Lord's Day Liturgy

The Law as Revealed Will

Those who believe in the sovereignty of God may not use the sovereignty of God as an excuse for their sin, but they can sometimes get close to doing so by acting confused. So if God ordains and works all things, that must include sin. If God ordains sin, how can He hold us accountable for it? This is a question that comes up in Romans 9, but one way to get help by looking at the law.

If God did not ordain sin, then Israel and his family would have died. Joseph’s brothers barely avoided murdering him, they sold him into slavery, and what they meant for evil God meant for good (Genesis 50:20).

Even more, nothing happened to Jesus that was not according to the predestined plan of God.

this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. (Acts 2:23 ESV)

The most heinous, wicked sin of all time will be rejoiced in for eternity, even as it was by the believers in Jerusalem who lifted their voices to God who did “whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place” (Acts 4:24-28, see also Isaiah 53:10). The Westminster Shorter Catechism summarizes:

WSC 7: What are the decrees of God? A. The decrees of God are, his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.

This is God’s sovereign will; He is the one “who works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11 ESV).

But as we exalt His power and authority, how do we also exalt His righteousness? God’s law is God’s revealed will.

WSC 39: What is the duty which God requireth of man? A. The duty which God requireth of man, is obedience to his revealed will.

In His law, we learn what He wants (Romans 7:7). The law does have a few other purposes, but its clarifying work here keeps us from rationalizing our sin in theological terms. He has told you, o man, what is good and what He requires. Submit to His sovereignty, repent from your sin.