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CHAPTER Six

Calvinistic Theology

 

 

 Calvin developed his theology in his biblical commentaries as well as his sermons and treatises, but the most comprehensive expression of his views is found in his magnum opus, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. He intended that the book be used as a summary of his views on Christian theology and that it be read in conjunction with his commentaries. The various editions of that work spanned nearly his entire career as a reformer, and the successive revisions of the book show that his theology changed very little from his youth to his death. The first edition from 1536 consisted of only six chapters. The second edition, published in 1539, was three times as long because he added chapters on subjects that appear in Melanchthon's Loci Communes. In 1543, he again added new material and expanded a chapter on the Apostles' Creed. The final edition of the Institutes appeared in 1559. By then, the work consisted of four books of eighty chapters, and each book was named after statements from the creed: Book 1 on God the Creator, Book 2 on the Redeemer in Christ, Book 3 on receiving the Grace of Christ through the Holy Spirit, and Book 4 on the Society of Christ or the Church.

Calvin defined a sacrament as an earthly sign associated with a promise from God. He accepted only two sacraments as valid under the new covenant: baptism and the Lord's Supper (in opposition to the Catholic acceptance of seven sacraments).

He completely rejected the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation and the treatment of the Supper as a sacrifice. He also could not accept the Lutheran doctrine of sacramental union in which Christ was "in, with and under" the elements. His own view was close to Zwingli's symbolic view, but it was not identical. Rather than holding a purely symbolic view, Calvin noted that with the participation of the Holy Spirit, faith was nourished and strengthened by the sacrament. In his words, the eucharistic rite was "a secret too sublime for my mind to understand or words to express. I experience it rather than understand it."

https://www.gotquestions.org/John-Calvin.html
http://biography.yourdictionary.com/john-calvin

Calvin's theology

God

Calvin said that there could be no knowledge of self without knowledge of God. All men have a natural awareness of divinity, which is both planted in their minds and made evident through creation. However, man has suppressed or corrupted this knowledge, and confused the creation with the Creator. It is only when men contemplate the greatness of God that they can come to realize their own inadequacy. God is providentially in control of all things that come to pass, including evil things, but this does not make him the author of evil.

God according to Calvin was the Supreme Power who created the cosmos.  He is therefore all powerful, with all the omni qualities. Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent.  He is the sovereign - King of Kings and Lord of Lord.  He works out everything for his own glory.  So his emphasis is on God as a zealous Emperor who does not give his glory to anyone else.  His emphasis on God as Love is subservient to his sovereignity.

Man

Man is created in the image of God. This image has been marred by the Fall, though not destroyed. Before the Fall, man's will was truly free; however, now it is corrupt and enslaved to sin. Man is totally unable to seek or choose God unless God chooses him first.

Jesus Christ

The person of Christ, the God-man, provides the solution to this moral dilemma. Christ is the only possible bridge between God and men. In the Incarnation, God and man were joined inseparably in one person, yet not in such a way that the divine and human were confused. The relationship between Christ's human and divine natures is paradigmatic for Calvin's theology whenever the divine touches upon the human.

Calvin was the first person to describe the work of Christ in terms of the threefold offices of prophet, priest, and king. As prophet, Christ's teachings are proclaimed by the apostles for the purpose of our salvation. As priest, Christ's sacrifice of himself and his mediation before the Father secures the salvation of men. As king, Christ rules the Church spiritually in the hearts of its members.

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit unites men to Christ when Christ is apprehended through faith in the promises of Scripture. The Spirit leads men to Christ; without him, saving faith is impossible.

Justification by faith

Justification by faith is the material principle of the Reformation. It is based upon the mercy of God, not the merits of humanity. Although the doctrines of election and predestination are linked with Calvin's name, the doctrine of election actually plays a relatively minor part of Calvin's theology. As a second-generation Reformer, his primary concern was with the government and organization of the church rather than theology. Nonetheless, Calvin believed in unconditional election.

Sacraments

Calvin taught two sacraments: baptism and the Lord's supper. He differed from sacramentalists who believed that the sacraments were a means of receiving justifying grace. Rather, they are the badges, or marks, of Christian profession, testifying to God's grace.

Calvin was a paedobaptist, believing that infants were the proper objects of baptism. He differed from Catholic and Lutheran paedobaptists in arguing that baptism did not regenerate infants. Rather, it symbolized entrance into the New Covenant, just as circumcision did for the Old Covenant. His argument for infant baptism draws many parallels between the two signs.

