Priscilla's Blog

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Archive for the category “Doctrine of Grace”

The Office of the Law

The purpose of the Law, after Christ, can be summarized as follows:

1. To convict the believers of their sin, consequently to REPENTANCE, leading them to run to the cross, and hide safely under Christ’s RIGHTEOUSNESS; this is how a believer secures eternal life.

2. To convict the unbelievers of trespassing, make them FLEE from Christ in arrogance, for they are puffed-up of their OWN righteousness, consequently judged on their OWN merit and condemned for eternal damnation!

The Scared Scripture clearly says that it is IMMPOSSIBLE to keep-up the law, for NONE, not even one is righteous under the Law! And, at the same time, without Law NONE will know sin either!

Romans 7:7 – “I would NOT have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, ‘You shall not covet’.”

In simpler words:

1. When do you repent?

When I’m convicted of my sin, and need a CLOSURE.

2. How do you know that you are sinning?

The LAW tells me that I broke one!

3. Do all people repent?

Maybe, but only the BORN-AGAIN believers have a closure.

4. What happens when you are born-again?

A NEW Spirit is given to me.

5. Do you stop sinning after you are born-again?

NO, I can’t stop sinning because my flesh (which is not regenerated) constantly REBELS against my regenerated Spirit!

6. How do you know you are sinning?

The Law tells me that I broke one, AGAIN and AGAIN!

7. Does that mean you are continuously repenting?

Yes I am, and plead for forgiveness THROUGH Christ, and I get the closure.

8. Repenting, even after you are born-again?

Only after I was born-again I started to repent seriously, BTW!

9. Are you righteous?

YES

10. But you are still sinning, how could you be righteous?

I am sheltering under Christ’s righteousness, therefore I am DEEMED righteous! This is called justification.

11. So technically you are still a sinner?

YES, I am.

12. At the same time you are a saint?

YES; all His ‘predestined elects’ who were ‘called’ are saints.

13. You don’t have to worry about repenting, after all the Law has NO POWER over you, right?

The Law does not have the power to DECREE me to death, because Christ’s atonement on the cross covers the penalty for my sins! But, without the Law convicting me, I will NOT know the sin, consequently I will NOT repent!

14. Why do you need to repent, after all your Salvation is secured under Christ, right?

There is something called sanctification, its part of the regeneration process, preparing me for my glory; repentance does this work, by constantly reminding ‘who saved me’ (Christ, by his blood on the cross) and ‘who I am now’ (belong to my Savior for eternity).

15. So when will you stop repenting, in other words, when will the Law stop convicting you of sin?

When my body stops rebelling against the Spirit.

16. When will that happen?

When I am given a new body that obeys the Spirit.

17. When will you get that new obeying-body?

When I resurrect gloriously, after my death! 🙂

Romans 8:30 – “whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified”.

Purified Seven Times

 
Yes, as the Psalmist says, indeed “The words of the Lord are PURE words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, PURIFIED seven times.”
 
Unfortunately we do not treat the sacred words of the Scripture with reverence, we stretch them to suit our changing times! We twist them to meet our requirements! We even completely toss them out as ‘irrelevant’ and replace them with commonsense-driven populist slogans, so that the audience don’t get offended, but feel attracted to it;  even feel good about it! It is called marketing in the corporate world, we call it Gospel in the Christendom! – But by any definition, this is HERESY!
 
The word ‘Heresy’ BTW, in scripture, is from the Greek root haireomai, which literally means ‘a choosing’, i.e., a choice of one side over the other (by a faction, party or a sect). Hence, heresy refers to any doctrine that departs from essential Christian truths in disunion with the established laws of God. Parties, sects, factions and even individuals holding to such caustic doctrines, alienate themselves from the body of Christ, and they are called Heretics.
 
Heresy is not a simple matter, it not only deviates from the truth, it even recreates counterfeit entities to match the heretic doctrines! In essence, the heretics create a new ‘god’ for themselves who differs from the God of the scriptures! My objective here is to list the differences of one such entity: the Counterfeit Christ and the True Christ; in other words, the difference between the “Christ of the Heretics” and the “Christ of the Scriptures”:
 
Christ of the Heretics Christ of the Scriptures
1. Loves every individual person in the world and sincerely desires their salvation. 1. Earnestly loves and desires the salvation of only those whom God has unconditionally chosen for salvation.

