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
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
In 1543, he again added new material and expanded a chapter on the Apostles'
Creed. The final edition of the
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
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).
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."
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
David N. Steele & Curtis C. Thomas, The Five Points of Calvinism
The Decision of the Synod of Dort on the Five Main Points of Doctrine in the
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
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:
Theology is summarized by the acronym TULIP
every human being is dead morally and spiritually
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."
Confession of Faith IX,3
That means simply
The Bible says that you and I are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1-6)
unless we are born again.
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
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).
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).
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
makes a person alive, can he and will he accept Christ. "No man can come
except the Father
which hath sent me
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
we preach, because
it is Biblical, because it is the
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).
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
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.
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.6:65; Rom.3:9 - 12; Rom.8:7 - 8; 1Cor.2:14
The choice for heaven and hell are done long before creation and is
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."
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
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.”
“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.
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.
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.
Christ died only for the few elect
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."
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,
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.
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
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
Jesus Actually Saves: Christ's death is set forth in scripture as that which
ACTUALLY accomplished salvation, not that which merely made salvation
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
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.
you have no say in your final destination
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
God's grace to save a person cannot be resisted. Grace
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
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
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
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 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.
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.
New Birth Titus
New Heart Ezek.36:26
New Creation 2Cor.5:17
- 18; Gal.6:15; Eph.2:10
Jn.11:14-15, 25, 38-44:
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.11:18; Acts.13:48; Acts.18:27; Eph.2:8 - 9
"Perseverance of the saints"
Once saved, always saved
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
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
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.3:36; 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.
30; Jn.17:11-12 ;Rom.8:29 - 30; Rom.8:35 -39; 1Cor.1:8; Eph.1:13 - 14;
True believers WILL persevere to the end in faith and obedience by the
Power of the Holy Spirit.
1Peter.5:10; 1Jn.3:9; 1Jn.5:18; 1Jn.2:19; 1Jn.2:25
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Dragged Kicking & Screaming to Heaven?
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.
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
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.