16 February 2003
Ephesians 1:4, Romans 9:23, Acts 4:27 & Psalm 33:11
The Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 7. What are the decrees of God?
A. The decrees of God are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass
The Westminster Shorter Catechism in Modern English:
Q.7. What are the decrees of God?
A. The decrees of God are his eternal plan, based on the purpose of His will, by which, for His own glory, He has foreordained everything that happens.
1. What is the nature of God’s decrees?
God’s decrees are unchangeable; they cannot be changed, therefore they are certain to be fulfilled. His decrees are eternal, being settled by God in eternity.
2. Are there more than one decree?
No, there is only one single decree. However, this decree includes many particulars and therefore we speak of it in the plural.
3. When one uses the word “decree” is it not usually synonymous with an arbitrariness?
When man uses the word such may be true but not when God uses it. God’s decrees should not be classed in this way since they were framed by Him according to the counsel of his will. You must look behind the decree and see there the love of an infinite, personal God, whose all comprehensive plan is also all wise.
4. What is the purpose of God’s decrees?
The purpose is His own glory first and through this, the good of the elect.
5. Who are the special objects of God’s decrees and what is His decree towards them?
Angels and men are the special objects and His decree toward them is predestination.
6. What is meant by predestination?
Predestination is the plan or purpose of God respecting His moral creatures. It is divided into election and reprobation.
7. What is the definition of election and reprobation?
Election is God’s eternal purpose to save some of the human race in and by Jesus Christ. Reprobation is God’s eternal purpose to pass some men by with the operation of His special grace and to punish them for their sin.
8. If reprobation be true, how can God be just?
God would be just in condemning all to eternal punishment since all have sinned. He is in charge; He is the potter and our attitude should be one of thankfulness if we are of the elect by His grace. Man has no claim on God and God does not owe man eternal salvation or anything else.