ARMINIANISM wrests Scripture to teach that it is possible for the true believer to fall from the grace of salvation (Gal. 5:4); and that each believer is provided with sufficient ability to persevere and preserve himself, if only he will: (“And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life.” John 5:40). It all depends on the choice of man’s will, whether he will persevere or not. (This denies everything thus far so irrefutably declared!) The error continues: Continue reading
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
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
“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
I found this gem and I am sharing with you all. God bless. These are audio files.
A Careful And Strict Inquiry Into The Prevailing Notions Of The Freedom Of Will.
- Part 1Wherein are explained and stated various Terms and things belonging to the subject of the ensuing Discourse.
- Section 1 Concerning the Nature of the Will
- Section 2 Concerning the Determination of the Will.
- Section 3 Concerning the meaning of the terms, Necessity, Impossibility, Inability, &c. and of Contingence.
- Section 4 Of the distinction of natural and moral Necessity, and Inability.
- Section 5Concerning the notion of Liberty, and of moral Agency. Continue reading
Why I Am a Calvinist, Part 5
. . . and why every Christian is a Calvinist of sorts.
Part V: Why this issue is really a lot simpler than most people think
At the end of the previous post, I described how even in my Arminian days, I affirmed an awful lot of truth about the sovereignty of God: I would have affirmed with no reservation whatsoever that God is God; that He does all His good pleasure; that no one can make Him do otherwise; that He is in control and in charge no matter how much noise evildoers try to make; and not only is He in charge, He is working all things out for my good and His glory. As a matter of fact, my confidence in the promise of Romans 8:28 was what motivated my prayer life.
That’s Calvinism. If you believe those things, you have affirmed the heart of Calvinism, even if you call yourself an Arminian. Those are the basic truths of Calvinism, and if you already believe those things, you are functioning with Calvinist presuppositions.
In fact, the truths of Calvinism so much permeate the heart of the gospel message, that even if you think you are a committed and consistent proponent of Arminianism, if you truly affirm the gospel you have already conceded the principle points of Calvinism anyway.
Why I Am a Calvinist, Part 1
. . and why every Christian is a Calvinist of sorts.
Part I: Is Arminianism damnable heresy?
I love the doctrines of grace and don’t shy away from the label “Calvinist.” I believe in the sovereignty of God. I’m convinced Scripture teaches that God is completely sovereign not only in salvation (effectually calling and granting faith to those whom He chooses); but also in every detail of the outworking of Providence. “Whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:30). And He makes “all things work together for good to those who love God, [i.e.,] to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Quite simply, He “works all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11).
That’s what people commonly mean when they speak of “Calvinism.” When I accept that label, I am not pledging allegiance to the man John Calvin. I am not affirming everything he taught, and I’m not condoning everything he did. I’m convinced Calvin was a godly man and one of the finest biblical expositors and theological minds ever, but he wasn’t always right. As a matter of fact, my own convictions are baptistic, so I am by no means one of Calvin’s devoted followers. In other words, when I accept the label “Calvinist,” it’s only for convenience’s sake. I’m not saying “I am of Calvin” in the Corinthian sense.
The Doctrine of God’s Effectual Call
We have a wonderful subject to talk about tonight and I took up a little more time than I ought to have, in one sense, but wanted to share with you what I did, so we’re going to try to squeeze it in the time we have. I want you to open your Bible to Romans 8…Romans chapter 8 and let’s begin in Romans 8 with some very familiar revelation from God.
Verse 28 which is familiar to all of us is a good starting point. Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose, for whom He foreknew He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son that He might be the firstborn among many brethren, and whom He predestined these He also called and whom He called these He also justified and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
The Doctrine of Actual Atonement, Part 2
Those of you who have been with us know we are tackling some of the more challenging and profound and difficult doctrines in the Scripture. And I trust we’re having a wonderful time digging deeply into God’s precious truth.
Last Sunday night we began to look at the subject, “For whom did Christ die?” Or, “The Nature of the Atonement.” Or as I chose to call it, “The Doctrine of Actual Atonement.” And I want to go back to that. If you weren’t here last week, it really would be helpful for you to get the tape or the CD, whatever is best for you, and to listen to what I said and pair it up with what we’re going to say tonight because you’re going to get just a very abbreviated review of that important foundation.
The Doctrine of Actual Atonement, Part 1
Well, how many of you have always wanted to go to seminary? You’re about to go tonight. I’m going to challenge your thinking a little bit as we talk about this issue of the question, “For whom did Christ die?” We have been looking over the last number of weeks at some very important doctrines, the doctrine of perseverance, or the preservation of the saints; the doctrine of sovereign election in salvation. We have looked at the doctrine of total or absolute inability, that is the depravity of the sinner which renders it impossible for him to respond to the gospel. And tonight I want to talk to you about what I’ve chosen to call, trying to give it a more accurate name, the doctrine of actual atonement…the doctrine of actual atonement.
