Sunday PM April 1, 2007
Please turn to Ephesians 1:9-12 please stand for the reading of the Lord’s Word
Definition of God’s Decree
The DEGREE of God was established in eternity past and has reference to
God’s sovereign control over every realm and over all events.
His DECREE is reflected in Ephesians 1:11 in that He “works all things after the
counsel of His will.”
“The DECREE of God is His eternal purpose,
according to the counsel of His Will,
whereby, for His own glory,
He has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.”
There are only 2 options.
Either God is sovereign and has absolute control over the world and universe
God does not have sovereign control, and the world and universe carry on in
defiance of His Holy Will.
Of course the first option is true; the world does not operate by chance.
God has absolute control. AMEN!
Yet it also affirms that man is responsible for ALL sinful actions.
God is NEVER the author of sin nor does His sovereignty eliminate man’s
CHARACTERISTICS OF GOD’S DECREE
The DECREE is a single plan encompassing all things
NOTHING is outside the scope of God’s sovereign rule.
Ephesians 1:11 says “all things” are brought to pass by His DECREE.
The DECREE covering all things was formed in eternity past but is manifested in time
We were chosen by God in eternity past,
look at Ephesians 1:4 (read)
The phrase “before the foundation of the world” = “from all eternity.”
Our salvation and calling is once more related to God’s purpose from eternity past.
Turn to II Timothy 1:9 (page 1770 read)
This says that it is according to “His own purpose.”
I Peter 1:20, says “For He was foreknown before the foundation of
the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.
Purpose emphasizes the resolve or decision of God in His calling
and saving us.
The decision for Christ to take on humanity and shed His blood for humanity was also made “before the foundation of the world.”
The DECREE is a wise plan because God who is wise has planned what is best.
In Romans 9-11 Paul discusses the sovereignty of God and His election of Israel
and concludes this “difficult to comprehend” section with a doxology lifting up the
wisdom of God in His sovereign acts.
God’s wisdom and knowledge cannot be comprehended, and His decisions cannot
be tracked as footprints in the sand.
God consulted no one and no one has advised Him.
But because God knows all things He controls and guides all events of His glory
and for our good.
The DECREE is according to God’s sovereign will – He does as He pleases
God does not adjust his plan according to the events of human history;
instead, His DECREE governs human history.
Turn to Daniel 4:35 (page 1235 read)
Daniel 4:35 is all about: God “does according to His will” in the angelic
realm as well as with us here on earth.
In the context of the book of Daniel God determines the course of human history
and the rulers of the kingdoms of earth.
God has established His DECREE in freedom and in independence of everything
and everyone else.
The DECREE has 2 aspects
1. The directive will of God
There are some things in which God is the author;
He actively brings about the events.
Isaiah 45:18 - He creates
Daniel 4:35 - He controls the universe
Daniel 2:21 - He establishes kings and governments
Ephesians 1:4 - He elects people to be saved
2. The permissive will of God
Even though God has determined all things,
He may actively bring them about Himself,
or He may bring them about through secondary causes.
Sinful acts, for example, do not frustrate the plan of God,
but neither is God the author of them.
They are within the scope of God’s DECREE are part of His eternal plan and purpose, but man is nonetheless responsible for sinful acts.
Hence, “a distinction must be made between the DECREE and its
All acts – including sinful acts – conform to the eternal plan of God,
but He is not directly the author of all acts.
For example, in I Samuel 8:5-9 and chapters 19-22, when the
people of Israel demanded a king to rule over them, they sinned
against the Lord.
But the Lord had foreordained that kings would come from Abraham’s
lineage in Genesis 17:6 and 35:11, ending with the Messiah.
The people sinned, but God’s plan was being executed.
The purpose of the DECREE is the glory of God
Psalm 19:1 says the creation of the world is designed to reveal God’s glory.
The hugeness of the heavens and the beauty of the earth reflect the glory of God.
God’s sovereign act whereby He predestined believers to salvation is “to the
praise of the glory of His grace.”
God is glorified in the display of His unconditional grace.
Although all things are encompassed in the DECREE, man is responsibly for sinful actions
This is known as antinomy (anti-no-my) and is important in understanding the
concept that although God is sovereign and has DECREED all things,
however man is responsible for sinful acts.
Antinomy (anti-no-my) comes from the Greek word anti, meaning “against,”
and nomos, meaning “law,”
an antinomy is something that is contrary to law or contrary to human
An antinomy, of course, is such only in the mind of man;
with God there is no antinomy.
In Acts 2:23 Peter explained that Jesus died because of the “predetermined plan
and foreknowledge of God.”
“Plan” stresses the predetermined will or decision of God.
Foreknowledge is a rough equivalent and suggests not merely previous
knowledge but action.
Hence, Christ died because of the decision of God in eternity; yet,
Peter held the people responsible for killing Christ saying, “you nailed to a
cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.”
Although Christ’s death was a result of the DECREE and plan of God,
wicked men were responsible for His death.
In Habakkuk 1:6 (Ha-bak-kuk) God explained to the prophet that He was rising up
the Chaldeans to chastise His disobedient people in Judah.
But when the Chaldeans concluded their work, God would hold them responsible.
Although God has DECREED all things, man is responsible for his sins.
Some aspects of the decree are carried out by people
This distinguishes the decree of God from fatalism.
The DECREE cannot be fatalism because the decree also involves the means,
not only the end.
For example, the DECREE of God involves electing certain ones to salvation,
yet no one is saved apart from evangelism.
On the one hand, the DECREE says that we are chosen in Christ before the
foundation of the world,
Acts 16:31 says that someone must present the gospel to the person to enable him
to believe and be save.
In the matter of salvation, God uses people in evangelism to carry out His DECREE.
God uses us for evangelism with,
Are your life, attitude and actions evangelizing for the Lord?
Come to the alter and ask God if you are evangelizing for the Lord.