What does God want?
In some ways, that’s the ultimate question, isn’t it?
A couple weeks ago we talked about Rapture/Tribulation theology and how the underlying message is that God is somehow either unable or unwilling to bring about what he wants. Rapture theology fundamentally suggests God is fighting a losing battle but holds the final trump card in his ability to take Christians away and punish everyone else.
For obvious reasons, I reject that kind of theology. I believe God is sovereign. I believe God is strong enough to accomplish what he sets out to accomplish.
Essentially, I believe God gets what he wants.
Which leads us to the obvious follow-up question. What is it that God wants?
The danger in asking a question like this is we can end up treating God as a monolith; assuming that God has one single desire rather than multiple desires. However, if God is truly God then he must be more than us, not less than us. If we as people can have multiple desires, then we shouldn’t assume we can boil God’s desires down to a single statement.
With that said, if we examine Scripture, and look at all the times that God expresses a desire, we can start to see some themes emerge. While the following isn’t an exhaustive list, it’s still pretty extensive:
- God wants us to live the right way morally (Ps. 5:4; Prov. 11:20; James 1:20; Rom. 14:17-18)
- God wants us to have integrity (1 Chron. 29:17; Prov. 11:1; Prov. 12:22; Prov. 15:8; Prov. 20:23)
- God wants us to trust him (Ps. 147:11; Heb. 11:6)
- God wants us to turn away from evil (Ezek. 18:23; Ezek. 33:11)
- God wants us to show mercy, kindness and generosity (Hos. 6:6; Jer. 9:24; Mt. 20:15)
- God wants everyone to be saved (1 Tim. 2:1-4; 2 Pt. 3:9; Mt. 18:14)
- God doesn’t want to bring about the day of despair but rather wants to bring justice and reconciliation to everything, everywhere (Jer. 17:16; Isa. 42:1; Col. 1:19-20)
God wants people to be good and honest. He wants us to turn from evil and trust him. He wants to show us mercy, kindness and generosity.
Broadly speaking, God wants everyone to be saved and he wants to reconcile all things to himself, bringing about justice for the nations.
So what we have to ask ourselves is, does God get what God wants?
Can God bring about these things? Can he eventually save everyone everywhere? Or does God shrug and say, “Well, I tried? I offered salvation and people weren’t really interested.”
Is God strong enough to reconcile all things in heaven and earth to himself? Is he powerful enough to draw us to himself? To change our heart and minds and lives and make us people who will live with righteousness and integrity? Of course, he is.