Ps. 5:5,  Ps. 7:11,  Ps. 11:5,  Matt. 11:27,  John 17:9-10,  Acts 2:47,  Acts 13:48,  Rom. 9:10-13,  Rom. 9:21-24,
Eph. 1:3-4 
2. Offers salvation to every sinner and does all in his power to bring them to salvation. His offer and work are often frustrated, for many refuse to come. 2. Effectually calls to Himself only the elect and in sovereignty brings them to salvation. Not one of them will be lost.

Isa. 55:11,  John 5:21,  John 6:37-40,  John 10:25-30,  John 17:2,  Phil. 2:13 

 
3. Cannot regenerate and save a sinner who does not first choose Christ with his own “free will.” All men have a “free will” by which they can either accept or reject Christ. That “free will” may not be violated by Christ. 3. In Sovereignty regenerates the elect sinner apart from his choice, for without regeneration the spiritually dead sinner cannot choose Christ. Faith is not man’s contribution to salvation but the gift of Christ which He sovereignly imparts in regeneration.

John 3:3,  John 6:44 & 65,  John 15:16,  Acts 11:18,  Rom. 9:16,  Eph. 2:1,  Eph. 2:8-10,  Phil. 1:29,  Heb. 12:2 
4. Died on the cross for every individual person and thereby made it possible for every person to be saved. His death, apart from the choice of man, was not able to actually save anyone for many for whom he died are lost. 4. Died for only God’s elect people and thereby actually obtained salvation for all those for whom He died. His death was a substitutionary satisfaction which actually took away the guilt of His chosen people.

Luke 19:10,  John 10:14-15 & 26,  Acts 20:28,  Rom. 5:10,  Eph. 5:25,  Heb. 9:12,
 I Peter 3:18

 
5. Loses many whom he has “saved” because they do not continue in faith. Even if he does give them “eternal security,” as some say, that security is not based upon his will or work but the choice which the sinner made when he accepted Christ. 5. Preserves His chosen people so that they cannot lose their salvation but persevere in the faith to the very end. He preserves them by the sovereign electing will of God, the power of His death, and the mighty working of His Spirit.

John 5:24,  John 10:26-29,  Rom. 8:29-30,  Rom. 8:35-39,  I Peter 1:2-5,  Jude 24-25

Requoting Psalmist, again: “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”

Amen.

The Easter Egg

Passover Seder is a Jewish ritual feast conducted at the beginning of the Passover. During which, the Seder Plate, a special plate, is kept on the dinner table, containing 6 special items,  each representing a symbol. One of which is a roasted egg, symbolizing the festival sacrifice that was offered in the Temple of Jerusalem. As many of you know already, Catholics have a tradition of associating a lot of miracle legends with Mary. And, one of it was that she brought the above-mentioned cooked eggs, following the Jewish Passover tradition, to share with other women when she visited Christ’s tomb on the day of resurrection. It so happened that miraculously all the eggs turned red when she saw the risen Christ! This legend also extended to add that, Mary went to the Emperor of Rome and greeted him with “Christ is risen”, pointing to an egg on his table, which too supposedly turned blood red! Consequently, early Orthodox and Eastern Christians greeted each other in the same way with decorated eggs on Easter day as a sacred tradition. Obviously since Protestantism came from Catholicism, many of these traditions sneaked-in, inspite of the best efforts made by the reformers admonishing everyone to leave the baggage behind! Not only this, a whole lot of other garbage came along, including Santa Claus, and freewill! Keeping aside this mess, Muslims and Jews (who are brothers of the same family of Abraham, by the way) on their part always attempt to diminish the significance of Christ; the Jews attempt to humanize the birth of Christ and the Muslims attempt to discard His resurrection! The foundation of Christianity rests on these beliefs that Christ was born of Virgin Mary and resurrected on the third day of his death. These are so important facts, that to avoid heresy, the Apostles specifically put these two facts in their creed and made every believer confess them explicitly as a statement of belief and acknowledgement, so that Christ’s divinity is not eclipsed in anyway! That is why the tradition of reading this creed is still followed even today in all Christian churches – both for liturgical and catechetical purposes.By eliminating these two significant theological facts, our dear Jewish and Muslim brethrens,  could easily bring down the pillars of Christianity and make  the Gospel of Christ just another pagan fable! Sadly in their attempt in doing so, they adapt disgusting techniques, such as associating pagan stories & myths with good Christian traditions and festivals, even take movies such as Da Vinci Code, to trivialize Christ as a common man who was once married and had a child! What they are failing to understand is that, Christianity is not based on days and customs, rather built on Christ and His salvation. Hence, on Christmas day, no matter when it is marked on the calendar, we rejoice that a Redeemer is born for us. On Good Friday, no matter on what day of the week it falls, we remember that He paid the price for our sins, and on Easter, whether we roll the eggs or not, we know that we could boldly sing:

“O Death, where is your sting?”
“O Hades, where is your  victory?”!

So, let us not fall for these traps and distractions, and take our eye off the ball – CHRIST!
The Seder Plate
St. Mary Magdalene holding a red Easter egg

People of The Book

1. There was a group of people who spoke a specific set of language dialect, such as Hebrew, Arabic etc., called the Semitic language. They had a Big Book, composed of a collection of small books; books of historical accounts, social laws, books of genealogy, books of songs, proverbs and prophecies – part of it was called the Torah. The Israelites owned it, it was their lifeline; be it war or peace, they always referred only to it. This book was so important, that a specific tribe was completely dedicated to guard its affairs, i.e., none of them in that tribe did anything else, generations after generation. All for the book.

2. Zero-AD: Christ’s dominion began! No one expected an earthquake with the arrival of a simple carpenter! But it did tremble the earth… Prophesies were fulfilled. Hope and Salvation became a common term! Crosses burned, lions fed, but death became a sweet fragrance and they kept on singing! All for the book.

3. Christ-ians added a bunch of more books (mostly letters, revelations and historical accounts pertaining to Christ) to the big book, called it The Bible and owned it for themselves! They didn’t stop there…, like the Semite tribes, referred to it for everything! Not surprisingly, it also led their anger direct over the Semites themselves (for crucifying Christ), hence were born the Crusaders. They ran over the Semites (over both Hebrews and the Arabs, after all, both these tribes were descendants of the same father, Abraham) ruthlessly; All for the book.

4. The book’s percepts soon became the de facto norm and center of everything for the Christians (hence came the name Catholic from Latin/Greek roots meaning universal), that they iron chained it, for it is exceptionally holy, and kept it to the preview of a very few dedicated ‘so called experts’ for centuries, dispensing only the interpretations to the peasants. They ran their kingdoms with that, ran their wars with that, built their social laws with that, and so on… and on, even many fraternal organizations and secret societies were formed, like the Freemasons, Knights Templar, Order of the Temple, etc., to guard the artifacts related to this book, and the book’s content itself from being tampered. All for the book.

5. As expected, the desire for the book grew rapidly, and the people felt that they needed to know the Truth and more, with no interpretations and interpreters in between them and this book! Soon the chains were broken (the Protestant Reformation) and the book was freely printed and published to the peasants against all odds (The French Revolution, the first printing press). Nations burnt, kingdoms fell, and the truth strengthened the common folks; they became the underdog! But, it was not easy; some hid underground, some were banished, some even fled to unknown nations (current USA, for example) with their newly printed Bible (commonly called The Good Book), fearing confiscation by the state and conviction for committing ‘heresy’; – all for the book.

6. 2010-AD: Many have read the Good Book, translated it in most earthling-languages (2,936 and counting, as of today) and took the great commission fervently to spread the good news that there is ‘Hope’ for mankind. Many eyes were opened; Christianity stands as the largest practiced religion on earth! All by the Book.

7. For its believers, the content of the Good Book is either Inspired, Enlightened or Revealed by the Almighty, hence it is referred to as The Word, with reverence. The holders of the book became so dependent on the Word, so much so, that they always ‘quote’ the book! For this reason (and for some unknown reasons) some observers, such as the Muslim brethrens, call the Christians as the People of The Book!

