As many of you are already aware, the doctrines of grace are most commonly associated with the acrostic TULIP. Total Depravity: I used to think that I was a good Christian with a few problems here and there. The scriptures tell a different story. In fact, not only do they confirm a few problems, they make clear I am the problem!
Even our seemingly good and honorable actions cannot be understood apart from the context of a will that is in bondage to sin. Did you know that even the ability to even respond in faith to the gospel is a gift of grace? It was not until I began to understand my own depravity that I could start apprehending the grace and mercy of God.
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In this doctrine God has demolished and utterly obliterated any possibility of boasting. Salvation is of the Lord! Unconditional Election: Many of us think that we found God because we were searching. If any of us are ever searching for Truth, we can be sure that it is the power of God at work in us and certainly nothing of our own. John Newton, author of Amazing Grace said it best. God chose us before we ever did anything good or bad.
Why, in eternity past, He ordained that I should be an object of mercy and not wrath, I will never know. All I know is that it humbles me to the dust. Limited Atonement: Jesus did not die on the cross so that I would merely have the opportunity to one day be saved. He did not die on the cross to make my salvation merely possible. He did far more than that! Spurgeon said, "The doctrine of Holy Scripture is this, that inasmuch as man could not keep God's law, having fallen in Adam, Christ came and fulfilled the law on the behalf of his people; and that inasmuch as man had already broken the divine law and incurred the penalty of the wrath of God, Christ came and suffered in the room, place, and stead of his elect ones, that so by his enduring the full vials of wrath, they might be emptied out and not a drop might ever fall upon the heads of his blood-bought people.
What does that mean? We can add nothing to his finished work. Oh, how I bless God for that! The doctrine of irresistible grace teaches that all those who have been predestined for eternal life will come freely because they have been made willing by His grace.
He can make Christ look so compelling that our resistance is broken and we freely come to him and receive him and believe him. Perseverance of the Saints: Of the five doctrines of grace, this one has proven to be the most stabilizing. This doctrine teaches that if God redeemed us then He will keep us! The great Puritan William Secker said it well, "Though Christians be not kept altogether from falling, yet they are kept from falling altogether.
- Reformation Theology: Why I Love the Doctrines of Grace;
- Exposition of the Doctrines of Grace.
Our perseverance does not depend on our good works but on God who never changes and who is faithful! Do you see how these doctrines teach that God is sovereign over our salvation?
DOCTRINES OF GRACE – CATEGORIZED SCRIPTURE LIST
Do you see how they exalt Christ and dethrone man? It is, in every sense of the word, at all time, in all places, all of grace. There was a time when embedded deep within my theology, was the proud and lofty notion that there was something inherently good in me that merited salvation. Not only does such thinking lend to an unstable and schizophrenic kind of Christian experience, but it is an absolute affront to the sovereignty and grace of an almighty God! Today, I can look back, even upon my darkest days, and see the sovereign hand of God at work.
The Doctrine of Election and Predestination: Where Christians Agree and Disagree
The sovereignty of God encompasses everything that comes to pass -- including sin. He did that in Old Testament times and He does that today. He elects purely based on His will. He does not choose based on things that we consider important like good birth or good deeds or good intentions. Numerous passages in the Bible teach this. The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will. But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
These verses clearly teach that God elects some to salvation and not others. But, despite the clarity, there has been great uneasiness among Christians over this doctrine. The concept appears too frequent to deny it. This destroys the very meaning of the word, of course, for such election is really not election at all. It actually means that men and women elect themselves, and God is reduced to a bystander who responds to their free choice.
John Calvin disagreed with this idea centuries ago:. What could he [God] foresee, but this corrupted mass of Adam, that brings forth no other fruit but malediction. Take away election and what shall remain? As we have declared, we remain altogether lost and accursed. Others say that election is unfair. After all, if God were just, He would simply give everyone the ability to believe. The first is that God is under no obligation to elect anyone because everyone has sinned against Him and deserves to go to Hell. The justice of God, if it were to operate apart from any other factor, could do nothing other than to send every human being to hell.
Doctrines of Grace
In fact, apart from the electing grace of God and the gracious death of Christ, this is exactly what would happen. If any individual is to be saved, it must be by mercy only, and mercy falls in an entirely different category from justice. All are not given the same opportunities in life.
All men do not have the same access to the Bible and to good teaching. Election alone gives every man an equal playing field. It teaches that we are all unwilling and unable to come to God, therefore, God must choose us in order to save us. The third answer is that we do not ultimately know why God chooses who He does.
That has not been revealed to us.
Romans says:. Paul does not give us any further answers about how the election process works. For who resists His will? The Doctrines of Grace handles the Bible with tremendous integrity. The authors avoid this temptation and give a very faithful account of what the Bible teaches on this subject.
They also use lots of Bible passages in their study. Boice and Ryken write:. If God planned from eternity to save one portion of the human race and not another, which is what election affirms, then it is a contradiction to say that he sent his Son to die for those he had previously determined not to save in the same way that he sent his Son to die for those he had determined actually to save.
Election teaches that God chooses some to salvation and some to damnation. He did not come to save everyone. That would be like punishing one man for the same crime twice.
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As Charles Spurgeon put it:. How can God be just if he punished Christ, the substitute, and then man himself afterwards? It does not make sense for God to punish Jesus for the sins of those who are being punished in Hell. For example, John seems to teach that Jesus died for the entire world, when it says:.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. It is talking about Jews and Gentiles who will one day trust in the saving work of Christ. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
Some have taken this to mean that God wants save everyone but He lets every man decide for himself. In other words, Jesus died for all to give them the opportunity to repent. If Christ should come now, there would be generations of yet unborn people, containing generations of Christians yet to come, who would not be in heaven.
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