TULIP, Part 1

Introduction

See the rest of this seminar:


Seminar Notes

  1. Assumptions
  2. Total Depravity
  3. Irresistible Grace
  4. Limited Atonement
  5. Unconditional Election
  6. Perseverance of the Saints


1. Assumptions

1. “The Bible is the Word of God, fully inspired and without error in the original manuscripts, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that it has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct” (Article One, “Bethlehem Affirmation of Faith”).

2. Right thinking about what the Bible teaches about God and man and salvation really matters. Bad theology dishonors God and hurts people. Churches that sever the root of truth may flourish for a season, but they will wither eventually or turn into something besides a Christian church.

3. The work of the Holy Spirit, and the pursuit of his work in prayer, is essential for grasping the truth of Scripture.

1 Corinthians 2:13-16

We impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit. The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

4. Thinking is essential for grasping Biblical truth.

1 Corinthians 14:20

Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; yet in evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature.

2 Timothy 2:7

Think over what I say, for the Lord will grant you understanding in everything.

5. God ordains that there be teachers in the church to help the body grasp and apply the truth of Scripture.

Ephesians 4:11-12

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.

Hebrews 13:7

Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.


2. Total Depravity

Seeing Our Depravity in Relation to God Is Crucial

1 Corinthians 10:31

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Romans 14:23

But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.

James 2:10-11

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. For He who said, “DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,” also said, “DO NOT COMMIT MURDER.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

Human Depravity Is Total in at Least Five Senses

Depravity affects every human.

Romans 3:23

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

1 Kings 8:46

There is no man who does not sin.

Psalm 143:2

And do not enter into judgment with Your servant, for in Your sight no man living is righteous.

1 John 1:8

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.

Our rebellion or hardness against God is total, that is, apart from the grace of God there is no delight in the holiness of God, and there is no glad submission to the sovereign authority of God.

Romans 3:9-11, 18

What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD . . . THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.”

John 3:19-21

This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.

Romans 1:18

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

In his total rebellion everything man does is sin.

Romans 14:23

Whatever is not from faith is sin.

Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Romans 7:18

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.

Man’s inability to submit to God and do good is total.

Romans 8:5-9

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh [literally: “the mind of the flesh”] is death, but the mind set on the Spirit [literally: “the mind of the Spirit”] is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh [literally: “the mind of the flesh”] is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.

John 3:5-7

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’”

Romans 6:17-18

But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

Ephesians 2:1-5

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).

Ephesians 4:17-18

So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart.

John 6:44

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

1 Corinthians 2:14

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately [incurably] sick; who can understand it?

Our rebellion is totally deserving of eternal punishment.

Ephesians 2:3

Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

2 Thessalonians 1:8-9

[God will] deal out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.

Matthew 25:46

These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Summary and Conclusion

In summary, total depravity means that apart from any enabling grace from God, our hardness and rebellion against God is total, everything we do in this rebellion is sin, our inability to submit to God or reform ourselves is total, and we are therefore totally deserving of eternal punishment.

It is hard to exaggerate the importance of admitting our condition to be this bad. If we think of ourselves as basically good or even less than totally at odds with God, our grasp of the work of God in redemption will be defective. But if we humble ourselves under this terrible truth of our total depravity, we will be in a position to see and appreciate the glory and wonder of the work of God discussed in the next four points.


3. Irresistible Grace

Grace Can Be Resisted Until God Wills to Overcome Resistance

Acts 7:51

You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.

Ephesians 4:30

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

1 Thessalonians 5:19

Do not quench the Spirit.

Romans 10:21

But as for Israel He says, “All the day long I have stretched out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

Six Arguments for Irresistible Grace

Argument #1: Faith and repentance are a gift of God.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Romans 12:3

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

2 Timothy 2:24-26

The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

Acts 11:18

When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”

Acts 16:14

A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.

2 Chronicles 30:6-12 (Hezekiah’s call for repentance)

“O sons of Israel, return to the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that He may return to those of you who escaped and are left from the hand of the kings of Assyria. Now do not stiffen your neck like your fathers, but yield to the LORD and enter His sanctuary which He has consecrated forever, and serve the LORD your God, that His burning anger may turn away from you. For if you return to the LORD, your brothers and your sons will find compassion before those who led them captive and will return to this land. For the LORD your God is gracious and compassionate, and will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him.” So the couriers passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, and as far as Zebulun, but they laughed them to scorn and mocked them. Nevertheless some men of Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the LORD.

Argument # 2: We cannot come to Christ unless God draws us.

John 6:44

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

John 6:63-65

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

Argument # 3: God’s effectual calling overcomes resistance to the gospel.

1 Corinthians 1:22-24

Indeed, Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

Argument # 4: The new birth enables us to receive Christ.

1 John 5:1

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born [literally: perfect tense, “has been born”] of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.

John 1:11-13

He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe [= are believing] in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 3:3

Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Argument # 5: The New Covenant promises grace that will triumph over resistance.

Deuteronomy 29:2-4 (The problem with the Old Covenant)

And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “You have seen all that the LORD did before your eyes in the land of Egypt to Pharaoh and all his servants and all his land; the great trials which your eyes have seen, those great signs and wonders. Yet to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear.”

Deuteronomy 30:6

Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.

Jeremiah 31:31-33

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

Jeremiah 32:40

I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me.

Ezekiel 11:19-20

And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.

Ezekiel 36:26-27

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

Argument # 6: Who then can resist his will?

Romans 9:14-23

What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, though willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory.


4. Limited Atonement

Definition of Atonement

The atonement is the work of God in Christ, by his obedience and death, by which he cancelled the debt of our sin, appeased his holy wrath against us, and won for us all the benefits of salvation.

Why Is an Atonement Needed for God to Save Sinners?

Romans 3:23-26

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:21

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

1 Peter 3:18

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God.

Romans 5:9-10

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Romans 8:32

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

Who Limits the Atonement?

Both Calvinists and Arminians.

Arminians limit the effectiveness of the atonement by denying that it purchased the promises of the New Covenant for irresistible grace.

Calvinists affirm this purchase of the promises of the New Covenant for irresistible grace, and therefore limit the full blessings of the atonement to those God irresistibly brings to faith.

What Are Other Names for “Limited Atonement”?

Definite Atonement

Meaning that it is designed for definite individuals who are effectively saved by it.

Particular Redemption

Meaning that God has particular people in view in the design of the atonement to purchase all the blessings of salvation for his people.

What Is Another Name for “Unlimited Atonement”?

Universal Redemption

Meaning that God’s design in the atonement is the same for all individual humans.

Do Calvinists Water Down John 3:16?

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

No, because John 3:16 affirms that God loved the world so that anyone who believes will be saved by the death of his Son. Both Calvinists and Arminians affirm this: All who believe will be saved by the atonement of Jesus.

So What’s the Dispute?

Calvinists believe that the death of Christ accomplished or purchased something more than Arminians believe it did, namely, the effectual grace to believe and come to Christ. All the irresistible grace (or effectual calling) that we saw in the last two lessons, Calvinists believe, was purchased by the death of Christ.

For example:

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

2 Timothy 2:24-25

The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth.

Acts 16:14

A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.

John 6:65

For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.

If Calvinists Believe the Atonement Purchased More Than Arminians Believe it Did, Why is it Called Limited Atonement?

It’s not a good label. But the “limitation” is in the conscious design or intention of the atonement by God. Calvinists believe that God really means to accomplish, through the atonement, the conversion of a definite (limited) group of people, not just hold out the opportunity to all people to believe.

Why Do Calvinists Believe That The Atonement Purchases Irresistible Grace?

Mainly because the New Covenant promises this grace to God’s people and the blood of Jesus purchased this covenant.
Luke 22:20

And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.”

Matthew 26:28

This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.

1 Corinthians 11:25

In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

Jeremiah 31:31-33

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

Jeremiah 32:38-40

They shall be My people, and I will be their God; and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always, for their own good and for the good of their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me.

Ezekiel 11:19

And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 36:26-27

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

How Does the Book of Hebrews Develop This?

Hebrews 13:20-21

Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Hebrews 10:14-18

For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying, “THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,” He then says, “AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE.” Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin.

Hebrews 2:9-18

But we do see [Jesus] who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone (huper pantos). For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, “I WILL PROCLAIM YOUR NAME TO MY BRETHREN, IN THE MIDST OF THE CONGREGATION I WILL SING YOUR PRAISE.” And again, “I WILL PUT MY TRUST IN HIM.” And again, “BEHOLD, I AND THE CHILDREN WHOM GOD HAS GIVEN ME.” Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.

