What do you do when you sin repeatedly? I’m not talking about daily failures and frustrations. I’m talking about what the literary world calls character flaws. What do you do when you see something about yourself — maybe it’s a quick temper, or an insecurity, or depression, or a sarcastic tongue, or a pattern of thoughtlessness. You learn that this trait exists in you and you decide to change it and it doesn’t work. So you resolve to be a better wife, or a better friend or a better student or a better daughter. You’re determined. You read all the books. You pray. You memorize verses. And you fail. Maybe not immediately. But eventually. Or maybe the effort to keep yourself in check takes such a toll that a different sin flares up, until you crack. What do you do? How do you handle that situation? Now some of you may be surprised that this type of failure would describe anyone at our church. But in fact it describes us all. It’s just that most of us are probably too spiritual to admit that we struggle with sin, especially if it’s a particular sin, that we’re aware of and we desire with all our heart to change.
So let’s say you resolve to try harder. You pray more. You enlist the support of friends and ask them to hold you accountable. And still, eventually, you slip and fail. Anger gets the best of you. Or that deliciously vicious sarcastic remarks spills from your lips. Or you take your husband for granted. Or you degrade your boss behind her back. Or you blow off a project or homework that you know you should be doing. Or you flirt with that married man at the Starbucks counter. Despite all your efforts, all your best intentions, all your resolve and you slipped up again. Now what? You will answer that question differently depending on your theology. You may not realize it, but which side you take on some basic theological questions makes a world of difference in how you live your life. You may never have thought these questions through. You may be inconsistent in how you live them out. But how you answer some basic questions determines how you respond when you’re faced with your own sinfulness. We’re going to talk about two of these questions today because they are raised by the opening verses of 1 Peter.
The opening verses of 1 Peter raise one of the basic questions of theology. Do I choose God or does God choose me. Notice in 3-5 God is the agent of everything. God caused us to be born again. God caused us to be born again according to His mercy. The result of God’s actions are that we have a living hope. We will obtain an inheritance (given to us by God) and we will obtain it because we are protected by the power of God. Nowhere in Peter’s summary of the gospel are we doing anything.
These distinctions form the basis of what we now call “Reformed Theology” which is the basis of our particular denomination. We’re going to talk about that question and as we do I’m going to introduce you to the 5 points of Calvinism. Hopefully this is review for many of you. If you are a member of our church, this should be something you’re familiar with. If you’re not a member, you may just want to know what kind of church you’re sitting in. If you’re considering joining our church, you ought to know what you’re getting yourself into.
My goal today is not to convert you to orthodox reformed theology, though that would be nice. We’re going to talk about some pretty controversial issues, which sincere Bible-believing Christians have been debating since the early days of Christianity. We are not all going to agree on everything. I will not be able to answer all your questions. I do not pretend to believe that I have all the answers nor do I have the market cornered on truth and understanding. My goal today is twofold: 1) that you would think through your own beliefs, understand the issues and know what you believe and why; and 2) that whichever side you land on, you understand the views of the other side. I’d like to ask you to set those two goals for yourself and your small group discussions. 1) Know what you believe and why and 2) understand the argument on the other side of the line.Also I should say that no one is going to kick you out of WitW or this church if at the end of the day, you land on the other side of reformed theology. We may enjoy debating the issue with you and seek to persuade you otherwise, but no one will ostracize you.Also realize that doctrine does not save us, the blood of Jesus does, which is a good thing because none of us has perfect theology. I certainly don’t. We’re all still learning and studying the Scriptures and seeking to further our knowledge, wisdom and understanding. So we debate these things with the humble position that we are like a class of kindergarteners debating who reads the best. The fact of the matter is we’re all still infants and one day God will grow us up into perfect understanding.
Reformed Theology is often summarized by the five points of Calvinism know as the TULIP. Finally I should say that we believe Reformed Theology because we believe it most accurately describes what the whole of Scripture teaches. In all of this the Scriptures are the deciding factor and the trump card if you will. We don’t hold Reformed theology over the Scriptures. We hold to reformed theology because we believe it most accurately explains what scripture teaches. We’re going to talk about the first two today to answer our first question, do I choose God or does God choose me. We’ll talk about the last three to answer our next question.
“Total Depravity” refers to the effect of sin. We start with this because it is foundational. How you understand this point determines how you will respond to repeated sin in your life and the lives of others. Also If you agree that the Bible teaches total depravity the rest of TULIP follows logically. So this is really the sticking point. If you don’t buy that this point is what Scripture teaches, you’re going to stray from the rest of the points. If you do buy this point, the rest makes perfect sense.
