Bible Lesson 65

THE DECREES OF GOD
ROMANS 8:28-30

We will begin this lesson by looking at some things that there is not a great deal of disagreement about within most of America?s population. I believe that I would be correct to say that most Americans would agree that there is only one God and that God is the God of the Bible, Jehovah. Most would agree, at least most of those who finished school before the 1980s, that God created all things outside of Himself. He has always been and will always be. Most of us would say that we believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, given to reveal Himself to His creatures.

With that said I would also say that most of this generation does not know the Bible for themselves. Most have chosen the easy route to Biblical knowledge, and that is, we have depended on others to teach us what we should believe. I know that that is a stark accusation, but I have proven to myself that it is true to a great degree. That has resulted in numerous congregations that are so shallow in Biblical knowledge that it is hard to speak to them concerning their souls.

Many of the people that I have attempted to share the truth of the gospel with lately seem to think it is a game of some sort, a game where they continue to check you as you attempt to ask them tough questions about their relationship with God. They seem to know the answers but they don’t know the questions! They lay, often facing death, and when you ask them why they think God should allow them into His heaven, they give answers like, ‘I have lived a pretty good life’: or ‘I’m a good husband and father’: or ‘I am as good as anyone of those in that church over there’. All of that may be true but none of that has anything to do with being saved and fitted for heaven.

True Biblical Salvation has to do with our standing, in the light of the face of a Holy and Just God, and dealing with Him about our nature. We are all born with the nature of Adam, the first man who rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden. His nature of disobedience toward God and the things of God has passed to every man, woman and child since He fell into sin there in that Paradise that God had prepared for Him; and we must deal with that nature before God before we are fit for heaven. God has to interdict our lives and move on us and into us with His Holy Spirit before we can even communicate with God; and then God will regenerate us and plant saving faith in us and indwell us with His Holy Spirit.

God then will impute the righteousness of Jesus Christ to those who are regenerate; and we are then justified and have a right standing before God. Then and only then is any person fit for heaven. God has done all that needed to be done for anyone to be saved.

He planned all things before He created anything and since He is Omniscience, He knows everything that has ever happened or that will ever happen; so in His plan, His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, was tasked to leave heaven, come to this earth through the womb of a young Jewish virgin, named Mary, who had been overshadowed by the Holy Spirit to conceive the Sinless Son of God.

The mission of Jesus Christ was to live without sin, teach and preach the Truth to correct the understanding of those who had left the Truth of God for the lie of Satan, and to sacrifice Himself in the place of those who would obey Him to redeem them from sin (Hebrews 5:8-9).

No one is ever saved except by the Grace of God alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, and everyone who is not re-birthed by God will go to hell for eternity; but those who are saved, by that New Birth in Christ, will spend their eternity in heaven.

Now, that we know that God is in complete control of everything that happens on this earth and the cosmos, let’s ask God to instruct us from His Word the Bible about our subject for this lesson, which is the Decrees of God.

We will begin at the beginning and that would be before the foundation of the world, before anything that we know as our world was created; and before God created Adam and Eve, He knew that they would sin rather than obey Him. Why He created a creature that would have a free will, and who would sin and corrupt His wonderful creation, is not known; but what we can know is that God has a perfect reason and a perfect plan, and He has over the ages been working that plan out to His satisfaction.

Before you were born and before I was born God knew what we would do in our lives on the earth because He had decreed what would happen to us. I know that a lot of people resent the idea that God has that direct and total control over His creation, but that does not change the fact that He is (Romans 9:20). God has a plan for you as well as for me and everyone else. It is a perfect plan that will lead to our salvation if we are intelligent enough to understand the directions.

I can liken it to what most of us know today about this innovation called GPS (Global Positioning System). You may have one in your automobile, and if so, you know that it is capable of directing you to any place that you need to go; however, you must know how it works. That’s the reason that we need to know our Bibles because it is God’s GPS ( God’s Perfect System) for His creatures. He speaks to us about His system in Jeremiah 29:11-13 when He says ‘I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope’. God goes on in that scripture to say ‘And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for me with all your heart’.

