Quotes from early church against free will

Barnabas (A.D. 70): “God gives repentance to us, introducing us into the incorruptible temple.”

Ignatius: “Pray for them, if so by they may repent, which is very difficult; but Jesus Christ, our true life, has the power of this.”

Justin Martyr (A.D. 150): “Having sometime before convinced us of the impossibility of our nature to obtain life, hath now shown us the Savior, who is able to save them which otherwise were impossible to be saved…Free will has destroyed us; we are sold into sin.”

The Doctrine of Election by Dr. C. D. Cole

 Election! — What a blessed word! What a glorious doctrine! Who does not rejoice to know that he has been chosen to some great blessing? Election is unto salvation — the greatest of all blessings. And strange to say, this is a neglected truth even by many who profess to believe it, and others have a feeling of repulsion at the very mention of this Bible-revealed, God-honouring, and man humbling truth. Spurgeon said, “There seems to be an inveterate prejudice in the human mind against this doctrine, and although most other doctrines will be received by professing Christians, some with caution, others with pleasure, yet this one seems to be most frequently disregarded and discarded.” If such were true in Spurgeon’s day, how much more so in this our day. Concerning this doctrine there is an alarming departure from the faith of our Baptist fathers. Touching this article of our faith Baptists have come to a day when they have a Calvinistic creed and an Arminian clergy.

A Doctrine to love  But there are some who love the doctrine of Election. To them election is the foundation dug deep for the other doctrines of human redemption to rest upon. They love it enough to preach it in the face of criticism and persecution. They will surrender their pulpits rather than be silenced on this precious tenet of the once delivered faith. But all who love the doctrine were once haters of it, therefore, they have nothing in which to take pride. Every man by nature is an Arminian. It takes the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, taught by the Holy Spirit, to cause a man to love the doctrine of election. How deeply important that believers should be learners. To do this we must acknowledge the superior wisdom of God whose thoughts are not as our thoughts. The Bible was given to correct our thinking. Repentance is a change of mind resulting in a change of thinking. We are not to come to the Bible as critics; the Bible is to criticize us. We cannot come to the Bible infallibly, but by grace we can come humbly. May grace be given to every writer and reader that we may have the right attitude of heart before God. The surest evidence of a saved state is to have the right attitude towards the Word of God.

 No middle Way The doctrines of grace have found expression in two systems of theology commonly known as Calvinism and Arminianism. These two systems were not named for their founders, but for the men who popularized them. The system of truth known as Calvinism was preached by Augustine at an earlier date, and before Augustine by Christ and the Apostles, being especially emphasized by the Apostle Paul. The system of error known as Arminianism was proclaimed by Pelagius in the fifth century. Between these two there is no middle position; every man is either one or the other in his religious thinking. Some try to mix the two but this is not straight thinking. To say that we are neither Calvinistic nor Arminian is to evade the issue. Paulinism is represented by either Calvinism or Arminianism. The true system is based upon the truth of man’s inherent and total depravity; the false system is based upon the Romish dogma of free-will.

General Remarks to Disarm Prejudice There is no doctrine so grossly misrepresented. Brother A.S. Pettie’s complaint against the enemies of total depravity is equally applicable here, when he says, “From hostile lips a fair and correct statement of the doctrine is never heard”.

The treatment that the doctrine of election receives from the hands of its enemies is very much like that received by the primitive Christians from pagan Roman Emperors. The ancient Christians were often clothed in the skins of slain animals and then subjected to attack by ferocious wild beasts. So the doctrine of election is clothed in an ugly garb and held up to ridicule and sport. We will now try to strip this glorious truth of its false and vicious garment with which enemy hands have robed it, and put upon it the garments of holiness and wisdom.

1. Election is not salvation but is unto salvation. “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election (elect) hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded” (Ro. 11:7). “God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation” (2Th. 2:13). Now then, if the elect obtain salvation, and if election is to salvation, election must precede salvation. Men are saved when they believe on Christ not when they are elected. Roosevelt was not president when he was elected, but when he was inaugurated. There was not only an election to, but an induction into the office. God’s elect are inducted into the position of saintship by the effectual call, (the quickening work of the Holy Spirit) through which they become believers in the Gospel. See:1Co 1:29 2Th 2:13,14

2. Election is not the cause of anybody going to hell, for election is unto salvation. Neither is non-election responsible for the damnation of sinners. SIN is the thing that sends men to hell, and all men are sinners by nature and practice — sinners altogether apart from election and non-election. It does not follow that because election is unto salvation that non-election is unto damnation. SIN is the damning element in human life. ELECTION HARMS NOBODY.

3. Election belongs to the system of grace. In Paul’s day there was a remnant among the Jews who were saved according to the election of grace (Rom. 11:5). The attitude of men towards election is the acid test of their belief in grace. Those who oppose election cannot consistently claim to believe in salvation by grace. This is seen in the creeds of Christendom. Those denominations that believe in salvation by works have no place for the doctrine of election in their confessions of faith; those that believe in salvation by grace, apart from human merit, have not failed to include election in their written creed. One group is headed by the Roman Catholics, the other group is headed by the Baptists.

4. Election does not prevent the salvation of anybody who wants to be saved. But the distinction needs to be made between a mere desire to escape hell and the desire to be saved from sin. The desire to be saved from hell is a natural desire — nobody wants to burn. The desire to be saved from sin is a spiritual desire resulting from the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, and God’s electing grace is the very mother of this desire. To represent election by saying that God has spread the Gospel feast, and a man comes to the table hungering for the bread of life; but God says “No, this is not for you, you are not one of my elect”,is to misrepresent the Holy Doctrine. Here is the truth — God has spread the feast but the fact is nobody wants to come to the table. “They all with one consent began to make excuse”. God knew just how fallen nature would act, and He took no chance on His table being filled, so, He tells His servant to go out and compel them to come (Luke 14:23). Were it not for the redemptive work of Christ there would be no Gospel feast; were it not for the compelling work of the Holy Spirit there would be no guests at the table. A mere invitation brings nobody to the table.