So what do we mean by total depravity. It does not mean that man is as wicked as he possibility could be. In other words if Adolph Hitler (who often personifies the worst of mankind) loved his mother or was kind to his cat, it doesn’t negate total depravity. Evil people can perform some acts that contain some aspect of goodness, kindness or virtue.
The point of total depravity is what RC Sproul calls “Radical Corruption.” That is sin effects our entire being. So sin corrupts our hearts, our minds, our souls, our personalities, our choices, our thoughts, etc. Every aspect of our being is corrupted and effected by sin. If I look inside myself to find something that is free from sin, I won’t find anything.This would be in contrast to the Greek notion that our souls our good, but our physical body is corrupt. So Reformed theology claims the Bible teaches that there is no divine spark left within us; there is no piece of us (mind, will) that is neutral toward sin and unaffected by it, there is no division (soul) that is above and beyond the reach of us. We are, all of us, through and through, inside and out sinful. That’s a crucial distinction because now I’m faced with a sin I keep repeating. Let’s say its anger. If there is some part of me that is free from sin, then the answer to my problem is to keep trying to find that part of me. If every single part of me is corrupted by sin, then the solution to my problem lies outside of me.
So where does the Bible teach this? Romans 3
Okay so Paul argues that all of us are affected by sin, but does that mean total depravity? Maybe Paul means that we are all sinful at times, but we can still be good at times. And we can prove this because look at the good deeds done by nonbelievers. What about celebrities who feed the homeless? What about rock stars and actors who donate large sums of money to charity? Or volunteer their time on worthy causes? If we are racially corrupt (i.e. corrupt through and through) how can people who have not been redeemed by God perform do good things? The Reformers called these actions “civil virtues” or actions that outwardly conform to God’s law. They argued that fallen sinners can refrain from stealing and murdering, and can perform acts of charity and compassion, but their actions are not truly good in the ultimate sense. Because God judges us not only by our outward actions but by what motivates those actions. An action that conforms with God’s law but is motivated by a selfish heart is not truly good. Ultimately it matters whether we act because we love ourselves or we act because we love God.
Jonathan Edwards described these type of acts as “enlightened self-interest” These are acts that are motivated by a desire to do what’s best for us, not by a desires to please or honor God. The essential question is where is my heart? Or what is motivating me? I may be an exemplar of middle class morality but if I’m doing because of what’s in it for me, then it’s not a truly good act. So I may refrain from stealing because I’ve learned that crime doesn’t pay. Or I may obey the speed limit because I don’t want to get another ticket. Or I may give generously to the poor because I like the praise and honor and glory that follows it. In other words, I may not sin to my full potential because I don’t like the consequences for me. Or I may perform kind acts because I like feeling altruistic. All those are outwardly good actions but they lack the essential ingredient of a heart that honors, loves and fears God. Good actions which are not motivated by a love for God and the things of God fall short of the glory of God and the standard of righteousness.
So total depravity is the idea that we are radically corrupt, that is every part of us is corrupted by sin, the other term we have to define is original sin. Virtually every Christian denomination since the first century has a doctrine of original sin. The debate is the type and degree of corruption involved in that sin. But every mainline denomination agrees that the Bible teaches original sin, we defer however on exactly what that means. The debate started early. And the lines were defined clearly by the 4thC controversy between Augustine and Pelagius.
Pelagius believed that we are capable of obedience. He claimed that moral responsibility by definition carried with it moral ability. In other words, it would be unjust for God to require his creatures to do something that they are not capable of doing in their own power. So if God requires moral perfection in people, then people must be able to achieve it. He believed that grace facilitated our quest for holiness, but grace is not necessary for us to reach it. That’s a crucial distinction.
So if I went to Pelagius with my problem of repeated sin, and I said Sir, I’m struggling with anger and try as I might, I can’t free myself of it. Pelagius would tell me I’ve been given everything necessary to overcome the struggle. God requires moral perfection of us and he’s given me the ability to achieve it. Not only that, God has gone beyond the call of duty and given me grace which should further my quest for holiness. So if I’m struggling with anger I’m doing something wrong and my job is to find it because God has already done his part.
Augustine on the other hand believed that we are not capable of obedience. He argued that the Bible teaches total depravity. In other words every part of us is corrupted by sin and because we are corrupted by sin, we are not capable (on our own) of obedience. We are not capable of doing good because all our acts of kindness, compassion or generosity are corrupted by our fallen nature.