The decree of God is His eternal plan or purpose, in which He planned and decreed everything that would happen. God planned the weather that you are enjoying while you read this, He is responsible for everything except sin, and He permits even that in His plan to control and bring to pass what He has decreed to happen. There are two types of God’s decrees, one is effectual and the other is permissive. Everything that God has created and decreed is for the benefit of His creatures and His creation; however, as humans are apt to do, we sometimes misuse and abuse what God has created and that becomes sin, which God permits in some cases; but that only makes man responsible to God.

God planned that men would live forever, in an uncorrupted world and that worked in man’s favor; however, sin came in the Garden of Eden and corrupted man’s ability to think properly and as a result, God has put a limit on the length of man’s life, and everything about God’s perfect plan has been hindered. That’s the reason that there are sickness, hunger, wars and floods and all that we face in our world today. If there had been no sin, we would live in a perfect world, where there would be plenty of food and potable water for everyone, where there would be no hunger or thirst or hurricanes and no sickness or disease.

That is the world that God created and gave to his creatures, and yet that one disobedience by Adam and Eve, corrupted that completely, and that should teach us how God views our sin. The account of God’s Creation is found in Genesis chapters one through three and so you can read it for yourself. Think about living in God’s perfect world for a moment and ask yourself if Adam’s sin was worth it all.

All of God’s decrees were for his perfect world and as we live every day and we continue in Adam’s folly of sin, we only make matters worse. When God placed Adam and Eve in the garden, He warned them specifically that there was one tree that they must not ever eat the fruit of, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God warned Adam that if he ate of that tree, that he would die, and death has plagued man since Adam ate of that fruit.

Things that were originally meant for man’s good, because of man’s sin, have turned to hinder man’s life. God’s decree or plan for man is just, wise and holy, it is perfect; because God is perfect and cannot do anything that is not perfect. His permissive decree allows things that may be unwise, foolish, and sinful; however that does not change God, nor His purposes at all. God’s decree stands as just and holy and with good intentions toward mankind if we would be obedient.

We need to always remember that God provided us with a perfect plan, but our grandfather Adam was foolish and disobeyed and we have continued his foolishness. Just think for a moment how foolish mankind has become. We disobey a Holy and Just God to our condemnation and we go about patting ourselves on the back thinking ‘what a great society we have’.

We are born with corrupt hearts and rather than turn to God we read books by people who have corrupt hearts and we sink further into deprivation, but we steadfastly refuse to study and obey God’s Word the Bible. We refuse to recognize God’s sovereignty and we run headlong in our corrupted nature and will not seek refuge from our just condemnation, as we continually seek to invent excuses for our depravity.

God decreed and we must understand that although we use the plural ‘decrees’, God did not even have a plan A and a plan B, He had only one plan that covered all of God’s creatures and creation. In case you think that mankind has surprised or ambushed God and made Him rethink His decree, think again. God has always known everything that can be known, He is the repository of all knowledge and we have never surprised God with our silliness and sin.

We have grieved His heart in that we would do many of the things that we do and in the manner we do them, but He always knew that we would do them. God allows us to live and misappropriate decrees that would be a blessing if we lived as we should, and our disobedience always comes back to bite us instead of blessing us. That is how God makes man responsible for his sin.

Included in the decree of God are predestination, election, and reprobation. All of these deal with God’s plan for the lives of His creatures. Since we are limited as to space in this lesson we will be able to just touch briefly on these as they are subjects that we have covered before and will cover again in some later lesson. Predestination is God’s decree or plan or purpose respecting His moral creatures (Mankind).

It covers all men, saints and sinners, angels and devils, and even Christ as the Mediator. You and I and everybody born in this world are predestined to one of two other decrees, Election or Reprobation. Election speaks to those who were chosen by God (not for anything that they were or would be or do; but simply God chose them or elected them to be part of the Bride of Christ, the Church), before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-11).

Reprobation speaks to those that God chose to pass by or chose not to bestow saving grace upon. I know that many who, as soon as they read that, will get up in arms and begin to challenge God’s fairness, which is foolish. Nobody knows who is elect and who is reprobate, except God, so rather than challenge God, thinking that you were reprobate, seek God’s Grace by studying His Word the Bible, and crying out for God to save you (Romans 10:17). If you think seriously about it God would have been perfectly within His rights not to save any of us (Romans 9:14-15, 18).

It is truly amazing how people attempt to make God’s Word say what they would like to believe. For instance, when people hear about God’s electing purpose, some will say, well, what God did was to look down the channel of time and He saw who would be saved and who wouldn’t and so He chose those who were saved, and they call that foreknowledge. So now, they have the Omnipotent, Almighty God of Creation being restrained by the creature.

God has to wait until you or I am saved before He can put us in His book of life. Dear Friends don’t ever attempt to make that kind of impotent God out of our Creator, Sustainer, and Savior! God wrote His Lamb’s book of life, before, the foundation of the world. Acts 2:23 speaks to us concerning the death of Christ on the cross and it says, that God delivered Him by the ‘determined purpose and foreknowledge of God’. The determined purpose of God does not lend it’s self to His looking forward to the cross and them allowing Christ to be put to death.

I will list some scriptures that will help you understand the decree of God and how it all works the way that God intended for it too. Read the scriptures for yourself and God will show you what the meaning is. He does not text message it on your phone, so it may take some effort and even some tears before God illuminates the Word for you.

There are many different ideas about what predestination is all about and how God intended it, but a careful study of the Word will lead you to a God who we can trust with our temporal lives here on the earth and our eternal lives in heaven. Trust and obedience is what we owe God and if we would do that in earnest, we would soon see a taste of what God decreed for us from the beginning. We have become a people that thought that we could question and challenge anything and everything that God has said to us.

That means that we have as my Mother used to say to me’..’You have gotten too big for your britches’. We have not been taught and so we do not believe that God is Sovereign over everything and everyone, including you and me. We think that we can deal with God as we do with one another, but God is the Creator and we are simply His creatures, we can become His children if we can truly come to know Him through His Son Jesus Christ. God is infinite and His knowledge and power are infinite, we are limited and He is never limited in anything. The Bible tells us of Him and it says, ‘Known to God from eternity are all His works’ (Acts 15:18). The Bible assures us that ‘All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him to whom we must give account’ (Hebrews 4:13).

Everything that He does is done in the prosecution and fulfillment of His specific purposes. There is no such thing as an accident. God is bringing to fulfillment His plan, His purpose, His decree for His world. We would benefit if we stopped trying to fight with God and join in with Him to do our part in His perfect plan for the abundant life. We all need to begin again as our forefathers did to receive the Bible as the inspired Word of God and begin to use it as the rule and guide of our lives.

God gave us that wonderful Word that we might better know Him and know His plan (decree) for our lives so that we could live with joy unspeakable and full of glory as we live on the earth and then to inherit heaven for eternity. The way we live our lives has much to do with the way that our children and grandchildren and other children who see how we live and see our honor and glory of our Lord, will conduct their lives. We are always teaching people, even when we don’t think about it.

If we are worldly and unrestrained in our conduct, if we use the vilest of vocabulary words to express ourselves, if we never demonstrate that we truly love Christ and want to obey Him, everyone that sees us will more than likely take on that same disposition. Life is all about doing what God has decreed that we should do. If we do that and follow Jesus Christ’s teaching, our lives would be so much better and our families would be blessed by our lives.

That is something that we all can decide for ourselves, but if you decide wrong you decide against heaven and in favor of hell. Think about your life and if you see that you are not on the path that is strait and narrow, have enough sense to ask God for help in finding that path.

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob