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Grace Bible Church
Tree of Life
A Weekly Review
Week ending 07/04/2010
The Doctrine of the Divine Decree.
On the border between the infinite and the finite.
Point one. Definition:
The decree of God is His eternal (always existed), holy (perfect integrity), wise (the application of omniscience to creation), and sovereign purpose, comprehending simultaneously all things that ever were or will be in their causes, conditions (status), successions (interaction with others that leads to certain decisions), relations, and determining certain parts of their future. The term decree of God appears in the singular, since God has but one all-inclusive plan. He sees all things at a glance. For convenience, the separate features of this plan may be called the decrees of God; but there should be no implication in this that the infinite understanding of God advances by steps. There is no possibility that the one plan, the decree, will be altered by omissions or additions. Nor is it true that God can have a particular purpose and have something go on in His universe that is unrelated. God sustains a distinct purpose concerning each aspect of His one intention.
Point 2. The decree of God is His eternal (always existed), holy (perfect integrity), wise (the application of omniscience to creation), and sovereign purpose, comprehending simultaneously all things that ever were or will be in their causes, conditions (status), successions (interaction with others that leads to certain decisions), relations, and determining their certain futurition.
Point 3: The order of the divine decrees (lapsarianism).
Of all the decrees, five of them are related to the purpose of God in election - the five elective decrees.\
Biblical lapsarianism:
a. The decree to create.
b. The decree to permit the fall.
c. Unlimited atonement.
d. The decree to motivate through the deposit of escrow blessings.
e. The simultaneous decrees of election and predestination, and to apply salvation to those who believe in Christ.
Point 4: Standing on the border between the infinite and the finite.
God is able to create and not create, to allow and not allow, and that sin and evil are in the world with a purpose to accomplish God’s great plan. Sin is fully hated by God but through the unlimited atonement, God dealt with sin once and for all, therefore there can never be a condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death. Sin is not the issue anymore, but rather the Son is the issue. Focus on the solution and not the problem. Such contemplation should never lessen the human estimation of the divine hatred for sin, nor be any encouragement to a creature to sin. We will sin ignorantly and wilfully and the only reason we are forgiven of any of it was the death of Christ. We are not to focus on it in ourselves or others, but never take sin so lightly that you put your lifestyle into it and imagine there is no consequence. The deeds of the flesh are evident and it will destroy our lives if we let it reign over us.
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. (ROM 6:12-18)
That sin is infinitely evil is demonstrated by the ruin it has wrought among the angels, the present depravity of humanity with all its woes, and the fact that no cure for sin could be found at a less cost than the blood of the Son of God. A believer has to find the balance between giving himself grace and forgiving others and the detrimental effects of a lifestyle of sin that keeps him away from fellowship with God. Both immoral and moral degeneracy are great destroyers of people’s lives. So when you’re standing on the threshold of the infinite and you find yourself unable to answer questions as to why God did this and why He did that, remember something:
It is a dangerous thing for a finite creature to sit in judgement upon the course that God pursues. He is trustworthy and should be fully trusted. Blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.
He has done all things well; (MAR 7:37)
As for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Thy likeness when I awake. (PSA 17:15)
So as we stand on the threshold of the infinite and the finite the main thing you want to remember is that without faith it is impossible to please God and that the decree should give you security, confidence, courage, and peace [prosperity] of soul.
Point 5: The will of God - Directive, Permissive, and Overruling.
Directive will of God: What God desires me to think, to do, and where to go. This is focused on believers since the unbeliever has but one directive from God - believe on the Lord Jesus and be saved. We will break up the directive will of God into seven categories:
1. It is the will of God that every member of the human race be born again — 2 Peter 3:9, “… not willing that any should perish.”
And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever. (1JO 2:17)
And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. (1JO 3:23)
2. It is the will of God that all believers be experientially sanctified. (We are speaking here of experiential sanctification which is staying in fellowship). 1TH 4:3 carries the idea that a believer is to be set apart unto God by being in fellowship with Him so that believers will be under His direction.