Hebrews 9:27-28

And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

A Word from John Owen on the New and Old Covenants

With regard to Jeremiah 31:31-32 and Hebrews 8:9-11, John Owen says, “Wherein, first the condition of the covenant is not said to be required, but it is absolutely promised: ‘I will put my fear in their hearts.’ And this is the main difference between the old covenant of works and the new one of grace, that in that the Lord did only require the fulfilling of the condition prescribed, but in this he promises to effect it in them himself with whom the covenant is made. This then is one main difference of these two covenants – that the Lord did in the old only require the condition; now, in the new, he will also effect it in all the federates, to whom this covenant is extended” (The Death of Death, vol. 10, pp. 236-237).

Texts Often Used to Deny Limited Atonement

1 Timothy 2:6

Christ gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.

1 John 2:1-2

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

Hebrews 2:9

But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.

2 Corinthians 5:19

God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

John 1:29

The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

2 Peter 2:1

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves (See 1 Corinthians 8:11; Romans 14:14:15).

Texts that Seem to Designate the Atonement for a Limited Group

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

1 Thessalonians 5:10

Christ died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.

John 10:11, 14-15

I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep . . . I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

Ephesians 5:25

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.

Acts 20:28

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

John 11:51-52

Being high priest that year, [Caiaphas] prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

Hebrews 10:14

For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

What’s the Dispute and How Do I Approach It?

Arminians take all the passages which say the death of Christ is “for us” (Romans 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:10) or for “his own sheep” (John 10:11, 15) or for “the church” (Ephesians 5:25; Acts 20:28) or for “the children of God” (John 11:52) or for “those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14) and say that the meaning is that God designs and intends the atonement for all people in the same way, but that God applies it as effective and saving only for those who believe and become part of “us” and “the sheep” and “the church” and “the children of God.”

In this view, then, the sentence, “Christ died for you,” means: Christ died for all sinners, so that if you will repent and believe in Christ, then the death of Jesus will become effective in your case and will take away your sins.

Now, as far as it goes, this seems to me to be acceptable teaching. But then Arminians deny something that I think the Bible teaches. They deny that the texts about Christ’s dying for “us” or “his sheep” or his “church” or “the children of God” were intended by God to obtain something more for his people than the benefits they get after they believe. They deny, specifically, that the death of Christ was not only intended by God to obtain benefits for people after they believe (which is true), but even more, Christ’s death was intended by God to obtain the very willingness to believe. In other words, the divine grace that it takes to overcome our hardness of heart and become a believer was also obtained by the blood of Jesus.

There is no dispute that Christ died to obtain great saving benefits for all who believe. Moreover, there is no dispute that Christ died so that we might say to all persons everywhere without exception: “God gave his only begotten Son to die for sin so that if you believe on him you may have eternal life.”

The dispute is whether God intended for the death of Christ to obtain more than these two things: 1) saving benefits after faith, and 2) a bona fide invitation that can be made to any person to believe on Christ for salvation. Specifically, did God intend for the death of Christ to obtain the free gift of faith (Ephesians 2:8) and repentance (2 Timothy 2:25)? Did the blood of Jesus obtain both the benefits after faith, and the benefit of faith itself?

Does the historic Arminian interpretation of any of the “universal” texts on the atonement necessarily contradict this “more” that I am affirming about God’s intention for the death of Christ? (Texts like: 1 Timothy 2:6; 1 John 2:1-2; Hebrews 2:9; 2 Corinthians 5:19; John 1:29; 2 Peter 2:1.)

I don’t think so. Arminians historically are just as eager as Calvinists to avoid saying that these texts teach “universal salvation.” So they do not teach that the death of Christ “for all” saves all. Rather, they say, in the words of Millard Erickson, “God intended the atonement to make salvation possible for all persons. Christ died for all persons, but this atoning death becomes effective only when accepted by the individual.” Erickson then says, “This is the view of all Arminians” (Christian Theology, p. 829, emphasis added). What has come clearer to me as I have pondered these things is that Arminians do not say that in the death of Christ God intends to effectively save all for whom Christ died. They only say that God intends to make possible the salvation of all for whom Christ died. But this interpretation of these “universal” texts does not contradict the Calvinist assertion that God does intend to obtain the grace of faith and repentance for a definite group by the death of Christ.

Arminians may deny this assertion, but they cannot deny it on the basis of their interpretation of the “universal” texts of the atonement. That interpretation simply affirms that all may have salvation if they believe. Calvinists do not dispute that. They only go beyond it.

