These five points are still at the heart of biblical theology. God will keep me. 6) God works to cause his elect to persevere. And it is irrevocable. . He means for her to feel ravished with the specificity of his affection that he set on her before the world existed. For it is the elect for whom he died with this immeasurable design of everlasting love. Scripture scarcely mentions anything that may be thought to give support to Molinism, while teaching perfectly clearly that God works all things, even the evil actions of people who act with full responsibility, after the counsel of His own will. For he loves thee too little who loves anything together with thee, which he loves not for thy sake. Placing God’s Free Knowledge logically posterior to His Hypothetical knowledge enables God to consider the worlds in which He can create. The point I am making is that not all the promises of the new covenant depend on the condition of faith. In His power and wisdom, He chooses that possible world, that total combination of individuals and circumstances, whose expressions of free will best serve His purposes. Romans 14:23 says, “Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (see note in the next paragraph). This is a radical indictment of all natural “virtue” that does not flow from a heart humbly relying on God’s grace. To experience God fully, we need to know not just how he acts in general, but specifically how he saves us — how did he save me? But the new covenant, bought by the blood of Christ, teaches something very different. The answer is God’s ongoing work, not my ongoing commitment. It is because God chose us before the foundation of the world that he purchases our redemption at the cross, and then gives us spiritual life through irresistible grace, and brings us to faith. If we want to go deeper in our experience of God’s grace this is an ocean of love for us to enjoy. The new covenant will not be broken. It is certain that this will happen. Paul puts it this way: “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6). There is no doubt that man could perform more evil acts toward his fellow man than he does. In the death of Christ, God secures a definite group of unworthy sinners as his own people by purchasing and guaranteeing the conditions they must meet to be part of his people. The church of the living God, rightly taught, is to be “a pillar and buttress of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). To this end, I have gathered here some testimonies of what these truths have meant to some great Christians of the past. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” Similarly, the parable of the four soils as interpreted in Luke 8:9–14 pictures people who “hear the word, receive it with joy; but these have no root, they believe for a while and in time of testing fall away.”. The answer is found in all these texts. Persevering in faith does not mean that the saints do not go through seasons of doubt and spiritual darkness and measures of unbelief in the promises and the goodness of God. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh. . The elect will fight that fight. So David freely took evasive action, and Saul freely gave up the expedition against David when he learned of what David had done. And John says, “If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life. And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”, Notice that Jesus says the reason he said (back in John 6:44) that “no one can come to me unless it is granted him (=is drawn) by the Father,” is to explain why “there are some of you who do not believe.” We could paraphrase it like this: Jesus knew from the beginning that Judas would not believe on him in spite of all the teaching and invitations he received. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 3) These truths make me marvel at my own salvation. He can disobey. One of the reasons I am jealous for this doctrine of limited atonement or particular redemption is that I want the bride of Christ to be properly moved by the particular love that Christ had for her when he died. His commentaries and Institutes of the Christian Religion are still exerting tremendous influence on the Christian church worldwide. There is something about true grace in the believer’s heart that makes us want to give all the glory to God. Perhaps this foretaste will awaken some sense of why I believe these truths magnify God’s precious grace and give unspeakable joy to sinners who have despaired of saving themselves. Knowing the seriousness of our disease will make us all the more amazed at the greatness of our Physician. You will notice that I am changing the traditional order of T U L I P. The I stands for irresistible grace and usually comes fourth. Therefore he is saying that his death is designed especially for those for whom he is praying. . God does not choose them, and therefore God cannot effectually convert them. It might be helpful for some readers to summarize the meaning of each of the five points briefly before we go into more biblical detail. Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews. So I say: This cannot fail. . “He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance” (Hebrews 9:15). Election refers to God’s choosing whom to save. No. Apart from conversion, no one comes to the light of God. Muslims or Hindus or hardened European post-Christian secularists are not more dead than any other “natural man.” And God does the impossible. If you get help, then you will be drawn back to the rest of it. . This personal experience of the reality of irresistible grace helps people grasp more quickly what these five points are all about. The more you feast on his fellowship, the hungrier you are for deeper, richer communion. Criticism. . That’s why I say that the new covenant people are created and preserved by God. For we were not capable of meeting the condition of faith. John 17 points in the same direction. . These are the words of a man who loves the truth of irresistible grace, because he knows he is utterly undone without it. That is sin, even if the external deed itself accords with God’s will. You begin to see how closely this doctrine of the atonement is connected with the previous one, irresistible grace. 