It’s God’s will for EVERYONE to be saved, is it not? Absolutely. He requires all men in all times and all places to repent and believe the gospel (John 3:18), and thus to be saved from His wrath.
But of course, not everyone believes the gospel, and most of humanity is not saved. Does this mean that God’s will is thwarted by men? How can it be His will for everyone to be saved, yet also His will for so many to perish? Does He have “two wills” that conflict with each other? Not at all. Here is why:
Both the righteous and the wicked exist for God’s glory: The righteous to the praise of His mercy and love; and the wicked to the glory of His holiness and justice. BOTH glorify their Creator!
But the question of whether God truly “wants” every person to be saved or not is like the plan of God itself:
this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men… (Acts 2:23)
On one hand, murder is not God’s will! He says, “You shall not kill!” It is not His moral will that anyone should be murdered. And yet even before He created the world He had planned the murder of His only begotten Son, and it occurred exactly as God had determined and planned ages before the fact. His will was not thwarted, but rather carried out “by the hands of godless men,” for a fantastic display of God’s mercy towards undeserving sinners like me!
So while murder is “against God’s will,” we also see that the murder of His Son was God’s will. Is there a conflict between His “moral will” and His “decreative will?” On the surface it looks like it, but His decree – before creation – that the Son would be murdered to purchase a people for Himself from the fallen race of Adam, was in fact, God’s will.
Two “wills” of God?
No. One standard of morality, and one plan to redeem a people. The standard is holiness! The one single attribute of God that is repeated three times by the heavenly beings, in Isaiah and Revelation, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty…” – we never see “Loving, loving, loving” or “merciful, merciful, merciful,” but always, in both Testaments, “Holy, holy, holy.” His “moral will” is His standard. It requires perfection, purity, absolute righteousness from all living beings, period. The plan was and is to have rebellious, fallen men to demonstrate the awesomeness of God’s holiness and purity in the treatment they shall receive at His hands, whether He shows them mercy by granting them repentance and faith, or whether He shows them justice in the everlasting lake of fire.
So is it His “will” for everyone to be saved? That is the standard He holds all men to. He requires faith in Christ of all men (John 3:18). But His plan was to demonstrate BOTH His justice AND His love. The wicked demonstrate His justice, and the redeemed His mercy and love. There is no contradiction between God’s standard and His plan. They are consistent both with who He is and with how He has revealed Himself in His written word.