Whereas Luther and the Catholic church believed that Christ's body was literally present in the Eucharist, and Zwingli taught that the Lord's Supper was a mere memorial, Calvin took a middle ground between the two positions. The elements were a symbol and therefore could not be the thing they signified; the doctrines of transubstantiation and consubstantiation confused the symbol and the substance. On the other hand, Zwingli's memorialism divorced symbol and substance completely. Calvin taught that when one receives the bread and wine, which are literal food and drink, in a spiritual sense he receives the spiritual food and drink of the Christian. Christ is spiritually present when the Eucharist is received by faith.

Church government

Calvin is the founder of the Presbyterian system of church government.

At the local level, Calvin's system consisted of a council of pastors representing the local assembly, and responsible for teaching and shepherding the churches. The Consistory, a larger council comprising pastors and lay elders elected according to district, was responsible for maintaining church discipline and watching over the moral lives of church members. At the regional level is the presbytery, then above this a provincial synod and a national synod.

Church government is closely tied to church discipline. Discipline is the ordering of church life in obedience to Christ in response to the teaching of Scripture. It has a threefold aim: the glory of God, purity of the Church, and correction of the offender.

The power of the Church to punish offenders was limited to excommunication. Typically, this meant denying them the Lord's Supper, baptism for them or their children, or marriage. Although in Calvin's day the Consistory could recommend civil punishment to the city authorities which was often heeded.

Calvin and Calvinism

Calvinism is most noted for its understanding of soteriology which was codified at the Synod of Dort in 1618-19 in the so-called Five Points of Calvinism.

There is some debate as to whether Calvin himself would have affirmed all five points as such. In his writings, he explicitly affirms total depravity, unconditional election, irresistible grace, and the perseverance of the saints. However, his affirmation of limited atonement is implicit at best. Some scholars, such as Norman Geisler, deny that Calvin would have endorsed limited atonement; others, such as Roger Nicole, say that his theology affirms all five points.

Calvin's influence

Separation of church and state

Calvin believed that the church should not be subject to the state, or vice versa. While both church and state are subject to God's law, they both have their own God-ordained spheres of influence. For example, the church does not have the authority to impose penalties for civil offenses, although it can call on the civil authorities to punish them. Conversely, the state is not to intrude on the operations of the church. However, it has a duty to protect the church and its ability to function as the church.

As a magisterial reformer, Calvin thought of the State as a Christian nation rather than a secular government. He did not advocate religious freedom in the same sense as the Baptists later would, for example. However, his ecclesiology sowed the seeds of the modern secular democracy.

 

 

Missiology

Geneva became a safe haven for Protestant refugees, not only from France, but all over Europe provided it is in consonance with the theology of Calvin.. Calvin founded a school to instruct men in Reformed theology and then train them to return home, preach the Gospel, and plant churches. The city therefore became the nucleus of missionary activity; for example, in 1561, 140 missionaries are recorded as having left Geneva.

This actually violates the principle of predestination.  Can anyone provide salvation? This should therefore be considered as a mission of propaganda of Calvinism.

The missionary influence of Calvin extended not only to his native France, but also to Scotland (home of the Presbyterian Church), England, northern Italy, the Netherlands, and even Poland. Calvin also sent out the first two overseas missionaries in the history of Protestantism: an expedition to Brazil in 1556.

The Protestant work ethic

Calvin repudiated the distinction between "sacred" and "secular" duty and the prevailing notion that work is a necessary evil. Rather, he taught, work is a calling from God. Therefore, one glorifies God in his work by working diligently and joyfully.

Calvin did not invent capitalism, but he did teach that one of the rewards of hard work is wealth. His philosophy of work allowed capitalism to flourish where it was practiced.

https://reasonabletheology.org/john-calvin-pastor-theologian-ref
David N. Steele & Curtis C. Thomas, The Five Points of Calvinism
http://www.fivesolas.com/tulipscriptures.htm
Wikipedia
http://www.prca.org/pamphlets/pamphlet_41.html
https://www.ligonier.org/blog/tulip-and-reformed-theology-introduction/
 https://www.calvinistcorner.com/tulip.htmb

The Decision of the Synod of Dort on the Five Main Points of Doctrine in the Netherlands, known more simply as The Canons of Dort, was an official document written by the national synod of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands. It was written in 1619, and represented the official response to another document, The Remonstrance, written in 1610 by the followers of Jacob Arminius. The writers of The Canons of Dort organized their arguments in five points, each corresponding to the five points set out in The Remonstrance. These five points have come to be known as The Five Points of Calvinism, or by the acronym T.U.L.I.P. These five points are usually denoted and expressed in the acronym:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Calvin's Theology is summarized by the acronym TULIP


T
"Total Depravity"
every human being is dead morally and spiritually

· "Total depravity", also called "total inability", asserts that as a consequence of the fall of man into sin, every person is enslaved to sin. People are not by nature inclined to love God, but rather to serve their own interests and to reject the rule of God. Thus, all people by their own faculties are morally unable to choose to trust God for their salvation and be saved (the term "total" in this context refers to sin affecting every part of a person, not that every person is as evil as they could be). This doctrine is derived from Augustine's explanation of Original Sin. While the phrases "totally depraved" and "utterly perverse" were used by Calvin, what was meant was the inability to save oneself from sin rather than being absent of goodness. Phrases like "total depravity" cannot be found in the Canons of Dort, and the Canons as well as later Reformed orthodox theologians arguably offer a more moderate view of the nature of fallen humanity than Calvin.

