Article 9: The Fulfillment of God's Plan
This plan, arising out of God's eternal love for his chosen ones, from the beginning of the world to the present time has been powerfully carried out and will also be carried out in the future, the gates of hell seeking vainly to prevail against it. As a result the chosen are gathered into one, all in their own time, and there is always a church of believers founded on Christ's blood, a church which steadfastly loves, persistently worships, and--here and in all eternity--praises him as her Savior who laid down his life for her on the cross, as a bridegroom for his bride.
In concluding the second head of doctrine, the authors make the obvious and important point that nothing whatsoever can thwart God’s redemptive purposes--not human sin, nor the sinful human will. God's plan is perfect, and God's purposes are immutable.
As stated above, God has decreed to save sinners whom has known by name from all eternity (Psalm 139, Ephesians 1:4). God chose to save his elect in Christ, who has now accomplished everything that is necessary for our redemption. The blessed Holy Spirit then applies the merits of Christ to these elect sinners, creating faith and sealing them until the day of redemption (cf. Ephesians 1:3-14). Since it is the Triune God who acts to save his people from their sins, nothing can frustrate God’s plan of redemption.
Scripture clearly teaches us that the gates of hell can never prevail against Christ, or his church (Matthew 16:18). Scripture tells us that there will always be a church of Jesus Christ upon the earth (Matthew 28:20), though in some ages and places Christ’s church may be small, persecuted, and struggling, while in other times and places, it will be large, triumphant, and prosperous.
As the Canons remind us, the church is Christ’s chosen bride, and even now our gracious God is preparing this bride for his own Son. One day that church, composed of all those chosen Christ, will be a radiant bride who is without wrinkle, spot or blemish—a church which has been purchased from every race, tribe and tongue under heaven, to God's own honor and glory.
This is what God has decreed to do, and this is what he does. Because of his unspeakable grace to those of us who deserve eternal punishment, God's unshakable plan of redemption reminds us that instead of getting what we deserve (eternal punishment), we are now the bride of Christ, and we will spend eternity in God’s presence, worshiping our Triune Creator-Redeemer for endless ages.
To God alone be the glory!