Messages By Ovid Need


London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689

Chapter 3, Of God's Decree, part 1

Decree–an official order issued by a ruler or authority. God's orders will be carried out throughout creation for all eternity.

This chapter deals with predestination and election. It starts at the most basic place: God's determination of all that takes place within his creation. In other words, he decrees everything. Again, a holy mystery that cannot be explained, only defended.

1. God has decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatever come to pass; {Isaiah 46:10 Which declare the last thing from the beginning: and from of old, the things that were not done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do whatsoever I will. Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we are chosen when we were predestinated according to ye purpose of him, which worketh all things after the counsel of his own will, Hebrews 6:17 So God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the stableness of his counsel, bound himself by another, Romans 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on him, to whom I will show mercy: and will have compassion on him, on who I will have compassion. Romans 9:18 Therefore he hath mercy on whom he will, and whom he will, he hardeneth.} yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein; {James 1:13 ¶ Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. 1 John 1:5 ¶ This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness.} nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established; {Acts 4:27 For doubtless, against thine holy Son Jesus, whom thou haddest anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel gathered themselves together, 28 To do whatsoever thine hand, and thy counsel had determined before to be done. John 19:11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee, hath the greater sin. } in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree. {Numbers 23:19 God is not as man, that he should lie, neither as the son of man that he should repent: hath he said and shall he not do it? and hath he spoken, and shall he not accomplish it? Ephesians 1:3 ¶ Blessed be God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which hath blessed us with all spiritual blessing in heavenly things in Christ, 4 As he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love: 5 Who hath predestinated us, to be adopted through Jesus Christ in himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,}

2. Although God knows whatever may or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions, {#Ac 15:18 From the beginning of the world, God knoweth all his works.} yet has he not decreed anything, because he foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions. { Romans 9:11 For ere the children were born, and when they had neither done good, nor evil (that the purpose of God might remain according to election, not by works, but by him that calleth.) 13 As it is written, I have loved Jacob, and have hated Esau. 16 So then it is not in him that willeth, nor in him that runneth, but in God that showeth mercy. 18 Therefore he hath mercy on whom he will, and whom he will, he hardeneth.}

August 15, 2010

We read and looked up many verses in the first two paragraphs of Chapter 3. I would like to discuss the details of the first two paragraphs today. We went quickly over these points then.

In paragraphs 1 & 2, we see that God's decree of all events. (Decree... Defined as a legally binding command. A decree can only be made by someone with the authority and ability to enforce it.)

I. In paragraphs 1 & 2, we see that God decrees all events of history.

Here are three points:

1. Nothing frustrates God's decree, or his binding command concerning all things.

God has a decretive will (sometimes also called his secret or sovereign will) which cannot be resisted and will surely accomplishes all it purposes (Prov. 19:21; Isa. 14:24-27; 46:10-11; Ps. 115:3; 135:6; Rom. 9:19)

Isaiah 46:9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none other God, and there is nothing like me, 10 Which declare the last thing from the beginning: and from of old, the things that were not done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do whatsoever I will. 11 I call a bird from the East, and the man of my counsel from far: as I have spoken, so will I bring it to pass: I have purposed it, and I will do it.

2. Nothing escapes God's decree

Everything that happens is included in God's preestablished decree:

Firstly the Bible states generally that God's decree is universal (Dan. 4:34-35; Rom. 8:28; 11:36; Eph. 1:11).

Romans 11:33 O the deepness of the riches, both of the wisdom, and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who was his counselor? 35 Or who hath given unto him first, and he shall be recompensed?

Secondly the Bible teaches specifically that all classes of events are included in God's decree.

1. Good and evil events (Isa. 45:7; Amos 3:6; Job 1:21; Jer. 15:2).

Isaiah 45:5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. 7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. 8 Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it. 9 Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? 10 Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?

2. Sinful acts (Gen. 50:20; 2 Sam. 16:10-11; 24:1; cf 1 Chron. 21:1; Job 1:11-12, 21; Luke 22:22; Acts 2:23; 4:27-28.

Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

3. Free acts of men (Prov. 16:1, 9; 21:1; Rom. 8:28,35-39).

Proverbs 16:1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD. 9 A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.

4. 'Chance' occurrences (1 Kings 22:28-34; Job 5:6; 36:32; Prov. 16:33; Jonah 1:7).

Job 36:32 With clouds he covereth the light; and commandeth it not to shine by the cloud that cometh betwixt.

5. Details of our lives (Job14:5; Ps. 139:16; Matt. 10:29-30; James 4:15).

Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing, and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father? 30 Yea, and all the hairs of your head are numbered. 31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

6. Affairs of the nations (2 Kings 5:1; Ps. 75:1-7; Prov. 21:31; Dan. 2:21).

Daniel 2:21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

7. Final destruction of the wicked (1 Sam. 2:25; Prov. 16:4; Rom. 9:17; 1 Peter 2:8; Jude 4).

Proverbs 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.