Augustine believed that grace not only facilities our quest to obey God, because of our fallen nature grace is necessary. God required holiness both before and after the fall. The fall didn’t change God’s requirement. The fall changed us. So before the fall we were capable of achieving holiness. After the fall, apart from the grace of God, we are not capable of achieving holiness. Now all our choices are marred by a selfish heart, rather than a heart that loves God. So if I went to Augustine with my struggle with anger, he would say, my job is to wait for God to change me. The only way I’ll ever be free of my struggle with anger is to throw myself on the mercy of God and beg for him to release me. He will release me, but it may not be on this side of heaven.
As the debate continued, Pelagius aimed his guns as the doctrine of original sin. He argued that original sin does not change our essential nature. In other words, we were created good and we after the fall we remain “basically good”, but we may sin. Pelagius believed Adam’s sin affected Adam and Adam alone. So that following Adam all of us are born free and capable of not sinning just like Adam before the fall. But that in fact we all do choose to sin. So Pelagius would tell me, I’m still basically good; I’m capable of not sinning, though obviously I have sinned, as we all do. My job is to pray and study the Bible and find that goodness God has put inside me that will keep me from sinning.
Augustine would say that before the fall we had the ability to sin and the ability not to sin. After the fall we have the inability not to sin. In other words we are unable to live without sinning. So Augustine would say the fall did in fact change our essential nature. We went from able to refrain from sinning to unable to refrain from sinning. Left to ourselves, apart from the blood of Christ and the grace of God, we could never ever stop ourselves from sinning. The fact that I sometimes refrain from anger now, the fact that I grieve over my anger when I do give into it, is evidence that God is at work in me. God is the one who will ultimately release me from that sin and He’ll do it in his way, with his methods and in his time. Pelagius views were condemned as heretical in 418 and repeatedly throughout church history. They were affirmed again as heresy at the Council of Trent in the 16th century.
So to summarize: to be in a state of original sin is to be in state of total depravity that is completely and entirely corrupted by sin. This is what the Bible calls “in the flesh”. “In the flesh” especially as Paul frequently uses the term, does not mean to be in a physical body. Nor does it mean to be acting apart from the Holy Spirit. It means to be in a state apart from the grace of God so that we are completely and utterly incapable of not sinning.
Now to be fair to Pelagius, he was concerned with preserving the doctrine of free will. Ultimately his writings suggest he believed the idea of total depravity could not coexist with the concepts of human responsibility and free will. And behind that he was concerned to protect God’s character, because how could God command us to do something which we are not capable of doing? And how could we have free will if we have the inability not to sin?
So as a reformed theologian, how do we answer his concerns? We need to look at what was lost at the fall. We’ve already argued that pagans can perform acts of civic virtue or acts that outwardly conform to God’s laws. So we have not lost the ability to be outwardly moral. What we lost was the ability not to sin. And we lost it completely, through and through. We are morally dead. We are slaves of sin. We are unable to release ourselves from its grasp. Every aspect our being is corrupted by sin and left to ourselves, there is nothing we can do about it because we lost the ability not to sin.
Or as The Westminster Confession states as a result of the fall, man “has completely lost all ability to choose any spiritual good that accompanies salvation.”
So we still have free will. We still have a mind. We have a will and we still make choices. The problem is that we make sinful choices. We freely choose to sin because we want to sin. We are capable of choosing exactly what we want. The problem is we no longer want holiness. We want sin. We have free will in the sense that we act voluntarily without coercion or compulsion. No one is holding a gun to our heads forcing us to choose what we otherwise would not choose. In that sense our will is free, it is voluntary. It is a choice I freely make.
But my choice is not made in a vacuum. It is not un-determined. In fact I would argue you never in your life make a undetermined choice. Your choices are determined by who you are — your nature, your biology, your personality, how much sleep you had the night before, the level of your hormones, your upbringing, your past experiences, your mind and your will. Whatever it is that makes you you — whatever makes you like shopping and hate rock climbing (or vice versa) — determines the choices you will make.
The problem is total depravity. We are all sinful. So everything that makes me me and everything that makes me choose x over y is corrupted by sin. I am freely choosing it in accordance with my nature. I freely choose in accordance with who I am. The problem is who I am is sinful. There is not corner of me that can be objective, that can stand back and make an unsinful choice. When we used to teach the 2nd graders this, we told them they had broken choosers. So the thing inside you that makes you choose ice cream over broccoli is broken. Your chooser is broken so you can’t choose to fix it. It’s broken. It doesn’t choose good. So you can’t use your broken choose to choose the right thing. It’s broken. It will always choose sin.