Here’s the rub: if he did this “more,” he didn’t do it for everyone. So at this level the atonement becomes “limited.” And this is what Arminians stumble over: is there anything that God would do to get some unbelievers saved that he would not do for all? This “limitation” implies a choice on God’s part to save some and not all. This leads to “U,” unconditional election, which we will take up next.

Texts Supporting the Assertion That the Atonement Obtained the Grace of Faith

The Blood of the New Covenant

Luke 22:20

And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.”

Ezekiel 36:26-27

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

The Ingathering of the Children of God

1 John 2:2

He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

John 11:50-52

“It is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish." Now [Caiaphas] did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

John 10:11

I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep . . . I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

Revelation 5:9

And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”

By His Wounds You Were Returned to Your Shepherd

1 Peter 2:24-25

He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

Texts Showing the Design of the Atonement for God’s Chosen Ones

The Death of Christ for the Elect Is the Ground of Their Assurance

Romans 8:29-33

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God's elect?

He Tasted Death for All the Children God Gave to Him

Hebrews 2:9-18

But we do see [Jesus] who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone (huper pantos). For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, “I WILL PROCLAIM YOUR NAME TO MY BRETHREN, IN THE MIDST OF THE CONGREGATION I WILL SING YOUR PRAISE.” And again, “I WILL PUT MY TRUST IN HIM.” And again, “BEHOLD, I AND THE CHILDREN WHOM GOD HAS GIVEN ME.” Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people (tou laou).


5. Unconditional Election

Definition From the Westminster Confession of Faith (Unconditional Election)

3.5 Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, hath chosen in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of His mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving Him thereunto; and all to the praise of His glorious grace.

3.6 As God hath appointed the elect unto glory, so hath He, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore, they who are elected being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ; are effectually called unto faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season; are justified, adopted, sanctified, and kept by His power, through faith, unto salvation. Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.

The Classic Arminian Position (Election Based on Foreknowledge)

"[God purposes] to save particular persons and to damn others, which decree rests upon the foreknowledge of God, by which he has known from eternity which persons should believe according to such an administration of the means serving to repentance and faith through his preceding grace and which should persevere through subsequent grace, and also who should not believe and persevere." (Quoted in Carl Bangs, Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation, 1971, p. 352).

The Contemporary Arminian Emphasis (Election Corporate, Not Individual)

The point is that the election of the church is a corporate rather than an individual thing. It is not that individuals are in the church because they are elect, it is rather that they are elect because they are in the church which is the body of the elect One. (R. T. Forster and V. P. Marston, God’s Strategy in Human History , 1973, p. 136).

...election is a corporate category and not oriented to the choice of individuals for salvation.... [Election has reference to] a class of people rather than specific individuals.” (Clark Pinnock, The Grace of God and the Will of Man: A Case for Arminianism, 1990, p. 20)

Is Election Not Individual Because It Is “in Him”?

Ephesians 1:3-6

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

Does “All Things” Include Our Faith?

Ephesians 1:11

In [Christ] also we have been chosen [eklerothemen], having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will.

Were We Dead and Unable to Believe So That Life and Faith Had to Be Given to Us?

Ephesians 2:4-9

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Is Election Individual and Are We in Christ Because of God?

1 Corinthians 1:26-30

For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing (eks autou) you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.

Is Election Individual?

James 2:5

Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

Is Election the Effect or the Cause of Obtaining Salvation, That Is, of Foreknown Faith?

Romans 11:1-8

Do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? “Lord, THEY HAVE KILLED YOUR PROPHETS, THEY HAVE TORN DOWN YOUR ALTARS, AND I ALONE AM LEFT, AND THEY ARE SEEKING MY LIFE.” But what is the divine response to him? “I HAVE KEPT for Myself SEVEN THOUSAND MEN WHO HAVE NOT BOWED THE KNEE TO BAAL.” In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God's gracious choice. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace. What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; just as it is written, “GOD GAVE THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR, EYES TO SEE NOT AND EARS TO HEAR NOT, DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY.”

Is Election Based on Foreknown Faith or Does Faith Happen Because of Election?

Acts 13:48

When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.

Do We Belong to God Because We Come to Jesus, or Do We Come to Jesus Because We Belong to God?

John 17:6-9

I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. . . . I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours.

John 6:37-39

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.

Are We Jesus’ Sheep Because We Believe, or Do We Believe Because We Are His Sheep?

John 10:24-27

The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father's name, these testify of Me. But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”

Is Evangelism Making Sheep or Gathering Sheep?

John 10:16

I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.

