Grace Bible Church
The Tree of Life
A Weekly Review
Week ending 081411
The Doctrine of The Divine Decrees
. Part 8.
One of the principles that we noted this past week under the divine decrees is that God has placed all mankind under a complete indictment of total depravity.
This is where the Calvinist “TULIP” comes from. TULIP is the acronym for the basic ideas of classical Calvinism.
T ‑ Total depravity. This doesn’t mean people are as bad as they can be. Sin is in every part of one’s being, including the mind and will, so that a man cannot save himself.
U ‑ Unconditional election. God chooses to save people unconditionally; that is, they are not chosen on the basis of their own merit.
L ‑ limited atonement. – we simply theologically and dogmatically reject the limited atonement. The sacrifice of Christ on the cross was for the purpose of saving the entire world not just the elect.
I – Irresistible grace teaches that God’s inward Call is perfectly effectual and sufficient forever from the grace of God.
P – Perseverance of the saints or eternal security. This is not the idea that no matter what a believer does he or she cannot lose his or her salvation.
PHI 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
JOH 6:37-39, “All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”
Whenever God creates faith in our hearts and joins us to Christ and His saving work, He will sustain that faith, that saving relationship with Christ, causing us, by His grace, to persevere in grace and faith.
Let’s take a fast stroll throughout the New Testament.
1JO 2:1-2, My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
He died not only for our sins only says but for the sins of the whole world.
In JOH 1:29, The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
JOH 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.”
JOH 4:42, and they were saying to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.”
JOH 6:32-33, Jesus therefore said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”
JOH 6:51, “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
JOH 12:46-47, “I have come {as} light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears My sayings, and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.”
2CO 5:18-19, Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
1JO 4:14, And we have beheld and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
1TI 2:3-6, This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time.
1TI 4:10, For this reason, we [pastors] work hard to the point of exhaustion, and we hang in there tough [keep on contending], because we have confidence in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.
HEB 2:9, But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
2PE 2:1, But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.
Now, you should have ENOUGH proof of the scriptural outlook on the unlimited atonement.
One of the principles that we noted this past week under the divine decrees is that God has placed all mankind under a complete indictment of total depravity. This complete indictment is the fact that He has placed all of us under total depravity and under the category of condemnation so that He may extend His mercy to all.
ROM 11:32, For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all.
One of the principles missing when the Divine decrees are being taught by theologians is the fact that the mercy of God is ignored. Most theologians miss out on the importance of understanding the place of Grace and Mercy in the decrees. We have noted in the past that mercy is grace action. Grace is free, unmerited love and favor from God alone. It is because of grace that God gives to us. In grace, God works and mankind benefits.
Grace comes from God in the form of gifts but it returns to God in the form of glory. The divine decrees are designed to bring glory to God and it is the grace and mercy of God that does so.
Well, it all began billions and billions of years ago in eternity past, when God that decision in ROM 11:32 to shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all.
God concludes all members of the human race under the category of disobedience so that he might have mercy upon all. Mercy is, in effect, a byproduct of the essence of God in action toward the human race in history. This is why Romans chapter 11 verse 32 tells us that God has actually banded all under unbelief so that he may have mercy upon all. This brings glory to God throughout human history as designed by the divine decrees.
God did all of this so that the only policy of God toward men would be grace and mercy.
That is why there is a direct relationship between the mercy of God and the glory of God and between the grace of God and glory of God. If the purpose of God redeeming man is the production of the greatest amount of happiness, then Christianity is one thing, if the end be the glory of God, then Christianity is another thing. You have been created for His glory and He has given you all the grace and mercy you would ever need.
He is not your enemy, He loves you! He is your Father. He is on your side. He is for you.
Everything else you have heard from others or think within yourself is a lie from the pit of hell.
ROM 8:31, What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
Grace and mercy is God’s policy toward you. Grace comes from God in the form of gifts but it returns to God in the form of glory. Once you understand these principles, life is exciting, meaningful, significant, rewarding, filled with purpose and meaning.
Grace and mercy is God’s policy toward you.
Therefore, what is our responsibility toward Him when we understand these exciting principles?
ROM 12:1-2, I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Why should we present our bodies a living sacrifice?
1CO 6:20, For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
Once you recognize that in eternity past God decreed for you to be treated with grace and mercy because ultimately this is what brings glory to God. Then you be able to operate in that principle that grace comes from God in the form of gifts but it returns to God in the form of glory. You have been created for that very purpose.
Don’t wait until it’s too late!
REV 2:1-5, “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot endure evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary.’ But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place‑‑ unless you repent.”
EPH 2:6-7, and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
God’s plan throughout all the ages is that He might be glorified by the grace that He dispenses to undeserving creatures. And that is why God say what He did in ROM 11:32, God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all.
There can be no demonstration of mercy until you have someone in the condition that requires mercy.
1TI 1:12-16, I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service; even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. And yet I was shown mercy, because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.
Therefore, God not only decreed to create all mankind and then to permit the fall of all mankind but then in grace He provided salvation for all mankind so that all mankind could be the beneficiaries of mercy. He permitted the fall because without a fall there is no condemnation for all mankind. And condemnation must precede salvation. Without the fall of man and the resulting condemnation, there can be no demonstration of the mercy of God to the human race.
