God’s Decree (1689)

By S.C. Shaw

The London Baptist Confession of faith is a beautiful and rich confession of the reformed Christian faith. I simply included the scriptures they reference after each section written out. It is a beautiful meditation and devotion time to read through. I pray you are blessed by it and it helps you see the bigness of God, exalt Christ higher and live by the power of the Holy Spirit more each day. There is no perfect and infallible authority except God’s Words revealed in the Bible. But there is much Christians can and should learn from other godly men and women.

Link to full confession: http://founders.org/1689-confession/

Chapter 3 – God’s Decree (In Full)

From all eternity God decreed everything that occurs, without reference to anything outside himself. He did this by the perfectly wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably. Yet God did this in such a way that he is neither the author of sin nor has fellowship with any in their sin. This decree does not violate the will of the creature or take away the free working or contingency of second causes. On the contrary, these are established by God’s decree. In this decree God’s wisdom is displayed in directing all things, and his power and faithfulness are demonstrated in accomplishing his decree.

God knows everything that could happen under any given conditions. However, his decree of anything is not based on foreseeing it in the future or foreseeing that it would occur under such conditions.

By God’s decree, and for the demonstration of his glory, some human beings and angels are predestined (or foreordained) to eternal life through Jesus Christ, to the praise of his glorious grace. Others are left to live in their sin, leading to their just condemnation, to the praise of his glorious justice.

These predestined and foreordained angels and people are individually and unchangeably designated, and their number is so certain and definite that it cannot be either increased or decreased.

Those people who are predestined to life were chosen by God before the foundation of the world, according to his eternal and unchangeable purpose and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will. He chose them in Christ for eternal glory, purely as a result of his free grace and love, without anything else about them serving as a condition or cause moving him to do so.

Just as God has appointed the elect to glory, so he has by the eternal and completely free purpose of his will foreordained all the means. Therefore, those who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ and effectually called to faith in Christ by his Spirit working at the appropriate time. They are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power through faith to salvation. No one but the elect are redeemed by Christ, or effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved.

The doctrine of the high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care so that those heeding the will of God revealed in his Word and obeying him may be assured of their eternal election by the certainty of their effectual calling. In this way this doctrine will give reasons for praise, reverence, and admiration of God, as well as humility, diligence and rich comfort to all who sincerely obey the gospel.

 

Chapter 3 – God’s Decree (w/ Scripture) ESV

 -From all eternity God decreed everything that occurs, without reference to anything outside himself.

(Isaiah 46:10, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’)

(Ephesians 1:11, In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,)

(Hebrews 6:17, So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath,)

(Romans 9:15, For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”)

(Romans 9:18, So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.)

-He did this by the perfectly wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably. Yet God did this in such a way that he is neither the author of sin nor has fellowship with any in their sin.

(James 1:13, Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.)

(1 John 1:5, This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.)

-This decree does not violate the will of the creature or take away the free working or contingency of second causes. On the contrary, these are established by God’s decree.

(Acts 4:27-28, for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.)

(John 19:11, Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”)

-In this decree God’s wisdom is displayed in directing all things, and his power and faithfulness are demonstrated in accomplishing his decree.

(Numbers 23:19, God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?)

(Ephesians 1:3–5, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,  even 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[a] for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,)

-God knows everything that could happen under any given conditions.

(Acts 15:18, known from of old.’)

-However, his decree of anything is not based on foreseeing it in the future or foreseeing that it would occur under such conditions.

(Romans 9:1, I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit)

(Romans 9:3, For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.)

(Romans 9:11, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls)

(Romans 9:16, So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.)

(Romans 9:18, So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.)

-By God’s decree, and for the demonstration of his glory, some human beings and angels are predestined (or foreordained) to eternal life through Jesus Christ,

(1 Timothy 5:21, In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.)

(Matthew 25:34, Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.)

-to the praise of his glorious grace.

(Ephesians 1:5-6, he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.)

-Others are left to live in their sin, leading to their just condemnation, to the praise of his glorious justice.

(Romans 9:22-23, What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory)

(Jude 4, For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.)

-These predestined and foreordained angels and people are individually and unchangeably designated, and their number is so certain and definite that it cannot be either increased or decreased.

(2 Timothy 2:19, But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”)

(John 13:18, I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’)

-Those people who are predestined to life were chosen by God before the foundation of the world, according to his eternal and unchangeable purpose and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will. He chose them in Christ for eternal glory, purely as a result of his free grace and love,

(Ephesians 1:4, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love)

(Ephesians 1:9, making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ)

(Ephesians 1:11, In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,)

(Romans 8:30, And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.)

(2 Timothy 1:9, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,)

(1 Thessalonians 5:9, For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,)

-without anything else about them serving as a condition or cause moving him to do so.

(Romans 9:13, As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”)

(Romans 9:16, So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.)

(Ephesians 2:5, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved)

(Ephesians 2:12, remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.)

-Just as God has appointed the elect to glory, so he has by the eternal and completely free purpose of his will foreordained all the means.

(1 Peter 1:2, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.)

(2 Thessalonians 2:13, But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.)

-Therefore, those who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ

(1 Thessalonians 5:9-10, For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.)

-and effectually called to faith in Christ by his Spirit working at the appropriate time. They are justified, adopted, sanctified,

(Romans 8:30, And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.)

(2 Thessalonians 2:13, But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first fruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

-and kept by his power through faith to salvation.

(1 Peter 1:5, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.)

-No one but the elect are redeemed by Christ, or effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved.

(John 10:26, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.)

(John 17:9, I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.)

(John 6:64, But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)

-The doctrine of the high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care so that those heeding the will of God revealed in his Word and obeying him may be assured of their eternal election by the certainty of their effectual calling.

(1 Thessalonians 1:4-5, For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.)

(2 Peter 1:10, Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.)

-In this way this doctrine will give reasons for praise,

(Ephesians 1:6, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.)

(Romans 11:33, Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!)

-reverence, and admiration of God, as well as humility,

(Romans 11:5-6, So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.)

(Romans 11:20, That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear.)

-diligence and rich comfort to all who sincerely obey the gospel.

(Luke 10:20, Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”)

Closing.

Please don’t let my word or any mans word be the final word on this. Pick up the bible, read Gospel saturated books by good authors, read good commentaries on the bible, pick up Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology” and learn from a man’s lifetime of study and meditation on the Word of God. Most of all, trust in Jesus Christ and know what He has given us is whole, perfect and is for our good and His glory. Love you all!

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

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