16 – God’s Sovereignty vs Man’s Free Will (part 1)
1. History of Calvinism
1.1.John Calvin, the famous theologian and pastor of Geneva, died in 1564. Along with Martin Luther in Germany, he was the most influential force of the Protestant Reformation. His commentaries and Institutes of the Christian Religion are still exerting tremendous influence on the Christian church worldwide.
2. Who was John Calvin?
2.1. was a French theologian, pastor, and reformer in Geneva during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism, including its doctrines of predestination and of God's absolute sovereignty in the salvation of the human soul from death and eternal damnation. Calvinist doctrines were influenced by and elaborated upon the Augustinian and other Christian traditions. Various Congregational, Reformed and Presbyterian churches, which look to Calvin as the chief expositor of their beliefs, have spread throughout the world.
2.2. Calvin was a tireless polemicist and apologetic writer who generated much controversy. He also exchanged cordial and supportive letters with many reformers, including Philipp Melanchthon and Heinrich Bullinger. In addition to his seminal Institutes of the Christian Religion, Calvin wrote commentaries on most books of the Bible, confessional documents, and various other theological treatises.
2.3. Calvin was originally trained as a humanist lawyer. He broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530. After religious tensions erupted in widespread deadly violence against Protestant Christians in France, Calvin fled to Basel, Switzerland, where in 1536 he published the first edition of the Institutes. In that same year, Calvin was recruited by Frenchman William Farel to join the Reformation in Geneva, where he regularly preached sermons throughout the week. However, the governing council of the city resisted the implementation of their ideas, and both men were expelled. At the invitation of Martin Bucer, Calvin proceeded to Strasbourg, where he became the minister of a church of French refugees. He continued to support the reform movement in Geneva, and in 1541 he was invited back to lead the church of the city.
2.4.Following his return, Calvin introduced new forms of church government and liturgy, despite opposition from several powerful families in the city who tried to curb his authority. During this period, Michael Servetus, a Spaniard regarded by both Roman Catholics and Protestants as having a heretical view of the Trinity, arrived in Geneva. He was denounced by Calvin and burned at the stake for heresy by the city council. Following an influx of supportive refugees and new elections to the city council, Calvin's opponents were forced out. Calvin spent his final years promoting the Reformation both in Geneva and throughout Europe
2.5.The churches which have inherited the teachings of Calvin are usually called Reformed as opposed to the Lutheran or Anglican/Episcopalian branches of the Reformation. While not all Baptist churches hold to a Reformed theology, there is a significant Baptist tradition which flowed out of that stream and still cherishes the central doctrines inherited from the Reformed branch of the Reformation.
3. Known as both the Doctrines of Grace and the Five Points of Calvinism, these doctrines are named for the distinct theological stances taken by the reformer John Calvin (who didn’t use this term himself).
4. The Five Points of Calvinism are: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and the Perseverance of the Saints.
5. Calvinism – Aminianism Controversy
5.1.The controversy between Arminianism and Calvinism arose in Holland in the early 1600s. The founder of the Arminian party was Jacob Arminius (1560–1609). He studied in Geneva under Calvin’s successor, Theodore Beza, and became a professor of theology at the University of Leyden in 1603.
5.2.Gradually Arminius came to reject certain Calvinist teachings. The controversy spread all over Holland, where the Reformed Church was the overwhelming majority. The Arminians drew up their creed in Five Articles and laid them before the state authorities of Holland in 1610 under the name Remonstrance, signed by forty-six ministers.
5.3.The official Calvinistic response came from the Synod of Dort which was held November 13, 1618, to May 9, 1619, to consider the Five Articles. There were eighty-four members and eighteen secular commissioners. The Synod wrote what has come to be known as the Canons of Dort. These are still part of the church confession of the Reformed Church in America and the Christian Reformed Church. They state the Five Points of Calvinism in response to the Five Articles of the Arminian Remonstrants.
5.4.So the so-called Five Points were not chosen by the Calvinists as a summary of their teaching. They emerged as a response to the Arminians who chose these five points to disagree with.
