Westminster Larger Catechism Study

WLC – Q. 18. What are God’s works of providence?

Q. 18. What are God’s works of providence?
A. God’s works of providence are his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures; ordering them, and all their actions, to his own glory.

One is not going to find support for deism here in the Catechism!

And the doctrinal teaching will be more Biblically sound than some of the modern teachings found in popular works like “Experiencing God”. I did that study once but many years back left that side of thinking, preferring to stay with the historical confessional Bible teachings. That’s another discussion. But at least we can agree God is still working today.

As with question 1, God’s own glory is central.

I love the little words that clarify how extensive are his works: most (highest) and all (inclusive).

And, His works are: holy, wise, and powerful

They involve : preserving and governing

Applied to: all his creatures (not just man, or the church)

And involve: ordering (governing) them and and all their actions

Matt. 10:29–31. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Gen. 45:7. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Ps. 135:6. Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.

Old John Gill wrote this commentary on Matthew 10:29

And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father: some copies add, “which is in heaven”; meaning, that one of them should not be shot, or be killed, without the knowledge, will, and pleasure of God. The design of Christ is to assert the doctrine of providence, as reaching to all creatures and things, even the most minute and worthless: he instances not in men, nor in the beasts of the field, but in the fowls of the air, and in those of the inferior sort, and more useless, in sparrows, yea in little sparrows; as the word may be rendered; whose price was so low, that two are obliged to be put together to fetch the least sum of money current: and yet the providence of God is concerned with each of these; so that not one of them is taken in a snare, or killed with a stone, or shot flying, or sitting, but by the will of God: from whence it may be strongly concluded, that nothing comes by chance; that there is no such thing as contingency with respect to God, though there is to men, with respect to second causes; that all things are firmly ordained by the purpose of God, and are wisely ordered by his providence: and our Lord’s further view is, from this consideration, to animate his disciples to a free, open, and constant preaching of his Gospel, not regarding their lives for his sake; for since their heavenly Father, in his providence, takes care of the meanest, even of the most irrational creatures, so that the life of one of them is not taken away without his will, much more will he take care of them; nor could their valuable lives be lost without his will and pleasure. Much such a way of arguing is used by the Jews, who (f) say, צפור מבלעדי שמיא לא יבדא כל שכן בר נשא, “a bird without God does not perish, much less a man”; or, as it is elsewhere (g) expressed,

“a bird “without God” is not hunted, or taken, how much less does the soul of a man go out of him?”

And again (h),

“a bird “without God” does not fly away, much less the soul of a man.”

Two birds, or sparrows, as the word may be rendered, in Lev 14:4 were used in cleansing the leper; one was killed, and the other let loose into the open field: and though it might be a contingent thing with men which was killed, and which preserved, yet not with God; and some think the allusion is here to that case.

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