Archive for the ‘decrees of God’ Category

When God decrees that I be permitted to do some sinful action, he does so without coerision and for his own glory and with an interest in my ultimate good.

When I voluntarily act out what is within my heart, in opposition to God’s glory and to my own harm, then what I do is sin.

God does not sin in his decree but I sin in my act.

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Elisha Coles (1678)


The great act of sovereignty was God’s decree for making the world, and of doing, or permitting to be done, whatever should be in it, to the folding of it up. The heavens and the earth, and all the hosts of them, as yet had no being: it was at his pleasure, whether he would make them or not: and if he would, what being be would give them; to what end, and how that end should be accomplished. … The scheme and substance [of God’s decree] … may be drawn to this effect:


That the great God,

most high and holy,

being infinitely good, happy and blessed in himself,

was also infinitely prompt and well pleased to communicate thereof to others;


to which end,

he designed to raise up creatures, angels and men:


that for the manifestation of his sovereignty,

he would confirm a certain number of those angels in their primitive state;

leaving the rest to themselves;

who falling from that state,

should be cast down,

and “reserved in chains of darkness,

to the judgment of the great day”,


that in this lower world,

he would set up the first man to be the head and representative of all that should come of him;

that this single person should be created in the image of God,

fit to enjoy communion with him,

and endued with power to abide therein:


that to manifest the weakness of creatures,

and their perpetual dependence on God,

he would thus leave him to his first stock,

with a perfect freedom of will,

to retain, or lose at his own choice;

but not without set­ting before him the happiness

or ruin that would certainly follow his well or ill using that freedom;

and, being so left,

the fallen angel tempting him to disobedience, and also prevailing,

both himself and all his posterity should by this revolt fall under the curse:


that, for the declaration of his sovereign grace,

he would, and accordingly did,

choose a certain number of Adam’s posterity (in themselves all alike depraved and lost),

and ordain them to eternal life;


and to make known the power of his wrath,

and his just displeasure against sin,

he would leave the rest in that state of perdition they would bring themselves into:


that of those vessels of wrath,

Satan himself (whom they chose to follow) should be the head and ruler:

as also over them that were elected, for a time,

namely, until the Messiah, their true and proper Head,

and into whom he had chosen them,

should rescue them out of his power;


that to this end,

and that he might be known to be just,

as well as merciful, in justifying of them,

the Son of God should take on him the place of a second Adam,

and come into the world with a human body;

in which he should fulfill all righteousness,

and, by the infinite virtue and merit of his death,

should satisfy the law in all its demands,

destroy the devil,

dissolve his works,

and reconcile the elect to God:

that he should be raised again from the dead,

and invested with all power befitting the Captain of their salvation;

so that he might effectually minister to them

whatsoever should be requisite for bringing his sons to glory.


This I take to be the sum of God’s decree; the great ensign or standard royal of sovereignty, of which all the others are but consequents, and to which they are sub­ordinate.


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