5. Election means that the destiny of men is in the hands of God. Many of us have regarded as an axiom the statement that every man’s destiny is in his own hands. But this is to deny the whole tenor of Scripture. At no time is the destiny of the saint in his own hands, either before or after he is saved. Was my destiny in my own hands before I was saved? If so, I regenerated myself; I resurrected, by my own power, myself out of a state of sin and death; I am my own benefactor and have nobody to thank but myself for being alive and saved. Perish such a thought! By the grace of God I am what I am. Joh 1:13 Eph 2:1-10 2Ti 1:9 Jas 1:18

Is my destiny in my own hands now? Then I will either keep myself saved or I will lose my salvation. The Bible says we are kept by the power of God through Faith. 1Pe 1:15 Ps 37:28 Joh 10:27-29 Php 1:6 Heb 13:5

If my destiny is not safe in my own hands after I am saved then how could it be thought to be safe in my own hands before my conversion?

The saint dies, his body is consigned to the grave and becomes a dust-heap. Is his destiny in his own hands then? If so, what hope has he of ever coming out of the grave with an immortal and incorruptible body? None at all if his destiny is in his own hands.

Such a theory, that the destiny of the saint is or ever has been in his own hands, reverses the very laws of nature and implies that water can rise above the level of its source; that man can lift himself into the attic by his boot-straps; that the Ethiopian can change his colour, and the leopard can remove his spots; that death can beget life; that evolution is true and God is a liar. The theory that one’s destiny is in his own hands begets self-confidence and self-righteousness; the belief that destiny is in the hands of God begets SELF-ABNEGATION AND FAITH IN GOD.

Some False Views Examined and Refute Many professing Christians really have no view of election. They have not given it enough thought and study to even have any opinion about it. Many have erroneous views. We shall notice some of them.

1. The view that men are elected when they believe — This view is easily refuted for it is contrary to both common sense and Scripture. Election is to salvation, and therefore, must precede salvation. It is nonsense to talk about electing a man to something he already has. The man has salvation when he believes and hence election at that point would not be necessary. ELECTION TOOK PLACE IN ETERNITY; SALVATION TAKES PLACE WHEN THE SINNER BELIEVES.

2. The view that election pertains only to the Jews — This view robs Gentiles of the comfort of Romans 8:28-29

Moreover, Paul, who was an apostle to the Gentiles, says that he endured all things for the elect’s sakes that they might obtain salvation. 2Ti 2:10

3. The view that election took place in eternity, but that it was in view of foreseen repentance and faith. According to this view, God, in eternity, looked down through the ages and saw who would repent and believe and those who He foresaw would repent and believe were elected to salvation. This view is correct in only one point, namely, that election took place in eternity. It is wrong in that it makes the ground of election to be something in the sinner rather than something in God.

Read Eph 1:4-6 where election and predestination are said to be “According to the good pleasure of His will” and “To the praise of the glory of His grace”.Eph 1:4-6

This view, thought the popular one with the majority of Baptists today, is open to many objections. (I) It denies what the Bible says about man’s condition by nature. The Bible does not describe the natural man as having faith.1Co 2:14 Joh 3:3

Both repentance and faith are gifts of God, and God did not see these graces in any sinner apart from His purpose to give them. “Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins”, Acts 5:31 “When they heard these things they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, `Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life'”, Acts 11:18. “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledgement of the truth” 2Ti 2:25. See also:Eph 2:8-10 1Co 3:5

Election was not because of foreseen faith, but because of foreseen unbelief. It is not the election of God’s faithful ones, but the faith of God’s elect, if we are to keep Scriptural words. Titus 1:1

(ii) It makes the human race differ by nature, whereas, the Bible says, we are all by nature the children of wrath and all clay of the same lump. Eph 2:3 Ro 9:21. Men are made to differ in the new birth. John 3:6

(iii) It perverts the Scriptural meaning of the word “foreknowledge”. The word as used in the Bible means more than foreknowledge about persons, it is the foreknowledge of persons. In Ro 8:29,30, the foreknown are predestined to the image of Christ, and are called, justified and glorified. In 1Pe 1:2, the word for “foreknowledge” is the same as “foreordain” in the twentieth verse of the same chapter, where the meaning cannot be “foreknowledge” about Christ. God’s foreknowledge about persons is without limitations; whereas, His foreknowledge of persons is limited to those who are actually saved and glorified.

(iv) It is open to the strongest objection that can be made against the Bible view. It is often asked, “If certain men are elected and saved, then what is the use to preach to those who are not elected?” With equal propriety we might ask, “If God knows who is going to repent and believe, then why preach to those who according to His foreknowledge, will not repent and believe?” Will some repent and believe whom He foreknew would not repent and believe? If so, He foreknew a lie.

Right here is the weakness of much of modern missions. It is based upon sympathy for the lost rather than obedience to God’s command. The inspiration of missions is made to rest upon the practical results of missionary endeavour rather than upon the delight of doing God’s will. It is the principle of doing a thing because the results are satisfactory to us.

If we are faithful, God is as pleased with our efforts as when there are no results. Ponder 2Co 2:15,16

The elect prior to their conversion are known only to God. We are to preach the gospel to every creature because He has commanded it. He will take care of the results. Compare with: Is 55:11 1Co 3:5,6 Joh 6:37-45

It is ours to witness; it is His to make our witnessing effective.