"Man by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto." Westminster Confession of Faith IX,3

That means simply MAN is DEAD. The Bible says that you and I are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1-6) unless we are born again. DEAD!!! More than that, the man or woman who is dead in sin hates God, and his "carnal mind" is "enmity against God" (Rom. 8:7). His will is stubbornly steeled against God. This Biblical idea changes a lot of modern talk about salvation.

1. Can a man do good works then, if he is not a Christian who is born again? No. "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Rom. 14:23).

2. Can a man want to be born again and follow instructions on "how to do it?" No, for that would be like saying that a man in a grave can desire to come out of the grave, or follow instructions on how to be made alive. It would be like trying to lure him out of the grave. "It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing" (John 6:33).

3. Can any man "accept Christ" as his personal Savior, so that he becomes saved after that? Of course not. Accepting Christ is a good work done only by a Christian. Only AFTER God makes a person alive, can he and will he accept Christ. "No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44).

4. Can you "offer salvation" to anyone? That is surely impossible. One might as well offer food to a dead man than salvation to a dead sinner (Eph.2:1-2).

ONLY GOD CAN MAKE US ALIVE. AND GOD DOES THAT SOVEREIGNLY - WITHOUT OUR AID, WITHOUT OUR ASKING. From beginning to end, "Salvation is of the Lord" (Jonah 2:9). This is the faith that we preach, because it is Biblical, because it is the FAITH of our fathers, which we love, still living in our hearts, and because it gives God all the glory!

When Calvinists speak of man as being totally depraved, they mean that man’s nature is corrupt, perverse, and sinful throughout. The adjective “total” does not mean that each sinner is as totally or completely corrupt in his actions and thoughts as it is possible for him to be. Instead, the word “total” is used to indicate that the whole of man’s being has been affected by sin. The corruption extends to every part of man, his body and soul; sin has affected all (the totality) of man’s faculties - his mind, his will, etc.

As a result of this inborn corruption, the natural man is totally unable to do anything spiritually good; thus, Calvinists speak of man’s “total inability.” The inability intended by this terminology is spiritual inability; it means that the sinner is so spiritually bankrupt that he can do nothing pertaining to his salvation. The natural man is enslaved to sin; he is a child of Satan, rebellious toward God, blind to truth, corrupt, and unable to save himself or to prepare himself for salvation.

“Faith is not the cause of the new birth, but the consequence of it. This ought not to need arguing. ... Faith is a spiritual grace, the fruit of the spiritual nature, and because the unregenerate are spiritually dead--‘dead in trespasses and sins’--then it follows that faith from them is impossible, for a dead man cannot believe anything” ( Arthur Pink - The Sovereignty of God, p. 73).

Scriptural Support  

Spiritual Deadness
Genesis 2:16-17; Psalm 51:5; Psalm 58:3; John 3:5-7; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:1-3; Colossians 2:13.
Darkened Minds and Corrupt Hearts
The fall has resulted in spiritual death to all men.
(It mentions death which is interpreted as spiritual death.  Since Adam did not die on the day he disobeyed.)
Fallen man is now blind and deaf to spiritual truth.
Genesis 6:5; Genesis 8:21; Ecclesiastes 9:3; Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:2123; John 3:19; Romans 8:7-8; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 4:17-19; Ephesians 5:8; Titus 1:15.
Bondage to Sin and Satan
John 8:34; John 8:44; Romans 6:20; Ephesians 2:1-2; 2 Timothy 2:25-26; Titus 3:3; 1 John 3:10; 1 John 5:19.
Universal Bondage
1 Kings 8:46; 2 Chronicles 6:36; Job 15:14-16; Psalm 130:3; Psalm 143:2; Proverbs 20:9; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Isaiah 53:6; Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:9-12; James 3:2; James 3:8; 1 John 1:8; 1 John 1:10.
Fallen man, left in his dead state, is totally unable to repent, to believe the gospel, or to come to Christ.
John.6:44;  John.6:65; Rom.3:9 - 12;  Rom.8:7 - 8;  1Cor.2:14

 

U

"Unconditional election"
The choice for heaven and hell are done long before creation and is arbitrary  

· "Unconditional election" asserts that God has chosen from eternity those whom he will bring to himself not based on foreseen virtue, merit, or faith in those people; rather, his choice is unconditionally grounded in his mercy alone. God has chosen from eternity to extend mercy to those he has chosen and to withhold mercy from those not chosen. Those chosen receive salvation through Christ alone. Those not chosen receive the just wrath that is warranted for their sins against God.

