Posts tagged ‘theology’

The Parable of the Sower

All who have read the Bible are familiar with this parable in Mat 13. It principally states four different outcomes in the delivery of the Gospel. These four outcomes are as follows

1. The Gospel is not received at all by the person
2. The Gospel is received, but the man has no root in himself (v21) i.e. the word of God does not become the foundation of his life. He is not standing on the rock that is Christ and so he falls away rather than being sanctified in affliction.
3. The Gospel is received but this person attempts to serve two masters: money and the Lord. But as much as this person thinks he is in Christ, he is deceiving himself because the branch cannot bear fruit unless it abides in the vine i.e. Christ.
4. The good soil alone is the Christian example, it must be understood here that the good soil is not good by itself; you may want to consider the example of John the Baptist. It was prophesied of him to make straight the way of the Lord in John 1:23 and so John preached a Baptism of Repentance. But repentance is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer (Acts 11:18 Acts 5:31). So just as a farmer treats the soil to receive the seed. The Spirit readies the foreordained believer to receive Christ.

There are many who read the parables as plainly as the morning newspaper but for some reason these same people cannot come to terms with what Mat 13:10-15 plainly says. It seems so hard for these seemingly Bible believing Christians to understand that God hates the reprobate and loves the Church. As blasphemous as this may sound: the school of thought that says God hates sin but loves the sinner, attempts bring God to the feet of the unbeliever in believing that God’s love is subject to human volition in being reciprocated. Contrarily scripture states that we love because he loved us first i.e. had it not been for His love, we would not have the capacity to love Him beyond our flesh. 1 John 4:19 is therefore seen as matter of ‘cause and effect’ i.e. the absence of the effect means only the absence of the cause.

To oppose this many people may bring scripture showing that Jesus received and ate with sinners but it is interesting to note that Jesus detested the seemingly righteous Pharisees of his time. Since the Bible is internally consistent, an interpretation of scripture is only valid if it harmonizes with the rest of the Bible. Hence when Christ says that that He came to call sinners and not the righteous: so speaking in the light of Romans 3:23, it means to say He came to calls only those who had been prepared for Him in repentance. Take the Parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, scripture ridicules the self righteousness of the Pharisee saying in Luke 18:11 that the Pharisee’s prayers were said to himself not God.

John 12
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.25 He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.26 If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.

The response of the servant who was given one talent in the parable of talents can also be seen in the context of parable of the sower.

Mat 25
24 “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed.25 And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’
26 “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.27 Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.28 Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’

Mat 13 (from the parable of the sower)
12 For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.

From Mat 13:12 we see the Godly reproach upon the wicked servant in Mat 25. Notice the phrase: ‘whoever has’ and ‘whoever does not have’, it does not say ‘whoever has MUCH’ or ‘whoever has little’. It becomes only the question of having or not having. So when we see this in the context of the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Talents, the ‘has’ and ‘does not have’ becomes a question that is answered in Mat 13:11.

Mat 13
11 Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.

2 Timothy 1
9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,

So we see from 2 Tim 1:9 that the calling does not materialize unless it has been granted unto us in Christ according to His own purpose. To the antinomian the call to Christ is a call to a grace separate from the Law but that is not so because it is a call to obedience unto the Moral Law of God. The Gospel actually gives the believer a new heart to walk in statutes of God and follow His Law (Ezek 36:26-27). What the antinomians refers to as the weakness of the Law, was in actual a weakness of the people not the Law (Heb 8:7-8). The Law was meant to convict transgression and so sin got it power to kill from the Law but when man is born of the Spirit as stated in John 3:5 he receives the salvation of Christ and comes to life fulfilling the requirements of the Law (Moral not Ceremonial) in obedience because he now has a new heart upon which is written the Law of God.

Romans 8
3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

We therefore come to understand that in the very beginning God chose a people unto Himself and blessed them consecrating them as priest whom He would love and bring them to know Him and worship Him forever. We see that such a blessing can only come out of grace, His grace. In Eden man disobediently took a righteousness of self that is contrary to the righteousness of God. This self righteousness of man, has seen man see himself differently from the way God sees him, which has been in effect ever since the fall. Like the parable of the laborers in the vineyard who grumble against their Master concerning their wages, so too we see man grumble in regards to the doctrine of Sovereign Election because it makes no sense according to the self righteousness he has come to possess. God’s ways are not man’s ways so the Bible says and so the ‘parable of the sower’ tells us how the Sovereignty of God extends to the elect that He draws them through the Holy Spirit’s sanctification, out of the corruptions that has become of their nature and selves. This is the power of Almighty God that even angels look on (1 Peter 1:12) to see His Salvation at work in His elect.