Is World Missions Begetting Children of God or Gathering Children of God?

John 11:50-52

[Caiaphas said,] “it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.” Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

Acts 18:9-10

And the Lord said to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city.”

Did God Choose Us Because He Knows We Will Come, or Do We Come Because He Chose to Give Us the Will to Come?

John 6:44, 65

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. . . .” And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”

Acts 16:14

A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.

Is Election Based on Foreknown Faith or Is Faith the Effect of Election?

Romans 8:28-33

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies.

Is Election Individual and Unconditional and Dealing with Eternal Destiny?

Romans 9:1-23

I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen. But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: “THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED.” That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. For this is the word of promise: “AT THIS TIME I WILL COME, AND SARAH SHALL HAVE A SON.” And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER.” Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.” What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory.

Some Texts that May Seem Problematic for Unconditional Election

1 Timothy 2:1-4

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (qe,lei swqh/nai kai. eivj evpi,gnwsin avlhqei,aj evlqei/n).

I. Howard Marshall, who is not a Calvinist and who writes on this text in “Universal Grace and Atonement in the Pastoral Epistles,” The Grace of God, the Will of Man: A Case for Arminianism, (p. 56), concedes that there are two levels of willing implied in this text:

To avoid all misconceptions it should be made clear at the outset that the fact that God wishes or wills that all people should be saved does not necessarily imply that all will respond to the gospel and be saved. We must certainly distinguish between what God would like to see happen and what he actually does will to happen, and both of these things can be spoken of as God’s will. The question at issue is not whether all will be saved but whether God has made provision in Christ for the salvation of all, provided that they believe, and without limiting the potential scope of the death of Christ merely to those whom God knows will believe.

But nowhere in the entire essay does Marshall mention the one text in the Pastoral Epistles that points most clearly to these two wills and what they are, namely, 2 Timothy 2:24-26 and 2 Peter 3:8-10.

2 Timothy 2:24-26

The Lord's bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

Marshall poses the question whether any text in the Pastorals would lead us to believe that “faith and repentance are the gifts of God, who gives them only to the previously chosen group of the elect” (p. 66). He concludes that there is not, even though the text that comes closest to saying this very thing is passed over.

2 Peter 3:8-10

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

Ezekiel 18:23

“Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord GOD, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?"

Lamentations 3:31-33 (An example of God willing in one sense what he does not will in another sense)

For the Lord will not reject forever,
For if He causes grief,
Then He will have compassion,
According to His abundant lovingkindness.
For He does not afflict willingly,
Or grieve the sons of men.


6. The Perseverance Of The Saints

Definition of Perseverance from the Westminster Confession of Faith

17.1 They, whom God hath accepted in His Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.

17.2 This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father; upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ; the abiding of the Spirit, and of the seed of God within them; and the nature of the covenant of grace: from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.

17.3 Nevertheless, they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalence of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins; and, for a time, continue therein: whereby they incur God's displeasure, and grieve His Holy Spirit, come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts; have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves.

We Must Persevere in Faith if We Are to Be Finally Saved

1 Corinthians 15:1-2

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

Colossians 1:21-23

And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach – if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

2 Timothy 2:11-13

It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

Mark 13:13

You will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.

The Obedience or Holiness That Comes from Faith Is Necessary for Final Salvation

Hebrews 12:14

Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.

Romans 8:13

If you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Galatians 5:19-21

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 5:3-5

But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

1 John 2:3-6

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

1 John 3:6-10

No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him. Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

1 John 3:14

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.

1 John 4:20

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.

John 8:31

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine.”

Those Whom God Has Justified Will Be Kept by God for Final Salvation

Romans 8:28-32

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

John 10:26-30

But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.

1 Peter 1:3-5

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Peter 5:8-10

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.

Jude 1:24-25

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.

1 Corinthians 1:8-9

[Our Lord Jesus Christ] will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Ephesians 1:13-14

In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation — having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of [God's own] possession, to the praise of His glory.

Jeremiah 32:40

I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me.

Philippians 1:6

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 2:12-13

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Hebrews 13:20-21

Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

2 Timothy 4:18

The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Falling Away from Faith and Holiness Shows that We Never Belonged to Christ

1 John 2:19

They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.

1 John 3:6

No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.

Hebrews 3:13

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end.

Therefore, Let Us Be Earnest to Make Our Calling and Election Sure

2 Peter 1:10

Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble.

1 Timothy 6:12

Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

2 Timothy 4:7-8

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org