I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. (Isaiah 43:11)
This article was originally written to answer questions at Belhaven University: What are The Five Points of Calvinism? Are they biblical?
I agree with John Piper that the more we know the Lord (Father, Son, and Spirit) and love and trust Him, the more we long to know Him. God made us to glorify, honor, and please Him. And when we do that we enjoy Him, love Him, serve Him, and are most satisfied with Him. Augustine rightly said that the Lord has made us for Himself, and our heart is restless until we rest in Him. This article concludes our discussion of the Five Points, providing specimen Scriptures and a short statement of what the Bible teaches on these vital subjects.
If you missed it, you can go back and read The Five Points of Calvinism? (Part 1)
Irresistible Grace (The Holy Spirit Applies our Redemption; Effectual Calling)
Scriptures: Matt 16:16-17 Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.” John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. John 6:65 No one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them. Romans 8:30 Those He predestined, He also called…. 1 Cor 12:3 No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. Eph 2:4-5 Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions, it is by grace you have been saved. Philippians 1:29 It has been granted to you to believe on Christ. 2 Thes 2:13 From the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 1 Peter 1:2 You were chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by His blood.
Doctrine: God the Spirit acts alone to effectually call and regenerate sinners from death to new life. God’s work precedes our repenting and believing so that all of the glory in salvation belongs to the Lord, not us. The Holy Spirit applies the all benefits of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection to Christ’s followers. These benefits include: Effectual Calling, Justification, Adoption, Sanctification, Saving Faith, Repentance Leading to Life, Good Works, Perseverance, and Assurance of Grace and Salvation. Jesus’ people receive benefits in this life, when we die, and at the resurrection (Judgment Day). Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever.
Preservation and Perseverance of the Saints
Scriptures: Luke 22:32 Christ says: I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. John 6:37,39 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given me, but raise them up at the last day. Rom 8:30 Those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified. Rom 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Nothing in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 1 Cor 1:8-9 He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. Philippians 1:6 He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Hebrews 7:25 Christ is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. 1 Peter 1:5 Through faith you are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Doctrine: True believers will never be lost because of God’s unchangeable love, His everlasting covenant of grace, our inseparable union with Christ, His continual intercession for us, and the Holy Spirit abiding in us. True believers stumble, but we can never totally or finally fall away from the Lord. We are kept by God’s power through faith for salvation. Spurgeon said that we may fall many times on the deck of the ship of life, but true believers will never fall overboard. Psalm 37:24 Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. Saving, helping, keeping, loving, Jesus is with us to the end!
Conclusion: Repent and Believe on Jesus Christ
Pastor Donald Grey Barnhouse (1895–1960) used an illustration to help people understand the Five Points. He asked them to imagine a cross like the one on which Christ died, so large that it had a door in it. Over the door were the words from John 3:16—For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. These words represent the free and universal offer of the gospel. By God’s grace, the message of salvation is for everyone. Every man, woman, and child is invited to trust Jesus Christ and enter eternal life.
Barnhouse said that on the other side of the cross-door a happy surprise awaits whoever turns from sin, trusts Christ, and enters. From the inside, glancing back, you see these words from Ephesians 1:4-5 written above the door—God chose us in Jesus before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.
The Five Points of Calvinism are best understood in hindsight, for only after coming to Christ can we know that we have been chosen in Christ. Those who come to truly love the Lord Jesus find that God first loved them with an everlasting love. 1 John 4:10—This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice (propitiation) for our sins.
What about you, my friends? Are you calling on Jesus Christ to save you?
God Invites You: Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on them, and to our God, for He will freely pardon….The Lord is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance….Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Isaiah 55:6-7; 2 Peter 3:9; Romans 10:13)