Over the past few hundred years, there have been many debates and even fights about how salvation works. To me, this seems senseless because we have the Bible to consult … but then I must admit it depends who is reading the Bible and what would be their starting presuppositions be.
You see, if you don’t start reading the Bible with an open, teachable spirit, you will superimpose you beliefs onto the pages of Scripture and make Scripture say what you want it to say … and then, it would be extremely difficult for anyone to persuade you that you are wrong.
Those in what is known as the “Arminian camp” drew two deductions from their reading of Scripture.
- “Since the Bible regards faith as a free and responsible human act, it cannot be caused by God, but is exercised independently of him.”
- “That since the Bible regards faith as obligatory on the part of all who hear the gospel, ability to believe must be universal.”
They went on to say:
Man is never so corrupted by sin that he cannot savingly believe the Gospel when it is put before him; nor is he ever so controlled by God that he cannot reject it; God’s election of those who shall be saved is prompted by his foreseeing that they will of their own accord believe; Christ’s death did not ensure the salvation of anyone, for it did not secure the gift of faith to anyone [there is no such gift] … rather what it did was to create a possibility of salvation for everyone if they believe; It then rests with believers to keep themselves in a state of grace by keeping up their faith. Those who fall here are lost. What the Arminians did was make man’s salvation depend ultimately on man himself. This means that saving faith is seen as man’s own work and not because of God.
I wonder whether you can spot all the errors here. In 1618, the Synod of Dort gathered to pronounce on the “Arminian theology”. They wanted to address the theological issue starting with:
Jnh 2:9 Salvation comes from the LORD.
What they affirmed here was Calvin’s five counter-points that could be summarized as:
1) Fallen man in his natural state lacks all power to believe the gospel, just as he lacks all power to believe the law, despite all external inducements that may be extended to him.
2) God’s election is free, sovereign, unconditional choice of sinners, as sinners to be redeemed by Christ, given faith and brought to glory.
3) The redeeming work of Christ has as its end and goal the salvation of the elect.
4) The work of the Holy Spirit in bringing men to faith never fails to achieve its objective.
5) Believers are kept in faith and grace by the unconquerable power of God till they come to glory.
These five points are known as TULIP … T for Total depravity; U for Unconditional election; L for Limited atonement; I for Irresistible grace and P for the Preservation of the saints.
The argument between the two simply put is: Either God saves (Calvinism or TULIP) or God enables man to save himself (Arminianism). All the above might seem very technical and unnecessary to know about … yet getting it wrong reduces eternal salvation to a man-controlled matter and excludes God completely. Here is the Biblical proof for what has been called Calvinism or the Reformed Faith:
Eph 2:1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus
Only the Father, by the Spirit because of Jesus’ death can redeem lost man from Satan’s claws.
Joh 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you.”
Eph 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world.
There are no conditions as to who can and will be saved. God did not pick out good people or educated people or wealthy people. There were no conditions for who will be saved!
These are the words of the Lord Jesus
Jn 10:11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He lays down His life … He dies … for the sheep … for those the Father chose before the creation of the world.
Once again, the words of the Lord Jesus:
Joh 6:37 “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”
Everyone chosen (the elect) before the creation of the world shall come to Jesus because that person will be drawn to Jesus by the Spirit of God … no one can resist the grace of God!
Preservation of the Saints
Joh 10:28 “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
Once a soul is born again, that soul cannot be un-born-again! Just as when the Spirit comes to dwell within you as a Christian, guaranteeing your salvation … He cannot leave you and remove that guarantee.
Read through this Daily Note again and meditate upon the Scriptures given. TULIP is the greatest assurance of salvation you can have because it is thoroughly Biblical. May God grant you both comfort and joy as you understand the security you soul has through a Biblical Salvation.
Dear God, I understand that salvation is all of You. Help me to appreciate and cherish what I have in Jesus Christ. May I enjoy my salvation through loving and worshipping You all the more through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.