Doctrinal Whirlwind in 2007

The past 9 months have been full of confusion, revelation, realization, transformation. I thought that I knew and understood what I believe in and then I experienced my deep-seated belief system come tumbling down as the very foundation got shaken. Starting with the Romans study in BSF and the lecture in Romans 9-11 – I have been passionately and compulsively studying the doctrine of grace otherwise commonly known as Calvinism. I hate to label things because while studying I realize that I am studying Scripture and trying to interpret Scripture with Scripture not just interpret Scripture through the lens of some human interpretation. How difficult it’s been! I have been shaken up because my very view of God seems to be faulty! The more I am studying the higher my view of God – however, it’s been a mix of a sense of awe, terror and reverence – for God really is the AWESOME, All-powerful and Sovereign God that I claimed to believe in.

I have no problem with the first part of the TULIP – namely Total Depravity. It is clear in the Bible that man left to himself would not choose God – there is none righteous, none who does good, none who seeks Him. Although we are not all living in our totally depraved state, the Bible is clear that without His grace and mercy, we would not even have the desire to seek Him. There is nothing good in us apart from Him. To me, this is clear – over and over again.

Unconditional election – Or more like, Sovereign Election – This too seems very well supported scripturally but it’s tough to understand. Some are chosen by God to be saved. He chose us before the foundation of the world to be His. This doesn’t mean that God foreknew who would choose Him therefore He elected us. That would truly put the power in man’s choice – his free will – but that really supplants God. Man will choose therefore God elects? The order seems wrong doesn’t it? The word foreknow doesn’t even apply to knowing ahead of time an action – rather, it talks about foreknowing someone, foreknowing the relationship with His elect, fore-loving His own, if that makes sense. Over and over again, Scripture tells us that God chooses us, God calls us, God gives us the faith to believe and God draws us to Him. I have always thought that yes, God does draw us to Himself but from then on it’s up to us to accept or receive His gift of eternal life. This is partly true in that we have the responsibility to believe or reject the Lord Jesus but this cannot happen without the Holy Spirit working in us.

Limited atonement – or as someone put it, definitive atonement? This is to say that Christ died for the elect and only the elect. That the power of His death was not an umbrella atonement that covers the sin of all mankind – and it’s up to the individual to go under the ‘blood’ so to speak in order to be saved. When Jesus died, was His death sufficient to forgive sins and atone for the sins of all who believe? Of course! But saying that Jesus’ death did atone but we have to choose to accept really nullifies the efficacy of His blood. He paid the price for sinners, therefore there is no more debt. However, there are those who have died and have gone to hell because they have refused to believe – therefore, the penalty was paid twice – once by Christ and once by the sinner. All that to say that Jesus died to save those whom the Father gave to Him. He didn’t die for all mankind. Isn’t that so different than what I grew up with? It’s hard to swallow but I have scripture to back it up.

Irresistible Grace – I prefer effectual grace – is that when God calls us in Christ and gives us the faith and the desire to receive – we are compelled to believe, compelled to receive. Because He has given us the faith necessary to believe we’re able to. There’s more to be said on all this but for now, just a summary!

Last but not least, the perseverance of the Saints. This not only includes the common understanding of eternal security, “Once saved, always saved.” It’s so much more than that!! It has to do with truly being born again, truly being sealed with the Holy Spirit, truly adopted into the family of our Heavenly Father and then God preserving us until the end. There is eternal fruit that manifests itself in the life of a true believer. I often did wonder how a person can really be saved and then go on and on in sin. I found that to be so inconsistent with what I was reading in Scripture. This is now making sense. We hear of those who claimed to be a believer who became a muslim or atheist. We hear of those who were in the missionary field and then forsook the Christian faith that took them there. Of course, true believers can fail and even carry on in sin temporarily but a true believer will not persist living in that sinful condition.

There’s so much for me to write! I will be recording some of my thoughts in the next little while. If you’re reading this, leave me a comment!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: