The Apostle Paul: a product of Free-willism, or saved by Sovereign Grace?

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Grant Swart

If God hides our sin or lessens it, He is faulty; if He leaves it still upon us, we die. He must then take our iniquity to Himself, make it His own, and so deliver us; for thus having taken the sin upon Himself, as lawfully He may and lovingly He does, it follows that we live if He lives; and who can desire more?

 – John Bunyan

These represent a few notes from my evening of contemplating the biblical attitude which should be adopted toward the free-will worldly attitude of those advocates trying to  impress God. 

I certainly did not “choose”, summon or influence Christ, nor did I ever make a decision “for” Him. I never did anything good and, according to my own ability, I never will. I can never be a better person “for” Christ. I never sought God, I never understood God (Rom 3:11). I never called out to God in a way which could have encouraged Him to come running to my eternal aid. He reached out and grabbed me when I was dying, because He willed it to be so.

I am and will always be a sinner, I am worth no more today than I was before God called me to Himself, save for the Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am satisfied, humbled and overjoyed at what Christ did for me, when I least of all people deserved to be saved. I desire nothing more, I require nothing more, I do not need to, nor can I ever,  convince anyone of the facts. I have Christ, God Himself, who gave Himself for me. I did not pay for my salvation in part, I did not work for it, it was given freely to me by my Christ, who paid for it in full. There are no refunds, what is finished (John 19:30), cannot be made unfinished.

Throughout all of the Apostle Paul’s post- salvational life, he never denied nor tried to deny the truth of what he was. He consistently referred to his previous self-righteousness, opposition and hatred toward God (1 Tim 1:13). He made it clear that, even after his salvation, he remained just as wickedly sinful and incapable of doing enough to please God, as he had been before the day on the road to Damascus. He referred to that by saying: “O wretched man that I am” (Rom. 7:24). Continue reading

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‘By grace are ye saved’

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2 Timothy 2:1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,

Read Ephesians 2:1-10

The entire work of salvation, all that is involved in bringing a sinner from the dungheap of fallen humanity into the eternal glory of heaven, is accomplished by the free and sovereign grace of God. ‘Works’ is a dirty word among believers. And ‘merits’ is a foreign word to God’s church, not found in our vocabulary. From the foundation stone to the top stone, we cry nothing else but ‘Grace, grace unto it.’

Language could not be clearer. Paul tells us that if any man is saved it is altogether by grace. It is written in the Word of God: ‘God hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.’ In Ephesians 1 Paul ascribes our salvation entirely to the three persons of the sacred Trinity. Continue reading

WHAT IS IT TO PREACH THE GOSPEL?

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  To preach the gospel is SIMPLY TO DECLARE IT AND DECLARE IT SIMPLY. God never called a preacher to defend the gospel, apologize for the gospel, explain the gospel, or adorn the gospel. It is my job to declare the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-4) in such plain, simple terms that its doctrine cannot be mistaken.

 

To preach the gospel is to DECLARE IT AS GOD’S MESSAGE. Our gospel is the gospel of God, not the gospel of the Reformers, the gospel of the Puritans, the gospel of the Calvinists, or even the gospel of the Baptists. If the message I preach to you is just my message, then you may hear it or not hear it without consequence. But if the message I deliver to your soul is God’s message, then you must hear and heed it, or suffer the consequences of ignoring and disobeying God. Continue reading

Calminianism, Armalvinism, or somewhere in the middle?

Thank you Amy and Mike for permission to place this interesting discussion and it is edifying indeed !!!

Faith, Podcast | February 14, 2012 by

Today we are talking about something a lot of us don’t discuss much: Calvinism and Arminianism. These are two very different schools of thought in Christian theology, and at times those who are firmly planted in one camp are at odds with those who are staunchly firm in the other. There seems to be Scripture supporting both. Continue reading

Hyper-Calvinism: the perennial misnomer

GRANT SWART

In response to those who often refer to a group of people mistakenly labeled “hyper”-Calvinists, I felt it imperative to outline a few important distinctions between true Calvinist doctrine and what is referred to as “hyper”-Calvinism. If the 17 points I have listed below are those which supposedly distinguish and constitute “hyper”-Calvinism, then by that very implication, those points cannot also be what Calvinists believe. If those are the points which allegedly separate “hyper”-Calvinists from Calvinists, then those points cannot be ascribed to both sides, for then they would not be distinguishing points.