6. You have likely come across the acrostic T.U.L.I.P. as a memory aid for these doctrinal positions. Below is a brief description of the doctrines represented by each letter:
6.1.1. Due to sin all of mankind is completely sinful, or depraved. Every part of fallen man is corrupted by sin. He is a creature that incapable of obeying the law of God.
6.1.2. John Piper – “Our sinful corruption is so deep and so strong as to make us slaves of sin and morally unable to overcome our own rebellion and blindness. This inability to save ourselves from ourselves is total. We are utterly dependent on God’s grace to overcome our rebellion, give us eyes to see, and effectively draw us to the Savior.”
18.104.22.168. Romans 3:10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;
22.214.171.124. Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
6.1.3. Everything Man does is sin
126.96.36.199. So much for the common belief that mankind is basically good! Understanding that we are completely sinful, or totally depraved, is an essential part of fully appreciating God’s grace in rescuing sinners from the punishment that we deserve.
188.8.131.52. Romans 14:23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
184.108.40.206. Romans 7:18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
6.1.4. This depravity affects every part of the human experience and spiritually we are “dead in trespasses and sins”
220.127.116.11. Ephesians 2:1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,
6.1.5. This doctrine does not teach that each man is as wicked as he could be.
18.104.22.168. The fact that everyone isn’t an anarchist or a psychopath doesn’t negate this doctrine.
22.214.171.124. Instead, what is being taught is that our depravity is total in reference to our complete rebellion against God
126.96.36.199.1. Psalm 14:1-3 The fool[a] says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.
188.8.131.52.2. and our inability to do good apart from God
184.108.40.206.3. Romans 8:7-8 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
220.127.116.11. Our Rebellion to God is total
18.104.22.168.1. Luke 18:9-14 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
22.214.171.124.2. Col 2:20-23 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
126.96.36.199.3. Eph 4:18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;
188.8.131.52. Man doesn’t seek God
184.108.40.206.1. John 3:20-21 “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
220.127.116.11.2. Ezek 36:26 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
18.104.22.168.3. 2 Cor 4:4-6 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
22.214.171.124. We deserve to be punished
126.96.36.199.1. Eph 2:3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
188.8.131.52.2. 2 Thess 1:6-9 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with [c]tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,
184.108.40.206.3. Matt 5:29-30 If your right eye causes you to [j]sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to [k]sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
220.127.116.11.4. Matt 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in [h]hell.
18.104.22.168.5. Matt 13:49-50 So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, 50 and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
22.214.171.124.6. Matt 18:8-9 “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into [b]hell fire.
126.96.36.199.7. Matt 25:46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
188.8.131.52. In summary, total depravity means that our rebellion against God is total, everything we do in this rebellion is sinful, our inability to submit to God or reform ourselves is total, and we are therefore totally deserving of eternal punishment.
184.108.40.206. It is hard to exaggerate the importance of admitting our condition to be this bad. If we think of ourselves as basically good or even less than totally at odds with God, our grasp of the work of God in redemption will be defective. But if we humble ourselves under this terrible truth of our total depravity, we will be in a position to see and appreciate the glory and wonder of the work of God discussed in the next four points.
6.2.1. John Piper – “God’s election is an unconditional act of free grace that was given through his Son Jesus before the world began. By this act, God chose, before the foundation of the world, those who would be delivered from bondage to sin and brought to repentance and saving faith in Jesus.”
6.2.2. Election Prior to Faith
220.127.116.11. Acts 13:48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
18.104.22.168. John 10:26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, [e]as I said to you.
22.214.171.124. John 8:47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”
126.96.36.199. John 18:37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?”
188.8.131.52. Romans 9:1-23 I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, 2 that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my [a]countrymen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen. 6 But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, 7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” 8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. 9 For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac 11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), 12 it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.” 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory,
184.108.40.206. John Piper – “The deepest issue Paul is addressing is not why Israel as a nation has this or that historical role, but that individuals within Israel are accursed and cut off from Christ. In other words, individual eternal destinies are indeed at stake. And the nature of Paul’s argument confirms this, because the first thing he says to confirm that the word of God has not failed is: “For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel” (Rom. 9:6). In other words, the individuals in Israel who perish were never part of the true Israel. Then he moves on to show how God’s unconditional election was at work within Israel (more arguments for this understanding of Romans 9 are given in The Justification of God, pp. 38–54).”