Next Stop After Death

This is another crap that I received in my mailbox yesterday, couldn’t resist refuting it (see my response below):

~DEATH~
WHAT A WONDERFUL WAY TO EXPLAIN IT..
A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to
Leave the examination room and said,
‘Doctor, I am afraid to die.
Tell me what lies on the other side.’
Very quietly, the doctor said, ‘I don’t know.’
‘You don’t know? You, a Christian man,
do not know what is on the other side?’
The doctor was holding the handle of the door;
On the other side came a sound of scratching and whining,
and as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room
and leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.
Turning to the patient, the doctor said,
‘Did you notice my dog?
He’s never been in this room before.
He didn’t know what was inside.
He knew nothing except that his master was here,
and when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.
I know little of what is on the other side of death,
but I do know one thing…
I know my Master is there and that is enough.

===============================================================================

My response:

Many things we do, we think are there by accident! For example the love that we show to our beloved ones, we think that it is just another attribute like hatred, compassion etc… Least that we realize that our brains are dumb like a goat that when God says he loves us like his children, we will have no clue what it is unless we ourselves experience what that thing called love is! Therefore, these emotions that we show to our beloved ones, including the anger when they betray us or the fear of their separation due to our/their death etc…, are purposely programmed into our brains just to get a glimpse of what these emotions-in-full will be like with our life in heaven, that’s why one time Christ rebukes that if even a cunning earthly father will not give a snake if his son asks for a fish, how much more our heavenly father will care for us!The essence is: fear of death is a natural phenomenon that is supposed happen, not because what is unknown on the other side (because believers do know what’s on the other side) but mainly because we love our beloved ones and fear to leave them alone or fear of being alone without them. Well sometimes due to our fallen nature, we also feel that we are leaving behind many of our valuable assets, when nothing is valuable than salvation, but as with believers, they do fear the separation of their beloved ones! Hence, all this feel-good rhetoric that “my master is on the other side” doesn’t work for us fallen humans because as mentioned before we are programmed to feel attached to our dear ones and fear death. All we have to remember is, just as Paul put it rightly, that what we see and what do are shadows of things to come, in other words our fear and love are imperfect worldly clones of perfect heavenly counterparts, hence it is ok to fear death because we are humans and we are imperfect and don’t like to be separated from our beloved ones.

I guess this stupid dog analogy is for the unbelievers, maybe!!
 

Did GOD create SARS, Aids, Bird Flu etc..??

An article emailed to me by a dear friend Abigail; felt that it made some sense. Anyway, I have also shared my thoughts (below) about this article.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The article: We have all become paranoid!!!!!!
At first, it was the terrorists and now it’s SARS. Did the terrorists actually create that big damage ? Did SARS actually kill a lot of people ? Yes, September 11 saw a few thousand people being killed but more people died in the war in Iraq. Out of the 3,000 or so people who are infected by SARS, only about 4-5 in a 100 died. In Fact, the Nipah virus 1 ½ years ago were more fatal. So what is creating all this havoc that many flights have to be cancelled and hotel rooms became empty ? Share markets are being affected and growth rate for countries have to be readjusted downward.
Some people start to avoid the health workers. Taxis refused to pick up nurses. Some community leaders even told their followers not to shake hands with people ! Even the dead is not spared – In Thailand, there was a huge protest preventing a deceased SARS patient from being cremated in case the virus will spread through the air ! To answer the question, I would like to use the following story to describe the present situation:-
Once there was a plague on its way to London to kill the residents there. On the way, he met a fellow traveler who ask him “Mr. Plaque, where are you going and for what purpose ? “I’m going to London to kill 5,000 people” said the Plaque. And each went their own way. On his return journey, the traveler once again met the Plaque and began to question him “Mr.Plaque, you told me that you are going to kill 5,000 people in London but I was told that 500,000 people died, how is that ?” “Oh” said the Plaque, “I actually only kill 5,000 people but the other 495,000 people died of FRIGHT !”
As one American President once said, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself !” Isn’t it very true of the situation in the world today? Many are engulfed by the fear of terrorism and now by the fear of SARS. Each of us has a choice. Do we like to live in fear or do we like to live a life of confidence ? Does it make any sense to live a life in constant fear? Is that what we want ? Are we really living if we are fearful of death everyday? Come to think of it, each day we live we are actually one day closer to our death. So whether we like it or not one day we have to die. The question is are we going to live each day in constant fear of our death or are we going to live in full confidence until that fateful day comes. Remember what Shakespeare said “Cowards die many times before their death!” May the courage be with you.
Your traveler in time
Billi
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Here is my thought:
 
Billi (author of the article) implies that “fear can be conquered if reasoned” hence we may have “a choice either or not to fear”.
 
