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

‘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

Getting Past the TULIP

Tulip Nico

Michael S. Horton

“Like Christ’s redeeming work, then, faith is not merely offered but is actually conferred, by sheer grace and without any obligation to grant it.”

Just as Luther’s followers preferred to be called “evangelicals” but were labeled “Lutherans” by Rome, around 1558 Lutherans coined the term “Calvinist” for those who held Calvin’s view of the Supper over against both Zwingli and Luther. Despite self-chosen labels such as “evangelical” and “Reformed” (preferred because the aim was always to reform the catholic church rather than start a new one), “Calvinism” unfortunately stuck as a popular nickname.

No Central Dogma  Continue reading

Is Arminianism a damnable heresy?

Stephen Pribble

Having been condemned by the Synod of Dordrecht (Dort) in 1618-1619, Arminianism is indeed a heresy, a serious departure from the historic faith of the Christian church. “Arminius, a theological professor at the University of Leyden, departed from the Reformed faith in his teaching concerning five important points. He taught conditional election on the ground of foreseen faith, universal atonement, partial depravity, resistible grace, and the possibility of a lapse from grace. These views were rejected by the Synod…” (from the introduction to the Canons of Dort in the Psalter Hymnal, 1959 ed.).

The Bible teaches that God elected His people in Christ before time began. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world…” (Eph. 1:4). This election was out of God’s mere free grace and love, with nothing in the creature as a condition or cause inducing Him to do this. “(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)… So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” (Rom. 9:11, 16).

The Bible teaches that Christ did His atoning work on behalf of His elect people, and no others. “Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Eph. 5:25). “I lay down my life for the sheep” (Jn. 10:15). “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine” (John 17:9). Continue reading