220.127.116.11. Romans 11:7 What then? Israel has not obtained what it seeks; but the elect have obtained it, and the rest were blinded.
18.104.22.168. Eph 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He [a]made us accepted in the Beloved.
22.214.171.124. Luke 6:13 And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles:
126.96.36.199. John 13:18 “I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen; but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats [c]bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.’
188.8.131.52. John15:16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.
184.108.40.206. John 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
220.127.116.11. John Piper – “Some interpreters argue that this election before the foundation of the world was only an election of Christ, but not an election of which individuals would actually be in Christ. This simply amounts to saying that there is no unconditional election of individuals to salvation. Christ is put forward as the chosen one of God, and the salvation of individuals is dependent on their own initiative to overcome their depravity and be united to Christ by faith. God does not choose them, and therefore God cannot effectually convert them. He can only initiate conviction, but finally must wait to see who will provide the decisive impulse to quicken themselves from the dead and choose him.”
6.3.1. John Piper “The atonement of Christ is sufficient for all humans and effective for those who trust him. It is not limited in its worth or sufficiency to save all who believe. But the full, saving effectiveness of the atonement that Jesus accomplished is limited to those for whom that saving effect was prepared. The availability of the total sufficiency of the atonement is for all people. Whosoever will — whoever believes — will be covered by the blood of Christ. And there is a divine design in the death of Christ to accomplish the promises of the new covenant for the chosen bride of Christ. Thus Christ died for all people, but not for all in the same way.”
18.104.22.168. Romans 3:25-26 whom God set forth as a [h]propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
22.214.171.124. 1 Tim 4:10 For to this end [c]we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.
126.96.36.199. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
6.3.2. God Makes a new Covenant with his people
188.8.131.52. Jeremiah 32:39-41 then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. 40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. 41 Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will [f]assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.’
184.108.40.206. Ezekiel 11:19 Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within [e]them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh,
220.127.116.11. Ezekiel 36:26-27 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
18.104.22.168. Duet 30:6 And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
22.214.171.124. Heb 9:15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
6.3.3. For the Sheep not for everyone
126.96.36.199. John 10:15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
188.8.131.52. John 6:37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will [f]by no means cast out.
184.108.40.206. John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
220.127.116.11. John 10:26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, [e]as I said to you.
18.104.22.168. John 17:6 “I have [c]manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.
22.214.171.124. John 17:9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.
126.96.36.199. John 17:19 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
188.8.131.52. Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
184.108.40.206. Heb 9:28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
220.127.116.11. Isaiah 53:12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the [s]spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.
18.104.22.168. Eph 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might [g]sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
22.214.171.124. Rom 8:29-32 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
6.4.1. John Piper “This means that the resistance that all human beings exert against God every day is wonderfully overcome at the proper time by God’s saving grace for undeserving rebels whom he chooses freely to save.”
126.96.36.199. Romans 3:10-12 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
188.8.131.52. Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked[g] and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.
6.4.3. God can’t be resisted
184.108.40.206. Daniel 4:35 For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. 35 All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?”