Well I would classify fear in two different ways:
1) Fear can be caused about uncertainty of an event, i.e., if we don’t know about certain outcome.
2) Fear can be caused about certainty of an event, i.e., if we know about the outcome!
 
Interesting irony is that items 1 and 2 are compliment to each other, hence (mathematically) we fear both when we “know” and “don’t know” about an outcome! Meaning fear has nothing to do with “knowing” or “not knowing” but the outcome itself! Well…well, keeping aside the rhetoric let me go to the point that I want to make:
Item-1 causes fear because ‘uncertainty breeds assumptions (fearful assumptions)’. Unable to see the SARS through naked eye, even though we may not have been infected, we assume that one way or other it’s gonna get us, hence we fear!
Item-2 causes fear because ‘certainty breeds anxiety’. When SARS finally gets us, we know for sure that we are gonna die soon, hence we fear! In both the cases, if we observe carefully, we actually fear the outcome; the “death” and not the SARS. In that way Billi is right, but his optimistic approach that we have a choice (wishful thinking that SARS will not get me) will not help item-1, neither his pessimistic reasoning that ‘death is inevitable’ (I got SARS, so what?) will not help item-2. Fear WILL reign and win in either case!!
Is there a way out? Yes:
1) I believe that all events (including the ones that affect me) are governed by the Creator. What I call “an accident” (or imagine that I caused it though my will) is actually a planned incident in my book of life. In short, “I have no choice”. This defeats item-1!
2) I believe that all events (including the ones that don’t affect me) is designed to work for my good. What I call “an unfortunate” is a planned blessing-in-disguise in my book of life. In short, “I am the clay in the Skilled Potter’s Hand”. This defeats item-2. mmm.…. did I say that I defeated fear? I guess not, I just “used” it in a complex way… … but it still exists and it should exist!
 
Ok, on the lighter side, it helps me control my children! They fear the vacuum cleaner and I turn on the vac to keep them from jumping around and tearing the whole house down! Isn’t it odd that things that we fear actually do good to us, in some strange way! 🙂
 
~ Priscilla
 
—– Original Message —–
From: “Abigail”
To: “Priscilla Edward”
 
Dear Priscilla,
It is difficult to agree that a gracious God will inflict pain in my life so that He can mould me. Many a times human suffering is a result of human actions. Living in this sinful and corrupted world itself brings so much of pain to our lives. I affrim that God is sovereign and reigns in all situations but that does not mean SARS comes from God lah. I think as children of God we can look at tough circumstances and thank God for the way He stayed with us and carried us through. Of course at times we learn valuable lessons as a result of the struggle. Take care.
 
—– Original Message —–
From: “Priscilla Edward”
To: “Abigail”
 
Dear Abby,
 
I do understand your stand: This difference of opinion you put forth is the common stand taken by all ‘freewill’ pro-opponents. Some believe that theological difference between believers are rather insignificant, but I don’t. I believe that the opinions and beliefs a believer subscribes to leans very much on the fundamental theological versions that they believe! (a kinda tongue-twister uh?) What I’m trying to say is that knowingly or unknowingly our theological fundamentals in most part govern our rhetoric and even define our rationale. With this biased sunglasses we even go to the extent of defining the very core of Gospel completely justifying our theological stand! This dispute has been going on for centuries between denominations and will continue to grow until the test of fire will prove who has built on sand and who has built on rock!
 
For instance your statement “I affirm that God is sovereign and reigns in all situations” (emphasizing on the word ‘all’) is very much in line with reformed (my) thinking, but we immediately differ 180 degrees in the very next sentence “but that does not mean SARS comes from God”; for me if it is not from God then from whom does it come from? From Satan? From the Japanese? hehehe… If you were right, God does not reign over everything because things like SARS (which comes from someone else) will always be challenging God as he has to protect us from this outbreak which happened outside His realm! This leads to the analogy that God has a plan for this earth (and it’s creatures) but it’s being constantly messed up by someone (either equally or more powerful than God) hence God has to protect us, kinda looks like a checker game of defense! That’s not the definition of “sovereign”.
 
