Of God’s Eternal Decree

1. God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin; nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

> God has unchangeably decreed what will happen because why would He change His mind?

>God is not the author of sin, but in His sovereignty allows it for His own glory (Rom 9:22)

2. Although God knows whatsoever may or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions; yet hath he not decreed anything because he foresaw it as future, as that which would come to pass, upon such conditions.

>God’s decree is not contingent His foreknowledge of what man may or may not do. To take this view would be to place man at the forefront of God’s redemptive plan. To make God’s decree dependant upon His foreknowledge would be to make God a reactionary God – even if He is reacting before the actual event.

3. By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others fore-ordained to everlasting death.

>Here we see that the divnes ascribed to the doctrines of sovereign election and reprobation.

>Ultimately all of God’s working in men and angels and salvations and wrath is for His glory.

4. These angels and men, thus predestinated and fore-ordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and definite that it cannot be either increased or diminished.
> Nothing can change what God has decreed.

5. Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of his free grace and love alone, without any foresight of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving him thereunto; and all to the praise of his glorious grace.

>This sentence boils down, as succinctly as possible, the truth of God’s work in man’s salvation. To say it as simply as possible, the salvation of man is completely a work of God.

6. As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath he, by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, fore-ordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore they who are elected being fallen in Adam are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called unto faith in Christ by his Spirit working in due season; are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by his power through faith unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.

>God has worked out a means of salvation for the elect so that He can remain just yet also be the justifier of sinners. (Rom 3:26)

7. The rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.

>The phrase “to pass by” is an important on in this point. It is true that God predestines some to wrath, but this predestination must be in some sense different from His predestination to glory because all men have sinned and deserve wrath. It may be said that God passively allows the reprobate to be condemned for their sin while He actively pursues the elect with His irresistible grace.

8. The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, that men attending to the will of God revealed in his Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election. So shall this doctrine afford matter of praise, reverence, and admiration of God; and of humility, diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel.

>This point was added in wisdom to warn those who understand these lofty doctrines about the dangers of pride. These doctrines properly understood and applied should result in praise, reverence, humility, diligence, and an overall godly life.