The catechism answers this question not by getting bogged down in how God’s will impacts specific events such as wars or disease, but by looking at the larger picture. The catechism is asking and answering an eternal question. What are the decrees of God? The decrees of God are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.
To give the one true living God that unique place in our lives, to trust him, is to live our lives as he has instructed us. It is to say we Lord, because of who you are, because you are unique, we will live as you have instructed us to, even if that is difficult or costly. You come first; Jesus comes first. We so treasure all that Jesus has done for us, that he comes first.
We started this series on the catechism by asking what our purpose in life is, it’s to glorify God and enjoy him forever. We have explored how we do this, through the word of God contained in the Old and New Testaments because within that word of God is everything we are to believe about God. We’re ending this short series by asking what is God? Who is this being we are to glorify and enjoy, who is this being we are to believe in because of scripture? Question 4 in the catechism asks, ‘What is God?’ Ans. God is Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth. It’s a difficult answer for us to understand. So many of these terms are abstract. They’re just words and words we don’t use very often at that. We struggle to know what they mean. For example, God is Spirit. What do we mean by that?
Scripture covers a lot of topics, marriage, poverty, religion, money and so the list goes on. Despite the range of issues scripture can be boiled down into two areas. The scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God and what duty God requires of man. Scripture teaches us what we’re to believe and how we should respond, or how we should live because of what scripture tells us to believe.
When we think of the word, ‘Word’, we tend to think about language, the written word or the spoken word. Words are how we communicate and express ourselves. Scripture uses ‘Word’ in a different way. The Word is a person. John’s gospel begins, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ (John 1:1) The word is God, or at least the word is the second person of the trinity, the Son, the one we know as Jesus Christ. In the beginning was The Word, in the beginning was Jesus the Son of God who was with God, who was and is God.
The catechism teaches us that our purpose, our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. It’s worth noting the catechism points to our chief end. It’s saying our ultimate purpose is to glorify God. There are many things in life we must do, we have many purposes, many ends – yet the chief end. In other words, everything in life, everything we do, be it caring for children or an elderly parent, be it sweeping the streets or running the country and everything in between, the point of it all, is that we would glorify God.