For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles [unbelievers] who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you.  For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. Consequently, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you. (1TH 4:3-8)
3. It is the will of God that all believers be controlled (filled) with the Holy Spirit.
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, (EPH 5:18)
4. It is the will of god that we give thanks in everything: (1TH 5:18 correlated with ROM 8:28).
In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1TH 5:18)
If you are going to do the will of God, if you are going to be guided by God, this must be your mental attitude. This can be quite a problem since not all things that come into our lives can be qualified as pleasant. There is going to be a great deal of suffering, tragedy, and adversity in our lives, but you don’t have to be concerned because there is always a purpose for it designed by God in EP.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (ROM 8:28)
With capacity through doctrine suffering will be a blessing for you. The promise is not that all things are good; it is that all things work together for good. Since that is true, and will be true to the believer with a strong doctrinal faith, you can thank the Lord for everything that comes into your life; the suffering, the adversities, the trials and heartaches, as well as the blessings, the successes and the victories. Suffering is designed to bless us; therefore I can give thanks in suffering. Discipline is designed to remind us to use 1 John 1:9; therefore I can give thanks for discipline. Only knowledge of doctrine supplies capacity for suffering.
5. It is the will of God that believers suffer. Since it is God’s will that you suffer (1PE 4:19) then the purpose of suffering is blessing.
For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. (1PE 3:17)
Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. 1PE 4:19)
Suffering is:
a. God’s way of blessing the believer.
b. God’s way of bringing maturity (edification complex) in a quicker way.
c. God’s way of directing our attention to the things that are really important in life such as: Fellowship with Him; Knowing doctrine.
6. It is the will of God for every believer to trust the Lord.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. (PRO 3:5-6)
It is God’s directive will that you depend upon divine or Biblical viewpoint in every situation. It is not God’s will that you depend on human viewpoint for life. Because we have a free will and He has a directive will that blesses us He puts forth a question to us in time: “Do you want Me to direct your path and to lead you along the way?” God’s decree is Sovereign and so there is not one little corner of the universe where He did not know exactly what would happen and when, and even all, the other possibilities of what might have happened through other causes. God therefore has not left one part of our lives to which He did not give divine guidance, even the smallest details. Therefore, there is doctrine for every aspect of our lives every day. In our free will we can chose His directive or trust in our own or another persons human guidance. If you neglect doctrine, whatever is being taught from the pulpit, then you will have no choice but human viewpoint because the word is given before the moment it’s needed.
7. It is the will of God for every believer to be productive.
For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. (1PE 2:15)
Well doing or good works is the will of God for the believer. Believers have been left on earth to represent and glorify TLJC. Part of representing Him is to be effective in the realm of production, which is the natural by-product of spiritual maturity. Just remember that this is His will for after salvation. There are no works in salvation.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (EPH 2:8-10)
All production is in the area of divine good: the filling of the Spirit, the exhale of epignosis, and the erection of the edification complex. This is triple compound divine good. The permissive will of God: Where negative volition in man is permitted to act contrary to the will of God. Man goes negative against His directive will. God is a gentleman; He does not coerce human volition. He disciplines for disobedience, but does not force obedience except in extreme cases. Man often operates under the lust of his old sin nature and therefore uses negative volition to disobey God. While God in righteousness does not violate human volition so as to coerce man, God in justice disciplines disobedience. Often we try to somehow entice God to come over to our view and He’s not buying it. His directive will is His sovereign will and it is perfectly righteous and holy and God will never agree with anything that goes against it. However, it is proof of the existence of human free will and God’s recognition of it that we are often allowed to act against God’s perfect will. A great example of this is in the history of Balaam.