The Doctrine of Absolute Inability
We have embarked upon a wonderful study of some very important doctrines on these Sunday nights. And from my viewpoint, it’s kind of open ended, I’m just kind of following the flow and seeing where it goes. But I’m having a wonderful time. As you well know through all these years, we predominantly, if not almost always, work through texts of Scripture and that way we are obligated to affirm what the Word of God says because it’s what it says. And there is always the, I suppose, potential accusation that when you leave the flow of expositional preaching and you embark upon a topical study or a doctrinal study, you ….you may be caught up in something philosophical, you may be caught up in something rational, something logical and you may be drawing conclusions that wouldn’t stand the test of Scripture. And so I want to affirm to you that everything I say I trust will be before your very eyes drawn out of Scripture, and I would encourage you, like the noble Bereans, to do a little work yourself and search the Scripture and see if these things are so. I certainly don’t want to bring to you a rational theology, although it’s not irrational. I don’t want to bring to you a philosophical approach to theology. I don’t want to follow the path of human reason to conclude the things we conclude. I want to bring you what the Word of God has to say and the Word of God does speak to these very, very important doctrinal issues.
The Doctrine of Election, Part 3
We have over the last couple of Sunday-evening messages been talking about the issue of divine election. Who chose whom? And I understand that this is not a small controversy when you talk about the doctrine of election. There are many people who feel, as I noted in our original message, that this is a dangerous doctrine, that this turns God into a monster, that this is an almost blasphemous, that this is a kind of heresy. And yet no matter how much human reason, human preference might rage against this doctrine, it is inescapably taught in Scripture. And we need to bow our knees to this great truth of divine election, and once we do it may become to us the most precious of all doctrines.
The Doctrine of Election, Part 2
We’re going to return now to the, I trust, refreshment of the Word of God. We’re talking about the doctrine of election, chosen by God, who chose whom? And this is not without controversy, as you well know. The doctrine of sovereign election, the truth of predestination is much discussed and most discussions can degenerate into something very heated. In fact, to say that there are people who hate the idea of predestination is not an overstatement. There are people who hate the thought of divine election, sovereign choice. In fact, there are some people who say that the doctrine is demonic, that the doctrine itself is satanic. It is such an affront to their sense of fairness and sense of what they think is right that there are people who call themselves Christians who would see this as truth that comes from the enemy of God and not God Himself.
The Doctrine of Election, Part 1
As you know, a couple of weeks ago we completed our study in the wonderful epistle written by Jude which ended with a promise that God is able to keep us from falling and to present us faultless before His presence with glory. And because that introduced to us the wonderful doctrine of eternal security, or better stated, the perseverance of the saints, or the preservation of the saints, we spent a few weeks talking about that doctrine. And in the discussions that I had with you regarding that, I said that the end is determined by the beginning. Our salvation is secure to the end because our salvation was predestined in the very beginning to be completed. And we remember that Romans 8 makes a monumental and very clear statement to that regard. When in Romans 8 the Apostle Paul writes, “For whom He foreknew, He predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.” That is all whom God predestined will become conformed to the image of His Son in eternal glory. And thus whom He predestined He called, and whom He called He justified, and whom He justified these He also glorified.
The Perseverance of the Saints, Part 3
1 Peter 1:6-9
We are continuing a study for these few weeks on the subject of the perseverance of the saints. That is a, I think, a good biblical title to describe a doctrine that is often called the doctrine of eternal security, or the security of the believer. The bottom line in this doctrine is that when the Lord saves someone, that salvation is forever, never to be reversed. The Bible is clear on that basic truth and the basic truth is that salvation by its very nature is irrevocable.
In spite of the clarity of Scripture, however, on this, there are those who have fallen under the influence of teaching that denies it. There are many in the Christian church who are living in some kind of fear with the possibility that they could lose their salvation. They are warned that they can by sin or failure to believe forfeit that salvation which God has given to them. That is to say a believer can become again an unbeliever, a new creation in Christ can become again the old. Those who are now the children of God can become again the children of the devil. Those who are citizens of heaven can become occupants of hell. In fact, all that is given to us in Christ can be lost and forfeit. And inevitably those who teach that doctrine endeavor to support it in Scripture. And they bring up a list of doctrinal passages to be used as a support for the idea that you can lose your salvation. I’ve dealt with this through the years many, many times and many fronts and not the least of which is trying to help the Russians, the Russian believers understand this doctrine because for so many years they have been taught that it is possible to forfeit your salvation.