Romans 7: 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
Jonathan Edwards made another important distinction in this debate. He distinguished between natural ability and moral ability. Natural ability is provided by the Creator to his creature. So God gave birds the natural ability to fly without machinery. Fish have the natural ability to live under the sin. While humans may fly with machines and swim in the ocean, we have neither the natural ability to fly nor to live underwater. However we do have the natural ability to make choices. We have all the necessary equipment. We have a mind and a will. We have rational thought. Prior to the fall, we also had the inclination to do good, so that we could choice obedience and holiness. What we lost at the fall was the inclination to do good.
We still have the natural ability to make choices. We still have a mind and a will. What we lost was the desire and inclination to obey God. We still have the necessary equipment to obey God, but we no longer want to obey God. We no longer desire God or want to do right. That makes us morally unable to do good. So Edwards would say that fallen man has the natural ability to choose God (the necessary faculties of choice) but he lacks the moral ability to do so (the moral ability to make righteous choices based on righteous desires).
We are morally dead. Our choosers are broken. Sin pervades every aspect of our being. Apart from God making us alive again, we are lost. This is what grace is all about.
But you say, isn’t the question is do I choose God or does God choose me? How have you addressed that issue. I’ve given you the first part of the answer and that because every fiber of our being is corrupted by sin, there is no part of us that would choose God. We are sinful and incapable of choosing God apart from God’s grace in our lives. So let’s look at the second part of the answer which is our next topic the U of TULIP Unconditional election. When most people think of Calvinism they think of predestination, yet this is not a uniquely Calvinistic view. Like original sin, almost every Christian church has a doctrine of predestination, simply because the Bible teaches predestination. How we understand what that means divides us. But for most every mainline denomination the question is not does the Bible teach predestination. Most every Christian denomination would answer yes to that. The question is what does the Bible teach about predestination?
First let’s define some terms. Predestination — is defined as from all eternity God decided to save some members of the human race and let the rest of the human race perish. God made a choice. He choose some to be saved and he choose to pass over others, allowing them to suffer the consequences of their sins. Election is one aspect of predestination — the aspect of God choosing certain individuals to be saved. Election has a positive and a negative side. The positive side is the elect will receive the benefits of salvation. The negative side is that God did not choose everybody. This is called reprobation, or the predestination of those who are not elect to not be elect. [ CLICK] Most people agree on that much. The question that divides the reformed from the non-reformed is do our lives make a difference? In other words is predestination conditional or unconditional? Does God take prior knowledge of us into account when he makes his choice? So on what basis did God choose some and pass over others? How you answer that question determines whether you are reformed or not.
In other words is predestination conditional or unconditional? Does God take prior knowledge of us into account when he makes his choice? So on what basis did God choose some and pass over others? How you answer that question determines whether you are reformed or not. Non-reformed churches teach that election is conditional. They believe God elects certain people to salvation only if they meet certain criteria or conditions. Usually they don’t teach that God waits for people to meet the criteria and then he elects them. Most non-reformed denominations teach that God knew in advance who was going to meet the conditions and he elected those people. So based on his foreknowledge, he could see to the end of time who would and would not meet the conditions and the elected them. This is only called the prescient view of election or predestination. God looked through time and saw who would respond to the gospel and he elected them.
Both reformed and non-reformed theology holds that faith is a necessary condition for salvation. Non-reformers hold that election results from faith. So non-reformed theology holds that the grounds for election is whether or not we have faith. Reformers hold that the grounds for election is the mercy of God. Some denominations hold that God is obligated to save us if we have faith and whether or not we have faith is within our own control.Reformers on the other hand, do not believe having saving faith is within our control. Reformers hold that faith results from election, not that it is necessary for election.Non-reformed would say we are elected because we have faith. Reformers hold that we are elected and then given faith as a gift from God. How do we know who is right here? Both of these views make sense. Both of these views can be understood from particular passages of Scripture. The difference is total depravity.
If total depravity is true and we have lost the ability not to sin, then how could we choose faith? If we are unable not to sin, how could we turn our hearts to God in faith on our own? So if the Bible also teaches that left to ourselves we are unable to choose God then none of us could ever choose faith. God could look through time and see who would have faith and who wouldn’t but the answer would be none of us, because left to ourselves we are unable to choose faith because we are completely corrupted by sin.