  The Doctrine Defined, Explained and Proved What is election as the term is used in the Bible? Election means a choice — to select from among – to single out – to take one and leave another. If there are a dozen apples in a basket and I take all of them there has been no choice; but if I take seven and leave five there has been a choice. Election, as taught in the Bible, means that God has made a choice from among the children of men. In the beginning God set His choice upon certain individuals, whom He gave to His Son, and for whom Christ died as their substitute, who in time hear the Gospel and believe in Christ to life everlasting. Let us amplify by raising three very pertinent questions.

1. WHO DOES THE ELECTING? Who chooses the persons to be saved? If men are chosen to salvation, as the Scriptures affirm, who does the choosing? There must be an election or universalism. The language of Scripture seems peculiarly definite in reply to this question. Mark 13:20 speaks of the ELECT, whom He ELECTED, rendered in our version, “The elect’s sake whom He hath chosen”. The word election is associated with God not with man. God is the CHOOSER, His people are the CHOSEN, and grace is the source. The theology, that God votes for us, the Devil votes against us, and that we cast the deciding ballot is entirely outside the pale of Scripture teaching, and is almost too ridiculous to notice. Joh 15:16 2Th 2:13 Eph 1:4

2. WHEN WAS THE ELECTING DONE? For the answer we are shut up to the Scriptures. But the BIBLE answers with sunlight clearness.

In Eph 1:4 we read that “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world”. The expression, “before the foundation of the world is found in Joh 17:24, where it speaks of the Father’s eternal love for the Son, and in 1Pe 1:20, where it refers to the eternal determination of the Divine mind concerning the death of Christ. There are many similar expressions. ELECTION IS ETERNAL! Re 13:8 2Th 2:13 2Ti 1:9

3. WHY WAS THE ELECTING DONE? Was it on the ground of something good in the sinner? Then nobody would have been elected for there is none good. Holiness is not the cause but the effect of election. We are chosen that we should be holy not because we are holy (Eph 1:4). Nor, as we have already seen, is election in view of foreseen repentance and faith. Election is the cause of repentance and faith and not the effect of these graces. To say that God chose men to salvation because He foresaw that they would repent and believe and be saved is to attribute foolishness to the infinitely wise God. It is as if the president should issue a decree that the sun must rise tomorrow because he foresees that it will rise; or as if a sculptor should choose a certain piece of marble because he foresaw that it would make itself into the image he wanted. We challenge any Arminian to raise these questions and get his answers from the Scriptures.

Objections Considered and Answered Many are the objections brought against this doctrine. Sometimes the objectors are loud and furious. Alas! that so many of these objectors are in Baptist ranks. To preach this old-fashioned doctrine of our faith as did Bunyan, Fuller, Gill, Spurgeon, Boyce, Broadus, Pendleton, Graves, Jarrell, Carroll, Jeter, Boyce Taylor and a host of other representative men of our denomination is to court the bitterest kind of opposition. John Wesley himself never said harsher words against this blessed tenet of our faith than do some so-called Baptists of today. Arminianism that offspring of popery, has had an abnormal growth in the last decade or two as the adopted child of a large group of Baptists.

1. IT IS OBJECTED THAT OUR VIEW OF ELECTION LIMITS GOD’S MERCY. Right here we criticize the critic, for he who makes this objection limits both God’s mercy and power. He admits that God’s mercy is limited to the believer, and to this we agree; but he denies that God can cause a man to believe without doing violence to the man’s will, and thus he limits God’s power. We believe that God is able to give a man a sound mind (2Ti 1:7) and make him willing in the day of His power. (Ps. 110:2)

At this point we must face two self-evident propositions. First, if God is trying to save every member of Adam’s fallen race, and does not succeed, then His power is limited and He is not the Lord God Almighty. Second, if He is not trying to save every member of the fallen face, then His mercy is limited. We must of necessity limit His mercy or His power, or go over boots and baggage to the Universalist’s position. But before we do that, let us go “to the law and to the testimony”, which says, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion…Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy and whom He will He hardeneth” (Ro 9:15-18).

It needs to be said for the comfort and hope of great sinners, that God’s mercy is not limited by the natural condition of the sinner. All sinners are dead until God makes them alive. He is able to take away the heart of stone. No man is too great a sinner to be saved. We can pray for the salvation of the chief of sinners with the assurance that God can save them if He will. “The King’s heart is in the hands of the Lord as the river of water; He turneth it whither soever He will” (Pr 21:1). We rejoice to say with Jeremiah that there is nothing too hard for God. We can pray for the salvation of our loved ones with the feeling of the leper, when he said, “Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make me clean” (Mt 8:2). When Robert Morrison was about to go to China, he was asked by an incredulous American if he thought he could make any impression on those Chinese. His curt reply was, “No, but I think God can.” This should ever be our confidence and hope when we stand before sinners and preach to them “CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED”.

Basics of Sovereign Grace

    I. TOTAL DEPRAVITY: When Adam sinned by disobeying and eating the forbidden fruit in the garden (Genesis 3), death and sin was passed upon the whole human race. We are born bound by sin, and are unable to do any good thing while in this unsaved condition. For the unsaved person even the works which seem to be good are considered by God worthy only to be burned. In this condition we are totally unable to do any good thing toward God, including by our own ability believing on Christ for our salvation.A. Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”B. Romans 5:18 “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation….”

C. Genesis 6:5 “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

D. Psalm 51:5 “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Note: David’s parents were married to each other when David was conceived. It was not sin for his :rather to have sex with his father and become pregnant. David is expounding on the fact that we have all inherited Adam’s sin from conception.)

E. Romans 3:9-19 “…..for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; as it is written, ‘There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood:destruction and misery are in their ways.: and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes.’ Now we know that what thing soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”

F. I Corinthians 2:14 “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

G. Romans 8:5-8 “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death: but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

H. Ephesians 2:1-2 “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:”

I. Romans 6:20 “For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.”

CONCLUSION: Since we are all decedents of Adam, death and sin was passed upon all of us at conception. Therefore, the unsaved who are in the flesh are servants of sin, free from righteousness, condemned, and unable to please God. They cannot perform any act to acquire freedom from that sin, so as to be saved. Since they cannot please God while they are in the flesh, they cannot of their own ability or faith believe on Christ nor receive Him as Savior.

II. UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION: Since it is impossible for totally depraved people to choose Christ, all who will be saved must be saved solely by God, without any act on our part, because to do anything to promote our own salvation would be a good work. It is impossible for one who cannot please God and is dead in sin, to do the good act of believing and accepting Christ as Savior. That act would please God and totally depraved man, in his unsaved state, cannot please God. God must make the person’s spirit alive by the power of the Holy Spirit in order to give that person the ability to believe and receive Christ as Savior. Since it is clear that not everyone will be saved, it is logical to assume that only some will be saved. If the unsaved cannot do anything to acquire this salvation, and only God can give life to a spirit, we must agree that He only imparts His salvation. to  some of the people. Before forming the world, God chose all who will be saved, not by any good works that He saw they would do, nor for any merit of their own, nor, because He saw that they would choose Him, but for the “good pleasure of His will.”

A. Ephesians 1:4-‘5 “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” (If he chose and predestined everyone, he has failed to accomplish making everyone holy and without blame, because there are people in Hell today. This passage says nothing about choosing us, but depending on us to choose him, in order to accomplish his will.)B. Ephesians 1:11 “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”C. Ephesians 2:8-11 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

D. Romans 8:29-30 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Note: God’s predestination is not based on his foreknowledge of those who will accept Him; but, rather He knows whom He predestinated before the foundation of the world.- Eph. 1:4-5; John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me:” If He elected because He knew who would accept Him as Savior, His election would be based on the person’s work of accepting Him, making Eph. 2:8-11 void.)

E. Romans 9:11 “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election  might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;” (Speaking of God electing Jacob and hating Esau.)

F. Romans 9:15:16 “For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” (Read Romans 9:17-26) (We are not saved because of our will, nor our work-“runneth”, but of God who shows mercy to His elect.)

G. We see election in the story of Noah. Noah and his family were the only people allowed on the ark. No one was told that if they would repent, they would be welcomed on the ark and be saved from the flood. Genesis 6 & 7. Everyone on Earth except Noah and his family died in the flood.

H. We see election when the Death Angel passed through Egypt. Only the Hebrews were told to spread the blood of the lamb on their door posts.(symbolic of Christ’s shed blood) Only the Hebrews were spared the death of their first born. Exodus 11 & 12.

I. When Joshua led the Hebrews through battles to conquer the land, they were instructed to kill every living thing in the cities. Only Rahab and her family were spared, as they stayed inside of the house which displayed the scarlet thread.(symbolic of Christ’s blood) No one else was invited to be saved by going inside the house, not even “innocent” children. Joshua 2.

J. When God said He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot was not to invite everyone to come with him because God was going to destroy the cities. Only his daughters, sons-in-law, and wife were warned. Lot’s sons-in-law thought that he was joking, when he told them that everything there would be destroyed. They didn’t understand it to be true, therefore, they didn’t leave. It was not because they “chose” to stay and be destroyed, but they didn’t believe this was true. If they had believed, they would have left. Lot, his wife, and his other daughters, lingered, hesitating to leave. God was merciful to them. The angels took them by their hands and forced them to leave. The angels did not bother with the daughters and their husbands who did not understand Lot’s warning. No one else was invited, nor even warned of the impending disaster. Everyone else in the city had no choice, but to perish. The city was no doubt inhabited by children, infants, and expectant mothers,  those considered to be “innocent”. God chose (elected) all those who would be saved from the destruction. Genesis 19.

K. John 6:44-45 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets. And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” (God does not draw everyone everywhere to be saved. Everyone does not hear, nor learn of the Father, because clearly, everyone does not come to Him. He does not say, “has the opportunity to come.” He says “cometh unto me.”)

L. John 6:37-40 “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (Christ will do the Father’s will without fail. It does not say “might come to me”; it says “all that the Father giveth me SHALL come to me.” Clearly, the Father doesn’t give everyone to the Son, else, everyone would come to Christ. If some who are given to Christ do not come, this Scripture would be a lie.)

M. John 6:65 “And he (Christ) said, Therefore said I unto you that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.”

CONCLUSION: Before He made the world, according to the good pleasure of the Father’s will, He chose all of those who would be saved. This election was not based on foreseeing that they would accept Him, nor anything the elect would do, but solely because it pleased God. His election was without respect of persons, and includes all types and races of people. (Revelation 7:9) His election is sure and cannot be thwarted in any way.

III. PARTICULAR REDEMPTION: (Christ died to redeem the elect only): All people are born separated from God. Since God is totally righteous and will not tolerate sin, it is impossible to unite totally sinful man with Him. Because God loves His elect so much, He desires to cleanse them from their sin and unite them with Him. (God does not love everyone. Example: Rom.9:11-13-God loves Jacob, but hates Esau. Psalm 5:5,6 God hates all workers of iniquity and abhors the bloody and deceitful man. The world that God loves in John 3:16 is translated from the Greek word “kosmos”, which has many meanings. One meaning is “an orderly arrangement”. “Kosmos” has been translated into “world” in many passages which clearly are talking about different kinds of worlds. Example: I John 2:15 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” The world that we are instructed not to love is “kosmos”. If we love “kosmos” the love of the Father is not in us. Christ is one with the Father, so has the same love as the Father. The meaning of “kosmos” in this passage must be different than the “kosmos” or “world”, in John 3:16, which God loves so much that He gave His only Son to save. God would not instruct us NOT to love something that He loves. Since Esau, the workers of iniquity, and the bloody and deceitful man, whom God hates, are part of this world, “kosmos” in John 3:16 cannot mean the entire human race, but rather, “an orderly arrangement”.