Sovereign grace Vs Legalism and Antinomianism

There are large numbers of Christians, who have become subject to views of antinomianism or those which are legalistic. Legalism is that which says that one is saved purely by works of Law while Antinomians hold a view that the grace of God covers them to the extent that even though their carnal nature is not made subject to true repentance, they are still saved because of grace. Mat 1:21 speaks to both these extreme apostate ideas by showing the legalist that Salvation is in Christ alone, while it shows the antinomians that Christ’ deliverance is not “in our sins” but “from our sins”

Mat 1:21
21 “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

A preacher once said: one can only enjoy the benefits of Christ’ Cross when he bows before the claims of Christ’ Crown. What this refers to is essentially that one truly receives Christ in his life only when he receives Him as SAVIOR AND LORD. For those who try to merit Salvation it shows they have not truly received Christ as their Savior and for those whose nature shows no elements of any sanctification, they have not truly received Jesus as their Lord.

Sanctification is the work of His Spirit. To many believers, the Holy Spirit is generally associated with how much noise can be made at a spiritual gathering. The work of the Holy Spirit is very deep and for one to associate the Spirit primarily with the gift of tongues today is almost blasphemous. The gift of tongues was given only to the early Church, who did not have the compilation of the Bible, once the Bible was compiled in about the third or fourth century, the gift of tongues and prophesies ceased because the Bible is complete and sufficient to edify the Christian and cursed is that person who tries to add or take away from it. It is for this reason, that the many noise makers in spiritual gathering do not find one interpreter today for three of these people who are said to have this gift of tongues.

Quoting from the Nicene Creed, which was a faith declaration of the early Church, this is what is stated when it speaks of the Holy Spirit: “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life”. We know when God created Adam from the soil, He breathed life into Him. We also know that scripture in God breathed. So though it was His Holy Spirit, that God had put into Adam to give him life, which Adam lost in his disobedience. In the same way the Word of God in the Bible, is God breathed (Holy Spirit) proceeding from Father and Son as One, given to us in scripture that we may believe and have life.

It is interesting to note that the Exodus came before Mount Sinai, what I mean to say is that God first delivered His people from Egypt and then gave them the Law at Mount Sinai. It was not the other way around. As a preacher I know once said, it took God one day to get His people out of Egypt but it took 40 years to get Egypt out of His people. We see from all of this that though a believer is saved by grace and not His own merit, lawlessness cannot be a part of his life. He is always subject to the Moral Law of God, where He puts God first and his neighbor at par with himself.

1Thes 2
13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

You see the reason, we can do the stuff that is pleasing to God, is ONLY because of the life given to us in Christ i.e. His Holy Spirit. Had we not received Christ, we would not know or have the slightest inclination to please Him. So the word of God in the scripture, is the life given to us in Christ, which His Spirit i.e. God; who is at work, in us who believe. Thus even after we have been sanctified, the only statement we shall render to God is the one in Luke 17:10.

Luke 17
10 “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'”

Such is Sovereign grace, that he who receives it humbled not exalted in himself, for the very meaning of grace is unmerited favor i.e. when one receives (especially concerning Salvation) what he does not deserve. I need to emphasize here that sanctification is not our work but the work of God in us, it is hence seen from the parable of the master who calls people to work in the vineyard that he who is called to work even at the very last moment, receives full wages i.e. even the person who is on his death bed and repents unto Christ, he too receives the full measure of Salvation; for just as Salvation is of the Lord (Lam 3:26), Sanctification too is by Him (Lev 20:8) and so He does with what is His own as He pleases… Sovereign Grace!

Mat 20
15 Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’16 So the last shall be first, and the first last.”

