Monday, December 7, 2009

The Doctrines of Grace

God, who is glorious beyond description, has lavished His love on undeserving sinners with whom I readily identify. The salvation of sinful people is an act of God’s grace. In it He is magnificently glorified. His mercy and love are magnified as he forgives guilty sinners and His justice and wrath are magnified as He demonstrates His hatred of sin by not merely ignoring sins but by Christ bearing His wrath. Many people have a difficult time accepting the understanding of God’s grace that is sometimes called Calvinism. The basics of the Doctrines of Grace can be remembered by the acronym TULIP:

Total Depravity: This does not mean that all people are as sinful as they could possibly be, but that every aspect of human nature is infected and affected by our sinfulness. This is man's natural condition apart from any grace exerted by God to restrain or transform him.

We were dead in our trespasses. (Ephesians 2:5)

The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:7–8)

The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

Unconditional Election: God has chosen or elected some people to receive his grace of salvation based solely on the kind intention of His will and not on any condition met by the individual. In other words, God chose, before the foundation of the world, those that would be set free from the bondage of sin by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in repentance and faith.

He chose us in him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4).

As many as were appointed to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)

"I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. (Romans 9:15–16)

God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise. (1 Corinthians 1:27)

Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened. (Romans 11:7; cf. 9:11–12; John 6:37)

My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me. (Isaiah 43:10)

Limited Atonement: The atonement is the work of God in Christ on the cross whereby he canceled the debt of our sin, appeased his holy wrath against us, and won for us all the benefits of salvation. This atonement is available for all who will repent and believe. The atonement is available to all but will be effective for the elect bride for whom Christ died.

Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. (Ephesians 5:25)

I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:15)

I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. . . . And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. (John 17:9, 19)

Irresistible Grace: God in His sovereign grace destroys every barrier that would keep one from continuing in rebellion toward Him. This does not mean that He saves people against their wills but that He changes their wills so that they willingly receive Him.

Even when we were dead in our trespasses, he made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:5)

No one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father. (John 6:65)

God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 2:25
Perseverance of the Saints: Those that God has graciously chosen and saved will continue in the fight of faith; God will work in them so that they persevere.

Those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:30)

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:27–28)

I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)

I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. (Philippians 3:12)

Salvation truly is an act of the grace of God. May you rest in Him and pursue Him.


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