There are two phrases here in verse 11:
According to the purpose of Him
Accordingto the counsel of His will.
The Greek words used are boule and thelema, respectively.Both can be interchangebly used in the sense of 'will.' Often, thelema is used assomething that has been determined or that which will come about (Thayers, G2307. Seealso,
Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics,
pp.73-136 for a detailed discussion of theGenetive case and its multi-faceted use;
the Genetive is used in the Greek construction inthe last clause of verse 11
).So, in Paul's mind the inheritance of the believer has already been obtained. Note that it isobtained
to the praise of His glory.
This inheritance is tied to the two phrases mentionedearlier:
(1). According to the purpose of Him
Everything God does is always to glorify His own Name and cause His people to praiseHim. His glory is first and foremost while our salvation and sanctification is secondary.Let us never make the mistake of reversing the two: God's glory is not dependent uponour salvation, but our salvation is dependent upon (and with great mercy and love) God'sglory. Scripture testifies over and over again that God does these things in spite of usrather than on account of us (Isa 63:14; Ex 33:19; Isa 43:7; Ezek 20:14; 1Pe 1:20; 1Joh2:12).
(2). The counsel of His will
This phrase alone signifies a great deal. The nuances are plain and Paul makes use of them well here. There are two that can be discussed here.First, the counsel
belongs to God and God alone.
He has no need to consult another forHe is the creator of all things. He already possesses complete and perfect knowledge forHe had already in mind what He was to do before He began the process of creation (Isa46:10). Regarding our inheritence, Jesus was the Lamb slain from the foudation of theworld (1Pe 1:20; Re 13:8) and all counsel is within the Triune Godhead so that
we whowere the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory.
The beauty of this istwofold: (1) We are the beneficiaries of God's counsel
having been predestined.
It issomething that causes us to break forth in praise which in turn causes God to be glorified.(2) God still recieves the glory from His own counsel regardless of what may come. If God damns every person to Hell, He is still glorified. If He saves some and not all, He isstill glorified. If every person were to willingly bow their knee to Christ, He is stillglorified. No matter which way we turn the key God's glory is always at the other end of the lock.The second aspect of God's counsel is this:
no one was there when He made thesedecisions.
This seems a bit trifling to point out but it is truth. God made, decreed, andacted upon His own counsel. No outside force was there to persuade or dissuade Himfrom any course of action; and when we come across the doctrine of predestination in theBible we would do well to remember this. God is still in control of every situation. Many