"Those of mankind that are predestined to life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel of good pleasure of His will, has chosen, in Christ, to everlasting glory, out of His mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or Perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving Him thereunto; and all to the praise of His glorious grace." Westminster Confession of Faith III,5

In the midst of total depravity, the Deity did happen to nevertheless to hand-pick a minority of people, by means of his loving grace, to be the beneficiaries of eternal salvation. Calvin’s unique spin on all this was that none of the lucky beneficiaries (or the “elect”) deserved to go to heaven, no matter how profound their piety or copious their good works. In other words, no amount of good faith or good deeds could compensate for mankind’s utterly irredeemable nature. If one was “chosen” by God it was not due to that person’s own individual merits, it was merely an act of divine grace.This means simply: God chooses to give some people eternal life, without looking for anything good in them as a condition for loving and saving them.

 

Before any man or woman is born -- in fact, before the world was made -- God decided who would go to heaven and who would not. Before they did good or bad, God chose some to be His people and rejected others.

 

  “By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestined unto everlasting life and others foreordained to everlasting death. These angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and definite that it cannot be either increased or diminished. ... The rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.”
Westminster Confession:

 

“Predestination we call the decree of God, by which He has determined in Himself, what He would have to become of every individual of mankind. For they are not all created with a similar destiny: but eternal life is foreordained for some, and eternal damnation for others” (Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book III, chap. 21).

 

“[God] devotes to destruction whom he pleases … they are predestinated to eternal death without any demerit of their own, merely by his sovereign will. … he orders all things by his counsel and decree in such a manner, that some men are born devoted from the womb to certain death, that his name be glorified in their destruction. ... God chooses whom he will as his children … while he rejects and reprobates others” (Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book III, chap. 23).

 

"CONDITIONAL election" would mean that God chooses to be His those who first love and choose Him. But the Bible says: "You have not chosen me, I have chosen you" John 15:16. (Please also look at Romans 9:11-21.) Acts 13:48 says that "as many as were ordained to eternal life believed." Only, when we speak this language is the horse placed before the cart. CONDITIONAL election puts the cart before the horse, because it says that man believes and THEN is ordained to eternal life. Read carefully John 10:26 for another plain "horse before the cart" passage. Can one imagine what the denial of this doctrine would mean? If we remember that before we are saved, we can do nothing good (John 15:5; Ephesians 2:1-6), the only conclusion is that we could never choose God. And never would. And never would be saved.
https://redeeminggod.com/acts-13_48-unconditional-election/
Does Acts 13:48 teach Unconditional Election? By Jeremy Myers

 

It would have been perfectly just for God to have left all men in their sin and misery and to have shown mercy to none. God was under no obligation whatsoever to provide salvation for anyone. It is in this context that the Bible sets forth the doctrine of election.

 

 

 

 

Romans 20:15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Apparently according to Calvin, the Book of Life was written before the creation of the world.
The only problem here is nobody knows who these are until you reach heaven. How do we know whether you are one of the elect?

 

The doctrine of election declares that God, before the foundation of the world, chose certain individuals from among the fallen members of Adam’s race to be the objects of his undeserved favor. These, and these only, he purposed to save. God could have chosen to save all men (for he had the power and authority to do so) or he could have chosen to save none (for he was under no obligation to show mercy to any) - but he did neither. Instead, he chose to save some and to exclude others. His eternal choice of particular sinners for salvation was not based upon any foreseen act or response on the part of those selected, but was based solely on his own good pleasure and sovereign will. Thus, election was not determined by, or conditioned upon, anything that men would do, but resulted entirely from God’s self-determined purpose.

 

Those who were not chosen for salvation were passed by and left to their own evil devices and choices. It is not within the creature’s jurisdiction to call into question the justice of the creator for not choosing everyone for salvation. It is enough to know that the judge of the earth has done right. It should, however, be kept in mind that if God had not graciously chosen a people for himself and sovereignly determined to provide salvation for them and apply it to them, none would be saved. The fact that he did this for some, to the exclusion of others, is in no way unfair to the latter group, unless of course one maintains that God was under obligation to provide salvation for sinners - a position which the Bible utterly rejects.

