One question that is commonly asked is: “Does God delight in sending sinners to hell?” This answer can be found in God’s Desirative Will, which is the sixth aspect of the Sevenfold Will of God.
6. Desirative Will
God’s desirative will is revealed in the salvation of sinners. The word, “desirative” comes from a Latin word which has the root meaning of “a longing or yearning”.
o God’s universal offer of salvation
As a result of man’s fall in the Garden of Eden, all of us are born sinners, bound for the eternal fires of hell. But God extends His favour and the gift of salvation to the whole world. John 3: 16 is God’s universal offer of salvation to the world of lost sinners: “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.”
Expounding on the word, “whosoever”, French Reformer, John Calvin commented that the general term is used “both to invite indiscriminately all to share in life and to cut off every excuse from unbelievers. Such is also the significance of the word ‘world’ which He had used before. For although there is nothing in the world deserving God’s favour, He nevertheless shows He is favourable to the whole world when He calls all without exception to the faith of Christ which is indeed an entry into life” (The Clock of the Sevenfold Will of God – Rev Timothy Tow).
Our merciful God takes no pleasure in the judgment of the wicked. As such, He calls for them to repent that they might live: “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? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye” (Eze. 18: 23, 32).
o God’s longsuffering
God’s desires “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim. 2: 4). In His forbearance, God waits patiently for sinners to turn to Him: “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” (II Pet. 3: 9).
With God’s grace and kindness in mind, we must not impute slackness to Him because He is slow in executing His judgments. We must regard delays in God’s judgment upon sinners as proof of His longsuffering and benevolence, and of His desire to save them.
“By waiting so long before He brings destruction on the wicked, He shows His desire that they should repent and be saved. By continuing men in life, offering them the gospel, and beseeching them to embrace it, God shows that He is unwilling they should perish, and would delight in their repentance and salvation” (Family Bible Notes).
We have learnt that God’s desirative will is applicable to the whole world. God does not delight in sending sinners to hell. It is His desire to save every sinner. While He tarries in His forbearance, let us be zealous to share the Gospel with those around us. We may not know whom the Lord has chosen to be His own. Our duty is to obey the Great Commission (Matt. 28: 18-20) by reaching out to our fellowmen. God will draw the elect unto Himself in His own good time.
We thank God for our Church’s evangelism ministry which falls in line with God’s will of saving the lost. May each one in Berith be challenged to partake of this monthly Gospel outreach. Who knows how the Lord can use us to draw those whom He has “ordained to eternal life” (Acts 13: 48). May the Lord use us to be His witnesses in our dark and sinful world. (… be concluded)