Tuesday, March 2, 2021

The Decrees of God

Q 7: What are the decrees of God? 
Answer: The decrees of God are, his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.
The Bible not only makes known what God is and the persons in the Godhead, but also his decrees and their implementation in history. In fact, in the decrees and works of God, we see his divine attributes vividly displayed and demonstrated. We are called upon repeatedly in the Psalms to make known his deeds among the people because they reveal him and his glory.

This question particularly notes how his eternal decrees make known his sovereignty and wisdom. He has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass (exercising sovereignty) according to the counsel of his will, directing them to an end: his own glory (exercising wisdom). And these decrees are his eternal purpose - he is unchanging and unwavering in what he has always intended. These decrees were made in eternity, before time began. Ephesians 1:4 says that God the Father chose us in Christ “before the foundation of the world.” Paul goes on to say in Ephesians 1:11 that we were “predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will...” His predestination of us to salvation is described as one part of his eternal purpose. He works all things, not only matters of salvation, according to his plan. Later questions will describe how he works all things (i.e. his works of creation and providence). It is sufficient to point out here that God does not work every part of his decree in the same way - sometimes he acts directly, and other times through second causes (people, nature, etc.).

This truth is of benefit to us in at least two ways. First, it should exalt God in our eyes when we behold his sovereign power and the exercise of his unsearchable wisdom which has designed every thing which comes to pass from all eternity with purpose, fitting each part for his glory (and his people’s good). He is not trying to keep up with mankind, forming his plan in the moment in response to man, but is enthroned on high, bringing his will to pass. Second, it should comfort us to know that there is purpose and intention behind the events of this life, as chaotic and uncertain as they may seem to us. And not only is there purpose, but it is the purpose of our wise and good Father in heaven. Nothing takes him by surprise, for he has in fact foreordained it.

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