Grace Bible Church
The Tree of Life
A Weekly Review
Week ending 080711
The Doctrine of The Divine Decrees. Part 7.
We have been looking at three of the different types of the will of God:
1. His directive will.
2. His permissive will.
3. His overruling will.
There is a tremendous difference and distinction between what God permits and what He desires. God’s principle desire is for all men to be saved, that’s why we teach the doctrine of the unlimited atonement; 1TI 2:3-4
; 2PE 2:9
. God knew who would accept Him as well as who would reject Him. Therefore, when a person rejects Christ as Savoir, God knew all about that in eternity past. However, He still provided the opportunity for them to believe. And why did He do so? Because of the following passages:
DEU 32:4 “The Rock! His work is perfect, For all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He.”
2SA 22:31-33, “As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the Lord is tested; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. For who is God, besides the Lord? And who is a rock, besides our God? God is my strong fortress; And He sets the blameless in His way.
We have also noted that God is also just. God’s holiness includes His justice as well as His righteousness. As a part of God’s justice, God is fair. It is impossible for God to be unfair: 2CH 19:7, for the Lord our God will have no part in unrighteousness, or partiality, or the taking of a bribe.
Justice always administers what righteousness demands. The justice of God is actually the guardian of his divine essence. And, it was the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross that allowed the justice of God to release the one attribute that most individuals always focus in on i.e., love. The fact that God’s justice is satisfied frees God to love us and bless us. Justice is the source of grace. Justice is the believer’s point of contact with God. God is also love as we have noted in 1JO 4:8
Since God is eternal and immutable, His love is unchanging and enduring. The motive behind God’s love is grace! The scriptures teach in ROM 8:38-39
, that no matter how a believer fails, no matter what he does, God keeps on loving him. God’s love always depends on God’s character never on man’s character. God’s love has no strings attached to it. And so, by now you should be familiar with ROM 11:32, For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all.
Remember that God is the one who has done this.
This is not the only passage that teaches this, look at GAL 3:22
. In GAL 3:22
, I want you to notice that the Scripture is the one that has done this. Gal 3:22, But the Scripture has shut up all men under sin, that the promise by or based upon faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. GAL 3:22
teaches that man is said to be restricted by divine decree to be under sin. GAL 3:22
continues the promise by faith or the promised based upon faith.
As we have noted God is said to have confined all in unbelief that they might become the objects of divine mercy. This brings glory to God in the angelic conflict. So, God’s desire is for all men to be saved but that desire is not fulfilled because of the free will of mankind. However, He still provided the opportunity for them to believe. The same thing is true after salvation. Under election, God willed His highest and best for every believer and therefore He deposited in escrow blessings for time and greater blessings for eternity.
However, He knew every believer who would reject the PPOG, but He still willed His highest and best for that person. This is why believers suffer loss of rewards. They didn’t earn rewards and then lose them, they were elected to have them but they rejected that aspect of God’s election.
1CO 3:15, If any man’s work is burned up, he shall suffer loss
[escrow blessings for eternity]; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire.
This is why Peter tells us in 2PE 1:10, Be motivated even more to make certain about His calling and election;
God’s desire is to bless you, and He has, however your desires can cause you to reject His blessings. Here’s the reason why-God knew all your negative decisions and programmed them into the divine decrees because He will not interfere with your free will. For this would prevent the angelic conflict from ever being settled.
For example, while sin and death are displeasing to God and incompatible with His divine nature, nevertheless, they belong to the decrees under the category of the fall of man. While loser believers are displeasing to God and incompatible with His sovereign will, nevertheless, they belong to the decrees, having a printout from their own free will.
This means that many things that occur are results of angelic or human free will acting contrary to God’s desires. However, He nevertheless decided or willed that these things would take place, thus making our volition truly free.
God’s decree rendered all things as certain to occur and He decided that they would exist. In doing so, He did not interfere with angelic or human free will. In fact, He decreed that we would have free will. In giving us volition, He also decreed that our decisions, whatever they might be, would certainly take place, even those that are contrary to His desires.
