I. AN ISSUE OF GOD’S WILL,
PURPOSE, GOOD PLEASURE, AND COUNSEL
The divine economy is an issue of God’s will, purpose, good pleasure, and counsel.
A. God’s Will Being God’s Wish,
God’s will is God’s wish, God’s desire. God’s will is what He wishes to do and wants to do. God’s good pleasure is of God’s will. Ephesians 1:5 speaks of "the good pleasure of His will." His good pleasure is embodied in His will, so His will comes first. God’s will was hidden in God as a mystery, so Ephesians 1:9 speaks of "the mystery of His will." In eternity God planned a will. This will was hidden in Him; hence, it was a mystery. God’s will as a mystery hidden in God issues in God’s economy, dispensation (3:9). From God’s will issues God’s economy through His purpose, good pleasure, and counsel.
B. God’s Purpose Being
God’s Intent Set Beforehand
God’s purpose is God’s intent set beforehand. God’s good pleasure was purposed in God Himself (Eph. 1:9b). This shows that God’s good pleasure is embodied not only in God’s will but also in God’s purpose. We have been predestinated according to God’s purpose of the ages, which is His eternal purpose (1:11a; 3:11). God’s purpose is eternal. It is the eternal plan of God made in eternity past before the beginning of time.
C. God’s Good Pleasure Being
What God Likes,
What Pleases God
God’s good pleasure is what makes God happy. It is what God likes, what pleases God. We have a hymn in our hymnal which speaks of God’s intent and pleasure (see Hymns, #538). God has predestinated us unto sonship according to the good pleasure of His will (Eph. 1:5). This means that God likes to have sons. His predestination is unto sonship. Unto means for or in view of. God’s predestination of us is for His sonship or in view of His sonship. God is happy and glad about gaining sons. It is His good pleasure to have us as His sons.
God has made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself (Eph. 1:9). First, there is God’s will, second God’s purpose, and third God’s pleasure.
(The Central Line of the Divine Revelation, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)