Divine Decree Effects
Rom 5:1-21; 8:28-30
We note the Doctrine of Positional Truth and the differences between our Retroactive Positional Truth and our Current Positional truth.
Retroactive P.T. is the backward looking analogy of our identification with our Lord Jesus Christ in relation to His completed work on the Cross. i.e., We have died to Sin and our Sin Nature.
Current P.T. is the forward looking analogy of our identification with our Lord Jesus Christ in relation to His Session, being seated at the right hand of the Father. i.e., By the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, we are royalty in the family of God with all of its privileges.
Both have been made possible because of the great Plan of God the Father, which is called in theology His Divine Decree. It is singular, because it is one all comprehensive thought and plan that has been with the Father for all of eternity. It means there is one comprehensive plan in which all things have their place and by which they proceed.
Yet, given our finite minds, it has been revealed to us in scriptures by the Spirit in logical order, which we then call Divine Decrees.
For example: 1 Peter 1:20 says, “He (Jesus) was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times.”
Rom 8:28-30 gives us a good understanding of the Biblical and Logical order of God’s Divine Decree in relation to those who believe.
Note that all of the verbs in vs. 30 are past tense: the believer has been called, justified, and glorified.
So, we have to ask ourselves, “Why worry about the sufferings and difficulties of this world, when we have already been glorified?”
The answer is, “We simply wait for the revelation of this glory at the return of Christ.” That is faith resting in Christ!
But getting back to the order in which God Planned for man and His salvation, we need to rightly understand the Biblical order of God’s great and gracious design. The order is found in what is called in theology “lapsarianism” which simply means, “one who believes in the fall of man.”
Lapsarian includes five main points which are also called the Five Points of Calvinism. The order of these five points has been debated over the centuries, resulting in many having false doctrines and has settled into four camps, Supra, Infra, and Sub Lapsarianism along with Arminianism.
Infralapsarianism is the right order, which Scripture tells us, as we have just seen in Rom 8:29-30, by which God planned for the creation and salvation of all men.
The Correct Biblical Order of Lapsarianism is:
- God decreed the creation of all mankind with free will in the status of perfection to resolve the prehistoric angelic conflict.
- God decreed to permit the fall of mankind, through the function of his own self-determination, his own volition, as the extension of the angelic conflict into human history.
Angels had a fall, therefore man must have a fall to resolve the conflict. This duplicates Satan’s fall and the subsequent existence of fallen angels.
- God decreed to provide eternal salvation for all mankind, under the doctrine of Unlimited Atonement.
- God is fair and provides judgment for sin for all members of the human race. God does not arbitrarily assign creatures to hell.
What is meant by unlimited atonement is that all sins in human history were imputed to Jesus Christ on the Cross and judged, so that Christ is the issue and not sins, 2 Cor 5:19; 1 Tim 4:10; Titus 2:11; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 2:2.
1 Tim 4:10, “For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.”
Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men.”
1 John 2:2, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”
In Rom 5:6; 2 Cor 5:14-15; Heb 2:9, there is a Greek idiom used in these passages that means, “as a substitute for everyone without exception.”
2 Cor 5:14-15, “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.”
Heb 2:9, “But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.”
- God decreed to leave the reprobate (Those who remain in spiritual death, because they reject Christ as Savior.) to their just condemnation.
All people who reach the point of volitional responsibility have equal opportunity to hear the gospel and believe in Jesus Christ; John 15:22; Rom 1:20ff; 11:22; Gal 3:22.
Rom 1:20, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”
- God decreed simultaneously in eternity past both election and predestination for believers only, Rom 8:29-30; Eph 1:4-6; John 15:16, 19; Mark 13:20.
Eph 1:4-6, “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”
- The unbeliever is never predestined to hell, as signified by their names being blotted out of the book of life, Psa 69:28 Cf. Rev 3:5; 20:11-15
Psa 69:28, “May they be blotted out of the book of life and may they not be recorded with the righteous.”
Rev 20:15, “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”
- God decreed to apply salvation to everyone who believes in Christ, as such, the decree to save the elect through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, Eph 2:8-9.
