What’s the Big Deal?

I know you might be wondering: “What’s the big deal about so-called Calvinism? About the doctrines of grace? I believe it to be true – I agree with most points. What is so different or so compelling about it that you border on fanaticism?”

I’ve been wanting to write something to share this but can’t seem to find the words, nor the time. However, I found an article by Piper that reflects my feelings about how these doctrines have changed my life. How they have transformed the way I view God, view salvation, view my sinfulness, view my place in this world. It changed the way I worship, the way I pray, the way I view circumstances and events. It changed the way I thank Him, the way I don’t thank me, the way I study and look and feel about the Scriptures. My heart is burning within me, I want to talk to you about Him but sometimes don’t know how – because I want to burst with the wonderful knowledge of it all. It’s too wonderful for me!

http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Articles/ByDate/2002/1519_Ten_Effects_of_Believing_in_the_Five_Points_of_Calvinism/

In fact, nothing is more important to me than knowing God. The One, True God of the Bible. I have grown up with a misdirected, watered-down version of the gospel – which in some cases is not the gospel at all. Ask me about it. Let’s chat. I am not eloquent in my explanation but can assure you that what we’ve traditionally considered right is not worthy of Him. I’m not undermining what you believe or think. I’m not judging your passion for Him or your love of Christ. Surely you love Him. I’m writing about ME and what I’ve experienced.

Modern-day, American Christianity has turned into a pop-culture, trendy, feel-good, self-serving, money-venture reminiscent of the group of thieves in front of God’s Holy temple. It’s produced Christians who are secure in self-convinced assurance, man-made quips and a God who is ‘safe’. Perhaps you think I’m exaggerating? For years, I’ve wondered: if the Holy Spirit is as powerful and life-changing as the Bible claims, wouldn’t the Christian, as the temple of this Holy Spirit, be completely transformed? What is all this wishy-washiness in my life? Why the dryness? Why the laziness? Why the weakness? Why the disinterest?

We are sinners. The more I learn about God and His Word, the more I tremble before Him. How inadequate, how unable, how truly lost I am without Him!! I can NOT dig myself out of some of the deep pits I’ve dug, how much less can I dig myself out of my spiritual bottomless pit! You know that picture of the sinner who God wants to save, the picture of God holding out the ticket, the life-jacket, the hand that saves and Julie, reaching up in order to take it, accepting it, asking and willing to receive it? That’s the picture we have of a sinner being saved and our responsibility to reach out our hand and take it. Well, that’s giving us too much credit.

The true picture is more like this: I am completely dead in my sins. I was born dead. In fact, I’m so dead that I stink. I have absolutely no power in me to even reach out. To even call out to Jesus, Lord save me! As one person said it, I’m more like the man “at the bottom of the ocean in the Marianas trench, more than thirty-five thousand feet deep. The weight of the water on top of him is six tons for every square inch. He has been there for a thousand years and the sharks have eaten his heart. In other words, the man is dead and is totally unable to ask any lifeguard to save him. If he is to be saved, a miracle must occur. He must be brought back to life and to the surface, and then he can ask the guard to rescue him.”

I’m rotting in the grave and then it’s the Lord Jesus, who calls out, “Julie, come forth!” Am I alive the moment I take the first step? The moment I put one foot in front of the other? No, I’m alive when He breathes life in me, when the Holy Spirit infuses His power that gives me the strength to even put one ounce of energy into that dead corpse.

Can I tell you something? The gospel that is proclaimed – as sincere as it may be – and even as much as God still produces true believers, of that I have no doubt, – the proclaimed gospel nowadays is somewhat ‘goatish’. What I mean by that is that the gospel as many know it has produced ‘goats’ instead of true ‘sheep’. I’m grieved to consider that there will be many who believe they are saved and at the last day will say, “Lord, Lord.” But the Lord will say, “I never knew you.” I believe there are many, who are psychologically convinced they are saved, have some form of behavioral modification, moral improvements and even have inner moments of peace, joy, happiness, love etc. They have ‘tasted’ the heavenly gift and have been made a partaker of the Holy Spirit and the blessings He produces – yet, they are not truly saved. Be aware that it is not ‘fruit’ when you stop smoking, drinking, cursing and watching horror movies. These are all things that can be mustered up even in an unregenerate life. I have more to say on this, not to leave you hanging but this deserves a post all on its own. Let us examine ourselves. Do we truly believe? What do we truly believe? Who do we truly believe in? What evidence is there that shows that we truly believe? It’s a frightening and humbling exercise. Let me tell you.

It’s such a big deal. It’s an all-encompassing deal. Let’s talk about it. Blog about it. Email about it. Whatever it takes to hash it out so that we look at God as the Sovereign, Sufficient, Supreme God that He truly is. He is the Big Deal.

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