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Chapter 3: Of God's Decree

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Chapter 3

3.1 God has decreed all things that occur,1 and this He has done in Himself, from all eternity, by the perfectly wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably.2 Yet He has done this in such a way that God is neither the author of sin, nor does He share with anyone in sinning,3 nor does this violate the will of the creature, nor is the free working or contingency of second causes taken away but rather established.4 In all this, God's wisdom is displayed in directing all things, as is His power and faithfulness in accomplishing His decree.5

(1) Daniel 4:34-35; Romans 8:28; 11:36; Ephesians 1:11
(2) Proverbs 19:21; Isaiah 14:24-27; 46:10-11; Psalms 115:3; 135:6; Romans 9:19
(3) Genesis 18:25; James 1:13; 1 John 1:5
(4) Genesis 50:20; 2 Samuel 24:1; Isaiah 10:5-7; Matthew 17:12; John 19:11; Acts 2:23; 4:27-28
(5) Numbers 23:19; Ephesians 1:3-5

3.2 Although God knows everything which may or can come to pass under all imaginable conditions,1 yet He has not decreed anything because He foresaw it in the future, or because it would come to pass [anyway] under certain conditions.2

(1) 1 Samuel 23:11-12; Matthew 11:21,23; Acts 15:18
(2) Isaiah 40:13-14; Romans 9:11-18; 11:34; 1 Corinthians 2:16

3.3 By God's decree, and for the demonstration of His glory, certain human beings and angels are predestined (or foreordained) to eternal life through Jesus Christ, to the praise of His glorious grace.1 Others are left to continue in their sin to their just condemnation, to the praise of His glorious justice.2

(1) Matthew 25:34; 1 Timothy 5:21
(2) John 12:37-40; Romans 9:6-24; 1 Peter 2:8-10; Jude 1:4

3.4 Those angels and human beings who are predestined and foreordained to eternal life, are specifically and irreversibly designated, and their number is so certain and definite that it cannot be either increased or diminished.1

(1) Matthew 22:1-14; John 13:18; Romans 11:5-6; 1 Corinthians 7:20-22; 2 Timothy 2:19

3.5 God chose those human beings who are predestined to life before the foundation of the world, in accordance with His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will. God chose them in Christ for eternal glory, solely out of His free grace and love,1 without anything in the creature as a condition or cause moving Him to choose them.2

(1) Romans 8:30; Ephesians 1:4-6, 9; 2 Timothy 1:9
(2) Romans 9:11-16; 11:5-6

3.6 As God has appointed the elect to glory, so He has by the eternal and completely free purpose of His will foreordained all the means.1 Therefore those who are elected (being fallen in Adam) are redeemed by Christ,2 effectually called to faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season, justified, adopted, sanctified,3 and kept by His power through faith to salvation.4 None but the elect are redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved.5

(1) Ephesians 1:4; 2:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2
(2) 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10; Titus 2:14
(3) Romans 8:30; Ephesians 1:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13
(4) 1 Peter 1:5
(5) John 6:64-65; 8:47; 10:26; 17:9; Romans 8:28; 1 John 2:19

3.7 The doctrine of this high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care,1 so that those who are heeding the will of God revealed in His Word, and who are obeying it, may be assured of their eternal election from the certainty of their effectual calling.2 So shall this doctrine promote the praise, reverence, and admiration of God,3 and encourage humility4 and diligence,5 and bring much comfort6 to all who sincerely obey the Gospel.

(1) Deuteronomy 29:29; Romans 9:20; 11:33
(2) 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5; 2 Peter 1:10
(3) Ephesians 1:6; Romans 11:33
(4) Romans 11:5, 6, 20; Colossians 3:12
(5) 2 Peter 1:10
(6) Luke 10:20