 

 Scriptural Support  

Deuteronomy 10:14-15; Psalm 33:12; Psalm 65:4; Psalm 106:5; Haggai 2:23; Matthew 11:27; Matthew 22:14; Matthew 22:22; Matthew 22:24; Matthew 24:31; Luke 18:7; Romans 8:28-30; Romans 8:33; Romans 11:28; Colossians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Titus 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1-2; 1 Peter 2:89; Revelation 17:14.

Election Not Based on Foreseen Responses

Mark 13:20; John 15:16; Acts 13:48; Acts 18:27; Romans 9:11-13; Romans 9:16; Romans 10:20; 1 Corinthians 1:27-29; Philippians 1:29; Philippians 2:12-13; Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 2:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:9; James 2:5; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8.

Election Precedes Salvation

Acts 13:48; Romans 11:7; Ephesians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; 2 Timothy 2:10.

Election Based on Sovereign Mercy

Exodus 33:19; Deuteronomy 7:6-7; Matthew 20:15; Romans 9:10-24; Romans 11:4-6; Romans 11:33-36; Ephesians 1:5.

 

  L

"Limited atonement"
Christ died only for the few elect

· Limited Atonement, also called "particular redemption" or "definite atonement", asserts that Jesus's substitutionary atonement was definite and certain in its purpose and in what it accomplished. This implies that only the sins of the elect were atoned for by Jesus's death. Calvinists do not believe, however, that the atonement is limited in its value or power, but rather that the atonement is limited in the sense that it is intended for some and not all. Some Calvinists have summarized this as "The atonement is sufficient for all and efficient for the elect."

"As God has appointed the elect to glory, so has He, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ, are effectually called to faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by His power, through faith, to salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only. The Lord Jesus, by His perfect obedience, and sacrifice of Himself, which He, through the eternal Spirit, once offered up to God, has fully satisfied the justice of His Father; and purchased, not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father has given Him." Westminster Confession of Faith III,6 & VIII,5

“When it appears that when the doctrine of salvation is offered to all for their effectual benefit, it is a corrupt prostitution of that which is declared to be reserved particularly for the children of the church” (Calvin: Institutes, Book III, chap. 22).

The Biblical truth of the Atonement is that His death paid for sins. Yet so many today teach that Christ's death was only an example for us to follow, and if one merely follows His example he will be saved. Or it is taught that Christ's death did not actually pay for any specific sins, but made it possible for all sins to be paid for.

Christ's death on the cross actually paid for sins. Acts 20:28 says that God bought the church with His own blood. See also Matthew 26:28, Hebrews 7:26-27.

 Christ died for all men?. Some teach that Christ made it possible for all men to be saved. But the questions that must be asked are: "If Christ died for all men, why are not all men saved?" "Can not God do what He desires to do?" "Is there something defective in Christ's death?" "Must man desire to be saved first?" But a man who is totally depraved can not will to be saved. He hates God and wants nothing to do with Christ's death. So it must not be said that Christ died for all men.

The Bible says that Christ laid down His life for His sheep, and only them. John 10:11. The ATONEMENT is LIMITED to the elect of God. Every sin of every one of Christ's sheep is paid for. Those sins and those alone have been paid for. That is the only gospel because that is the Bible.

Historical or mainline Calvinism has consistently maintained that Christ’s redeeming work was definite in design and accomplishment - that it was intended to render complete satisfaction for certain specified sinners, and that it actually secured salvation for these individuals and for no one else. The salvation which Christ earned for his people includes everything involved in bringing them into a right relationship with God, including the gifts of faith and repentance. Christ did not die simply to make it possible for God to pardon sinners. Neither does God leave it up to sinners to decide whether or not Christ’s work will be effective. On the contrary, all for whom Christ sacrificed himself will be saved infallibly. Redemption, therefore, was designed to bring to pass God’s purpose of election.

All Calvinists agree that Christ’s obedience and suffering were of infinite value, and that if God had so willed, the satisfaction rendered by Christ would have saved every member of the human race. It would have required no more obedience nor any greater suffering for Christ to have secured salvation for every man, woman, and child who ever lived than it did for him to secure salvation for the elect only. But he came into the world to represent and save only those given to him by the Father. Thus, Christ’s saving work was limited in that it was designed to save some and not others, but it was not limited in value, for it was of infinite worth and would have secured salvation for everyone if this had been God’s intention.

The Arminians also place a limitation on the atoning work of Christ, but one of a much different nature. They hold that Christ’s saving work was designed to make possible the salvation of all men on the condition that they believe, but that Christ’s death in itself did not actually secure or guarantee salvation for anyone.

Since not all men will be saved as the result of Christ’s redeeming work, a limitation must be admitted. Either the atonement was limited in that it was designed to secure salvation for certain sinners, but not for others, or it was limited in that it was not intended to secure salvation for any, but was designed only to make it possible for God to pardon sinners on the condition that they believe. In other words, one must limit its design either in extent (it was not intended for all) or in effectiveness (it did not secure salvation for any).  

