware of the existence of God, or reject his existence outright, but neither of these things affect the fact that he does exist. Absolute truths might be rejected, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. It just means you don’t like them.

Abiding in God

This is how the Christian bears fruit which glorify God. As Jesus I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:1) - The practice of abiding in Christ is a lifelong task, something which deepens and becomes more rich over time. This is how the Christian bears fruit which glorify God. As Jesus says: “apart from me you can do nothing”. As Jesus warns: “if anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned”. The soil of Christ is rich indeed. Christian - put down your roots!

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