Reformers believe that ‘Sovereign’ means everything ‘inclusive’. It’s Man’s fallen nature with his pride which refuses to accept this supremacy of God. Why because it reduces humans to worms and clay (according to the Word), which is unacceptable to our arrogant mind. The Word stands testimony to the fact that even Satan is under my Almighty’s control and sovereignty. There are no ‘buts’ and ‘ifs’ to His reign. Hence the same hand that created Man, also created SARS, also created AIDS. But why?
 
Well… that’s the answer every ‘free-willian’ ever wants to know,
…and the question that every ‘reformer’ never wants to ask!
 
Love,
Priscilla

Battle Between Flesh And The Spirit

—–Original Message—–

From: Priscilla

To: ArulMozhi

Mmm…. looks like you have got yourself into a conflicting mess, I guess. Yes, flesh and spirit always clash and in all cases flesh will win, as long as we live; hence there is no point in attempting to “conquer” as some hermits do. Well, this does not mean that we can completely stop resisting the conquest, but my point is that the flesh is not the “flesh” that the dictionary defines. For instance, people always try to separate “thought” and “action”; e.g., “sinful thought” and “sinful action”. What they fail to understand is that both are the same, after all, action is the manifestation of thought and it is the root of all actions! In other words, just because the thought has not manifested into action, it does not mean that the consequences of the uncommitted action are absent (maybe in mortal terms, but not true in the spiritual realm). So this idea of binding action alone to flesh is incomplete. Flesh encompasses the thought as well as the action that proceeds from the same thought. Hence conquering action should start from conquering the thought, which you know how futile would that attempt be!!

More confused than before, uh??…..

Regards,

Priscilla

p.s. With no surprise, this rationale holds good for righteousness as well. Although incomparable to the purity of heaven, the 2 cent offering by the poor woman was considered an act of rigorousness than a pompous contribution by the rich (hope you can recollect this incident in the Bible)

—– Original Message —–

From: ArulMozhi
To: Priscilla

Hi Prisci,

I really appreciate your reply. There is a profound reality to it. I appreciate your sincerity and truthfullness. Accepting what life offers is just great. Acceptance is the key word here.

There has always been the fight between the will and the mind and Adam did decide to go for the forbidden fruit and from that day we moved further away from eternal peace.

Good to hear that you are pretty busy. Has the school started for your son? How is your daughter doing? probably running around and testing out what can be broken:-)

Arul 

—–Original Message—–

From: Priscilla Edward
To: ArulMozhi

….BTW, Adam when accepted his wife’s offer to sin he did not fight between his will and his mind (you mean spirit and flesh I guess); he just did it because he CHOOSE to ignore his subordination to God and CHOOSE to rebel against the HIM (the authority) by CHOOSING to obey his subordinate (his wife & the serpent). I know what you are thinking; yes he did have the freewill to choose between “dos” and “don’ts” before the fall. The fight between the spirit and the flesh started after the fall as the consequence of the curse. In fact, the thing that we call “fight” between the spirit and flesh is actually the rebel that the flesh (subordinate) is putting against the spirit (the authority), exactly the same way how he did it against his the authority. This is the current pathetic state of a human who cannot have the flesh obey his own spirit, for that matter the entire creation which was supposed to be subordinate to him actually rebels against him! Nevertheless, because of one sacrifice (the LAMB of God) this curse will been be removed and we will be given a new body that which obeys the spirit. When? Upon resurrection!

Good topic to ponder and keep you busy too…

Regards,

Priscilla

The Five Points of Calvinism

There are two mains camps of theology within Christianity in America today: Arminianism and Calvinism. Calvinism is a system of biblical interpretation taught by John Calvin. Calvin lived in France in the 1500’s at the time of Martin Luther who sparked the Reformation.

