Chapter 8 - John Frame's Systematic Theology
Providence is God preserving and governing everything.
This is a wonder and miracle of a sort. It is ordinary, instead of extraordinary. But Scripture often throws them together as reasons to praise God. (Psalm 107, 136)
God's providence is efficacious. He always accomplishes what He wants to in history.
God's providence is universal, governing the natural world, human history, and the details of individual lives, decisions, sins and our faith.
Natural world. This is a personal world that God waters, feeds, storms, etc. Psalm 66.
History. He raises up Cyrus, Caesar takes a census, etc. Psalm 33:10; Josh 21:44-45; Dan 4:35.
Individuals. What was true of Jeremiah is true of us: God knew us before we were born. Psalm 139:13-16. Even accidents are from God (Ex 21:12-13). Psalm 37:23-24.
Decisions. God brought about the decisions of Judas, Cyrus, the crucifiers of Jesus. God directs our steps. Prov 21:1. The soldiers decide not to divide Christs garment, so Sxripture would be fulfilled. This causes some problems about how we can be responsible for our choices, yet they were somehow necessitated by Gods purpose. But it is still true, as asserted by the Bible.
Sin. God hardened Pharaohs heart, and Israels (Ps 105:24-25; Isaiah 63:17). This is giving them over to more sin, when they have already been against God. He does not turn a faithful person against Him, against their will. More examples in 2 Sam 24; 17:14; 1 Kings 12:15; 2 Chron 25:20; John 12:40; Rom 11:7-8; Act 2:23; 4:28.
Faith. Faith is a gift of God. Eph 1:4-6; 2:8-9; Jonah 2:9; 2 Tim 1:9. There is a human choice involved, but it cannot merit Gods choosing to save us, or we contradict these verses and have a cause for boasting. God gives repentance and faith (John 15:16; 6:37, 44; Acts 11:18). He washes us (Titus 3:4-7; Deut 30:6; Jer 31:31ff; 24:7; 2 Cor 4:6).
All things are in God's complete control. Lam 3:37-38; Rom 8:21-28; Eph 1:11; Rom 11:36.