5) 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.”. “Hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9) means: Cause people who are not hallowing your name to hallow your name. Satisfaction at the deepest levels breeds a holy longing for the time when we will have the very power of God to love God. 4) These truths make me alert to man-centered substitutes that pose as good news. That is where I hope you will end up anyway: reading and understanding and loving and enjoying and obeying God’s word, not my word. I love how the ESV reads in Romans 5:15-18:. This means that the resistance that all human beings exert against God every day (Romans 3:10–12; Acts 7:51) is wonderfully overcome at the proper time by God’s saving grace for undeserving rebels whom he chooses freely to save. . . Subscribe to Desiring God: Cynicism may deepen in society, but it will not overtake the church. And we don’t abandon it by saying, all we have to offer the world is God’s general love for all people. He was the pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London and the most famous pastor of his day — and a Baptist at that. God does not mean for the bride of his Son to only feel loved with general, world-embracing love. Why? David’s companions were fearful and so David enquired a second time. In other words, running straight through the Gospel of John is the truth that God the Father and God the Son decisively draw people out of darkness into light. “May your word run and be glorified” (2 Thessalonians 3:1) means: Cause hearts to be opened to the gospel. It is true that all election is in relation to Christ. Then the frustrations of inadequate love will be over. 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. He is not trusted for the resources, though he gives them all. by Henry Bettenson (London: Oxford University Press, 1967), p. Those whom he justified he glorified. But if God gives him repentance, he cannot resist because the very meaning of the gift of repentance is that God has changed our heart and made it willing to repent. Desiring God Pastor Allan Kircher Shell Point Baptist Church 26 August 2013 "With my soul have I desired thee in the night. We love the whole panorama of his perfections. The aim is not to depress or to discourage or to paralyze. Now consider the flow of Paul’s thought again in Romans 8:30. If it says, “Live!” it creates life. In fact, we know that God knows how to give us the best gifts because Jesus equates what God gives us with how a loving father cares for his own children (Matthew 7:7–12, Luke 11:9–13). Which means that the doctrine of irresistible grace is the great hope of answered prayer in the lives of people for whose salvation I plead. In other words they are called in such a way that they no longer regard the cross as foolishness but as the wisdom and power of God. Then we experience the irresistible grace of God leading us toward faith. This is irresistible grace. There are no dropouts in this sequence. If placed in one set of circumstances, God knows what Jones would freely choose. This is what we mean by irresistible grace. Caiaphas the high priest is speaking more truly than he knows, John says. You remind him to wash the car before he uses it to take his friends to the basketball game tonight. He has not left us to ourselves to confirm our calling and election. And . I sometimes ask people: Why do you believe you will wake up a Christian tomorrow morning? Seeing God’s sovereign purpose worked out in Scripture, and hearing Paul say that “[he] works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11) makes me see the world this way. In other words prayer is based on God’s ability to overcome human resistance. To my great astonishment I found that the passages which speak decidedly for election and persevering grace, were about four times as many as those which speak apparently against these truths; and even those few, shortly after, when I had examined and understood them, served to confirm me in the above doctrines. So the so-called Five Points were not chosen by the Calvinists as a summary of their teaching. In Romans 7:18 Paul says, “I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.” This is a radical confession of the truth that in our rebellion nothing we think or feel is good. Their faith will prove them to be among the elect. Also the wording of verse 5 suggests the election of people to be in Christ, and not just the election of Christ. I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and him crucified, unless we preach what is nowadays called Calvinism. I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. . Man is dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). In other words, individual eternal destinies are indeed at stake. And we know he uses the human means to do it. This is what we mean by the necessity of perseverance — the statement that we must persevere. This is the natural way to read the verse. . “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) is not a contradictory prayer. That is what we ask him to do. The upshot of this understanding of the new covenant is that there is a definite atonement for the new covenant people. . 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