Grace Bible Church
The Tree of Life
A Weekly Review
How the divine decrees reveal the glory of God
Week ending 062611
ROM 9:22-26,  What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. As He says also in Hosea, “I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’ And her who was not beloved, ‘beloved.’ And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.”

The Doctrine of Divine Decrees.
Point 1. Definition and Description.

The decree of God refers to 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 the certainty of their future.

This definition begins by expressing the source of the decrees which is found in the word comprehending referring to the omniscience of God. The definition also expresses the attributes of God in terms of divine will in human history.  The definition emphasizes that the omniscience of God knew simultaneously in eternity past everything that would happen in human history (the thought, action, and decision of every person in his life).

Furthermore, the omniscience of God knew everything in relation to all of the things pertaining to it. So that the several contents of this one eternal purpose are, because of the limitations of our faculties, necessarily perceived by us in partial aspects and logical relations (from Scripture).

Therefore, we classify the decrees as being plural, but in reality it is all one decree.

While all of this will be technical, it is very important for you to understand this because, while it is technical, it is a reminder to you that billions and billions of years ago before man existed God had you personally in mind. This entire principle is basically discussed in Eph 1.

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 pre-destined 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.

Or EPH 1:11, also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,

And as EPH 3:11 says, this was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,

The decrees of God then are His eternal and immutable will regarding the future existence of all events which will happen in time and the precise manner and order of their occurrence.  By decrees is meant the eternal plan by which God has rendered certain all of the events of the universe (angelic history, human history) past, present, and future. The decrees of God are the chosen and adopted plan of God for all of His works.

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.

ISA 43:7, “Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”

PRO 16:4, The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil.

2TI 1:8-9, Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me His prisoner; but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,

The decrees are the all‑inclusive will and purpose of God concerning all that ever was or ever will be, which originates wholly within Himself.

Because of the fact that God is omniscient, He knew everything that would ever happen in one moment of time. So, the decrees are the all‑inclusive will and purpose of God concerning all that ever was or ever will be, which originates wholly within Himself and which He Himself alone must have objectively designed for His own glory and for His satisfaction.

The fact that our life hangs by a very fine thread for His glory, and for His satisfaction, should cause believers to take their calling and election seriously. So by accommodation to creatures of time and space subject to subdivisions reaching out to such minute details as the falling of the sparrow, all decrees were simultaneous, not given by stages.

It is somewhat unfortunate that our finite mind must understand these things by stages rather than as one divine decree. Because of the finite mental limitations of man, we must perceive them by logical and chronological progression. The human mind, when thinking properly, thinks according to logic and chronology.

All decrees are efficacious in that they determine all that ever was, all that is, and all that ever will be, but the decrees are viewed by man from two standpoints:

First of all from the standpoint of the word efficacious which means that which is directly wrought by God from His sovereignty.

Secondly, from the standpoint of permissiveness. Permissive means that which is appointed by God to be accomplished by secondary causes or by the free will and action of agents (the free will of man).

So we need to note two words here, efficacious and permissive. Efficacious refers to the sovereign will of God. Permissiverefers to the free will of man or the volition of mankind. This is where the concept that the sovereignty of God and the free will of man co-exist in human history by divine decree.

Point 2, There are five characteristics of the divine decrees:

  1. First of all, the decrees are all comprehensive. That means that not the slightest uncertainty could exist as to one of the smallest or most insignificant of events without confusion to all. Therefore, all events in the life of every person are interwoven and interdependent. God is not the author of confusion. Everything you think, why you think it, and the environment in which you think it, was all known to God in eternity past. This also says everything in life is a chain of cause and effect events. This is one of the meanings behind such passages as;

LUK 12:6-7, “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? And {yet} not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows.”

Although it may not seem to some of you that your life has been blended perfectly together by God, in heaven you will understand that it was! God is perfect and therefore He gave you life at the exact time that He knew would be the best time and environment for you personally.

He picked your parents!
He picked the color of your skin!
He picked your gender
He picked your environment!
He even picked what genes you would have!

Everything that every person does or will do has always been known to God and God has decreed for all these things to exist. Everything you think, why you think it, and even the environment in which you think it, was all known to God in eternity past.

  1. The divine decrees are eternal. God is not gaining in knowledge. What God has known at any time He has always known. Omniscience means God knew simultaneously everything that ever was or will be in their causes, conditions, successions, and relations. Understanding the omniscience of God is a great factor in understanding the divine decrees.

Therefore, the decrees are the eternal and simultaneous knowledge of omniscience expressing the will of God by which all things are brought into being and controlled and are made subject to His divine pleasure, and result in His eternal glory.

  1. God is perfect; therefore, His decrees are perfect. They are not perfect in content, because they include evil, sin, failure, etc. But everything that would ever happen was always known to God. His is a perfect system of comprehension. It does not always appear that way as they relate to us because we have a tendency to be relative and temporal and not realize that God sees the end of what He’s doing!

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.

  1. The fourth characteristic is that the decrees are unchangeable and certain. Nothing can possibly occur to necessitate a change. God is never caught not knowing something. God has never had to make any changes or any adjustments in the divine decrees.
  2. The fifth characteristic, the decrees are the free choice of God in eternity past. This is the most important point to understand, one which many theologians do not understand. God is not bound to follow any necessary path.

Everything in the divine decrees ultimately will bring glory to God. Whether elect angels like Michael and Gabriel or fallen angels like Lucifer and Abddon. Whether believers or unbelievers. Whether loser believers or unbelievers! The divine decrees have been ultimately designed to bring glory to God. This means that God is going to be glorified with or without us.

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