I wanted to include what the confession says about God's providence so instead of looking at free will which is chapter 9, we will turn back to chapter 5 and look at providence.
1. God the great Creator of all things doth uphold,(a) direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, (b) from the greatest even to the least, (c) by his most wise and holy
providence,(d) according to his infallible foreknowledge, (e) and the free and immutable counsel of his own will, (f) to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.(g)
(a) Neh. 9:6, Ps. 145:14-16, Heb. 1:3 (b) Dan. 4:34-35, Ps. 135:6, Acts 17:25-28, Job 38-41
(c) Matt. 10:29-31, see Matt. 6:26-32 (d) Prov. 15:3, 2 Chron. 16:9, Ps. 104:24, Ps. 145:17
(e) Acts 15:18, Isa. 42:9, Ezek. 11:5 (f) Eph. 1:11, Ps. 33:10-11
(g) Isa. 63:14, Eph. 3:10, Rom. 9:17, Gen. 45:7, Ps. 145:7
2. Although in relation to the forknowledge and decree of God, the First Cause, all things come to pass immutably, and infallibly;(h) yet, by the same providence, he ordereth them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently.(i)
(h) Acts 2:23, see Isa. 14:24, 27
(i) Gen. 8:22, Jer. 31:35, Isa, 10:6-7, see Ex. 21:13 and Deut. 19:5; 1 Kings 22:28-34
3. God in his ordinary providence, maketh use of means, (k) yet is free to work without,(l) above,(m) and against them, at his pleasure. (n)
(k) Acts 27:24, 31, 44, Isa. 55:10-11 (l) Hos. 1:7, Matt. 4:4, Job 34:20 (m) Rom. 4:19-21
(n) 2 Kings 6:6, Dan. 3:27
4. The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in his providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first fall, and other sins of angels and men;(o) and that not by a bare permission,(p) but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding,(q) and otherwise ordering and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to his own holy ends;(r) yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God, who being most holy and righteous, neither is nor can be the author or approver of sin.(s)
(o) Isa. 45:7, Rom. 11:32-34, 2 Sam. 16:10, Acts 2:23, Acts 4:27-28, see 2 Sam. 24:1 and 1 Chron. 21:1; 1 Kings 22:22-23; 1 Chron. 10:4, 13-14
(p) John 12:40, 2 Thess. 2:11 (q) Ps. 76:10, 2 kings 19:28, (r) Gen. 50:20, Isa. 10:12, see Isa. 10:6-7, 13-15
(s) James 1:13-14, 17, 1 John 2:16, Ps. 50:21 (t) 2 Chron. 32:25-26, 31, Deut. 8:2-3, 5 Luke 22:31-32, see 2 Sam. 24:1, 25
When we pray - think about this: wouldn't it be great to have someone praying for us like Epaphras, elder of the church at Colossae, and again, wouldn't it be great to be like Epaphras and pray for others like this, this is how Paul describes Epaphras prayers:
Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis,
Epaphras, was visiting Paul in prison and he told Paul about the condition of the church where he served as an Elder (Col. 1:7-8) Paul in writing the Colossians tells them about the effort Epaphras takes to pray for them.
We truly need someone like that in our lives - and we need to be men and women of God who pray for others like that. That they would become mature in Christ, fully assured of their salvation and having obtained the fullness of the knowledge of God's will.
Paul gives us the important requirement to be someone who would pray like this: they must be a servant of Christ. One who has Christ as their Lord and Master. Those people pray. Those type of people love Jesus Christ and they bow their hearts so that as they pray for others Christ will work on their selfish hearts and break them and give them a heart of compassion for those that Christ has died for. Lets pray that Christ would break our selfishness and that others would speak of us as they do Epaphras.
Next study: continuing Of Providence