To reconcile the elect to Himself, God chose to place all of the sins of all of the elect on His Son, Jesus Christ and put their sins to death on the cross. This choice was also made before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20). Mary, a virgin, was chosen to conceive the Son of God by the Holy Spirit. God’s Son Jesus Christ, who had no sin of His own, was born God in the flesh, to take the sins of the elect upon himself. He had to be born in human form to be able take the sins of the elect upon himself, and suffer the judgment and punishment of the Father, because of sin. When He died, Christ was judged in the place of the elect, thereby buying pardon for the guilty elect. He was raised from the dead totally free from our sin. Our sin was not resurrected with Christ. This assures us that God’s elect will, at the time of their salvation, receive God’s forgiveness, based on Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. His righteousness is imputed to his elect and they become holy before God, heirs and joint heirs with Christ. In other words, they become the Father’s child, just as Christ is His Son. They do not become deity, but rather one who  inherits everlasting life.

Christ died and rose again to redeem the elect from their sins. His overcoming death, assures that the elect will also be raised from the dead in the last day. They will be raised unto eternal life, just as Christ was. Christ did not die for the sins of every person who would be born, to make it possible for everyone to be saved. If He did, then His death would have failed for the ones who never receive Him as Saviour. Christ never fails. He died for the sins of the elect to make their salvation certain. Every elect child of God will, at God’s appointed time, receive Christ in faith, when God, the Holy Spirit, gives life to their spirit. (I John 2:2 speaks of Christ being the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. John is making it clear to his readers that there are others for whom Christ died, not only for the ones to whom the epistle was written, “my little children”. The word “world” is also translated from kosmos, meaning an orderly arrangement. If it meant everyone ever born, the following scriptures would be void.)

A. Luke 1:67-79 Zacharias (John the Baptist’s father) prophesied by the Holy Ghost of the coming Lord. vs. 68 “…for he hath visited and redeemed his people.” vs.77 “to give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins.” (His people are the ones whom the Father has given Him. John 6:37)

B. Ephesians 5:1-2 “Be ye therefore followers of God as dear children: and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.” (Christ gave himself for the ones whom He loves. Remember Esau and the workers of iniquity; he hates them, therefore did not give himself for them.)

C. Ephesians 1:4-12 This passage speaks of those who God chose, predestined, and redeemed. vs. 7 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace:” The passage makes no mention of anyone other than those whom He chose, having redemption.

D. Matthew 20:28 “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Notice it does not say “everyone”.)

E. John 10:1-18 In this passage, Christ tells the people that he is the shepherd and his chosen are the sheep. He elaborates that he knows his sheep and they know him. Not everyone is considered a sheep, because not everyone knows Christ. “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep:”

F. John 10:25-30 Christ continues representing himself as the good shepherd and the elect as the sheep. He now makes a distinction between his sheep and those who are not his sheep. vs. 26-27 “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me:” (It does not say “might follow me.”)

G. John 17:9 “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” (The “world” spoken here is also from the original Greek “kosmos”. He obviously does not mean the ones whom He loved in John 3:16, else He would pray for them. This “kosmos” must mean the non-elect world, those whom He does not love. The world for which He is praying belongs to the Father-“for they are

H. Acts 20:28 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” (Christ purchased the church of God, not all of humanity. Clearly, everyone ever born will not be members of God’s church, else all would be saved and none would be damned.)

I. Romans 8:30 “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Only the predestinated, the called, and those who will be glorified, are justified. Justified means that their sins are forgiven. We are guaranteed that the predestinated people will be called, justified, and glorified. It is not upon the condition of our acceptance of these things.)

J. Romans 8:32 “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (The “all” spoken of must be “all of the elect” since this passage is speaking of the elect and does not mention those who are not the elect. The continuing passage in vs. 35-39 speaks of it being impossible to separate us from the love of God. We have already established that this couldn’t be the whole world, since God does not love everyone and is not united with everyone. Since God hated Esau, he was already separated from God’s love before he was born. At the same time, God loved Esau’s twin brother, Jacob, “that the purpose of election might stand.”)

CONCLUSION: If Christ had suffered and died for everyone who will ever be born, why would He die for those who have no possibility of ever being saved? Only those whom God has chosen will be saved, which is seen in the scriptures dealing with election. If Christ died for everyone, why did He not pray for everyone? He prayed only for those whom the Father had given him. It would make absolutely no sense for Christ to die for those who cannot be saved. If he did, then on their account, his death would have failed to accomplish its purpose. Christ never fails, only those elected by God can be saved, since it is He who gives eternal life, and clearly not everyone will be given this life. If Christ died for those who are not given to Him by the Father (John 17:9), then His death was not sufficient to save them. If our salvation is contingent upon our faith and acceptance, then His death is insufficient in itself and we would be saved by grace through our faith and our work of believing and accepting Christ. Eph. 2:8-9 establishes that neither the grace, nor faith is ours, but a gift of God. A gift is something that for some time one does not have, then it is given to that one, without the expectation of any kind of payment from the one who receives the gift, else it would not be a gift, but a purchase. Romans 12:3 “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure faith.” Notice that he is speaking to “every man that is among you”. He was speaking to a group of born again people, not to the general public. The purpose of the scripture is to show that we would not have faith, except God give it to us. It cannot be earned through any act.

