20
Aug
12

Decree versus “Existence”

Just today I read a short post in which the blog owner stated that the church has been in existence from eternity since God had predestined her existence from all eternity. I asked him if he also believed in eternal justification. He replied, “Absolutely not.”

It seems to me that if one is going to argue that the church existed from eternity since its existence was decreed from eternity, one must also argue that the elect have been declared righteous from eternity. Of course, this is contrary to the Bible’s teaching. The Scriptures teach that we are justified through faith, not justified before we ever had being.

Now the issue here is not whether the existence of the church and the justification of God’s elect people were absolute certainties from all eternity. All that God has decreed will certainly come to pass. The issue is whether all that God decreed actually “existed” in eternity. It seems to me that if everything in God’s decree actually “existed” in eternity, there would be no need to execute that plan in time.

Permit me the following analogy: The decree of God is like an architectural blueprint. Since it is God’s architectural plan, it needs and will have no alteration. Often with blueprints, changes must be made because the architect has lacked the foresight to predict problems that might arise to necessitate an alteration in his plan or because of a lack of resources necessary for the execution of that plan. Neither of these factors comes into play to prevent the execution of God’s plans. His “blueprint” is certain to come to fruition because he has taken all possible obstacles into account (indeed the very obstacles themselves are decreed by him) and possesses abundant resources necessary for the execution of his plan. Still, the blueprint is not the reality; it is only a plan. It would be wrong to suggest that proposed structure “existed” simply because a plan had been drawn. One could find no shelter from the heat, cold, or rain in the plan. One cannot move furniture into the plan. However well-drawn the plan may be, it is still only a plan and the reality that is envisioned by it does not yet exist.

In time, specifically in the work of Christ, God executes his eternal decree and accomplishes the work of redemption. This I would liken to the construction of the building. When, and only when, the house is completed can we actually say that it exists. The work of Christ objectively accomplished everything the Father had decreed for his chosen people. While we were still enemies of God, we were reconciled to God by Christ’s death. Reconciliation can only occur when both aggrieved parties put away their hostility. Jesus’ work not only satisfied the Father’s holy wrath toward the believer but also guaranteed that the elect sinner would lay aside his unholy hostility toward God. No one can add anything to this house Jesus built. It stands complete as it is. Still, it is as yet uninhabited.

The application of redemption in calling and regeneration moves elect sinners into the house God planned for them from eternity. Now we become partakers of all the accomplished benefits of Christ’s redeeming work.

The reality is, the church did not “exist” in eternity, though its existence was an absolute certainty due to the immutability of God’s decree.

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1 Response to “Decree versus “Existence””


  1. August 20, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    “It seems to me that if one is going to argue that the church existed from eternity since its existence was decreed from eternity, one must also argue that the elect have been declared righteous from eternity. ”

    Ther you go stomping around in the logic zone again!


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