Scriptural Support

Jesus Actually Saves: Christ's death is set forth in scripture as that which ACTUALLY accomplished salvation, not that which merely made salvation possible.

Matthew 1:21; Luke 19:10; Acts 5:31; Romans 3:24-25; Romans 5:8-9; Romans 5:10; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 1:3-4; Galatians 3:13; Ephesians 1:3-4; Ephesians 2:15-16; Ephesians 5:25-26; Philippians 1:29; Colossians 1:13-14; Colossians 1:2122; 1 Timothy 1:15; Titus 2:14; Titus 3:5-6; Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:14; Hebrews 13:12; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 John 1:7.

Jesus Fulfills the Eternal Covenant
Christ's sacrificial and intercessory work as high priest is for those the Father had given Him, not for the world.

John 6:35-40; John 10:11; John 10:14-18; John 10:24-29; John 17:1-11; John 17:20; John 17:24-26; Romans 5:12; Romans 5:17-19; Ephesians 1:3-12.

How Jesus Died for “All” and Yet for a Particular People and not "All" 
Jesus Christ was sent into the world to save the people whom the Father had given Him.

These texts speak of Christ’s saving work in general terms: John 1:9; John 1:29; John 3:16-17; John 4:42; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; 1 Timothy 2:4-6; Hebrews 2:9; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 2:1-2; 1 John 4:14.

One reason for the use of these expressions was to correct the false notion that salvation was for the Jews alone. Such phrases as “the world,” “all men,” “all nations,” and “every creature” were used by the New Testament writers to emphatically correct this mistake. These expressions are intended to show that Christ died for all men without distinction (i.e., he died for Jews and Gentiles alike), but they are not intended to indicate that Christ died for all men without exception (i.e., he did not die for the purpose of saving each and every lost sinner).

These texts speak of Christ’s saving work in definite terms and show that it was intended to infallibly save a particular people, namely, those given to him by the Father: Matthew 1:21; Matthew 20:28; Matthew 26:28; John 10:11; John 11:50-53; Acts 20:28; Romans 8:32-34; Ephesians 5:25-27; Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 3:1; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 9:28; Revelation 5:9.

Christ's saving work was intended to save a particular people.

Matt.1:21  John.10:26  " Acts.20:28  "

Those for whom Christ died are an innumerable host from every tribe, tongue, people and nation in the world.  
Rev.5:9  

 

 

 

I

"Irresistible grace"
you have no say in your final destination

· "Irresistible grace", also called "efficacious grace", asserts that the saving grace of God is effectually applied to those whom he has determined to save (that is, the elect) and overcomes their resistance to obeying the call of the gospel, bringing them to a saving faith. This means that when God sovereignly purposes to save someone, that individual certainly will be saved. The doctrine holds that this purposeful influence of God's Holy Spirit cannot be resisted, but that the Holy Spirit, "graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ." This is not to deny the fact that the Spirit's outward call (through the proclamation of the Gospel) can be, and often is, rejected by sinners; rather, it's that inward call which cannot be rejected.

"All those whom God has predestined to life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving to them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by His almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace. This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive therein, until, being made alive and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it. Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet they never truly come unto Christ, and therefore cannot be saved.."  Westminster Confession of Faith X, 1,2

"What is effectual calling? Effectual calling is the work of God's Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel. "  Westminster Shorter Catechism Question 31

The fourth Biblical truth in the five points of Calvinism teaches that God's grace to save a person cannot be resisted. Grace is God's free and unmerited power to save a person from his sins which would otherwise lead us to hell. Grace brings him to heaven who naturally would end in eternal hell.

That grace is irresistible. That means that if God gives grace to you, there is nothing in the world that you can do to resist it and thwart God's intention to take you to heaven. The certainty of salvation for God's elect is seen in John 6:37 where Jesus says: "All that the Father hath given me shall come to me..." There is no doubt that they will be saved. Verse 44 says that those who come to God come because God draws them. Not our will, but God's will is first and powerful.

God's grace is sweet and irresistible. He makes the elect love it and want nothing else. He is as irresistible to us as a husband to his newly-wed bride. Come with us and hear God's wonderful grace proclaimed in Christ any Lord's Day.

God’s call to the elect is effectual and cannot be resisted. The dead sinner is sovereignly regenerated and granted the “gift of faith.” “That some, in time, have faith given them by God, and others have it not given, proceeds from his eternal decree; for ‘known unto God are all his works from the beginning,’ etc. (Acts 15:18; Eph. 1:11). According to which decree he graciously softens the hearts of the elect, however hard, and he bends them to believe; but the non-elect he leaves, in his judgment, to their own perversity and hardness” (summary derived from the Synod of Dort).

