God’s will, man’s will, and “the devil’s” will? “…After having been taken captive by him to do his will…” (2 Tim.2-26).
God’s will is perfect “..His good and perfect will..” (Rom.12-2). Man’s will is that which flows from an autonomy of being, although it is really that will which is being controlled by other forces, as man is “a slave to sin”. His flesh is in control.
In Romans 7, Paul finds that the “I” that he is, is not in control. He discovers his enlightened will that has been initiated by an awareness of law, has no power, it is a toothless tiger, because that which his mind decides to pursue, never comes about, is thwarted by inner internal forces.
Then he declares his personal identity (“I”) as being in separation from the identity and will of his flesh. He realises he is out of control, that something ELSE is in control of him. The law has pointed out the difference between GOD’s will and his own; that God’s will is not being done, and neither is Paul’s. The Paul that he is, is being manipulated by his natural human nature, with all its selfish and self protective desires. This is called FLESH.
Part of this “flesh” makeup is that which is called “the heart”. The “works of the flesh” and the works of the corrupted heart are pretty much the same thing. “Out of the heart comes…”. “Why have you conceived this thing IN YOUR HEART? (Acts 5-4). ‘The heart of man is deceitfully wicked’. (Jer.17-9).
The original captivity was of Adam by the “serpent”. Again we see the conception of evil arising within the heart of man, the first man. d.evil takes control.
Separation from God has brought about another entity, one with its agenda firmly against that of God, because God has become the enemy, the accuser of man, in man’s own thinking. His mind has been taken captive and become a separate entity to God. His mind is the mind of the flesh, autonomous and selfish, self protective. Primitive.
Then law re-arouses his rational logical thinking processes, just as it had when it destroyed him as the commandment in the garden (Rom.7-9) initiated those thinking processes in the first place. He sees his current enslavement, and sees freedom in the righteousness of which the law speaks, it having caused him to have recall of his innocent origins. (V22). But pursuance of law leaves him even more gutted that before, because that which he has become has provided no way out, no way to return to the garden of God, the law simply reinforces the death which is within him. (22,23,24).
His captured will has to be bought back from the law of sin and death. LOVE steps in and provides that way, provides that purchase, by removing at its own cost, the result of that unlawful activity. In doing so it releases man’s will to exercise its freedom from the captivity of the law, the law of sin and death, the law by which man was held captive to and by his autonomous processes, the law into which man first entered when he decided to go his own way, and institute his own governance of his own being, his own self.
Man’s conscience is released by love, based on the legality of the reality of law and its end results. The pain that was introduced by man in his hunt for meaning, has been borne by the nature of love, GOD’S love. Christ’s love. The Creator feels the pain, this creative pain that was necessary to give man free reign to sort out for himself what good and evil really amounted to. LAW is simply a word that describes the state of reality of God’s existence, and our existence, and the two wills involved in the conflict of which one has the right to survive, of which one is good, and which is bad.
When man decides to pursue God’s will, he can again fall into the trap of re-entering the realm of law, of trying to do it by himself, and not relying on God and his nature of love, which is communicated to us by his Spirit, his life force, his redemptive love-force, JESUS his son. He either tries to follow and fulfil the law itself, or he distorts the message and introduces other laws, just as the Pharisees did, in order to avoid capitulation to God himself, his love, his Spirit. They do this out of ignorance, sometimes, but also simply because their flesh is still in control, they want THEIR WILL to prevail, and to prevail over their fellow man.
There are then, multiple wills, but only two of them are “in force”, or are a force at all. The ineffective will is that of man under law (in sin), who is essentially the instrument of the effective law of sin and death, which though it was good, was the catalyst which brought sin and death into the world. The Good effective will is man in Jesus. And the perfectly effective will is that which is always actively in force in God’s world, GOD’S WILL. These last two could be considered to be the same.
Ultimately only two wills are the real players in this scenario. Those of Good and Evil and which two wills arose from the knowledge gained by Adam in his deviancy from God himself, causing the production of man’s will in opposition to God’s will, which is the Spirit. Jesus causes the shift of man’s will from evil to good, from flesh to Himself.