God’s Plan and You

In church this morning, I happened on James 1:18. No, I wasn’t day-dreaming. The Pastor was actually preaching James 1:12-18! I read from my English translation:

  • James 1:18 By his sovereign plan he gave us birth through the message of truth, that we would be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

I immediately latched onto the rendering “sovereign plan.” I suspected this was a bit of an interpretative gloss, so I reached for my tablet to look at what the Greek text had to say. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to charge the battery, and I had no sooner found the text than the whole thing died. Drat. I plan to ditch the tablet and bring my hardbound UBS-5 to church from now on.

But, that doesn’t matter and you don’t care anyway. What does matter is what on earth James 1:18 is saying, and what that ought to mean for your life, if you’re a Christian. Because I’m an incurable nerd, I came home and translated the verse straightaway. It’s interesting, to say the least.

Here is my pitiful translation, and below are some thoughts I had on this verse:

Baptist Confessions of Faith – God’s Decree

I am beginning a series where I will post excerpts from various Baptist Confessions of Faith. I agree with some, and disagree with others. Regardless, I’ll post them anyway. I’m beginning this series by taking a look at what Baptists have said down through the years about God’s decree – or lack thereof!

This excerpt is from the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, Chapter 3 – God’s Decree. It will be immediately clear this is a Particular Baptist (i.e. Calvinist) document. It is largely a recitation of the 1647 Westminster Confession of Faith, with Baptist flavor added. This excerpt is verbatim from the 1647 Westminster Confession.

I, personally, am in complete and total agreement with this statement on God’s decree. Here it is:

Paragraph 1

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;[1] yet so as thereby is God neither the author of sin nor hath fellowship with any therein;[2] 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;[3] in which appears His wisdom in disposing all things, and power and faithfulness in accomplishing His decree.[4]

Paragraph 2

Although God knoweth whatsoever may or can come to pass, upon all supposed conditions,[5] yet hath He not decreed anything, because He foresaw it as future, or as that which would come to pass upon such conditions.[6]

Paragraph 3

By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated, or foreordained to eternal life through Jesus Christ,[7] to the praise of His glorious grace;[8] others being left to act in their sin to their just condemnation, to the praise of His glorious justice.[9]

Paragraph 4

These angels and men thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.[10]

Paragraph 5

Those of mankind that are predestinated to life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of His mere free grace and love,[11] without any other thing in the creature as a condition or cause moving Him thereunto.[12]

Paragraph 6

As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so He hath, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto;[13] wherefore they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ,[14] are effectually called unto faith in Christ, by His Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified,[15] and kept by His power through faith unto salvation;[16] neither are any other redeemed by Christ, or effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.[17]

Paragraph 7

The doctrine of the high mystery of predestination is to be handled with special prudence and care, that men attending the will of God revealed in His Word, and yielding obedience thereunto, may, from the certainty of their effectual vocation, be assured of their eternal election;[18] so shall this doctrine afford matter of praise,[19] reverence, and admiration of God, and of humility,[20] diligence, and abundant consolation to all that sincerely obey the gospel.[21]

Scripture References

[1] Isa. 46:10; Eph. 1:11; Heb. 6:17; Rom. 9:15,18

[2] James 1:13; 1 John 1:5

[3] Acts 4:27,28; John 19:11

[4] Num. 23:19; Eph. 1:3-5

[5] Acts 15:18

[6] Rom. 9:11,13,16,18

[7] I Tim. 5:21; Matt. 25:34

[8] Eph. 1:5,6

[9] Rom. 9:22,23; Jude 4

[10] 2 Tim. 2:19; John 13:18

[11] Eph. 1:4, 9, 11; Rom. 8:30; 2 Tim. 1:9; I Thess. 5:9

[12] Rom. 9:13,16; Eph. 2:5,12

[13] 1 Pet. 1:2; 2; Thess. 2:13

[14] 1 Thess. 5:9, 10

[15] Rom. 8:30; 2 Thess. 2:13

[16] 1 Pet. 1:5

[17] John 10:26, 17:9, 6:64

[18] 1 Thess. 1:4,5; 2 Pet. 1:10

[19] Eph. 1:6; Rom. 11:33

[20] Rom. 11:5,6,20

[21] Luke 10:20