God certainly doesn’t want anyone to perish, but things don’t always turn out the way God wants. God COULD of course force every single person to repent and get life in abundance but he preferred to create us as human beings in his own image (he actually said “our” image referring to the trinity) and with a free will which means that we have a personal responsibility for our own actions.
Ez. 18:23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?
Ez. 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Deuteronomy 8:20 As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; BECAUSE ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God.
We can REJECT the will of God
Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
The pharisees and the layers REJECTED the counsel of God according to Luke.
Luke 7:29 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the COUNSEL of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. (KJV)
Luke 7:30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him. (NKJV)
As you can see NKJV translate the same word with THE WILL of God, and also the KJV translators chose to translate the Greek original word with “the will” in the below verse:
Acts. 13:36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: (KJV)
“Counsel” and “will” are here translated from the Greek word boulén as in boulé (Strongs 1012) from boulomai, and it means counsel, decree, plan, motives, decision and/or purpose.
Below are the cases where this word is used in the KJV, starting with Acts. 20:27–31. Paul warns his disciples, the elders of the church in Ephesus who were naturally christians, that they must TAKE HEED unto themselves and to all the church which God had purchased with his blood. Acts 20:27–31 gives us the following information:
- Individuals (the church or the body of Christ consists of individuals) can be lost despite being purchased with the blood of Jesus.
- Despite that certain christians have been made overseers of a church by the Holy Ghost (who always leads us on the right path) there is still a risk that the individuals in the church will be lost, indicating that people don’t always adhere to the Holy Spirit.
- Grievous wolves shall enter the body of Christ also from among themselves, with the aim to draw away disciples from the true church of God to themselves. This shows that some christians will at one point leave the sound teachings in the church and instead start to speak perverted things and deceive others who might also leave the true church. This is a lot more than a mere risk since Paul says that he KNOWS that this will happen, likely because he knows how man’s heart works.
- False preachers who speak perverted things can apparently make christian believe in these twisted claims and some of them will become disciples of these false preachers and hence lose their salvation. The flock shall not be spared even though it was a true flock of God.
- By taking heed and be careful we can affect the future and reduce the harm.
- If people were chosen for salvation and damnation before the beginning of the world, Paul would be wasting his time by warning every one for night and day with tears – for three years! Paul should have known that no warnings or tears in the world can change God’s decrees which he made before he even created us, if such decrees were made. If God predestined certain people to be saved and others to be lost, then Paul has no business crying over those who God has chosen to damn, and those who are predestined to be saved will be saved regardless of Paul’s intense efforts. So Paul would actually be guilty of trying to thwart God’s plans by his constant warnings, pleadings and crying for people who already have their future written in stone. This speaks heavily against the reformed type of thinking.
- We can affect the future with our prayers.
Acts 20:27 For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.
Jesus showed himself to Paul and selected him to be doing his work by spreading the gospel (which Paul accepted), so would Jesus want people to listen to Paul? Yes, of course. Yes, here is one example among many that a certain centurion did not listen to Paul’s advice, even if what Paul said didn’t concern the gospel but their own physical safety.
Acts 27:11 Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.12 And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west.—42 And the soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape.43 But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land:
Here is the famous Ephesian 1:11. (See more here.) Paul is writing to the saints in Ephesus, and as saints they of course were IN JESUS and wonderful promises were tied to them since they had obtained an inheritance by choosing to be God’s children. The counsel of God’s own will might here concern his will that those who are in Jesus (naturally by their own choice) and endure to the end shall be adopted as children and inherit his kingdom. The conditions are that we believe, trust in Jesus and remain as saints. If 100% of all things under the sun always happen according to God’s will, then of course every murder, abortion, rape and divorce must also be according to God’s will, and every time people rebel against him. Clearly that is nothing but absurd, and Satan would simply be acting as God’s right arm.
Eph. 1:1 1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:—11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.—18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power
Only God is good, but here is an example of another “good” man (the same word) and that is Joseph. He can’t compare himself with the Creator, but he was still good and just:
Luke 23:50 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just:51 (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.
Jesus was delivered by the counsel and foreknowledge of God. God the Father did not force anyone to betray or kill Jesus, but he knew someone would, and his death was also predestined to happen. There are numerous ways in which Jesus could die for us so Judas betrayal was not necessary at all, but he was first in line. Those hands who crucified Jesus were WICKED, which means that God certainly didn’t approve of what they did, and let’s not forget that it was Satan who entered Judas when Judas rose up to betray Jesus. God allowed it to happen of course, but he didn’t predestine Juda’s betrayal.
Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
What God determined before to be done was to offer up his son to die for us, and we can also read that Jesus actually gave up his own life and that no one took it from him. He did not determine that Judas must betray him. Read more about Judas severe sin here.
Acts 4:27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
If Jesus is the son of God and the many miracles he performed too, then it would be unwise to try to fight it back, which was the advice of Gamaliel. A Messiah is a Messiah no matter what we do.
Acts. 5:37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
And a couple of more examples with boulé
1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
Hebr. 6:17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us
We are being wise if we do the things the Lord says we should do.
Luke: 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?