How can God hold a non-elect person guilty, when they have no escape? Read all of Romans 9:9-24. Rom. 9:18 says, “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” We are the clay and God is the potter. Can the clay say to the potter, “Why have you made me thus?” God does as He wills and we must accept His will, for we can do nothing to change it. If we could, we would have power over God. He allows us to have our own way, sometimes, which usually turns out to be far inferior to His plan for us. It is said that “prayer changes things.” Scripturally, true prayer originates from God, is impressed upon us by the Holy Spirit, and comes from us as prayer. When true prayer is prayed, it is answered and God performs his will. (I John 5:14-15)

IV. IRRESISTIBLE GRACE: Because God has chosen those who will be saved and sent His Son to die for them, their salvation is assured. It is impossible for them to resist God’s salvation, at the time that God has appointed for them to believe and be saved. We can resist God, only as far as He allows us.

A. Romans 9:26 “And it shall come to pass, that in the place, where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.” (Not “might be”, but “shall be”.)

B. Isaiah 14:24 “The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it

C. Psalm 115:3 “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.” (We are chosen out of His good pleasure, Eph. 1:5. It does not say that He hopes He will accomplish whatsoever He pleases. It says that “he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.”)

D. Ephesians 2:5-6 “Even when we were dead in sins, he hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” (It does NOT say that we were alive enough to choose, then were offered the opportunity to be raised up and invited to sit together in heavenly places.)

E. Revelation 3:7 “….these things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;” (What of Rev. 3:20? “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” The passage is speaking of the Laodicean church who are neither cold nor hot. He rebukes them and tells them that He will spue them out of His mouth. He then tells them to buy gold from Him tried in the fire,(when we go through tribulation, we are purified as gold) white raiment to cover the shame of their nakedness, (we are to be clothed in righteousness) and to anoint their eyes with salve, that they may see (the Holy Spirit is the salve that heals and opens our eyes). Next, He says in vs. 19, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” He establishes the fact that they are His church, who are walking in sin. He tells them that He rebukes and chastens those whom He loves. He has clearly just rebuked them and tells them that they will be tried in the fire. Then, He tells them that He is standing at the door waiting to have fellowship with them. If they obey (are zealous and repent) He will come and sup (have supper or fellowship) with them. This passage deals with Christians walking in sin, not the unsaved who must open the door of their heart to Christ so that they can be saved. A dead person cannot open a door.)

D. Acts 16:14 “And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshiped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.”

E. Ezekiel 36:26-27 “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” (He is not being given a choice, rather God is telling him what will be done,.not what might be done.)

F. Isaiah 43:13 “Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?” (in other words, who can stop it?)

G. Deuteronomy 32:39 “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive: I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.”

H. Romans 8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Notice it does not say “might make me free”.)

I. Ephesians 1:4-12 This passage tells us that we have redemption through the blood of Christ. He made known unto us the mystery of His will. We have obtained an inheritance. The entire passage is directed toward His elect.

J. John 6:37 “ALL THAT THE FATHER GIVETH ME SHALL COME TO ME; AND HIM THAT COMETH TO ME I WILL IN NO WISE CAST OUT.” (How many that the Father gives Him will come to Him? ALL!)

K. John 6:40-41 “AND THIS IS THE FATHER’S WILL WHICH HATH SENT ME, THAT OF ALL WHICH HE HATH GIVEN ME I SHOULD LOSE NOTHING, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (The elect will believe when the Son is revealed to them. If they did not believe, then the Father’s will would not be done and Christ would lose one whom the Father had given Him. Psalm 115:3 assures us that the Father does whatever He pleases.)

L. John 6:44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (We cannot choose to come, unless the Father draws us. Those whom the Father does not draw, do not want to come to Him. Christ assures us that those whom the Father draws will be raised up at the last day. Their being raised is not contingent upon whether or not they choose salvation. The Scripture says they WILL be raised. Obviously, they will be saved.)

M. Philippians 2:13 “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (No one can will or do anything of God’s pleasure on their own. It is God that works this in a person. It is not a “free will” that pleases God, but His will in us.)

N. James 1:18 “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”

0. I Cor. 1:30-31 “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

CONCLUSION: Since salvation cannot be obtained without God’s election, it stands to reason that He will bring to pass that which He has purposed to do. To say that we have the ability to reject the salvation which God has secured through the death of His Son, is to say that our will can overpower God’s will, that we can keep Him from doing “whatsoever He pleases”. You may say that God has granted us the right to choose. The Bible teaches that God has made the elect believe by opening his heart and calling him to salvation. Without Christ’s work on the behalf of the elect, it would be impossible for anyone to believe.  That call to the elect brings life everlasting, which is certain. If it were possible for the elect to reject salvation forever, then the following passage would not be true. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” John 10:27-30. What about “whosoever will”? God makes us willing in the day of His power (Psalm 110:3). All those who are willing will come to Him, and He will receive them. The non-elect are never willing and they will never come to Him.

`What about Acts 16:31 “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved”? There are many such passages in the Bible and everyone of them is true. If we truly believe with the faith given us by God, we will be saved. If we believe with natural belief, we will not be saved. John 2:23-25 tells us of ones who believed, but God did not save them. “……many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.” These men believed only because they saw Christ’s miracles. The word translated from the Greek into “believed” in vs. 23 is the same word used in vs. 22 : “…his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had said.” Therefore, these men had the same kind of belief that the disciples had. Why did Jesus not commit Himself to them, as He had to the disciples?

Vs. 24-25 tell us that He knew all men and knew what was IN man. God given belief was not in these men, only natural belief. They saw the miracles, and for lack of another explanation, believed that He must be who He said He was. If another came working miracles, no doubt they would have been confused as to who the real Christ was. The Antichrist will come working miracles, and will be able to deceive even the elect, if it were possible. The non-elect will be deceived. Natural faith is faith based on available information that seems reasonable to us. We have faith that an airplane won’t crash when we fly in it. Odds are, we are safe, based on statistics of air travel. Sometimes, we have no statistics to compare, as was probably the case of the people who believed because of the miracles. They could not explain the miracles so they simply accepted the available explanation that Christ was from God. There was no eternal life in them. Many people logically accept the death of Christ on their behalf, so they will go to Heaven, or for some other self-serving purpose. They may even live a “church life”. They look at the options and review their information, then make a decision. This is what the men in the above passage did. This is not saving faith. Saving faith works repentance in the unsaved elect, making them see that they are against God. Saving faith reveals what is in their heart, causing them to hate their sin, repent and come to Christ, not for self-serving purposes, but because they truly desire to please God and be united with Him. Saving faith is a gift from God. It is NOT based on past experience, because no one ever used to be saved (see section following).    He gives His elect eternal life and gives them the gift of faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). If the men in John 2:23 had this gift of faith, Christ would have committed himself to them.

V. PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS: Since it is God’s purpose in election and the Lord Jesus Christ’s purpose in his death, to forgive the sins of the elect and unite them with Himself, those who are saved are given the power, through the Holy Spirit, to remain saved forever. It is impossible for one whom Christ has bought, the Father has called, and the Holy Spirit has sealed to ever be lost again. Christians do sin and must confess that sin to the Father. They have an advocate (one to plead their case), Christ Jesus, who is constantly making intercession for them to the Father, and obtaining forgiveness for every sin (I John :1). They are forgiven by God’s grace. Should Christians continue sinning that grace may increase? The lives of some would seem to indicate that is what they believe. The Apostle Paul compares it to the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:20-21 and Romans 6 tells us that if one is truly raised from being dead in sins to the newness of life in Christ, we are no longer bound (compelled without escape) to sin. The unsaved are bound to sin and will sin continuously. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” II Corinthians 5:21. Although the saved will commit sins, while they are still in their fleshly bodies, they are no longer bound to sin; Christ has made it possible for them to become the righteousness of God and escape sin. The saved are instructed throughout the Bible to flee from sin and not let sin reign in them. Those who are saved will grow to hate sin and will grow to be more like Christ. For some, it is a very slow process of trials, prayer, and study. For others, it is a very rapid process. Nonetheless, the saved will be made like Christ, being completed at His return. There are some who may appear to be Christians, but are fooling others, and possibly themselves. These will eventually fall away, as seen in the Scriptures below. When a saved person sins, God chastens him through guilty feelings, and the results of that sin. He will quickly become a very miserable person. If he still does not repent, God may take his life, rather than let him continue walking in sin, harming himself, others, and bringing a bad reproach on God’s name (Ezekiel 18:24). Those who are not saved, but are pretending, may for awhile seem to walk in righteousness, but will soon be made manifest that they are not of God.WHO WILL FALL AWAY?A. I John 2:19 “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”

B. Hebrews 10: 38-39 “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”

C. Romans 11:20 “… because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high minded, but fear.”

D. Hebrews 6:4-6 “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” (If a saved person could fall away, it would be impossible for him to be granted repentance again, causing him to keep his sin. Therefore, he could not ever be with the Father, who will not tolerate sin. He must be sent to Hell, which is made for those who retain their sin. This would make all of the Scriptures listed above about the salvation of the elect sure, a lie. It is impossible to be saved, lose your salvation, and be saved again.)

CONCLUSION: Those without faith, the unbelievers, who may walk awhile in Christian appearances, will eventually fall away. These are not the elect. Judas Iscariot is a prime example. He had all of the appearances of being a disciple, but turned against Christ and betrayed him.


E. John 5:24. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (words of Christ) (Everlasting life is life that lasts forever, without end.)

F. II Timothy 1:14 “That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.”

G. II Timothy 1:12 “…I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

H. I Peter 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

I. Ephesians 1:13-14 “In whom ye also trusted after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” ( The phrase “earnest of our inheritance” means that it is the proof that we will receive an inheritance. It is like the practice of putting earnest money down on a house you will buy. The earnest money is your promise that you will buy the house. The Holy Spirit is God’s promise that we will receive our inheritance, when the purchased possession, his elect, are redeemed.)

J. John 18:9 “That the saying might be fulfilled which he (Christ) spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.” (All that the Father gives to Christ will come to Christ and He will lose none of them.)

K. Romans 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (The love of Christ for his elect makes them able to conquer all of the temptations that are put before them. Nothing can separate them from that love.)

L. John 10:27-28 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall NEVER perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (No one can tempt a Christian to the point of losing his salvation, not even the Christian himself. It is impossible for a Christian to perish.)

M. John 3:15 “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

CONCLUSION: All that the Father gives to Christ will come to Him and will never be cast out (John 6:37). Christ promises eternal life to all of those who believe on Him and are the called according to His purpose. This means life without end. If Satan or anyone could take eternal life from the Christian, it wouldn’t be eternal life, but only temporary life. If it were possible for a Christian to lose his salvation, it would be impossible for him to be saved again. Hebrews 6:4-7.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO ALL OF THOSE WHO ARE NOT THE ELECT OF GOD WHOM CHRIST DID NOT DIE FOR, AND ARE NOT CALLED, JUSTIFIED, SANCTIFIED, AND GLORIFIED BY GOD? Revelation 20:10-15 “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened and another book was opened which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. AND WHOSOEVER WAS NOT FOUND WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE WAS CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE.”Christians will be judged according to their works. Their rewards will be according to their works. Those who have not received Christ as their Savior will be judged and sentenced to the lake of fire. Are you the elect? If you have the desire to know God and serve Him, not because of what you can get out of it, nor because of fear of being cast into the lake of fire (although it is natural to fear this), but because you desire to please Him, and be accepted by Him, you are. This desire must come from God, as He calls you to Himself by the Holy Spirit. Seek Him in prayer. If you come to God, through Jesus Christ, with saving faith, He will in no wise cast you out.

