The Pleasure of His Will
“Predestining us for adoption through Jesus Christ into Him, according to the pleasure of His will,”
The Pleasure of His will… I wonder whether we really take time to think about this phrase very often. God does this work of adoption through Christ not primarily for our good (though it is very much to our good); he does it for His pleasure. His pleasure that is, not our pleasure. How shocking that revelation must be to many people who simply view God as being a senile father in the sky who desperately wishes to give away good gifts but has to wait for us to desire them enough to ask for them. While dominant in much of Christianity, such a view is inconsistent with the Biblical revelation and is shameful at best.
The Greek word that we translate as “pleasure” is εὐδοκία (eudokia). Literally, this word is a noun that refers to a state of being — one that is well disposed toward the actions being taken — actions that are both desired and desirable. Yet, we must make it clear that the one to whom this action is desirable is God. He is not acting out of some sense of need within himself nor is he acting out of some vague beneficence toward mankind. No, he is acting because such an action brings pleasure to his person.
What other things are described in a similar way? Jesus described the veiling of the Gospel from the worldly wise as a work of God’s pleasure (Matthew 11:26; Luke 10:21), revealing his will to the elect in Christ (Ephesians 1:9), and that in conforming us to His will, we will labor to God’s glory (Philippians 2:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:11). Perhaps, though, the best statement on the this idea of God’s good pleasure (εὐδοκία) is found in the Greek translation of 1 Chronicles 16:10, which reads, “Utter praise in His holy name! The heart that seeks His pleasure will rejoice!”