Christ and the Law

It is considered by many Christians today that believing in Jesus Christ means that you are free from the Law. People like to quote Romans 6:14 and John 1:17 to show that the Law does not apply to believing Christians. They say Christian life is a standard higher than the Law. Well, it must be understood that there are two aspects of the Law i.e. the physical and the spiritual/moral. Now the Bible says that if one keeps the physical aspect and yet transgresses the spiritual aspect of the Law, he still transgresses the Law but he who does not keep the physical aspect of the Law and yet maintains himself in the spiritual aspect of the Law, he keeps the Law.

Romans 2
25 For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.
26 So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?
27 And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law?
28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.
29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

The Law therefore seen is Spiritual (Romans 7:14) and all hangs on two commandments, it is to first love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and secondly to love your neighbor (even it is your enemy) as you love yourself (Luke 10:27). It must be understood that the law that came to a close in Romans 10:4 was the law, the physical aspect which people used to establish their own self righteousness. Gal 3:24 says that it is the Law that leads us to Christ because the Law makes people realize the dreadfulness of sin (Romans 7:7) and convicts them (James 2:9) that they may be brought to repentance… back to Christ. As His Church is the believing body that is susceptible to sin, the reason a Christian has been brought to the terms of facing his sin, is because the Law is written on his heart (Romans 2:15) and so he keeps the Law and is judged by the Law (Romans 2:12) but his faith in Christ has made the curse of the Law fall on Him who was the atonement sacrifice of all the sin of His people (Gal 3:10, 13).

There was a time I felt that the grace by which I was saved was grace that gave me freedom from the Law but I have now come to realize that that is certainly not the case. In fact it is by His moral Law (Romans 6:16-18) which has been imputed in me by His Spirit that I realize that the grace I have received is not one that gives me freedom to sin (Romans 6:15). The Law is perfect (Psalms 19:7), nothing which is perfect can get any better. If I am called to love my neighbor as I love myself, then I am automatically called to never covet, steal or murder against my neighbor. The way I had come to receive the grace of Christ, was a way that was lawless, a blasphemy against Christ Himself. This I have seen as my sin, for in loving Christ, I am called to obey His commandments.

John 15:10 (Jesus’ word)
10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

Now here is an interesting thought in John 15:10, as per reformed theological study Jesus Christ is referred to as the Second Adam. You see both Adam and Christ were subject to the commandments of God. Adam was created perfect (un-fallen) while Christ did not inherit original sin as He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin. Both Adam and Christ were representatives of a people, while Adam represented all mankind, Christ represented the Church. Both were subject to the Covenant of Life i.e. the Salvation of the people they represented that depended on their works in obedience to God. It must be seen that this testing was only for a certain period of time; else the term ‘eternal life’ would not have existed. It was a famous theologian who said: In Christ, the sons of Adam boast of more blessing than their father lost. So if any racial distinctions are ever to be drawn, it is those who were represented by Christ who are superior and this is grace that he who is saved is saved by the merit of Christ and not himself. For by himself, his fallen nature is inherent from Adam.

The Bible does say that man is not justified by the Law and even where there is no Law, people perish (Romans 2:12). It is right that man is justified by faith in Christ but the grace that we receive in Christ extends to receiving the Holy Spirit, who fulfills in us the requirements of the Law (Romans 8:4). Though it says in 1Cor 15:56 that the power of sin is in the law it should never be considered that the Law is Sin (Romans 7:7) for a person comes to terms with the power of sin through the Law (Spiritual) besides 1John 3:4 refers to sin as lawlessness.

Matthew 5:18 (Jesus’ word)
18 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Atonement was accomplished on the cross (John 19:30), while the Salvation of the Church is being accomplished in the furnace of trial and affliction, suffering for Christ sake (Phil 1:29) by believers all over the world (1Peter 5:9). On the other hand the sin playing out of a person’s lust accomplishes death (James 1:15) for the reprobate as it incurs the wrath of God (Jeremiah 30:23-24). So we see that His Law shall remain till His Salvation is accomplished for every elect and His wrath accomplished for every deemed reprobate.

There are many religions and cultures around the world who claims to adhere to strict regulations but when you step out into their streets and public places, their nature of rebellion against the spiritual Law of God sticks out like a sore thumb but these will surely receive His justice and even those whose acknowledgement of His Lordship is nothing more than lip service (Mat 15:8) and outward displays these will also be deemed under the same lawlessness.

Matthew 7
15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
16 “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?
17 “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.
18 “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.
19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’
23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

Depravity and Trial!