By definition grace is not something God is required to give. He was required to give it, it would be earned, it would be a wage and not a gift. Grace that is owed is not grace. If we could produce faith on our own apart from God, then God would be required to grant us salvation and it would not be grace.
Now to say that God chooses according to his good pleasure does not mean he is capricious or arbitrary. It means that for whatever reason he made his choice it has nothing to do with anything he finds in me. All he would find in me would be corrupted by sin. There’s no corner of goodness in me, no divine spark, no reservoir of faith that requires him to bless me. Whatever reason he choose it is not based on anything in me. He makes his choices for reasons only he knows and it is his right to do so. He is sovereign. He is God and he is good.
Now does that mean God is unjust? Why should one sinful person be forgiven and another equally sinful person not be forgiven? It seems that if God gives grace to one person he ought to give grace to another just to be fair. It is that “oughtness” that has no place in grace. If God grants mercy to some, he is not required to give it to everyone. God could have chosen to save no one. He has the power and the authority to exercise his righteous judgment by condemning all of us to the consequences of our sin. Those who are not saved are not victims of cruelty; they are the recipients of justice.
No one receives a punishment from God which he does not deserve. However some receive a mercy we do not deserve. If we deserved it, it wouldn’t be mercy. Throughout biblical history, you see God does treating individual people differently. Some are rich and some are poor. Some are healthy and some are not. Some have many children. Some of none. Some are married, some are single. Some have good marriages, some have bad marriages. Some have a good education, some have none. Good parents treat your children differently based on who they are and what they need to learn. A child who learns responsibility early may have a lot more freedom than a child who has not yet learned responsibility. My two children handle money very differently and within certain parameters we’ve treated them differently accordingly, so that they would learn the same lessons. In the same way, God treats us differently based on who we are and what lessons he wants to teach us and what he wants to reveal about himself.
God called Abraham out of Ur and did not call the rest of the Chaldeeans. God save Noah and his family from the flood. God revealed himself to Moses but not to Pharaoh. God made David king, but not any of David’s brothers. God gave Paul and the apostles a uniquely clear understanding of the gospel, which he did not give to Pilate or CaiaphasWhy did I come to faith when some of my friends did not? Here’s where the rubber meets the road. For many of us, we are holding a secret pride that says somewhere deep down in me I am more worthy than my friend who does not believe. Or we may fear that God is not good or he doesn’t really love me.What we have to realize is God has reasons, but they have nothing to do with me. If I think something about me required God to save me, it is an insult to grace. It is a denial of the biblical teaching that all of us are totally depraved and ultimately it is legalism as I am trusting in something about me that found favor in God’s eyes and required God to save me.
The theological problem for those who hold to conditional election is that they must conclude we have the moral ability to respond positively to the gospel apart from the grace of God. Non-reformers hold that some part of us (will, soul, ) remains uncorrupted by sin and is capable of turning to God. But if the reformed view of total depravity and original sin is correct, then election must be unconditional. God would know with certainty that left to ourselves we fallen creatures could never choose Christ.
So let’s go back to my hypothetical struggle with anger, I see my sin. I want to change my sin. I have tried to refrain from sinning and I’ve failed. Now what? The non-reformed would tell me, try harder. I have everything I need to succeed in my struggle with this sin, the problem is on my side. I have to find it.
The Reformer would tell me wait and hope in God. Rejoice that he has given you the eyes to see your sin. Rejoice that he has softened your heart to the point that you grieve over your sinfulness and you want to change. Have confidence that having begun the process he will get you the rest of the way. But it’s grace. It’s a gift. He will do it in his way, and in his timing. He has a plan and this is part of it. Learn, listen, hope and wait. The promises of God will not fail you. Pray
Do I choose God? Or does God choose me?
Do I choose God? Or does God choose me? by Krisan Marotta October 1, 2008
Do I choose God? Or does God choose me? by Krisan Marotta October 1, 2008
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God andFather of our Lord Jesus Christ, who accordingto His great mercy has caused us to be bornagain to a living hope through the resurrectionof Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain aninheritance which is imperishable andundefiled and will not fade away, reserved inheaven for you, 5 who are protected by thepower of God through faith for a salvationready to be revealed in the last time.