So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the fees for divination in their hand; and they came to Balaam and repeated Balak's words to him. And he said to them, “Spend the night here, and I will bring word back to you as the LORD may speak to me.” And the leaders of Moab stayed with Balaam. Then God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?” And Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sentword to me, ‘Behold, there is a people who came out of Egypt and they cover the surface of the land; now come, curse them for me; perhaps I may be able to fight against them, and drive them out.’” And God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them; you shall not curse the people; for they are blessed.”(NUM 22:7-12)
Notice the command: “Do not go with them;”
So Balaam arose in the morning and said to Balak’s leaders, “Go back to your land, for the LORD has refused to let me go with you.” And the leaders of Moab arose and went to Balak, and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.” Then Balak again sent leaders, more numerous and more distinguished than the former. And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor, ‘Let nothing, I beg you, hinder you from coming to me; for I will indeed honor you richly, and I will do whatever you say to me. Please come then, curse this people for me.’” And Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything, either small or great, contrary to the command of the LORD my God. And now please, you also stay here tonight, and I will find out what else the LORD will speak to me.” (NUM 22:13-19)
It is a subtle form of self-justification, where you know what the word of God says concerning a certain thing, but you look for the tiniest loop-hole somewhere so that you may justify your lust. It’s as if we truly think we can fool God in His court of law; as if God would say to us, “You know, I never saw it that way.” Balaam wants to go because he wants the money so God allows him to and this is God’s permissive will.
And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, "If the men have come to call you, rise up and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you shall you do." (NUM 22:20)
Balaam was operating on materialism lust from his old sin nature; therefore, he used his negative volition to disobey the will of God. If God should violate the free will of Balaam, then God is not glorified. God cannot be glorified by coercion. God has put His essence on the line in reply to accusations against Him that He is not who He claims to be. If He just forces men to obey Him, though He could, then He doesn’t reveal His essence, neither to the elect or the fallen.
So Balaam arose in the morning, and saddled his donkey, and went with the leaders of Moab. But God was angry because he was going, and the angel of the LORD took his stand in the way as an adversary against him. Now he was riding on his donkey and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand, the donkey turned off from the way and went into the field; but Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back into the way. Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path of the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed herself to the wall and pressed Balaam’s foot against the wall, so he struck her again. And the angel of the LORDwent further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn to the right hand or the left. When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam was angry and struck the donkey with his stick. And the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” Then Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a mockery of me! If there had been a sword in my hand, I would have killed you by now.” And the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden all your life to this day? Have I ever been accustomed to do so to you?” And he said, “No.” Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand; and he bowed all the way to the ground. And the angel of the LORD said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out as an adversary, because your way was contrary to me. But the donkey saw me and turned aside from me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, I would surely have killed you just now, and let her live.” And Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, “I have sinned, for I did not know that you were standing in the way against me. Now then, if it is displeasing to you, I will turn back.” But the angel of the LORD said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but you shall speak only the word which I shall tell you.” So Balaam went along with the leaders of Balak. (NUM 22:21-35)
So now we have the overruling will of God.
Then the LORD put a word in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and you shall speak thus.” So he returned to him, and behold, he was standing beside his burnt offering, he and all the leaders of Moab. And he took up his discourse and said, “From Aram Balak has brought me, Moab’s king from the mountains of the East, ‘Come curse Jacob for me, And come, denounce Israel!’ How shall I curse, whom God has not cursed? And how can I denounce, whom the LORD has not denounced? “As I see him from the top of the rocks, And I look at him from the hills; Behold, a people who dwells apart, And shall not be reckoned among the nations. “Who can count the dust of Jacob, Or number the fourth part of Israel?
Let me die the death of the upright, And let my end be like his!” Then Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, but behold, you have actually blessed them!” And he answered and said, “Must I not be careful to speak what the LORD puts in my mouth?” (NUM 23:5-12)
Balak takes Balaam to another place to overlook another portion of Israel hoping that Balaam would curse them, but again Balaam blesses them.
Then Balak said to Balaam, “Do not curse them at all nor bless them at all!” But Balaam answered and said to Balak, “Did I not tell you, ‘Whatever the LORD speaks, that I must do'?” (NUM 23:25-26)
Balaam blesses them yet again and then prophecies the destruction of Balak and the coming of David and Messiah. Israel is blessed by the Lord in the land, but notice what they do.
While Israel remained at Shittim, the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the LORD was angry against Israel. (NUM 25:1-3)
Once again, as so often we see of the people of God, God allows evil, but overrules it in His perfect timing.
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