The decrees include a lot of things that are not God’s desires, because the decrees include all the things you think, say or do. Therefore, many things in the decrees are not the desires of God. For example, sin, human good, and evil are not the desires of God but are in the decrees because they are performed by our free will. This means that God desires His perfect will and sovereignty, but both angelic and human creatures use their God-given free will and self-determination to violate the desires of God.
All of God’s desires are a part of the divine decrees but we can reject those desires for our personal life. So the decrees contain both the will of God and desires of God. However, many things in the decrees God did not desire to happen but He must allow them to happen because of the free-will of His creation. For example, God does not desire to cast His creatures into the Lake of Fire forever, but it is so decreed under the printout of retribution for all who express negative volition at God-consciousness and at Gospel hearing. He must confine the wicked in an eternal prison or else there would be a constant war throughout the universe for all of eternity. The wicked would get more and more wicked and if they had the freedom to chose, there would be nothing but chaos in the universe. This is why REV 22:11
says, “Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and let the one who is filthy, still be filthy;”
On the other hand, verse 14 says, Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.
REV 22:15, Outside
[the city, the eternal Heaven] are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.
However, they are confined to the eternal prison of the Lake of fire described in REV 14:11
as a place where their torment goes up forever and ever; and they have no rest day and night.
REV 20:10, And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
REV 20:15, And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
REV 19:20, it is described as the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.
REV 21:8, “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
God does not desire to cast His creatures into the Lake of Fire forever, but it is so decreed under the printout of retribution for all who express negative volition at God-consciousness and at Gospel hearing.
God does not desire the discipline of believers, but it is decreed for all believers who live in carnality, apostasy and reversionism.
Unlimited atonement is the demonstration that the sovereignty of God desires that no one should perish.
Yet human volition can and does reject the saving work of Christ. Therefore, the alternative is the lake of fire.
The point is that we all have a print-out with our name on it, expressing our positive or negative volition toward God’s sovereign will for our lives. God’s eternal and sovereign will for every believer is expressed in the divine decrees, having printouts such as election, glorification, justification, and predestination.
Therefore, your life and the decisions that you would make were read by God but not altered. You have privacy and can you make good or bad decisions. This is why REV 20:12, And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.
REV 20:13, And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.
The divine decrees contain all data or facts regarding the function of the free will of man in human history. God fed, as it were, all the facts into the divine decrees simultaneously in eternity past. The facts include everything you ever think, decide, or do in the past, present, and future. Therefore, this doesn’t tamper with your free will.
All logistical grace, and those who would be blessed and their blessings, were fed into the divine decrees. God knew every problem, heartache, and situation you would face before you ever existed. Therefore, you insult God when you pray “God help,” as if He didn’t already know you needed help.
, “It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.”
, “Your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him.”
The divine decree then prints out facts about believers under the categories of election, foreknowledge, predestination, justification and glorification.
This is how God observes our life, from the finish point.
This is why our Lord said in JOH 17:4, “I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do.
JOH 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit.
The divine decree also prints out facts on the unbeliever under the categories of reprobation, condemnation and retribution.
Let’s note the distinctions between what God permits and what He desires. First of all there is the permission of sin. A distinction is made in the divine decrees by dividing them into two combinations, the decrees which are efficacious and those which are permissive. The efficacious decrees are those which determine the affairs of this life directly by physical causes, such as in Job 28
JOB 28:24-27, “For He looks to the ends of the earth, And sees everything under the heavens. When He imparted weight to the wind, And meted out the waters by measure, When He set a limit for the rain, and a course for the thunderbolt, Then He saw it and declared it; He established it and also searched it out.
The efficacious decrees are also those which determine the affairs of this life in the spiritual realm.
PHI 2:13, for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
EPH 2:8-10, 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.
On the other hand, the permissive decrees allow those things which are evil and sinful. The term permissive means that God does not actively promote the execution of the decrees even though they have been determined by Him to take place.
ACT 14:14-16, But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you in order that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them. And in the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways;
With respect to His permissive will, God determines not to hinder the course of action which His creatures pursue; but He does determine to regulate and control the boundaries and the results of such actions. Because Jesus Christ controls history, He will only permit wickedness and evil to go so far. If He did not do this, the universe would self-destruct. God’s permissive will is His will to permit whatsoever He thinks fit to permit or not to hinder; while what He wills or determines to permit, he also intends to regulate and not to behold as an idol unconcerned spectator.