In order to demonstrate His mercy to the Angels in the angelic conflict, God allowed the fall of man so that mankind would be under the sentence of condemnation and depravity. Therefore, in grace, God gives to all mankind His Son and if mankind receives His Son he is a recipient of the mercy of God. After salvation, God still gives as His grace and therefore mercy.
Here’s where some exciting application comes in. Grace comes from God in the form of gifts (PSD, invisible assets, etc) but it returns to God in the form of glory from the winner believer only living in God’s plan performing divine good,
EPH 2:10, For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
After salvation we are still in a state of hopelessness even though we have eternal salvation and therefore the biggest problem of all is solved and that is the fact that we were destined to the lake of fire if we did not believe in Jesus Christ…but we still need God. We still need the manifestation of the grace of God and when we are recipients of the grace of God, we are objects of His mercy, mercy is grace in action. After salvation, we are still in the devil’s world and we are still helpless and hopeless to cope with the adversities that we face, the trials, the difficulties the tragedies, especially those that come from spiritual combat.
We are hopeless and helpless in ourselves to confront the things that must assail us in this life and therefore God has given us mercy and the mercy’s now in the spiritual skills, the problem solving devices, the invisible assets. The problems that we cannot solve or resolve, we learn to cope with by living in faith-rest.
1CO 10:13, No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.
So we have received mercy to handle any problem or difficulty in life.
2CO 4:1, Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not get discouraged.
We are beneficiaries of the post-salvation mercy of God because he has given us a spiritual life in which we can overcome every possible problem that we would ever face in life. God hasn’t only given us mercy for our unsaved condition but mercy for our saved condition. The greatest things that God has given to us after salvation is the 10 problem solving devices, the ultimate one being occupation with the person of Christ. Occupation with Jesus Christ is the greatest provision of the mercy of God in our post-salvation lives. It gives us the ability to pass the greatest test of our spiritual lives.
After all this I want to close with the doxology in verses 11:33-36. A doxology is an expression of praise to God, especially a short hymn sung as a part of Christian worship.
It comes from the Latin doxologia taken from the Greek word doxa referring to glory and it means glory through words.
ROM 11:33, Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!
Paul is absolutely blown away by God’s purpose to mankind throughout human history that is defined as being merciful. That is why He used the word mercy in verses 31, 32, and 33. Paul is reaching appreciation for the gaps of the profound wisdom of the mercy of God as never before. The word unfathomable means incapable of explanation in terms of human viewpoint. Phenomenal is this thing about the mercy of God being decreed from eternity past that no member of the human race could have ever sat down and originated this thing…and said I wrote that, I thought up that plan.
Even Paul cannot give us the correct vocabulary of the Divine viewpoint even with the revelation and illumination he has received. Notice the things that he considers to be deep, ROM 11:33, Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How un-searchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! His ways refer to His decrees. He is speaking of the fact that in eternity past God made a decree that included the entire human race under condemnation and total depravity so that he could have mercy on all. The mercy of God is a very vital aspect of the Divine decrees.
Always remember that in ROM 5:16, we are condemned through no demerit of our own so that God could justify us through no merit of our own. It was all because of the disobedience of one man, Adam. This is a manifestation of the mercy of God. In His grace, He gave us His Son and then in His mercy, He saved us. This was all to bring glory to God.
All the Divine decrees point to the mercy of God, the fall of Adam and the fact that God did something about sin. God decreed that we would all be under the sweeping sentence of condemnation through no fault of our own because he had a plan to bring us under the sentence of justification through no merit of our own…under the obedience of one man, Jesus Christ.
When Paul says how un-searchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!
His ways refers to His decrees. Paul is receiving a glimpse of the essence of God as it performed in eternity past under the Divine decrees and how phenomenal it is. Paul is being blown away by the mercy of God behind the Divine decree.
ROM 11:34-36, For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
We do not glorify God by what we give to God, God is glorified by what He gives to us. Paul is in overwhelmed at the awesomeness of God. By the way when you are in awe of God you express that awe in worship.
Notice the phrase “glory forever” and that means into and throughout the ages. Then Amen, which simply means I believe it! Amen means that the final conclusion of this is that the grace and mercy of God will be glorified forever and ever. Grace comes from God in the form of gifts but it returns to God in the form of glory.
EPH 1:3-6, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
One of the definitions I gave you was that the decrees of God are His eternal purpose according to the counsels of His own will whereby for His own glory He has foreordained whatever comes to pass. Everything in the divine decrees is designed to bring glory to God.
Now, the passage I really wanted to show you that points out the awesomeness of the divine decrees is found in Rom 11. In Rom 11, Paul is dealing with the fact that God has rejected the Jews as His people to represent Him on earth and has now accepted the Gentiles or the church to represent Him on earth. And He is warning the Church not to be arrogant against the Jews and then He tells them why.
ROM 11:25-32, For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in; and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.” From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, so these also now have been disobedient, in order that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience that He might show mercy to all.
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