"Thy Will Be Done…"
Matt. 6:10 & 7:21
Matthew's account of life of Jesus Christ includes His "Sermon on the Mount" in chapters 5, 6 & 7. This record includes Christ's use of the noun "will" twice, and these two uses provide us with two memorable verses. In what has come to be known as "The Lord's Prayer," in Matt. 5:9-15 (v. 9 "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven"; and in Matt. 7:21 most of us remember the Lord's words: "Not everyone that saith unto Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven").
Thus, it behooves us to learn God's will and to do God's will. Gospel preachers can help explain God's will, but only you can do God's will.
First we should realize that there three "aspects" of will:
God's intentional will,
God's conditional will, and
God's ultimate will.
These three aspects of God's will can be illustrated in His plan for our salvation.
God intends (or wants) everyone to be saved–this is why Jesus came into this world (Luke 19:10). And this is why Jesus tasted death for all men everywhere (Heb. 2:9-10; 1 John 2:2). The Apostle Peter tells in 2 Peter 3:9 that Lord doesn't want any to perish. And the sacrifice of Christ is adequate to save everyone who has lived or will ever live, but not all men shall be saved (Matt. 25:41).
We know that some will not obey the requirements of salvation because some refuse to obey God's conditional will (Mark 16:16). Even though God wants everyone to be saved, it is His will that men shall be saved under certain conditions (Rev. 22:17 & John 3:16). God refuses to force salvation on anyone, but "whosoever believeth in Him" may "take the water of life freely."
God has provided the way for man to be saved, but there are conditions in the will of God that man must meet in order to receive the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).
The will of God includes certain things that will happen as part of His ultimate will. For example, God has determined that men must die and face judgment (Heb. 9:27). That is God's ultimate will, and it will happen. After death, we must face the judgment (2 Cor. 5:10). For those who have not obeyed the gospel, there are no conditions or circumstances in which they may escape the judgment because it is part of the ultimate will of God (2 Thess. 1:7-9). The righteous shall receive eternal life, and the unrighteous shall go away unto eternal punishment (Matt. 25:46). These things will transpire in the ultimate will of God.
Therefore, we recognize that it is God's intentional will that all men be saved–this is what God wants or desires to happen, and the righteous (those who have been redeemed and added to the Lord's church, this is what we too desire). We must also acknowledge that God also has a conditional will–conditions that precede forgiveness of sins and that allow us to lead faithful lives. Furthermore, there is the ultimate will of God, which means that God has declared that certain things will come to pass without regard to conditions or circumstances.
Recognizing these three distinctive aspects of God's will can help us understand many of the things that happen in this day and age. For example, suppose that a child touches an electrical wire and gets shocked to death. No doubt the parents of this child will grieve over their loss. Some well-meaning individual tries to console them by saying, "It was the will of God." Instead of comforting the parents, this sort of statement has the reverse effect. The parents feel resentment toward God for taking away their child–they have been told that it was the "will of God" that their child die and be taken from them. In some instances, people have lost their faith in situations like this.
If you understand that the expression "the will of God" is used in more than one sense, it would help to avoid some of the bitterness and disappointment that people often feel. It is God's intentional will that men "love life and see good days" (1 Peter 3:10). God does not arbitrarily select a child or anyone else and implant a germ, a disease, or an illness in them, nor does He arrange a calamity by which their life is ended. He admonishes us through His word to live in such a way that we may "live long on the earth" (Eph. 6:1-4).
God has set certain natural laws into operation upon this earth. God does work at times through the operation of natural law. If I should step in front of a speeding automobile or wreck my health through using tobacco, abusing drugs, or by lack of exercise (even if I innocently come in contact with disease or illness or inherit genes that predispose me to cancer or some other disease), I may under those conditions suffer the consequences of poor health. This, however, is not God's intentional will for me, but only God's conditional will under the circumstances that exist. To say at the death of a child that it was "the will of God" likely leaves the wrong impression of God and His will. Such a tragedy was not what God desired nor his intentional will, but it was only His will under the circumstances due to a violation of His natural law or other conditions that existed at the time.