There are many Christians who feel that having great faith is to be supercharged and praise God, something like where they increase before God. However of whom the Bible speaks of great faith, such are rarely noticed by people like these.

Matthew 8
5 When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him,
6 “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.”
7 And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.
9 For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.

Matthew 15
21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.
22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.”
23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.”
24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.”
26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

John 3
26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.”
27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.
28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’
29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.
30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

You can see from the above, the more a person recognizes his total depravity, the more he realizes his Salvation coming from Christ. There are essentially three steps in a Christian’s life, the first is Atonement- which was worked out by Christ on the Cross over 2000 years ago, the second is Justification- which is the point when Christ begins to take root in a person’s heart and the third is Regeneration/Sanctification- where the Christian is continually transformed into Christ’ likeness through trial.

Take the instance of the Parable of the Wedding Feast in Mat 22:1-14, it is seen in verse 11 and that in whom the Spirit does not work the Regeneration (Phil 2:12-13), that person has not been chosen for eternal life in union with Christ.

Now think about this, trial by fire (1Pet 1:7)– if God were to truly reprove you unto repentance (Rev 3:19), how much scope would there be for you to go through that trial with your head held high in pride? If you are able to go through the reproach of God with your head held high (Psalms 50:16-17) then the question is: was His reproach not that of a Father unto a son (2Sam 7:14)? It is therefore seen for certain that Regeneration takes place through trial, for trials call for greater obedience, which one can only adhere to by the power of His Spirit (Psalms 94:12).

Psalms 94:12
12 Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O LORD, and whom you teach out of your law,

The thing is, in the life of a Christian, his trials will make him small and make his God big. Throughout his life, he will know of his depravity, which in actual is him prostrating truly before his Almighty, Everlasting and Sovereign God.

There are many teachers out there, who in claiming to teach from the Bible, teach a doctrine of material blessing in obedience to God. Such teachers are well described in Mat 23:24, who teach strict obedience to certain values but have themselves given way to disobedience in submitting to their flesh when justice, mercy and faithfulness is required of them.

Mat 23:24
24 You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

Such is the faith taught by teachers like these. However James 2 teaches that faith goes beyond lip service, which is a call that makes the believer feel the pinch of Regeneration, where he thinks nothing of himself in serving Christ through his brother (Mat 25:40).

James 2
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,
16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?
17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

There is a good book I recommend to you, called Stonewall Jackson’s Verse, which is a true story of an old Confederate Army General, whose life even during trial had Romans 8:28 as its center.

Romans 8
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

So to close this, all I would like to say is, if you feel small before God especially during your trial then consider that as a blessing of good faith (Job 5:17). For faith can be imputed only through repentance and all a person feels in repentance is small.

Evolutionist vs Creationist

It’s been some time now since we have had evolution taught in schools as though it were some real science. When you hear an evolutionist speak, the theory certainly does not seem convincing but seems like the only route a person can take that is absent of creationism. The evolutionist may claim that their argument is based on facts from fossil records but the truth of the matter is that there is substantial amount of fossil evidence that shows modern day man existing at a time which according to the evolutionist should have presumably had men moving around by dragging their knuckles on the ground. Well the fossil records are plenty with most of them rendered useless for evolutionist to support their theory, while the rest are somehow made find their way in the plausible conclusions of the evolutionist.

The challenge most evolutionists have with creationism is that they find it hard to picture creation coming into being almost instantly and existing as though it was there for quite some time. Take the creation of Adam and Eve; they came into being as adults, adults who looked like they had been around for a good 20-30 years. What about the water Jesus turned into wine (John 2:9-10), which when tasted was very good implying that it had been aged for a good few years. So it is seen Biblically that God has created things to come into being almost instantly and yet seem as though they were around for quite some time because time is not a standard by which God functions but rather time is also a creation (Acts 17:26) by which man may record works of God (Dan 2:21).

The reason an evolutionist does not attribute the universe as creation is probably because he personally wants to move away from Theonomy to autonomy, which he will do even to the extent of being deliberately blind to the insurmountable evidence that comes against his autonomy. However such autonomy should be considered nothing more than stubbornness, even if it makes a person act as stupid as the ostrich that buries only its head in the ground to hide from the enemy.