Rom 5:1-21 also supports our understanding of God’s Divine Decrees.
This is a complex chapter, so read it over several times and use a modern translation, too. Here Paul is explaining how it came to be that all men are sinners, and how it came to be that one Man’s death could give an ungodly sinner a right standing before God.
- Please note, the repetition of the word “one” ( 12, 15-19 – eleven times).
- Also note the use of the word “reign” in ( 14, 17, 21).
When God looks upon the human race, He sees but two men, Adam and Christ.
Every human being is either “in Adam” and lost, or “in Christ” and saved; there is no middle ground.
When Paul says in vs. 12 that “all have sinned,” he means that all of us sinned in Adam when he sinned. We are identified with him as the “head” of the human race, and his sin is our sin, his death is our death.
Paul’s argument in vs. 12-14 goes like this: “We all know that a man dies if he disobeys God’s law. But there was no law from Adam to Moses, yet men died! We know that Adam died because he disobeyed a divine law; but the generations from Adam to Moses did not have such a law to disobey. Then death must be from another cause, and that cause is Adam’s sin. Because we are born “in Adam,” we inherit his sin and condemnation. But in His grace, God has given a “Last Adam,” a new “Head” who has by His life and death undone all that Adam did in his sin.”
In verses 15-20, we have several interesting comparisons:
Vs. 15-16 – The Offense vs. the Free Gift:
Adam’s offense brought condemnation and death, while the free gift of God’s grace brings justification and life.
Vs. 17 – Death vs. Life:
Death reigned as king because of Adam, but now believers reign in life, (right now, not only in the future), through Christ, and have abundant life!
Vs. 18 – Condemnation vs. Justification:
Adam’s sin plunged the human race into condemnation; Christ’s death brings right standing with God. Adam hid from God; in Christ we have free access to God!
Vs. 19 – Disobedience vs. Obedience:
Adam disobeyed God and made us all sinners; Christ obeyed God, and through faith in Him, we are made righteous.
Vs. 20 – Law vs. Grace:
God did not give the Law to save mankind, but rather to reveal sin. But God’s super-abounding grace met the demands of the Law when Christ died, and then supplied what the Law could not supply; salvation from sin.
The whole transaction is summarized in vs. 20; in the new creation, 2 Cor 5:17, being “in Christ.”
- Sin no longer reigns, grace does!
- Death does not reign, life does!
And we reign in life! “Christ…has made us kings and priests to God,” Rev 1:5-6.
Rev 1:5-6, “And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood— 6and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Now, the important question is this: Am I “in Adam” or “in Christ”?
If I am “in Adam,” then sin and death reign over my life and I am under condemnation.
If I am “in Christ,” then grace reigns and I can reign in life through Christ, and sin no longer has me in its slavery, the theme of Romans chapter 6.
In Rom 5:6-11, Paul teaches substitution, Christ died for us on the cross. But in 5:12-21, he goes further and teaches identification, believers are in Christ and can live in victory over sin.
And all of this was made possible because of God the Father’s Divine Decree.
The Two Adams Contrast as Follows:
- The first Adam was made from the earth, but the Last Adam (Christ) came from heaven, 1 Cor 15:47.
- The first Adam was the king of the old creation, Gen 1:26-27, while the Last Adam is King-Priest over the new creation, 2 Cor 5:17.
- The first Adam was tested in a perfect garden and disobeyed God, while the Last Adam was tested in a terrible wilderness and obeyed God; and in the Garden of Gethsemane, He surrendered His will to God.
- The disobedience of the first Adam brought sin, condemnation, and death upon the human race, but the obedience of the Last Adam brought righteousness, salvation, and life to all who will believe.
- Through the first Adam, death and sin reign in this world, 14, 17, 21; but through the Last Adam, grace reigns, vs. 21, and believers can “reign in life,” vs. 17.
The OT is “the book of the generations of Adam”, Gen. 5:1-2,
and ends with the word “curse,” Mal. 4:6.
The NT is “the book of the generation of Jesus Christ,” Mat 1:1,
and ends with “no more curse,” Rev 22:3.
The paradise of Genesis that Adam lost is restored in Revelation through the Cross of Christ.