Arminianism and Calvinism Contrasted

The Five Points of Calvinism and Arminianism

The following is a comparison of the five points of Calvinism and the five points of Arminianism arising out of the Dutch Remonstrance controversy. The “Five Points” of Calvinism can be easily remembered by the acronym TULIP. Admittedly, this discussion favors the Calvinist side. This material originally appeared in “Romans: An Interpretative Outline (pp. 144-147), by David N. Steele and Curtis C. Thomas. Quoted from Loraine Boettner’s “The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination.” Permission to reproduce granted in the book.)


The “Five Points” of Arminianism

The “Five Points” of Calvinism

1. Free Will or Human Ability

Although human nature was seriously affected by the fall, man has not been left in a state of total spiritual helplessness. God graciously enables every sinner to repent and believe, but He does not interfere with man’s freedom. Each sinner possesses a free will, and his eternal destiny depends on how he uses it. Man’s freedom consists of his ability to choose good over evil in spiritual matters; his will is not enslaved to his sinful nature. The sinner has the power to either cooperate with God’s Spirit and be regenerated or resist God’s grace and perish. The lost sinner needs the Spirit’s assistance, but he does not have to be regenerated by the Spirit before he can believe, for faith is man’s act and precedes the new birth. Faith is the sinner’s gift to God; it is man’s contribution to salvation.

1. Total Inability or Total Depravity

Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature, therefore, he will not–indeed he cannot–choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, it takes much more than the Spirit’s assistance to bring a sinner to Christ–it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God’s gift of salvation–it is God’s gift to the sinner, not the sinner’s gift to God.

2. Conditional Election

God’s choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world was based upon His foreseeing that they would respond to His call. He selected only those whom He knew would of themselves freely believe the gospel. Election therefore was determined by or conditioned upon what man would do. The faith which God foresaw and upon which He based His choice was not given to the sinner by God (it was not created by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit) but resulted solely from man’s will. It was left entirely up to man as to who would believe and therefore as to who would be elected unto salvation. God chose those whom He knew would, of their own free will, choose Christ. Thus the sinner’s choice of Christ, not God’s choice of the sinner, is the ultimate cause of salvation.

2. Unconditional Election

God’s choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world rested solely in His own sovereign will. His choice of particular sinners was not based on any foreseen response or obedience on their part, such as faith, repentance, etc. On the contrary, God gives faith and repentance to each individual whom He selected. These acts are the result, not the cause of God’s choice. Election therefore was not determined by or conditioned upon any virtuous quality or act foreseen in man. Those whom God sovereignly elected He brings through the power of the Spirit to a willing acceptance of Christ. Thus God’s choice of the sinner, not the sinner’s choice of Christ, is the ultimate cause of salvation.

3. Universal Redemption or General Atonement

Christ’s redeeming work made it possible for everyone to be saved but did not actually secure the salvation of anyone. Although Christ died for all men and for every man, only those who believe on Him are saved. His death enabled God to pardon sinners on the condition that they believe, but it did not actually put away anyone’s sins. Christ’s redemption becomes effective only if man chooses to accept it.

3. Limited Atonement or Particular Redemption

Christ’s redeeming work was intended to save the elect only and actually secured salvation for them. His death was a substitutionary endurance of the penalty of sin in the place of certain specified sinners. In addition to putting away the sins of His people, Christ’s redemption secured everything necessary for their salvation, including faith which unites them to Him. The gift of faith is infallibly applied by the Spirit to all for whom Christ died, therefore guaranteeing their salvation.

4. The Holy Spirit Can be Effectually Resisted

The Spirit calls inwardly all those who are called outwardly by the gospel invitation; He does all that He can to bring every sinner to salvation. But inasmuch as man is free, he can successfully resist the Spirit’s call. The Spirit cannot regenerate the sinner until he believes; faith (which is man’s contribution) precedes and makes possible the new birth. Thus, man’s free will limits the Spirit in the application of Christ’s saving work. The Holy Spirit can only draw to Christ those who allow Him to have His way with them. Until the sinner responds, the Spirit cannot give life. God’s grace, therefore, is not invincible; it can be, and often is, resisted and thwarted by man.

4. Irresistible Grace or The Efficacious Call of the Spirit

In addition to the outward general call to salvation which is made to everyone who hears the gospel, the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation. The external call (which is made to all without distinction) can be, and often is, rejected; whereas the internal call (which is made only to the elect) cannot be rejected; it always results in conversion. By means of this special call the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man’s will, nor is He dependent upon man’s cooperation for success. The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ. God’s grace, therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended.

5. Falling from Grace

Those who believe and are truly saved can lose their salvation by failing to keep up their faith, etc.

All Arminians have not been agreed on this point; some have held that believers are eternally secure in Christ–that once a sinner is regenerated, he can never be lost.

According to Arminianism: Salvation is accomplished through the combined efforts of God (who takes the initiative) and man (who must respond)–man’s response being the determining factor. God has provided salvation to everyone, but His provision becomes effective only for those who, of their own free will, “choose” to cooperate with Him and accept His offer of grace. At the crucial point, man’s will plays a decisive role; thus man, not God, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.

5. Perseverance of the Saints

All who are chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept in faith by the power of Almighty God and thus persevere to the end.

According to Calvinism: Salvation is accomplished by the almighty power of the Triune God. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy Spirit makes Christ’s death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the gospel. The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.

by the Synod of Dort

This was the system of thought contained in the “Remonstrance” (though the “five points” were not originally arranged in this order). It was submitted by the Arminians to the Church of Holland in 1610 for adoption but was rejected by the Synod of Dort in 1619 on the ground that it was unscriptural.

by the Synod of Dort

This system of theology was reaffirmed by the Synod of Dort in 1619 as the doctrine of salvation contained in the Holy Scriptures. The system was at that time formulated into “five points” (in answer to the five points submitted by the Arminians) and has ever since been known as the “five points of Calvinism.”