Note: Theonomy is that all creations is governed by God who is in full control of it while autonomy is self governance i.e. one whose actions/will are independent.

Theonomy has no escape and the evolutionists who appears to reject Theonomy do so only because God has no intention to save them and give them eternal life.

Isaiah 6:10
Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

It seems so in your face of how the world rebels against the Law of God. The Bible says that it is the fool who says there is no God (Psalms 14:1) and so in their decreed rebellious behavior, these evolutionists want to show they are extremely learned in their concept of denying God and His governance. However the very facts that they claim support their stand point, are manipulated to gel with almost anything that points from creationism. Very few evolutionists agree fully with each other, it seems more like dispersal from Theonomy, where people are likely to run in any and every direction as long as that direction does not point towards creationism.

Creationism is the very first step in Theonomy and that is exactly how the Bible starts because for a person to finally come into belief under the Lordship of Christ Jesus (Theonomy), that person ought to believe that his Redeemer is also his Creator.

Col 1:16, 20
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

1Peter 2:6-8
For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”
and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

As 1Peter 2:6-8 puts it, that the truth: Jesus Christ – is that Rock of offense that crushes/condemns (Luke 20:18) the evolutionist unbeliever because God never chose to know him.

Predestination!

The topic of predestination is one, which is heatedly debated on, in Christian circles. Predestination holds to the belief that God “CHOSE” a people before the beginning of time whom He would save unto eternal life only through Christ (1Peter 1:2). The people who normally oppose such a view have this excuse as their reason, which is that if it is God who is choosing people unto Salvation then it is unfair to those whom he has not chosen to be saved. Such a view not only makes God seem accountable to man but is actually an excuse for man to glorify his own being through what he thinks is his ability in autonomous decision making. As John Calvin perfectly puts it, the people who oppose predestination are no more than mortal enemies of God’s praise. The funny thing is, under the pretext that God is fair to all, predestination is opposed but when these same people are asked if they themselves are due praise due to their autonomous decision to believe, they remain silent but they probably and secretly seek praise because for most of them their best witness for the Gospel is their own testimony of how they came to believe, which portrays them in the spotlight and God in the background.

The thing is if God wants to send people to hell, he will send them (Heb 4:3). He Himself is goodness; He is certainly not obligated to act within the boundary of what man defines as good. He is glorified equally in all his attributes, weather that be: wrath or mercy. It must be understood, He does not save people because of themselves (Eph 2:8-9) but He saves people for His own Namesake (Psalms 79:9). God humbles himself before no man, where Jesus is concerned stating that He humbled himself to the point of death that humility was unto His Father (Gal 1:4), which He did so in obedience (Php 2:8).

There is certainly no pride man can take in His Salvation, the Bible refers to the saved, not as vessels of worthiness/merit but as vessels of His mercy (Romans 9:23). As Christians we too could have been vessels of His wrath like the rest of the unbelieving but the statement of fact is that, it is not because of we who accepted His mercy but because it was He who Sovereignly chose to show us mercy (Rom 9:15). You must understand that when you stand before an executioner and he declares mercy upon you, in such a scenario no sane man even in the remotest reaches of his imagination will feel the need to render a statement of acknowledgment/acceptance for that mercy he has received, when he is standing there on the brink of eternal death (Isaiah 48:9). That man will only be eternally thankful and will praise Him because of whom He received that mercy (2John1:3).

When the Bible says that Salvation is free (Romans 5:14-19), it is not meaning to say: as in ‘free for all’ but meaning to say that the person who has received it has contributed nothing even towards his own salvation. Predestination seen from a Biblical view is not mere “eternal security”, rightly worded predestination is actually: the perseverance of the Saints (Php 2:12-13). The reason clarity needs to be brought into this is because, “eternal security” is pitched in such a way that anyone who claims to accept the Gospel is saved regardless of how he leads his life in the future. However when you refer to the perseverance of the Saints: it speaks of eternal security: yes but along with that also the trails which God will take you through struggling all the way (Heb 12:6), for which He shall impute in you the Spirit of Perseverance (Psalms 51:12).

