It’s refreshing to come accross a simple answer to one of those nagging objections to a biblical doctrine. ┬áMorton Smith, answering the notion “that the doctrine of the decrees removes all motive for human exertion,” proposes two answers with the first being almost too obvious. Sadly, the simple and basic is where the critics of Calvinism start having trouble, given the history of the debate over the decrees. Smith’s first answer is “the decree is not addressed to man as a rule of action, and cannot be such a rule, since the contents are not revealed to man. The revealed will is his Word, and it is the obligation of man to obey it” (Systematic Theology: Volume 1, 162).

So there you have it. The next time you hear the tired old jab that the doctrine of the decrees means we can all just sit on our hands, remind your friend that the you aren’t discussing our duty before God (but you sure can once you both settle the decrees!). The objection only gets traction once confusion has already set in.