Therefore, the divine permission of evil in the human race extends beyond the one sin of Adam. For example, it is written that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that a demonstration of His divine power might be fully displayed. This does not mean that God reached down in the heart of Pharaoh and made his heart hard. It means that God brought in circumstances and situations that He knew would cause Pharaoh to harden his heart. And that’s why we read three times in the book of Exodus that Pharaoh hardened his own heart.
In EXO 8:15
, But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not listen to them, as the Lord had said.
EXO 8:32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go. EXO 9:34 But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned again and hardened his heart, he and his servants.
The Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart by bringing in situations that he knew would cause Pharaoh to reject the warnings of God. One of the reasons being is that by the demonstration of divine power, the whole multitude of the Egyptians came to know something of Jehovah, EXO 14:4
EXO 14:4 “Thus I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.”
In JOS 2:10
, Rahab said to the two spies, “For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt,
Now, concerning God’s attitude toward sin, it is obvious that God commanded Adam and the woman not to sin, and yet, unless Adam did sin, there would be no need for the Savior who was decreed in eternity past before Adam to be slain, REV 13:8
. The same thing is true about King Saul. Saul was told that if he had kept the commands given to him, his house would have been established forever, (1SA 13:13
). Yet, by decree it was determined and the was prophecy was given that the everlasting throne and kingdom for Israel was to come through the tribe of Judah and not through the tribe of Benjamin, to which tribe Saul belonged, (GEN 49:10
GEN 49:10, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to Him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
This principle of being given permission to perform evil is also revealed in the altercation between the Lord and Satan as recorded in the first two chapters of Job. Satan admits that he can bring no testing upon Job apart from the permission of the Lord and it is stated that the Lord gave Satan this permission, JOB 1:12
; JOB 2:6
. Even the experience of an individual who sins reveals the fact that God permits sins but it is not a part of His will. After the sin has been committed, the one who sins could say: God is to be blamed. He could have prevented me from sinning, but He did not. However, the sinner does not say that since there is within him a consciousness that he alone is responsible.
Martyrs could have prevented the sin of murder on the part of their murders if they had retracted from their position relative to the truth in question. Even Christ Himself could have prevented many individuals from the measureless sin of the crucifixion of the Son of God, had He come down from the Cross. All this suggests the obvious fact that the mere avoidance of sin is not always the primary issue. With all these situations in view, the intelligent mind refuses to predicate sin to God either directly or indirectly.
It may be concluded, then, that sin is in the universe by the permission of God who hates it perfectly and who, being sovereign, had power to keep it from manifestation, had He chosen to do so. That He did not hinder the manifestation of sin, demonstrates that He, being what He is, must have a purpose in view other than the averting of sin. Here as nowhere else in the affairs of the universe, the end justifies the means.
The decrees include a lot of things which are not God’s desires, because the decrees include all the things His creatures would think, say or do. This means that many things in the decrees are not the desires of God. Therefore, we can conclude that sin is in the universe by the permission of God who hates sin and Who, being sovereign, had power to keep it from manifestation had He chosen to do so. However, the fact that He did not hinder the manifestation of sin, demonstrates that He, being Who and what He is, must have a purpose in view other than the averting of sin.
Here as nowhere else in the affairs of the universe, the end justifies the means. And what is the end? The end is that God will be glorified. Perhaps this is another reason why PSA 89:33
says, Even if they sin and rebel I will not deal falsely in my faithfulness.
We have a tendency to think that God hates sin so much that He has nothing to do with the sinner….as if God is afraid of sin. Or, as if He must turn His back on sin wherever He sees it.
However, what does the Bible teach?
PSA 37:23-25, The steps of a man are established by the Lord; And He delights in his way. When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong; Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand. I have been young, and now I am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Or his descendants begging bread.
God is greatly honored when His children go through failure and have the proper thoughts toward Him and recognize His divine attributes in action. The sooner we trust Him in all of our affairs, being fully persuaded and convinced of His love toward us, the sooner we will find true contentment in life.