To conclude: Predestination, seen in its right light, does not mean that he who believes in it is surely saved but that if one believes in Christ and strives to lead that blameless life (Eph 1:4) in which the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13) shall guide him in for His Namesake, God had that person’s Salvation in mind right before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4). The Bible states God foreknows the believing (Romans 8:29), where foreknows literally speaking is that God foreordained that person before all creation to become an object of His affection (1Co 8:3), which He would deliver because He does not destroy who He loves. And the only way a person may know he is loved by God is if that person loves Jesus Christ and strives to obey Him beyond all things (John 14:23).

The TULIP of Calvinism

If a person refers to himself as a Calvinist, the first thing that comes to a lay person’s mind is that this so called Calvinist is follower of Calvin. This is a common misconception, the 5 points of Calvinism is elementary Christianity, this was not John Calvin’s concoction, a similar theological viewpoint was shared by Thomas Aquinas from the 12th century and the similar was shared by Augustine from the 4th century. It wasn’t as though Calvin was sitting idle that he chanced on this 5 point thought; the purpose of such theological viewpoints was to combat heretic doctrines prevalent at that time. Just as Augustine had to deal the Pelagianism, a heretic movement of his time following after Pelagius; similarly John Calvin was up against the Arminian movement around the 16th century, a heresy founded by Jacobus Arminius that was similar to Pelagianism. It seems heresies have trouble reinventing themselves; after all they cannot come up with anything original as they themselves as far less from the original.

The thing you will observe among most heresies is that they attempt to take what matters out of the hands of God and place them in the hands of man through working merit. Under the pretext of not giving God but man, the requisite glory they conveniently take the position of bringing religious institutions under their own authority, using the idea that the Bible teaches only what is most opportune to them. Such champions like John Wesley and Charles Wesley have used this carrot and stick system, which works under the idea that ‘glory’ is held like carrot strung from a stick before the so called believer, whose fruitless move towards this carrot-glory, only works to further the interest of the heresy that rides on his back holding the stick.

The five points of Calvinism can be remembered by the simple acronym: TULIP, which is as follows:

• Total Depravity
• Unconditional Election
• Limited Atonement
• Irresistible Grace
• Perseverance of the Saints

Total Depravity:
This is the very first point and is fundamental to anyone who refers to himself as Christian. Total depravity says that without God working in any or every person, that person does not have the capacity to do any good, let alone believe in God. To be more colloquial Total Depravity says that we are trash, yes add to that unrecyclable. All mankind for the exception of He who came as Man, are wretched and wicked. The importance of agreeing with total depravity is that this is the ultimate tool of repentance, a repentance that only God can give you and will lead you to worship Him in a way that pleases Him, where you exalt Him over yourself.

Matthew 5:3
“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!

2 Corinthians 7:10
For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

James 4:9-10
Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

Unconditional Election:
Among the five points of Remonstrant/Arminian, their belief system that goes against the Unconditional Election, attempts cleverly to pull some wool over the eyes of the believer. They say God looked into the future, saw who would believe in His Son and accordingly chose His people within this condition. The five points of the Remonstrant are truly hilarious; they seem to have no divine revelation of God but are just a product of theological schooling to those whom God has revealed nothing. The language in the five points of the Remonstrant attempts only to confuse the reader as to what clearly is their theological argument. The probable reason for this could be that it is better for them to be labeled as stupid by the wise few, rather than by the majority, to whom they may seem knowledgeable because of the high flying language they used.

If God chose His people based on Him looking into the future and seeing who believes in His Son then we are saying that God chooses people whom He sees choosing Him. Do we need to apply: what came first the chicken or the egg, here too? In such an area the Bible clearly states that nothing and no one can be His counselor. If there was ever such a thing as what the Arminian thinks is true then we are implicitly stating God can look into a future and take advice from the lives of those whom He asks not to lean on their own understanding (Proverbs 3:5), while He secretly must lean on their understanding to know who are His people.

The truth is God needs no counsel in the decisions He takes (Romans 11:34), people believe in Jesus because He chose them before the beginning of time and it is certainly not the other way around.

John 15:16
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

John 6:43-44
Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

Ephesians 1:3-4
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love

Against the convenient Arminian argument of Romans 8:29, which says whom He foreknew He predestined, the “knew” there is actually implying intimacy rather than foreknowledge. The same ‘knew’ which in Genesis 4:1 says: And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived,.. The same knew which is also in Jeremiah 1:5, referring to God’s intimacy with His people.

