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Doctrine of God 0003 - Lesson 5

  1. THE WORKS OF GOD (Continued)
    1. Conception (Continued)
      1. The eternal plan of God (Continued)
        1. A biblical understanding of the eternal plan of God requires an understanding of several biblical words. Many have developed unscriptural systems of doctrine in this area because they have developed intellectual systems instead of allowing God to speak fully for Himself.  (Continued)
          1. Purpose
            1. The purpose of creation, of redemption, of all the things that God accomplishes by His work comes from His purpose in Himself (Ephesians 1:9). That is, He has His own purpose for all that He does and that purpose is found in His inner being.
            2. Characteristics of the purpose of God
              1. It is an “eternal purpose” (Ephesians 3:11). It was a part of the essence of God from the beginning.
              2. It is an unchangeable purpose (Isaiah 14:24, 27; Jeremiah 4:28).
              3. It is an absolute purpose (Jeremiah 51:29). Every purpose of God will be fulfilled.
              4. It is a completed purpose (Isaiah 46:11). What God purposes, God performs. Contrast this with the failed purposes of man (Job 17:11; Romans 1:13).
            3. Christ is the center of God’s purpose (Ephesians 3:9-11).
            4. Our calling is according to God’s eternal purpose
              1. Our conformity to Christ (Romans 8:28-29)
              2. God’s choice for place of service (Romans 9:10-13; Genesis 25:22-23)
              3. The holy calling to the work of the ministry (2 Timothy 1:9)
          2. Pleasure
            1. God’s pleasure is founded on His purpose in Himself (Ephesians 1:9).
            2. God’s pleasure is an expression of His character
              1. His goodness (Psalm 51:18; 2 Thessalonians 1:11)
              2. His righteousness (Isaiah 42:21)
            3. God’s works are an expression of His pleasure (Psalm 115:3; Psalm 135:6; Jonah 1:14); he “hath done whatsoever he hath pleased”
              1. To give each grain a body as He sees fit (1 Corinthians 15:37-38)
              2. To accomplish His work by His word (Isaiah 55:11)
              3. To make the children of Israel His people (1 Samuel 12:22)
              4. To have His fullness dwell in the Son (Colossians 1:9)
              5. To redeem by the suffering of His Son (Isaiah 53:10)
              6. To save by the foolishness of preaching (1 Corinthians 1:21)
              7. To set members in the body as He sees fit (1 Corinthians 12:18)
            4. The purpose of all creation is the pleasure of God
              1. Created for His pleasure (Revelation 4:11)
              2. Created for His glory (Isaiah 43:7)
              3. Made for Himself (Proverbs 16:4)
          3. Will
            1. God’s will is His decision to do something
            2. God’s will is founded on His pleasure (Isaiah 46:10; Ephesians 1:5)
            3. It is important to note in scripture the distinction between God’s purposed will and God’s preferred will.
              1. God’s purposed will could also be called God’s predetermined will. This refers to God’s absolute determination that a particular thing will or will noot happen. “I have purposed it, I will also do it” (Isaiah 46:11). God’s purposed will will not change or alter. When Jesus says, “I will come again” (John 14:3), God’s purpose will surely come to pass.
              2. God’s preferred will is God’s desire for His creatures (angels and men) that He does not force on them. He would have gathered Jerusalem unto Himself, but they would not (Matthew 23:37). That is, He was willing but they did not obey. God is not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9), but many will perish because they reject God’s offer of salvation. God’s preferred will allows for disobedience and rebellion. It does not destroy the free will of man.
          4. Counsel
            1. God’s counsel is His wisdom in determining how to accomplish His will (Ephesians 1:11).
            2. God’s counsel is wonderful (Isaiah 28:29) and great (Jeremiah 32:19).
            3. God’s counsel will stand forever (Psalm 33:11; Hebrews 6:17).
            4. God’s counsel cannot be overturned (Proverbs 21:30).
          5. Decree
            1. A decree is an official order
            2. Most decrees in the Bible are made by men (Ezra 5:13; Esther 9:1; Luke 2:1).
            3. Several scriptural decrees are made by God
              1. The decree of the rain (Job 28:26)
              2. The decree of the boundaries of the seas (Job 38:8-11; Proverbs 8:29; Jeremiah 5:22)
              3. The decree on the waters above the heavens (Psalm 148:4-6)
              4. The decree of judgment on Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:24-25)
              5. The decree of the begotten Son (Psalm 2:7)
            4. The divine decrees that are named as such in the Bible are mostly made in time. The decree of the rain is probably a part of the creation act. The two decrees about the seas and the waters were made after the time of Noah’s flood. The decree of judgment on Nebuchadnezzar was definitely made in time. The decree of the begotten Son may have been made in eternity past but it is not certain from the text. The point is that it is important to distinguish between the way decrees are spoken of in scripture and how they are used in theology. The theological teaching concerning decrees will be dealt with below.
            5. The doctrine of decrees
              1. The doctrine of decrees, also known as the divine decrees, is a theological teaching that goes beyond the basic teaching of scripture on decrees.
              2. Theologically, decree is a word used to refer to God’s comprehensive plan for history as determined before the foundation of the world.
              3. The idea of divine decrees is supported by various scriptures which speak of events in time being determined by God in eternity past (Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 3:11; 2 Timothy 1:9; 1 Peter 1:19-20; Revelation 13:9).
              4. The danger in the doctrine of divine decrees is that most of its proponents teach it from the Calvinistic viewpoint and teach that everything that occurs in history is in fulfillment to the eternal decree of God.
                1. These teachers cannot see how God could predetermine certain major events (like the crucifixion and the adoption of believers) without predetermining all things.
                2. They also believe that any lessening of what God predetermines is a lessening of His power and sovereignty.
              5. Conclusion: although God has definitely decreed in eternity past that certain things will happen in time, this is no reason to believe that all things are predetermined.
                1. God has the power to predetermine certain key events without predetermining every action.
                2. While God only predetermines certain things to happen, He foreknows all things that will happen. Because of His foreknowledge, He can bring about His perfect will without absolutely forcing His will in every action.
              6. Illustration: the complexity of the causes of the crucifixion. Who was the cause of the crucifixion of Christ? The Bible gives several answers.
                1. The crucifixion predetermined (Luke 22:22; Acts 2:23; Acts 4:27-28)
                2. The Son laid down His life (John 10:17-18)
                3. The Father delivered the Son (Acts 2:23)
                4. The responsibility of the Jews (Acts 2:23)
                5. The responsibility of the Gentiles (Acts 4:27)
                6. What is the answer? Evidently, God’s providential working in the affairs of history bring together the various free acts of man to bring about His predetermined will. God’s ability to do this is part of the mystery of His being.
David Reagan

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 4:9

She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.