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decrees of God
“The decrees of God are his eternal, unchangeable, holy, wise, and sovereign purpose, comprehending at once all things that ever were or will be in their causes, conditions, successions, and relations, and determining their certain futurition. The several contents of this one eternal purpose are, because of the limitation of our faculties, necessarily conceived of by us in partial aspects, and in logical relations, and are therefore styled Decrees.” The decree being the act of an infinite, absolute, eternal, unchangeable, and sovereign Person, comprehending a plan including all his works of all kinds, great and small, from the beginning of creation to an unending eternity; ends as well as means, causes as well as effects, conditions and instrumentalities as well as the events which depend upon them, must be incomprehensible by the finite intellect of man.
The decrees are eternal (Acts 15:18; Eph. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13), unchangeable (Ps. 33:11; Isa. 46:9), and comprehend all things that come to pass (Eph. 1:11; Matt. 10:29, 30; Eph. 2:10; Acts 2:23; 4:27, 28; Ps. 17:13, 14).
The decrees of God are (1) efficacious, as they respect those events he has determined to bring about by his own immediate agency; or (2) permissive, as they respect those events he has determined that free agents shall be permitted by him to effect.
This doctrine ought to produce in our minds “humility, in view of the infinite greatness and sovereignty of God, and of the dependence of man; confidence and implicit reliance upon wisdom, rightenousness, goodness, and immutability of God's purpose.”