Nevertheless, this chapter, which addresses question 18 of the WLC, still packs very good information.
Providence is the execution in time of God’s plan in eternity. What God has predestined, that He is doing by providence in time and space and history. (588)
Divine providence is comprised of two elements: Divine PROVISION, or preservation, and Divine GOVERNMENT, or rule. (589)
Nothing could continue to exist for a second without the preserving work of God. This applies to the substance, form, qualities, properties and powers of everything in creation. (590)
His government is essential to His providential care for His creation. He guides everything to its appointed goal and so weaves all things together that they serve a vast variety of purposes on their way to their ultimate goal, which is the glory of God. (590)
God’s providence is universal....His providence is also specific. He is concerned with the minute details of His creation: “Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing” (Is. 40:26). (591)
God providentially governs the entirety of an individual’s life as well as all the details that make up that life. (592)
Romans 8:29–30 reveals the goal of God’s providential dealings with us: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (592)
Nothing is more necessary for Christians than to be well-acquainted with and thoroughly convinced of their security in Christ, including the truth of this great verse [Rom. 8:28]...
In one sense, Romans 8:28 has a limitation to it. No one but real Christians may have the assurance of this verse, because it is to the one who loves God and who is the called according to God’s purpose that all things work together for good....The only way to experience genuine security is in believing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In another sense, Romans 8:28 has no limitations. God causes all things to work together for good—pleasant things, good things, bad things, unpleasant things, trials, troubles, illnesses, sins, disappointments, rejections, death—all things. (593)
"In theory it is easy to understand the premise that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose, but to get this into our bloodstreams is another matter. It is one of the most difficult tasks of the practicing Christian. It involves not only believing in God but believing God." 6. Sproul, The Invisible Hand, 174–75. (593)
"[Afflictions] make way for [i.e., prepare the heart for] comfort…God’s [chastening] rod has honey at the end of it…. [Afflictions] are the means of making us happy. “Happy is the man whom God correcteth” (Job v:17)…. [They] silence the wicked…. How it strikes a [chill] into wicked men, when they see that the godly will keep close to God in a suffering condition, and that, when they lose all, they yet will hold fast their integrity.
Finally, afflictions… make way for glory, (II Corinthians iv:17)…. The vessel is first seasoned before wine is poured into it: the vessels of mercy are first seasoned with afflictions, and then the wine of glory is poured in…. The worst that God does to His children is to whip them to heaven. 8. Watson, A Divine Cordial, 20–24. (594)
"That they do is clearly taught in the Bible: “For the wrath of man shall praise Thee” (Ps. 76:10). Temptations are overruled by God for our good in at least eight ways: (1) They drive us to prayer...(2) They keep the saint for the perpetration of sin...(3) They abate the swelling of pride (2 Cor. 12:7). (4) “[They are] a touchstone to try what is in the heart. The devil tempts, that he may deceive; but God [allows us] to be tempted, to try us. Temptation is a trial of our sincerity.”12 (5) They equip those who are tempted to counsel and help others in the same distress. (6) They stir up “paternal compassion in God”13 for those who are tempted...(7) They make Christians long more for heaven...(8) Temptations work for good, as they engage the strength of Christ (Heb. 2:18; Rom. 8:37)." 12. Watson, A Divine Cordial, 26.;13. Watson, A Divine Cordial, 27. (595)
(1) The sins of others produce godly sorrow in Christians: “My eyes shed streams of water, because they do not keep Thy Law” (Ps. 119:136)...(2) Sins in others set the believers “the more a praying against sin.”16 (3) They make us more appreciative of the grace of God. (4) They work in us stronger opposition against sin in ourselves: “It is time for the Lord to act, for they have broken Thy law. Therefore I love Thy commandments above gold”(Ps. 119:126–27)...(5) They make us more zealous in serving and obeying God...(6) The sins of others are a mirror in which we may see ourselves...(7) They can also make us more thankful to God...(8) The sins of others are a means of making God’s people better people. The more unholy others are, the more holy you should be. Finally, (9) They give us an opportunity to do good, to counsel and convert them (Dan. 12:3). (595-596)
(1) Our sense of our own sinfulness makes us esteem Christ more highly...(2) It puts the soul upon self-searching. It is good to find out our sin, lest they find us out. (3) It motivates us to self-denial, and self-humbling. Sin is left in a godly man, as a cancer in the breast, or a hunch upon a back, to keep him from being proud. (4) It motives us to self-judging (Prov. 30:2). When a man has judged himself, Satan is put out of office. (5)
It motivates us to “self-conflicting” (Gal. 5:17). A believer will not let sin have peaceable possession of him. If he cannot keep sin out, he will keep sin under. (6) It motivates us to self-observing. It makes the Christian keep a strict guard upon his heart. (7) It motivates the Christian to self-reforming. A child of God does not only find out sin, but he also drives out sin (Rom. 8:13). (597)
This verse can be applied to yourself personally, if you fit the description that is given of the people to whom it does apply....Romans 8:28 itself...describes those to whom this assurance belongs. Subjectively, they are those who love God. Objectively, they are those who are the objects of God’s mighty calling to salvation, which produces this love in them. (598)
First, God must work all things together for good for the called of God, because they are “the called according to His purpose.” They are included in the eternal redemptive purposes of God described in Romans 8:29–30: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined…and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” (598)
Second, God must work all things together for good for the called of God because of “the near and dear interest which God has in His people. The Lord has made a covenant with them. ‘They shall be My people, and I will be their God.’ (Jer. xxxii. 38) By virtue of this [covenant], all things do, and must work, for good to them. ‘I am God, even thy God,’ (Psalm 50:7). This word, ‘Thy God’, is the sweetest word in the Bible, it implies the best relations; and it is impossible there should be these relations between God and His
people, and everything not work for their good.” 24. Watson, A Divine Cordial, 39. (599)
...the universe is ruled by God for the benefit of the called of God; therefore our future is secure. Every fact in the universe is God-interpreted and is being moved by God to a God ordained goal....Progress and victory are ours because God is our God and because His plan and providence encompass and govern everything for His glory and our benefit. (599)
"Providence means thus a total meaning to life and history, and a victorious meaning."
26. Rousas J. Rushdoony, Systematic Theology, 2 vols. (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1994) 1:143. (600)
"[History is] the unfolding manifestation of divine providence….The Biblical view of history starts with a beginning in time. In fact it starts with the beginning of time….The idea that history is meaningful and purposeful is integral to the doctrine of the providence of God….All moments of history, the entire chronology of time, are in the hands of and under the supervision of Providence…. 27. Sproul, The Invisible Hand, 107–116 (601)
The Bible teaches us that sometimes God leaves His own children, for a time, to experience various trials and testings. He does this for at least two good reasons. (1) To chasten and discipline us for our sins, formerly committed....(2) To reveal to us the hidden corruptions and deceitfulness that remain within us. (602)
Our loving Father in Heaven graciously inflicts the backs of His children with the rod of His fatherly discipline to accomplish several things in us:
(1) To humble us....(2) To raise us to a closer, more conscious and more constant
dependence upon Christ for everything....(3) To keep us on our guard and to make us more alert concerning temptations and inner sinful impulses. (603)
Remember God’s former dealings with you and be observant of His continual dealings with you. (604)
Keep close watch on your own heart, mind, and estimation of yourself, wants and goals. Watch the way you deal with sin in your life. (604)
Submit yourself under the mighty hand of God. Cast all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you. (605)