25 December, 2019

Luke 2:14—“… and on earth peace, good will toward men”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men (Luke 2:13-14).

“Does not this text say that the gospel is, intrinsically, good news to all who hear it, and not just the elect? (Therefore teaching that there is a favour of God upon all men in some sense?). The bad news is only a consequence of man’s rejection of it (as well as their already existing and continued condition in a state of misery) … Does not God have ‘good will’ towards the non-elect/reprobate?”


Rev. James Slopsema

[Source: The Standard Bearer, vol. 96, no. 6 (Dec. 15, 2019), p. 128]

God’s good will is His kindness and benevolence. This good will God has towards men. These men are His elect church that forms the heart of the human race. In His good will, God will bring peace to them on earth.



Rev. Ronald Van Overloop

[Source: The Standard Bearer, vol. 90, no. 6 (Dec. 15, 2013), p. 124)

“Good will” always refers in Scripture to God’s good pleasure. God is pleased to exercise His good pleasure to men. Divine pleasure is extended, not to every human, but to the elect humans (who altogether make up mankind). Every individual human is justly the object of God’s wrath because of man’s fall into sin. But it is God’s “good will” to save to Himself a certain number whom He unites together. In His good will God declares to them that, though their sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Is. 1:18). In the Baby lying in the manger we see God’s good will towards us! He has forgiven us at the greatest price to Himself!



Prof. David J. Engelsma

The better translation of the text is, “peace to men of good will.”  The meaning, then, is that there is peace to men of God’s good will, or good counsel. 
If the other translation is preferred, for textual reasons, the explanation is that God certainly has good will toward men.  Otherwise, He had not sent His son into the world.  But the men are those from all nations whom He has elected in Christ—all the men of whom Jesus is the head.  The text does not describe “men” as every human without exception.  The rest of Scripture must explain the extent of the “men.”  Elsewhere, the Bible teaches that the gospel, although good news in itself, is good news that is intended by God to harden some humans to whom it comes (see Romans 9).  Also Scripture teaches that the gospel proves to be good news only to some humans (Acts 13:48). 
If God intended it to be good news accomplishing salvation to all men, why are not all men saved by it?  Does it depend on the will of sinners?  Here again the implication is that salvation is a matter of the will of sinners, rather than the will of God. (DJE, 03/09/2018)



More to come! (DV)

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