Nowhere in Calvin’s theology did he teach any of the 17 points which I list toward the end of this article, yet these points are perennially ascribed to those who agree with the doctrines of Grace. I might remind the reader here that TULIP was not Calvin’s invention, but was an acronym for the pronouncements of the Synod of Dort (1618) tasked with defending biblical doctrine, not Calvinism per se, against obvious destructive heresies of the time. Even so, it is clear that, when the doctrines as laid out in the five points of Calvinism or TULIP are understood, none of the distinguishing 17 points as I have listed below can be ascribed to TULIP. It is quite clear therefore that the term “hyper”-Calvinism is a misnomer and has no foundation in or relation to true Calvinism.

“Hyper”-Calvinism is a term which has been brandished as a whimsical weapon by those who Continue reading

Free Will—A Slave


Delivered on Sabbath Morning, December 2, 1855, by the
REV. C. H. Spurgeon

At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.

“And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.”—John 5:40.

This is one of the great guns of the Arminians, mounted upon the top of their walls, and often discharged with terrible noise against the poor Christians called Calvinists. I intend to spike the gun this morning, or, rather, to turn it on the enemy, for it was never theirs; it was never cast at their foundry at all, but was intended to teach the very opposite doctrine to that which they assert. Usually, when the text is taken, the divisions are: First, that man has a will. Secondly, that he is entirely free. Thirdly, that men must make themselves willing to come to Christ, otherwise they will not be saved. Now, we shall have no such divisions; but we will endeavour to take a more calm look at the text; and not, because there happen to be the words “will,” or “will not” in it, run away with the conclusion that it teaches the doctrine of free-will. It has already been proved beyond all controversy that free-will is nonsense. Freedom cannot belong to will any more than ponderability can belong to electricity. They are altogether different things. Free agency we may believe in, but free-will is simply ridiculous. The will is well known by all to be directed by the understanding, to be moved by motives, to be guided by other parts of the soul, and to be a secondary thing. Philosophy and religion both discard at once the very thought of free-will; and I will go as far as Martin Luther, in that strong assertion of his, where he says, “If any man doth ascribe aught of salvation, even the very least, to the free-will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright.” It may seem a harsh sentiment; but he who in his soul believes that man does of his own free-will turn to God, cannot have been taught of God, for that is one of the first principles taught us when God begins with us, that we have neither will nor power, but that he gives both; that he is “Alpha and Omega” in the salvation of men.

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What Theology is This?

Pastor Steven J. Cole
Flagstaff, Arizona

Dave Hunt’s Misrepresentation of God and Calvinism

As I read Dave Hunt’s latest book, What Love is This? subtitled, “Calvinism’s Misrepresentation of God,” I felt both profound sadness and righteous anger. I was sad because many unsuspecting and uneducated Christians will believe that Hunt is accurate and thereby miss out on one of the richest spiritual gold mines available, namely, the life and writings of John Calvin and his heirs in the faith. I was angry because Hunt deliberately misrepresents and slanders both Calvin and Calvinism, and in the process grossly misrepresents God Himself. I know that his misrepresentation is deliberate because many Calvinists, including myself, wrote repeatedly to Hunt as the book was being written, pointing out his errors and asking him to stop misrepresenting what we believe. But sadly, he stubbornly ignored our corrections and went full steam ahead.

The resulting book is a first magnitude theological and spiritual disaster. If you rely on the supermarket tabloids as your reliable source of news, you’ll probably find Hunt satisfying for your theology. It will give you the same sort of sensational slander as the tabloids, only it is presented as if it were biblically and historically based. But if you want to grow in your knowledge of the living God, I advise you to leave this tabloid theology on the shelf.

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