Limited Atonement:
The idea of limited atonement is not to say that the scope of atonement is limited but that the atonement is not a free for all going out to the whole world. How much value would you put to something that is labeled as a free for all? I’d say this is as good as a doormat, trampled on without any care. Oh! In most cases the person who preaches this to you will care less about his god being used as a doormat as long as you don’t step on that preachers toes.

The atonement of Christ’ sacrifice is limited in the sense that it only applies to the Church. Yes the Arminians have scripture to argue their viewpoint. They will quote John 3:16 and pretend to ignore that the “whosoever believes” mentioned in John 3:16 is none other than the Church. Then they will also quote

1 John 2:2
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

But it is important to note from Galatians 2:9 that John was an apostle who served a largely Jewish audience and since there was great debate among the Jewish believers in regards to Jesus being a Savior only to the Jews, John used 1John 2:2 to make clear while writing to these Jews that just as God had chosen those from among the Jews a people who would believe in His Son, He also chose from the Gentiles from every tribe and nation (Rev 7:9) of the world a peculiar people to be His Church.

There are scriptures like 1 John4:14 and John 4:42 where Jesus is referred to as the Savior of the world but these scriptures ought to be seen in their own natural light not something recreated. 1 Timothy 4:10 makes clear in such a case that He is the Savior of the world concerning ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO BELIEVE.

Given below are a few scriptures that highlight the atonement of Jesus Christ specific to His Church.

John 10:11,14,16,25,26
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,
And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.
Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me,
but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.

Titus 2:13-14
waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

1Peter 2:9
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Irresistible Grace:
According to Arminian doctrine God’s calling can be resisted because they appear to have cited scripture in which people have resisted the Spirit’s calling unto Christ. They are probably citing Acts 7:51

Acts 7:51
“How stubborn you are!” Stephen went on to say. “How heathen your hearts, how deaf you are to God’s message! You are just like your ancestors: you too have always resisted the Holy Spirit!

It is pretty understandable of a people who think Christ died for the whole world, to feel the grace of God can be resisted because to such a mind they see people whom God has dammed as a people who have resisted God’s grace. This is pretty understandable because you can’t expect a colour blind person to tell the colour red from the colour green.

In fact if you go to a chapter ahead, this is what you will find. Note Acts 6:10.

Acts 6:9-11
Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.
And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.
Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.

As per Philippians 1:29, it was counted to Stephen to suffer and die for the sake of Christ. Yes this is the commitment God asks of His people and so God made the murderers of Stephen stubborn as He did with Pharaoh (Exodus 9:12). It is plain and simple to see that God calling is to His Church and not to the world, once you get this it is easy to understand that His grace is irresistibly efficacious.

Acts 28:24
And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.

Because

Acts 13:48
..as many as were ordained to eternal life believed

Perseverance of the Saints:
Many so called Christians are of the notion that their Salvation is something they require to work out and the scripture they hold in their favor is Philippians 2:12 and sometimes to oppose the doctrine of once saved always saved they cite the case of Judas Iscariot who was among the chosen.

Philippians 2:12
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,

John 17:12
While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

In the case of Philippians 2:12, it is important to read that scripture in its context. So here is need to quote

Philippians 2:13
because God is always at work in you to make you willing and able to obey his own purpose.

Philippians 2:13 shows you that it is in God and not the believer, in whom the believers Salvation is secure i.e. even in showing saving faith through works (James 2:17).

As for John 17:12, it speaks more towards Calvinism than it does for Arminism because just like saying: the jug is half full or half empty is the same thing, in the same manner: speaking of predestined Salvation for some is the same as speaking of predestined damnation for the rest and that is what John 17:12 highlights.

Below are a few scripture that will show that Salvation is guaranteed to the Church i.e. the body Jesus’ believers, a promise that is secure not in the hands of man but in the hands of God Himself.

Eph 4:30
And do not make God’s Holy Spirit sad; for the Spirit is God’s mark of ownership on you, a guarantee that the Day will come when God will set you free.

Jeremiah 32:40
And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.

1Peter 1:3-5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

As for all the heresies that have stemmed out and turned apostate from the believing Church 1John 2:19 has this to say in regards to them:

1John 2:19
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

So these are these are the 5 points of elementary Christianity colloquially known as the TULIP concept of Calvinism. As you may have noticed though this is purely elementary, it has great depth.

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