Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Does A Rejection Of Calvinism Mean That Man Takes Credit For His Own Salvation And That God Is Not Sovereign?

          Just because one believes that he or she must choose to accept Christ for salvation, does not validate the charge of a performance oriented gospel. That is only a strawman. It is true that man in his fallen nature can never please God. We could never merit our salvation. His grace is an absolute necessity. We absolutely need His imputed righteousness. It is by faith in Jesus Christ that we are saved. However, we must accept the terms of forgiveness as prescribed in the gospel. This is analogous to a physician informing a patient of the need for a procedure such as a liver transplant. The latter performs the work on the former. In the same vein, it is God who diagnoses our problem of sin and totally removes it from our being. We have the ability to recognize that we have a spiritual problem in light of divine revelation. The choice to accept the gift of justification is not a work, anymore than is grabbing a lifesaver while drowning or accepting a birthday gift from a loved one. To say that we take credit for accepting a free, and even undeserved, gift would be irrational in the highest degree.

          There is no denying that salvation is of the Lord. He is the author of our salvation. He is the finisher of our salvation. It is He who gets all the credit for saving us. Our decision to approach God in humble repentance merits us nothing. Admitting that we are under the curse of sin does not save us. God is not under any obligation whatsoever to save us. He is compassionate. He is merciful. Our decision to repent is not the same as His decision to save us. Calvinists fallaciously equate these two ideas. None of His plans are thwarted because He has given us the ability to either accept or reject Him. Faith is the opposite of works (Romans 11:6). Atonement is available to all. It is applied freely to all who come to Christ by faith. It is God who regenerates us. The gospel itself has sufficient power to draw any sinner to God (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Hebrews 4:12). To insist otherwise is nonsense and so reduces its power to nothing. Faith is not meritorious, but the antithesis of works (Ephesians 2:8-9). Christ's substitutionary atonement is not merely an example to follow, but was actually done for the sins of mankind.

          The Bible is crystal clear that we must execute a decision to humble ourselves when seeking the forgiveness of God (2 Kings 22:19; 2 Chronicles 12:7; Matthew 18:4; James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:5-6). This is not heresy, but is an emphatic teaching of Scripture. In fact, the Calvinist systematic is loaded with problems of its own. It makes everything a meticulously designed puppet show. It gives the lost a perfect excuse on Judgement Day. It makes the devil irrelevant, as it was God who decreed that he caused the fall. Our Lord Jesus Christ plainly identified those who continually reject and oppose His message as being among those He came to save (John 12:47-48), which violates any notion of limited atonement. Neither does the grafting or severing from the root of salvation that the Apostles Paul speaks of in Romans 11:16-25 make sense if unconditional election is true.

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