God's Decrees
Ephesians 1:11
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance…


1. The extent or objects of God's purposes.

2. The properties of them.

I. AS TO THE EXTENT OR OBJECTS OF GOD'S PURPOSES, IT APPEAERS THAT EVERYTHING WHICH HAPPENS HAS A PLACE IN THE DIVINE DECREES IN A MANNER SUITABLE TO ITS NATURE. And, indeed, if we go about to except anything, there would be no knowing where to stop: such is the series and connection of one with another. Let us take a brief survey of some instances, especially such as relate to our world. As(1) The work of creation with all the effects of God s providence over the natural world.

(2) The purpose of God has before determined all the great revolutions and events of nations, kingdoms, and societies of men.

(3) All events that befall particular persons in this world were likewise settled by a Divine decree.

(4) The actions of men also are not exempted from God's previous purpose.

(5) The dispensation of the gospel and means of grace, the revelations of the Divine will which have had a respect all along to the economy of salvation by Christ as welt as that economy itself, were adjusted in the counsels of God. These revelations were appointed to be made in that variety of ways, and in those parts and degrees, as also to such persons, and at such and for so long a time as has since fallen and will fall out.


(1) They are sovereign and free acts of His will. God, though a necessary Being, is not a necessary Agent. To suppose this would be to make Him no Agent at all.

(2) They are eternal. Not indeed in the same absolute sense as God's nature is, which always was, and could not but be what it is. For how would that consist with their being acts of will and liberty? But they are so eternal, as that it is impossible to assign or conceive any time when they were first formed.

(3) They are infinitely wise. For they form a scheme of a prodigious compass, which reaches to endless ages, and whose various parts are all laid out and disposed together for execution in the best manner and to the best ends.

(4) They are holy (Psalm 145:17). Consequently He is holy in all His purposes, which are the beginning of His ways, and which are accomplished in them. The infinite rectitude and blessedness of God is sufficient security, that He could neither design nor act anything contrary to justice and goodness. His counsels of old are faithfulness and truth (Isaiah 25:1). Let us now briefly improve this subject. And —

1. Hence we learn that there is no such thing as chance or necessary fate, or the supreme independent government of two opposite principles, good and evil, but all events are subject to the purpose and providence of one intelligent, all-knowing, infinitely wise, powerful, holy and good Being. Nothing can ever arise to surprise Him, or cast any difficulty and perplexity on His way, He having already from eternity settled the proper measures of conduct in every case that shall emerge.

2. Let us own, and let us quietly submit to the supreme will of God as fulfilled in all that befalls us. We should consider that, even when we suffer wrongfully from men, the will of God so is (1 Peter 3:17). Let us then receive all our allotments with this language of resignation, "The will of the Lord be done" (Acts 21:14).

3. This doctrine of God's decrees may inspire us with a good confidence about the final issue of all things. How securely may we trust in God for a fair account at last of the worst appearances of the most corrupt and disorderly state of the world, since they have not escaped His eternal foresight and provision!

4. What a spring is it, too, of generous, brave, and noble undertakings in the cause of God! When we believe that He has taken, even from eternity, the wisest and best care of all events, what remains for us to care about, but only to do our duty, and to apply to it so much the more vigorously, as we have no need to distract our minds about the issues of things! With what serenity and fortitude may a good man commit himself to God in well-doing! APPLICATION: What abundant cause does this excellent order which God observed in framing the world, as well as the quality of the creatures, which had all their parts fitted to a proper use, and were made subservient to one another for the good of all, afford us to break forth into that celebration of Divine wisdom! (Psalm 104:24, "O Lord, how manifold are Thy works! in wisdom hast Thou made them all!"). Thus also the new creation of grace in Christ Jesus is executed gradually after the same model, which is the more from hence confirmed to be a point of wisdom and beauty. And how will the conducting it from a spiritual chaos of darkness and wild disorder through various periods and gradations to a glorious issue excite the most ravishing admiration in the saints, when they shall be able to carry their views from the beginning to the end of both these creations at once? How should we adore likewise the Divine power as infinitely great and wonderful in creation? Here, as in its proper province, omnipotence acted illustriously from first to last, and was only laid open to a more distinct survey in the wise order of its procedure.

(J. Hubbard.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

WEB: in whom also we were assigned an inheritance, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his will;

God Accomplishes His Purposes Gradually
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