One member of The Society of Evangelical Arminians explains:
God’s antecedent will is what he wants to be the case.
God’s consequent will is what he allows to be the case, in spite of his antecedent will, and is consequent to creature’s free decisions to disobey.
God’s unilateral will is when He alone does an action, in which His actions can never be thwarted or prevented or stopped or hindered in any way.
God’s will concerning others consists of an antecedent will, which is what He wants to be the case, and a consequent will which is what he allows to be the case, whichever way the person chooses.
By his antecedent will, God wills that all people will be saved, if they repent and believe, and He funds all peoples and persons with the grace to begin the journey of salvation. Consequent to the actions of persons, God renders judgment. For example, a judge may antecedently will all the citizens to live, yet consequent to the fact that some decide to be murderers, he wills the criminals to be punished. Likewise God antecedently wills all persons should be brought to eternal blessedness, yet consequent to the operation of other wills who reject grace and follow another way, God wills that those people face the consequences of their actions (cf. Rom. 2:6; 2 Cor. 5:10 and the like).
God the Spirit’s work to reconcile all people and persons to God the Father through the Son, whose efforts are defined as “grace,” are either embodied and acted upon by people or they serve to condemn.
Pragmatically God’s grace brings about one of two results:
1.grace is embodied by the recipient in a good work; or, 2.grace is rejected by the recipient.
- God either works through the person, or,
- the person selects their own way, a self-effort.
God’s ministry of grace reveals God’s sincere love and concern for all people and persons since all are provided sufficient means to begin walking toward the Lord. It is vital to remember that God provides grace to bring about action and that He never reveals any truth to a person except to have that person embody and live out life according to the truth that has been revealed. If a person acts out their inward conviction and belief, then the Lord will continue to reveal more and more to that person. But if a person disbelieves and acts against what God has inwardly revealed by ignoring what God has revealed through his ministry of grace when it has been repeatedly presented to him, then the time will come when God no longer reveals truth to that person and the eyes of such people are blinded and their hearts become hardened. Their hearts are hardened not because God ceases to call to them by means of grace but because such people have brought themselves to a place were they are unwilling and unable to hear the call of the Lord. In 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 we read of “them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” This is solemn language and we all would do well to heed it.
The Big Idea
The conclusion from non-Calvinist thought, the consensus from the ancient, primitive church found in both the Latin and Greek church fathers that is preserved in Arminian theology, glossed over by medieval scholasticism, ignored by Enlightenment and unheard of by scholastic, modern theology, is that, come the Judgment Seat, the grace that God gives to all persons either:
- Glorifies the Lord through the good deeds, thoughts and actions that are reflective of his image and reveal that he is the source of all that is good.
- Or reveals his constant love and mercy toward those who ignored and rejected his ministry of grace throughout their lifetimes.
As such, at the Judgment Seat, the grace the Lord rained upon all persons ultimately either:
- Glorifies the Lord in and through a people whose thoughts and actions reflect the image of God; or,
- the grace that was given upholds the justice and righteousness of condemnation where the condemned stand self-convicted of the fact that the Lord continually reached out to them to draw them unto himself but they rejected all of his servants and even rejected his continual inward witness to the bitter end.
Those people who ignore salvation, that resist the grace they are lovingly and mercifully given, build mansions in which they will never live and plant vineyards they will never harvest, to their ever-lasting peril race toward judgment. (SEA)