Q. 12: What are the decrees of God?
A. : God’s decrees are the wise, free and holy acts of the counsel of his will, whereby, from all eternity, he hath, for his own glory, unchangeably foreordained whatsoever comes to pass in time, especially concerning angels and men.
Q. 13: What hath God especially decreed concerning angels and men?
A. : God, by an eternal and immutable decree, out of his mere love, for the praise of his glorious grace, to be manifested in due time, hath elected some angels to glory; and in Christ hath chosen some men to eternal life, and the means thereof: and also, according to his sovereign power, and the unsearchable counsel of his own will, (whereby he extendeth or withholdeth favor as he pleaseth), hath passed by and foreordained the rest to dishonor and wrath, to be for their sin inflicted, to the praise of the glory of his justice.
Q. 14: How does God execute His decrees?
A. : God executeth his decrees in the works of creation and providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will.
Until a person learns that God is sovereign, he never really knows God at all. God is King, man is subject. God is Creator, man is creature. God rules, man submits. God commands, man obeys. God is totally sovereign in all his plans and actions. Man is totally accountable to God in all his plans and actions. “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Prov. 16:9). (398)
God’s decrees are His plans, orders and purposes for His creation. (398)
God, the King of creation, causes everything that happens in this life to happen according to His eternal plan. He has foreordained, fore-planned, fore-decreed
everything that comes to pass; and everything that comes to pass, happens just as He has decreed. (400)
To speak of God’s limited sovereignty is to speak in absurdities. Either God is sovereign and His sovereignty extends over everything in the universe, even to the thoughts and intentions of the human heart, or else God is not sovereign at all. We can no more speak of God’s limited sovereignty than we can speak of God’s limited
knowledge, or God’s limited righteousness, or God’s limited holiness, or God’s limited wisdom. (401)
And so we see that God’s perfect plan and God’s sovereign control are so comprehensive that even the sinful activities of man serve His purposes. God even causes the rage of evil men to please Him (Ps. 76:10). (403)
In this discussion of God’s decrees, it is important to point out that God not only predetermined the result and outcome of things, He also predetermined the ways and means by which those results and that outcome would be accomplished. (403)
God’s plan includes the sinful actions of people, which God works together for good (Rom. 8:28), without being the author of sin (James 1:13), or without forcing people to do what they do not want to do, or without doing violence to the human will. (403)
According to the Bible, man’s choices and actions are FREE and PREDESTINED at the same time. Man chooses freely whatever he wants to choose and does whatever he does because that is what he wants to do. And yet, at the same time, those choices and actions were decreed by God before the creation of the world, so that it
was absolutely certain that they would happen when they did. (407)
God’s decrees are eternal: “He chose us in Him BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD,” i.e., in eternity before the creation of the universe (Eph. 1:4). He determined His purposes for His creation before His creation existed. (413)
“He, whose hope of success rests on a failure of the divine purpose, will meet a dreadful overthrow.” 25 Man cannot change God’s decrees, and God will not change them, because “the firm foundation of God stands” (2 Tim. 2:19). 25. William S. Plumer, Psalms (Edinburgh, Scotland: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975), 415. (414)
God’s plans are unchangeable, because God is unchangeable. (414)
God does not change His decrees in response or reaction to anything man does or to man’s changing condition. (414)
His wisdom and knowledge are especially manifested in His decrees, His plans for His creation....In God, wisdom is His knowledge and power working together to
foreordain everything to happen in such a way that would bring Him the most glory and His people the most benefit. (415)
God’s decrees are free, but not capricious, arbitrary or irrational. They are absolute, purely unconditional, and independent of any influences or causes outside of the being of God. (415-416)
God is in no way dependent upon any creature. (416)
Nothing God has decreed is unjust, unrighteous, unwise, or unholy...God’s holiness is His impeccable purity, His transcendent glory, and His total self-consecration (1 John 1:5). (416)
God cannot command unholy acts, nor does He secretly inspire evil in His creatures...Nor does He force anyone to sin against his will. (417)
God’s decrees are determined purely according to His good pleasure and the counsel of His own sovereign will... (417)
God not only knows whatever comes to pass, but God has willed whatever comes to pass, so that nothing happens in this universe that was not decreed by God. (418)
Because of His own God-centered nature; God cannot go against what He is, and plan as His highest purpose anything else but His own glory. Since His glory is the
most excellent of all motives and goals, the infinitely wise God cannot plan anything short of it, as His own chief and highest end. (419)