Although the general outward call of the gospel can be, and often is, rejected, the special inward call of the Spirit never fails to result in the conversion of those to whom it is made. This special call is not made to all sinners, but is issued to the elect only. The Spirit is in no way dependent upon their help or cooperation for success in his work of bringing them to Christ. It is for this reason that Calvinists speak of the Spirit’s call and of God’s grace in saving sinners as being “efficacious,” “invincible,” or “irresistible.” The grace which the Holy Spirit extends to the elect cannot be thwarted or refused; it never fails to bring them to true faith in Christ.

The Spirit Saves

Romans 8:14; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 3:6; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; 1 Peter 1:1-2.

The Spirit Gives New Birth

Deuteronomy 30:6; Ezekiel 11:19; Ezekiel 36:26-27; John 1:12-13; John 3:38; John 5:21; 2 Corinthians 5:17-18; Galatians 6:15; Ephesians 2:5; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 2:13; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:3; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 John 5:4.

The Spirit Reveals the Secrets of God

Matthew 11:25-27; Matthew 13:10-11; Matthew 13:16; Matthew 16:15-17; Luke 8:10; Luke 10:21; John 6:37; John 6:44-45; John 6:64-65; John 10:3-6; John 10:16; John 10:26-29; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 1:17-18.

The Spirit Gives Faith and Repentance

Acts 5:31; Acts 11:18; Acts 13:48; Acts 16:14; Acts 18:27; Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 1:29; 2 Timothy 2:25-26.

The Spirit Effectually Calls

Romans 1:6-7; Romans 8:30; Romans 9:23-24; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 1:23-31; Galatians 1:15-16; Ephesians 4:4; 2 Timothy 1:9; Hebrews 9:15; Jude 1:1; 1 Peter 1:15; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 Peter 5:10; 2 Peter 1:3; Revelation 17:14.

Salvation Given by a Sovereign God

Isaiah 55:11; John 3:27; John 17:2; Romans 9:16; 1 Corinthians 3:6-7; 1 Corinthians 4:7; Philippians 2:12-13; James 1:18; 1 John 5:20.

Inability to Change

Job 14:4; Jeremiah 23:13; Matthew 7:16-18; Matthew 12:33; John 6:44; John 6:65; Romans 11:35-36; 1 Corinthians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 4:7; 2 Corinthians 3:5.

 Every one whom the Father has chosen and for whom Christ died, will certainly experience the application of that salvation by the Holy Spirit.

John.6:37; John 6:44 ;John 10:16; Rom.8:28 - 30; Eph.1:3 - 4; Eph.1:13 - 14; 1Pet.1:2   

Spiritual Regeneration is an inward change in man performed solely by the Holy Spirit and is not dependent upon man's help or cooperation.

A New Birth   Titus 3:5   

A New Heart   Ezek.36:26 - 27  

A New Creation  2Cor.5:17 - 18; Gal.6:15; Eph.2:10   

A Resurrection  Jn.5:21; Jn.11:14-15, 25, 38-44:   
A Gift  Jn.17:2l; Eph.2:8 - 9  

Repentance and Faith are divine gifts which are the result, not the cause, of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.

Acts.5:31; Acts.11:18; Acts.13:48; Acts.18:27; Eph.2:8 -  9     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"Perseverance of the saints"
Once saved, always saved

· "Perseverance of the saints" (also known as "perseverance of God with the saints" and "preservation of the believing") (the word "saints" is used to refer to all who are set apart by God, and not of those who are exceptionally holy, canonized, or in heaven) asserts that since God is sovereign and his will cannot be frustrated by humans or anything else, those whom God has called into communion with himself will continue in faith until the end. Those who apparently fall away either never had true faith to begin with (1 John 2:19), or, if they are saved but not presently walking in the Spirit, they will be divinely chastened (Hebrews 12:5–11) and will repent (1 John 3:6–9).

"They whom God has accepted in His Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved." Westminster Confession of Faith XVII, 1

"Those who are sovereignly elected and regenerated will continue in the faith. “Those whom God hath accepted in the Beloved, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere to the end; and though they may fall through neglect and temptation, into sin, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the Church, and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they shall be renewed again unto repentance, and be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation”
Abstract of Principles, 1858.

The last of the five points of Calvinism teaches that God preserves His people so they can never be lost. To put it simply, it means this: "Once you are saved, you are always saved."

God's Word is full of proof for this beautiful truth. And though many deny it, and tell you that you can be lost and saved many, many times, and therefore can never be sure of your salvation, the Bible says otherwise. Talking about His elect sheep, Jesus said: "And I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:28). See John 6:39, 17:2, 11,12; Romans 8:37-39; II Tim. 1:12; 4:18, etc. etc.

