Chapter 5: Providence

Source: 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith

Chapter 5
PROVIDENCE

5.1 God, the good Creator of all things,1 in his infinite power and wisdom,2 upholds, directs, organizes and governs3 all creatures and things, from the greatest to the least,4 by his perfectly wise and holy providence,5 to the end for which they were created.6 He governs in accordance with his infallible foreknowledge and the free and immutable counsel of his own will,7 to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, infinite goodness and mercy.8

(1) Gen 1:31; 2:18; Psa 119:68
(2) Psa 145:11; Pro 3:19; Psa 66:7
(3) Heb 1:3; Isa 46:10-11; Dan 4:34-35; Psa 135:6; Act 17:25-28; Job 38-41
(4) Mat 10:29-31
(5) Pro 15:3; Psa 104:24; 145:17
(6) Col 1:16-17; Act 17:24-28
(7) Psa 33:8-11; Eph 1:11
(8) Isa 63:14; Eph 3:10; Rom 9:17; Gen 45:7; Psa 145:7

5.2 Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God who is the first cause, all things occur immutably and infallibly, so that nothing happens to anyone by chance, or outside his providence.1 Yet by his providence he arranges them to occur according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.2

(1) Act 2:23; Pro 16:33
(2) Gen 8:22; Jer 31:35; Exo 21:13; Deu 19:5; Isa 10:6-7; Luk 13:3,5; Act 27:31; Mat 5:20-21; Phi 1:19; Pro 20:18; Luk 14:25ff; Pro 21:31; 1Ki 22:28,34; Rut 2:3

5.3 God in his ordinary providence makes use of means,1 yet is free to work outside,2 above3 and against4 them at his pleasure.

(1) Act 27:22,31,44; Isa 55:10-11; Hos 2:21-22
(2) Hos 1:7; Luk 1:34-35
(3) Rom 4:19-21
(4) Exo 3:2-3; 2Ki 6:6; Dan 3:27

5.4 The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God, are so far expressed in his providence, that his sovereign purposes extend even to the first fall and all other sinful actions of angels and human beings.1 This is not merely by a bare permission, for he most wisely and powerfully limits and by other means arranges and governs sinful actions, so that they bring about his own holy purposes.2 Yet [in all this] the sinfulness of these actions comes entirely from the creature, and not from God, who is altogether holy and righteous neither is he nor can he be the author or approver of sin.3

(1) Rom 11:32-34; 2Sa 24:1; 1Ch 21:1; 1Ki 22:22-23; 2Sa 16:10; Act 2:23; 4:27-28
(2) Act 14:16; 2Ki 19:28; Gen 50:20; Isa 10:6,7,12
(3) Jas 1:13,14,17; 1Jo 2:16; Psa 50:21

5.5 The perfectly wise, righteous, and gracious God often leaves for a time [even] his own children to various temptations, and to the corruption of their own hearts. He does this to chastise them for their former sins, or to show them the hidden strength of the corruption and deceitfulness still in their hearts so that they may be humbled, and to bring them to a closer and more constant dependence on him for their support, and to make them more watchful against future occasions of sin, and for various other just and holy ends.1 So whatever happens to any of his elect it is by his appointment, for his glory and for their good.2

(1) 2Ch 32:25,26,31; 2Sa 24:1; Luk 22:34-35; Mar 14:66f; Joh 21:15-17
(2) Rom 8:28

5.6 As for those evil and ungodly people whom God as a righteous judge blinds and hardens1 because of their sins, he not only withholds his grace from them by which they might have been enlightened in their understanding and affected in their hearts,2 but sometimes he also withdraws the gifts which they had,3 and exposes them to situations which their corruption makes an occasion for sin.4 Moreover, God gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan,5 so that eventually they harden themselves by the very means which God uses for the softening of others.6

(1) Rom 1:24-26,28; 11:7-8
(2) Deu 29:4
(3) Mat 13:12; 25:19
(4) Deu 2:30; 2Ki 8:12-13
(5) Psa 81:11-12; 2Th 2:10-12
(6) Exo 7:3; 8:15,32; 2Co 2:15-16; Isa 6:9-10; 8:14; 1Pe 2:7; Act 28:26-27; Joh 12:39-40

5.7 As the providence of God reaches out in a general way to all creatures, so, in a very special way, it takes care of his church and controls all things for the good of his church.1

(1) Pro 2:7-8; Isa 43:3-5,14; Amo 9:8-9; Rom 8:28; Eph 1:11,22; 3:10-11,21; 1Ti 4:10

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