Romans 3:9 What then? Are we Jews any better off?No, not at all. For we have already charged that all,both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written:“None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no oneunderstands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turnedaside; together they have become worthless; no onedoes good, not even one.” [Ps. 14:103; 53:1-3; Ecc. 7:20]13“Their throat is an open grave; they use their tonguesto deceive.” [Ps 5:9] “The venom of asps is under theirlips.” [Ps 140:3] 14“Their mouth is full of curses andbitterness.” [Ps 10:7] 15 “Their feet are swift to shedblood; 16in their paths are ruin and misery, 17and theway of peace they have not known.” [Isa 59:7-8] 18“Thereis no fear of God before their eyes.” [Ps 36:1]
How can a just God command us to dosomething which we are not capable of doing?
Man, by his fall into a state of sin,has completely lost all ability to chooseany spiritual good that accompaniessalvation. Therefore, an unregenerateman, because he is opposed to that goodand is dead in sin, is unable by his ownstrength to convert himself or to preparehimself to be converted. - WCF 9.3
We have free willin that we actvoluntarily withoutcoercion. We freely choose sin. Adam and Eve by Rubens
Our choices are“determined” in thatthey have a cause.
Romans 7:18 For I know thatnothing good dwells in me, that is,in my flesh. For I have the desire todo what is right, but not the abilityto carry it out. 19 For I do not dothe good I want, but the evil I donot want is what I keep on doing.
Natural ability is provided to acreature by a creator. Humans havethe natural ability to make choices. Jonathan Edwards
Fallen man has the natural ability (thenecessary faculties of choice) to choose God,but he lacks the moral ability to do so. Jonathan Edwards
[Jesus said] John 6:63“It is the Spirit who giveslife; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I havespoken to you are spirit and life. 64But there are some ofyou who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from thebeginning who those were who did not believe, and whoit was who would betray him.) 65And he said, “This iswhy I told you that no one can come to me unless it isgranted him by the Father.” 66After this many of hisdisciples turned back and no longer walked with him.67So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go awayas well?” 68Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whomshall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69andwe have believed, and have come to know, that you arethe Holy One of God.”
The TulipTotal depravityUnconditional electionLimited atonementIrresistible gracePerseverance of the saints
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God andFather of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hasblessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessingin the heavenly places, 4even as he chose us inhim before the foundation of the world, that weshould be holy and blameless before him. In love5he predestined us for adoption as sons throughJesus Christ, according to the purpose of hiswill, 6to the praise of his glorious grace, withwhich he has blessed us in the Beloved.
Ephesians 1:7 In him we haveredemption through his blood, theforgiveness of our trespasses, according tothe riches of his grace, 8which he lavishedupon us, in all wisdom and insight 9makingknown to us the mystery of his will,according to his purpose, which he setforth in Christ 10as a plan for the fullnessof time, to unite all things in him, things inheaven and things on earth.
Ephesians1:11 In him we have obtainedan inheritance, having been predestinedaccording to the purpose of him who works allthings according to the counsel of his will, 12sothat we who were the first to hope in Christmight be to the praise of his glory. 13In himyou also, when you heard the word of truth,the gospel of your salvation, and believed inhim, were sealed with the promised HolySpirit, 14who is the guarantee of ourinheritance until we acquire possession of it,to the praise of his glory.
Predestinationfrom all eternity God decided tosave some and let the rest perish.
Faith is necessary for salvationNon-Reformed: Reformed:Election results Faith results from faith from election Grounds for Grounds for election is election is thewhether or not mercy of God I have faith
Romans 9:10 And not only so, but also whenRebekah had conceived children by one man, ourforefather Isaac, 11though they were not yet born andhad done nothing either good or bad— in order thatGod’s purpose of election might continue, not becauseof works but because of him who calls — 12she wastold, “The older will serve the younger.” 13As it iswritten, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” 14Whatshall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? Byno means! 15For he says to Moses, “I will have mercyon whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion onwhom I have compassion.” 16So then it depends not onhuman will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.
Laurent de la Hyre - Abraham Sacrificing Isaac c1650
The unsaved are not victims of cruelty. They are recipients of justice.
Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in thetrespasses and sins 2in which you once walked,following the course of this world, followingthe prince of the power of the air, the spirit thatis now at work in the sons of disobedience—3among whom we all once lived in the passionsof our flesh, carrying out the desires of thebody and the mind, and were by naturechildren of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
Ephesians 2:4But God, being rich in mercy,because of the great love with which he loved us,5even when we were dead in our trespasses, made usalive together with Christ— by grace you have beensaved— 6and raised us up with him and seated uswith him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7sothat in the coming ages he might show theimmeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towardus in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have beensaved through faith. And this is not your own doing;it is the gift of God, 9not a result of works, so that noone may boast. 10For we are his workmanship,created in Christ Jesus for good works, which Godprepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
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