Some object to this doctrine because it supposedly makes men "carnally secure" in their salvation. That is, if I know nothing can make me go to hell once God has saved me, I will "live like the devil." There have been some who have used this beautiful truth as an excuse to live like the devil. But they are not Christians. This is because you cannot know whether you are an elect or not.

This truth also implies "PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS." Those who never fall away are saints. We will know that only when we reach heaven. They are holy. And they are given power to live holy lives. They "continue in well-doing." Anyone who says he can "live like the devil" has not experienced the saving power of Christ and does not know the meaning of Philippians 1:6, "He that hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." God will continue working good works in us until Christ returns or takes you to heaven. Is there any hope for Christians without this doctrine? We don't need to be "scared to heaven." We need comfort. Because we know that if it were up to the Christian to remain saved, he would never be able to do it. You know yourself!!!! There is no power in me apart from God's grace.

The elect are not only redeemed by Christ and renewed by the Spirit, but also kept in faith by the almighty power of God. All those who are spiritually united to Christ through regeneration are eternally secure in him. Nothing can separate them from the eternal and unchangeable love of God. They have been predestined to eternal glory and are therefore assured of heaven.

Scriptural Support  

Isaiah 43:1-3; Isaiah 54:10; Jeremiah 32:40; Matthew 18:12-14; John 3:16; John 3:36; John 5:24; John 6:35-40; John 6:47; John 10:27-30; John 17:1112; John 17:15; Romans 5:8-10; Romans 8:1; Romans 8:35-39; 1 Corinthians 1:7-9; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 4:14; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Ephesians 1:5; Ephesians 1:13-14; Ephesians 4:30; Colossians 3:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Timothy 4:18; Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 10:14; Hebrews 12:28; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 1 John 2:19; 1 John 2:25; 1 John 5:4; 1 John 5:11-13; 1 John 5:20; Jude 1:1; Jude 1:24-25.

The person who truly believes in Jesus Christ has new Eternal Life .
Jn.3:16; Jn.3:36; Jn.5:24; Jn.6:47; Jn.11.25; 1Jn.5:13 ;1Peter.1:23   

All those who come to genuine saving faith in Christ are kept secure in him for eternity by the Power of God.
 Jn.10:27- 30; Jn.17:11-12 ;Rom.8:29 - 30; Rom.8:35 -39; 1Cor.1:8; Eph.1:13 - 14; Phil.1:6   

 True believers WILL persevere to the end in faith and obedience by the Power of the Holy Spirit.
 Eph.2:10; 1Peter.5:10; 1Jn.3:9; 1Jn.5:18; 1Jn.2:19; 1Jn.2:25     

 

 


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John Calvin

John Wesley

T

Total Depravity
Human beings are so affected by the negative consequences of the fall of Adam (Original Sin) that they are incapable of doing anything that is righteous, and are always and unchangeably sinful.  Human freedom is totally enslaved by sin so man can choose only evil.  Man is spiritually dead.

Deprivation
Human beings are sinful and without God, incapable (deprived) on their own of being righteous; however, they are not irredeemably sinful and can be transformed by God's grace.  God's prevenient grace restores humanity the freedom of will.

 

U

Unconditional Election
Since human beings cannot choose good for themselves, God by his eternal decree has chosen or elected some (totally arbitrarily by God) to be counted as righteous (unto eternal heaven) without any condition and some to be unrighteous (unto eternal hell fire).  This is unconditional and the choice is totally arbitrary at the whim of God done even before creation.

Conditional Election
God has chosen that all humanity to righteous by His grace, yet has called each person to respon that call by exercising the freedom of choice and will which he has given to all as a condition of availing the salvation and heavenly bliss.  Rejection would imply pain and suffering.  

L

Limited Atonement
The effect of the atonement of Jesus on the cross is thus limited only for the chosen.
Jesus died only for those whom God has chosen before the foundation of the world.

Unlimited Atonement
The effect of the atonement of Jesus on the cross is open to all mankind, "whomsoever will" and depends only the humans and on the condition that he freely accept that offer and avail of it.

I

Irresistible Grace.
The grace that God extends to the chosen ones cannot be refused by them. They have no freedom to refuse.  The freedom is only to accept.
Dragged Kicking & Screaming to Heaven?

Resistible Grace
God's grace is freely offered to all without any specific merit.  Every human being has the freedom to accept or refuse, this offer of Grace unto salvation.

P

Perseverance of the Saints
Since God has decreed the elect, and since they have no choice to reject it, they are unconditionaly and eternally secure in that salvation

Assurance and Security
There is security in God's grace and his assurance of salvation.  But humans have the freedom of will to reject the grace any time.



 

 

 

 

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