Q. 11: How doth God execute His decrees?
A. 11: God executeth His decrees in the works of creation and providence.
The previous begins a discussion on God’s decrees that will subsist of questions 11-15. We already laid the foundation for this question, and if you have not read it I encourage you to do so. For question 10, click here.
This question involves how God executes His decrees. In other words, we are focusing on the manner. It is similar to fixing a car. There are multiple ways an individual can approach this task. He can fix it himself. He can take it to a friend, or a shade tree mechanic. Or, he can take it to the dealer. Those three options are how he can fix his vehicle.
What are God’s ways to execute His eternal purpose? (See question 10) The Catechism states, “God executeth His decrees in the works of creation and providence.” There are two ways, then, that God fulfills His eternal purpose.
Creation will be addressed in the next question, so we will only highlight this point. By the work of creation the Catechism means God’s work in and through creation. His eternal purpose includes creation. Genesis 1:1 provides the summary teachings of Scripture, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (ESV) He created everything, all things seen and unseen, spiritual and fleshly, all varieties. He created everything. It is His creation, and He executes His eternal purpose with and in the work of creation.
The work of creation deals with the matter of God’s decrees. In other words, like clay in the potter’s hands, so creation is the clay in the Potter’s hands (cf. Rom. 9:19-24). He exercises His eternal purpose with creation through the works of providence (elaborated further in questions 14-15).
The works of providence are God’s governing and preserving His will. I encourage you to take time to read through the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith, chapter 5. The framers of that Confession elaborate on the brief teachings found here in questions 11 and 14-15.
What we learn in this brief answer is that God directs His creation for His eternal purposes.
We will have more meat for application when we get to questions 12-15. However, there is one application that I think we can draw: encouragement.
We can and should be encouraged by God’s execution of His decrees through creation and providence. Why? It means that everything that happens comes from His sovereign, fatherly hand. Read these remarkable words from the Confession, “God the good Creator of all things, in His infinite power and wisdom doth uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, to the end for the which they were created according unto His infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of His own will, to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, infinite goodness, and mercy.” (2LCF 5:1)
Are you going through a difficult time? God is executing His eternal purpose. Are you discouraged by how your life has turned out? God is executing His eternal purpose. Are you in the throes of discouragement and depression? God is executing His eternal purpose.
Now, go back and read that excerpt from the Confession. Notice how many times the word good, goodness, mercy, and wise appear. It is not blind faith, it is the guiding and good hand of God. Couple that with the wonderful truth of Romans 8:28, and what we have is the antidote to the discouragements and ailments of this life. We have the cure to the disease of discontentment. We have the treatment for the cancer of doubt. We have the remedy to sinful thoughts, words, and actions. God executes His decrees through the works of creation and providence.