The system of Calvinism adheres to a very high view of scripture and seeks to derive its theological formulations based solely on God’s Word. It focuses on God’s sovereignty, stating that God is able and willing by virtue of his omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, to do whatever He desires with His creation. It also maintains that within the Bible are the following teachings: That God, by His sovereign grace predestines people into salvation; that Jesus died only for those predestined; that God regenerates the individual where he is then able and wants to choose God; and that it is impossible for those who are redeemed to lose their salvation.

Arminianism, on the other hand, maintains that God predestined, but not in an absolute sense. Rather, He looked into the future to see who would pick him and then He chose them. Jesus died for all people’s sins who have ever lived and ever will live, not just the Christians. Each person is the one who decides if he wants to be saved or not. And finally, it is possible to lose your salvation (some Arminians believe you cannot lose your salvation).

Basically, Calvinism is known by an acronym: T.U.L.I.P.

Total Depravity (also known as Total Inability and Original Sin)
Unconditional Election
Limited Atonement (also known as Particular Atonement)
Irresistible Grace
Perseverance of the Saints (also known as Once Saved Always Saved)

These five categories do not comprise Calvinism in totality. They simply represent some of its main points.

Total Depravity:

Sin has affected all parts of man. The heart, emotions, will, mind, and body are all affected by sin. We are completely sinful. We are not as sinful as we could be, but we are completely affected by sin. The doctrine of Total Depravity is derived from scriptures that reveal human character: Man’s heart is evil (Mark 7:21-23) and sick (Jer. 17:9). Man is a slave of sin (Rom. 6:20). He does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12). He cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). He is at enmity with God (Eph. 2:15). And, is by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3). The Calvinist asks the question, “In light of the scriptures that declare man’s true nature as being utterly lost and incapable, how is it possible for anyone to choose or desire God?” The answer is, “He cannot. Therefore God must predestine.”

Unconditional Election:

God does not base His election on anything He sees in the individual. He chooses the elect according to the kind intention of His will (Eph. 1:4-8; Rom. 9:11) without any consideration of merit within the individual. Nor does God look into the future to see who would pick Him. Also, as some are elected into salvation, others are not (Rom. 9:15, 21).
Limited Atonement:

Jesus died only for the elect. Though Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient for all, it was not efficacious for all. Jesus only bore the sins of the elect. Support for this position is drawn from such scriptures as Matt. 26:28 where Jesus died for ‘many’; John 10:11, 15 which say that Jesus died for the sheep (not the goats, per Matt. 25:32-33); John 17:9 where Jesus in prayer interceded for the ones given Him, not those of the entire world; Acts 20:28 and Eph. 5:25-27 which state that the Church was purchased by Christ, not all people; and Isaiah 53:12 which is a prophecy of Jesus’ crucifixion where he would bore the sins of many (not all).

Irresistible Grace:

When God calls his elect into salvation, they cannot resist. God offers to all people the gospel message. This is called the external call. But to the elect, God extends an internal call and it cannot be resisted. This call is by the Holy Spirit who works in the hearts and minds of the elect to bring them to repentance and regeneration whereby they willingly and freely come to God. Some of the verses used in support of this teaching are Romans 9:16 where it says that “it is not of him who wills nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy”; Philippians 2:12-13 where God is said to be the one working salvation in the individual; John 6:28-29 where faith is declared to be the work of God; Acts 13:48 where God appoints people to believe; and John 1:12-13 where being born again is not by man’s will, but by God’s.

Perseverance of the Saints:

You cannot lose your salvation. Because the Father has elected, the Son has redeemed, and the Holy Spirit has applied salvation, those thus saved are eternally secure. They are eternally secure in Christ. Some of the verses for this position are John 10:27-28 where Jesus said His sheep will never perish; John 6:47 where salvation is described as everlasting life; Romans 8:1 where it is said we have passed out of judgment; 1 Corinthians 10:13 where God promises to never let us be tempted beyond what we can handle; and Phil. 1:6 where God is the one being faithful to perfect us until the day of Jesus’ return.

Calvinism also maintains that because of our  fallen nature we are born again not by our own will but God’s will (John 1:12-13); God grants that we believe (Phil. 1:29); faith is the work of God (John 6:28-29); God appoints people to believe (Acts 13:48); and God predestines (Eph. 1:1-11; Rom. 8:29; 9:9-23).

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