Afternoon Sermon: How Does God Execute His Decrees And What Is The Work Of Creation? Baptist Catechism 11 & 12, Revelation 4

Baptist Catechism 11 & 12

Q. 11. How doth God execute His decrees?

A. God executeth His decrees in the works of creation and providence. (Gen. 1:1; Rev. 4:11; Matt. 6:26; Acts 14:17)

Q. 12. What is the work of creation?

A. The work of creation is God’s making all things of nothing, by the Word of His power, in the space of six days, and all very good. (Gen. 1:1; Heb. 11:3; Ex. 20:11; Gen. 1:31)

Scripture Reading: Revelation 4

“After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.’ At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!’ And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.’” (Revelation 4, ESV)



Last Sunday afternoon I told you that we were entering into a section of the catechism that teaches us about the works of God. When we talk about the essence of God, we are talking about what he is. And we have confessed that the Triune God “is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.” That is what God is. Now we are talking about what God has done. 

And where did we start when talking about the works of God? We stated by talking about God’s decree. A decree is a declaration or an order. God made a decree. When did he decree? In eternity, before the creation of the world. What did he decree? All things that come to pass? Who moved God to decree what he decreed? No one! For who has been his councelor? God decreed according to his own will. And what was his aim? The glory of his name. 


God Executeth His Decrees In The Works Of Creation And Providence 

So, we have established that “the decrees of God are His eternal purpose, according to the counsel of His will, whereby for His own glory, He has foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” And now we ask the question, “How doth God execute His decrees?” The word “execute” means to carry out. If I say that a team executed their game plan, you know I mean. They had a gameplan, and they carried it out. They had a plan, and then they accomplished it. So we know that God has decreed, or foreordained, whatsoever comes to pass? And now the question is, how does he carry his decree out? How does he accomplish his plans and purposes? The answer is rather basic, but it is actually very important and foundational to a proper view of the world and of God’s relationship to it. Answer: “God executeth His decrees in the works of creation and providence.”God’s decree can be compared to a blueprint. God’s work in creation can be comprared to the building of the house. And God’s work in providence can be compared to the maintnance of the home. So the order is this: first, God’s decree. Next, God’s work of creation. And after that, God’s work of providence. 

In just a moment, we will ask the question, what is creation? But I think it would be helpful to look ahead just a little bit in the catechism and to see that the question, what is providence?, is on the way. Question 14 will ask, What are God’s works of providence? Answer: God’s works of providence are His most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all His creatures, and all their actions. So, in providence, God preserves and governs the world he has made. But first, he created the world. So let’s talk about that. 


What Is The Work Of Creation?

Question 12 of our catechism asks, What is the work of creation? Answer: “The work of creation is God’s making all things of nothing, by the Word of His power, in the space of six days, and all very good.” This answer is so brief, but it says what needs to be said. 

Creation is called a work, not because it made God tired, but because it was something that God did. You and I get tired when we work. God does not. 

So what did God do when he created? He made all things of nothing.

Genesis 1:1 communicates this. It says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Before this act of creation, there was nothing. And in the first act of creation, God brought the heavenly realm and the earthly realm into existence. Verse 2 of Genesis 1 tells us that the earthly realm “was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters”, when it was first made. And the rest of Genesis 1 describes how God formed and fashiopned the earthly realm to make a place suitable for human beings to live. The point is this: before the initial act of creation describes in Genesis 1:1, there was nothing. God created the heaven and earth and all that is in them out of nothing. 

Other scriptures say the same thing. Perhaps one of the most famous is Colosians 1:16 which says, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” Hebrews 11:3 is also very clear. It says,  “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” God made all things of nothing.

You and I have the capacity to create things. It is a part of what it means to be made in the image of God. God is Creator, and we are able to create. But we cannot create like God created. You and I can only create out of pre-existing material. God created out of nothing. 

And how did God create? We say, he created all things of nothing “by the Word of His power.”

In Genesis chapter 1 there is a repeated refrain: “and God said…” “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Genesis 1:3, ESV). “And God said, ‘Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters’” (Genesis 1:6, ESV). “And God said, ‘Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear” (Genesis 1:9, ESV). Etc. God created by the Word of his power. 

Psalm 33:6 reflects upon this, saying, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.” (Psalm 33:6, ESV)

And by the time we get to the New Testament we understand that the Word of God was not just the utterance of God, but the second person of the Triune God, also called the Son. John 1:1-3 clearly mirrors Genesis 1 when it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:1–3, ESV)

How did God create? Our catechism is right to say, “by the Word of His power.”

How long did God take to create? Answer: God made all things of nothing, by the Word of His power, in the space of six days. As said in the morning sermon, it did not take God six days to create the world. No, God took six days. Can you see the difference? To say that it took God six days would suggest that it took God that long because he grew weary, or was overwhelmed, or ran out of daylight, or something like that. It takes you and I time to create things, because we are limited at it pertains to times, resources, and strength. God is not limited in any way. God took six days, not for himself, but to establish a pattern for us to follow. Ask the scriptures say, “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:11, ESV)

Lastly, I ask, what was the condition of God’s original creation.  Answer: it was “all very good.”

The phrase, “and God saw that it was good” is found throughout the creation account of Genesis 1. But it all culminates with this phrase: “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:31, ESV)



As you know, not all is good in God’s creation now. We will eventually come to talk about why that is. And that conversation will also open the door to talk about God’s work of redemption. Man fell into sin, but God was merciful to provide a Savior, Christ the Lord. But for now we must be content to lay this foundation.

Q. 11. How [does] God execute His decrees?

A. God executeth His decrees in the works of creation and providence.

Q. 12. What is the work of creation?

A. The work of creation is God’s making all things of nothing, by the Word of His power, in the space of six days, and all very good.

Brothers and sisters, let us be sure to see the world in this way. There is God, and there is his creation. Besides these two things, nothing exists. And let us not forget that this creation and everything that happens therein will be to the glory of God the Creator, who is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth.

Comments are closed.

"Him we proclaim,
warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone mature in Christ."
(Colossians 1:28, ESV)

© 2011-2022 Emmaus Reformed Baptist Church