Pastoral Overview

This monthly blog series contains a brief pastoral overview of each chapter of the 2nd London Confession. Written by a pastor for his flock, this series is a lovely collection of articles aimed at introducing congregations to the confession.

Chapter 3 - Of God's Decree

God hath decreed in himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein; nor is violence offered to the will of the creature, nor yet is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established; in which appears his wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing his decree.

Second London Baptist Confession of Faith, Ch3, P1.

According to his good pleasure, God has a plan and purpose that he is fulfilling in the world. The 2nd London Baptist Confession states, 

‘God hath decreed in himself from all eternity by the most wise and holy council of his own will freely and unchangeably, all things whatsoever comes to pass, yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein’.   

Although the world is filled with much wrongdoing, God has ordained everything to come to pass. Yet, none can blame him for the choices that human beings make, which are contrary to his revealed will. Nonetheless, his purposes are definitely being worked out. A great example of this fact is stated in Acts 2:23. Peter, addressing the very people who had Jesus killed, preached, saying, ‘Him being delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken in lawless hands and crucified and put to death.’ 

As the crime is laid at their feet, the offence for the rejection of Jesus Christ is laid at the door of every sinner who personally refuses to receive him. Although God has allowed all things to take place, knows all things beforehand and has the power to deal with everything in this world, he has not decreed anything because he foresaw it as the future. For example, Paul reminds us that God will have mercy on whom he will have mercy to manifest his glory in this world. We were all hell-bound; however, God predestined many to eternal life according to his special decree. 

Before the foundation of the world, it was determined between God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit that the Lord Jesus Christ would come (1 Peter 1.20). The Father would choose a people Christ would die for, and the Holy Spirit would be the means by which many from every tribe and nation would put their trust in Christ and be saved. All this was decreed before God made the world. 

We were all hell-bound; however, God predestined many to eternal life according to his special decree.

Moreover, God has decreed the means by which people become Christians are by his calling through the gospel of Jesus Christ, and by the working of the Holy Spirit in giving repentance and faith. Repentance is not found in us. Belief is not found in us. The bible tells us that this is a gift of God. Thus, how can they call on him whom they have not heard unless a preacher is sent to them?

What about prayer? He knows everything we need before we ask, but he has ordained even the prayers we pray to his glory in his plan and purpose to receive these blessings. Looking back, God has been leading you and guiding you in your life. God has been at work, and although man may do things to you which are evil, as Joseph said, God has meant them for good.

Heavenly Father, thank you that you are the God who is in control and that you have done all things according to your will and your good pleasure. 


Picture of Chris Rees

Chris Rees

Minister, Bethesda Baptist Chapel, Narberth, Wales