In this episode in our study of the attributes of God we take a look at God’s decree. I take a brief moment to point out that God’s decree is eternal, unchanging, absolute, and full of wisdom. It also illustrates the perfect freedom of God. Men are not absolutely free, only God is absolutely free. When we consider the decree of God, we should respond as the Apostle Paul did in Romans 11.
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!
More on God’s Decree
Although God’s will is ONE, the Bible speaks of God’s will in different ways:
1) “God works all things after the counsel of His own will.” (Eph 1:11) &
2) “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;” (1 Thessalonians 4:3)
The two meanings of the word “will” may be used without contradiction or confusion if we keep in mind that the eternal will refers to what SHALL BE (God’s decree which infallibly comes to pass) and His revealed moral will concerns what SHOULD BE (What God calls men to do). For example,it is God’s moral will that we are sanctified – that we abstain from sexual immorality but it is not God’s decree that we abstain from sexual immorality, in which case, everyone would obey because God’s decree always infallibly comes to pass (NO ONE can thwart God’s eternal decree).. Likewise it is God’s moral will that all men everywhere repent and believe the gospel (Acts 17:30). this obviously is not God’s decree or else everyone would be saved. It is speaking of what God commands men to do not what God intends to do. God decreed that some men would not obey the gospel call by leaving them to their own boasted free-will. (See the Westminster Shorter Catechism, answers 7 and 39).
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
Q. 39. What is the duty which God requireth of man?
A. The duty which God requireth of man, is obedience to his revealed will.
“God does not intend to bring about everything he values, but he never fails to bring about what he intends” – John Frame
– from Monergism.com