220.127.116.11. Psalm 115:3 But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.
18.104.22.168. Job 42:2 “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.
6.4.4. God must will that you be saved
22.214.171.124. Romans 9:14-18 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” 18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
126.96.36.199. Romans 9:20-21 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
188.8.131.52. Romans 8:7-8 Because the [c]carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
184.108.40.206. John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
220.127.116.11. Eph 1:4-5 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
18.104.22.168. John 6:65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”
6.4.5. Salvation is a Gift
22.214.171.124. 2 Tim 2:24-25 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,
126.96.36.199. John 6:65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”
6.4.6. Not against our Will – General Call and the Effectual Call
188.8.131.52. 1 Cor 1:23-24 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a [i]stumbling block and to the [j]Greeks foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
184.108.40.206. John 11:42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.”
220.127.116.11. 2 Cor 4:4-6 whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
6.4.7. The New Birth
18.104.22.168. Acts 16:14 Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.
22.214.171.124. 1 John 5:1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.
126.96.36.199. John 1:12-13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the [e]right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
188.8.131.52. Ephesians 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
6.4.8. John Piper – “irresistible grace refers to the sovereign work of God to overcome the rebellion of our heart and bring us to faith in Christ so that we can be saved. If the doctrine of total depravity, as we have unfolded it in the previous section, is true, there can be no salvation without the reality of irresistible grace”
6.5.Perseverance of the Saints
6.5.1. John Piper – “We believe that all who are justified will win the fight of faith. They will persevere in faith and will not surrender finally to the enemy of their souls. This perseverance is the promise of the new covenant, obtained by the blood of Christ, and worked in us by God himself, yet not so as to diminish, but only to empower and encourage, our vigilance; so that we may say in the end, I have fought the good fight, but it was not I, but the grace of God which was with me (2 Timothy 4:7; 1 Corinthians 15:10).
6.5.2. Our faith must endure to the end if we are to be saved.
184.108.40.206. I Cor 15:1-2 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
220.127.116.11. Col 1:21-23 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
18.104.22.168. 2 Tim 2:11-12 For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. 12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.
22.214.171.124. Mark 13:13 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who [e]endures to the end shall be saved.
126.96.36.199. Revelation 2:7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”
6.5.3. Obedience, evidencing inner renewal from God, is necessary for final salvation
188.8.131.52. Phil 3:12 Not that I have already attained,[c] or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
184.108.40.206. 1 John 1:8-10 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.
220.127.116.11. Matt 6:12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
18.104.22.168. Heb 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
22.214.171.124. Rom 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
126.96.36.199. Gal 5:19-21 9 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: [d]adultery, [e]fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, [f]murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
188.8.131.52. 1 John 2:3-6 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God [a]is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
6.5.4. God’s Elect Cannot be Lost
184.108.40.206. Romans 8:30
220.127.116.11. John 10:27-30 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”
18.104.22.168. Ephesians 1:4-5
6.5.5. There is a falling away of some believers, but if it persists, it shows that their faith was not genuine and they were not born of God.
22.214.171.124. 1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.
126.96.36.199. Luke 8:9-14 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, “‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’ 11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.
6.5.6. God justifies us completely through the first genuine act of saving faith, but this is the sort of faith that perseveres and bears fruit in the “obedience of faith.
188.8.131.52. Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
184.108.40.206. Phil 3:9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in[a] Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
220.127.116.11. 2 Cor 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
18.104.22.168. Rom 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
22.214.171.124. Gal 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
126.96.36.199. Gal 3:2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?
6.5.7. God works to cause his elect to persevere
188.8.131.52. Luke 22:20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.[a]
184.108.40.206. 2 Cor 1:20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
220.127.116.11. Jer 32:40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me.
18.104.22.168. 1 Peter 1:5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
22.214.171.124. Jude 24-25 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
126.96.36.199. 1 Thess 5:23-24 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.
188.8.131.52. Phil 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
184.108.40.206. 1 Cor 1:8-9 He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
220.127.116.11. Heb 13:20-21 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
6.5.8. Therefore we should be zealous to confirm our calling and election
18.104.22.168. 2 Peter 1:10-11 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
22.214.171.124. Romans 8:29-30 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
126.96.36.199. 2 Peter 1:3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
188.8.131.52. 2 Peter 1:5-7 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control [d]perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
184.108.40.206. Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
6.5.9. Perseverance is a community project
220.127.116.11. 2 Timothy 2:10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the [c]elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.