Chapter 4, “The Theological Terminology Regarding the Divine Will of Grace”
God’s will has been described in various ways. Pieper gives a list of Latin terms used to describe God’s will, terms which roughly translate as “absolute, ordained, conditional, antecedent, consequent, revealed, and hidden” (Loc. 682). In this chapter he discusses the terms within the context of God’s saving grace.
God’s will to save all men is not absolute, but ordained. The absolute will of God is never resisted and always comes to pass. His ordained will can be resisted. Through the means he has chosen God calls all to salvation but only by grace through faith in Christ for his sake.
Sometimes the term “conditional” is used to describe God’s ordained will. But sometimes the condition identified has some connection with man’s merit, in which case it is not viewed biblically.
The distinction between the antecedent and consequent will of God is also a difficulty. Seen biblically, God’s antecedent will is to save. His consequent will is activated only when man has rejected God. Calvinism rejects the distinction, saying that from the start God has a will to save some and condemn others. Pieper goes into some detail rejecting Calvinist arguments.
God’s will to save is fully revealed to us. Though there are some aspects of God’s desire which are hidden, his revealed will is clearly only for saving and blessing all who believe him.