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WCF 5:1 God Reveals Himself by Directing all Things

Westminster Confession 5:1

God—the great Creator of all things—upholds, directs, disposes, and governs all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least. He exercises this most wise and holy providence according to his infallible foreknowledge and the free and unchangeable counsel of his own will, to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.

God, who creates all things, also sustains and guides all things, all creatures and all actions. Nothing is outside of God’s control. A believer hears that truth and rejoices in it and it yields him a source of comfort no matter what the circumstances. An unbeliever hears that same truth and they grow anger and bitter and scream, “It isn’t fair!” Same truth yet it is received with vastly different responses. Why? The unbeliever doesn’t know God.

If we know him, we know that He is good, and wise. He makes decisions consistent with his character. He knows all things, He sees all things, and he directs all things to a glorious conclusion! All to the praise of His glory, wisdom, power, justice, goodness and mercy. But what does that mean? All that God directs reflects his attributes and works for His glory. If we correctly read the tea leaves of providence, we shall see God; his goodness, mercy, and justice. Providence, meaning everything that happens in this world, is the display of the character of God and that is a good, good thing.

The most warm hearted description of God's providence is found in the Heidelberg Catechism, Q 27. "What do you understand by the providence of God?" A. "God's providence is his almighty and ever present power, whereby, as with his hand, he still upholds heaven and earth and all creatures, and so governs them that leaf and blade, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years, food and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, indeed, all things, come to us not by chance but by his fatherly hand."

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