The Two-Fold Will of God - The Warrior's Journey®

The Two-Fold Will of God

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“One of you will say to me: ‘Then why does God still blame us?  For who is able to resist his will?’” (Romans 9:19) 

If we define God’s will for humanity as glorifying Him, then, yes. No one can resist God’s will. Pharaoh is proof of that.  God said to him, “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” (Romans 9:17). Of course, that statement is applicable to every human being. We’ve all been raised up to bring glory to God. Yet Pharaoh, like us all, had a choice.  He could glorify God willingly – as King Nebuchadnezzar and King Darius did (Daniel 3:28-29; 4:1-37; 6:25-27), or he could glorify God unwillingly – through his own judgment and destruction (Exodus 3:19; 14:4, 17-18). God will gain glory through us by saving us or by judging us. We cannot resist His will that we bring glory to His name. 

This is the basis for Paul’s anticipated objection – “Why does God find fault with us – since He receives glory regardless if we obey Him or rebel?”  This is very much like the anticipated objection in Romans 3:5-6: “But if our unrighteousness only serves to highlight God’s righteousness, what should we say? That God is unjust by inflicting wrath upon us?  Absolutely not! As a just Judge, God must punish sin.”   

But there is an aspect of God’s will that can be resisted. For God clearly states that He desires all people to be saved (Ezekiel 33:11; Luke 15:7, 10; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). Yet all are not being saved. Even in Romans 9:22-23, Paul explains that, if all God wants to do is bring glory to Himself, then why did He refrain from destroying the “vessels of wrath” that were ready for destruction? These “vessels of wrath” encompass all of humanity – including the elect, whom Paul refers to elsewhere as “children of wrath, even as the rest” (Ephesians 2:3). As Paul explained in Romans 1:18-32, we became “ready” or “prepared” for destruction by our own repeated rejection of God’s truth and God giving us over to our own rebellious ways and darkened hearts. 

But why does God endure our rebellion with great patience, if He could easily glorify Himself by judging us? Here’s why. God is patient with those “vessels of wrath” because He knows that some of them will become “vessels of mercy.” And because He desires to save us, He refrains from judging us – again and again – in hope of saving us.   


  • What effect should God’s kindness and patience have on us? (Romans 2:4) 
  • If we treat God’s kindness and patience with contempt, then what alternative do we leave God for dealing with us? (Romans 2:5) 
  • God will be glorified, with or without our cooperation. But will we be saved? 

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