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We are completely sinful. We are not as sinful as we could be, but we are completely affected by sin. The doctrine of Total Depravity is derived from scriptures that reveal human character: Man is a slave of sin Rom. He does not seek for God Rom. He cannot understand spiritual things 1 Cor. He is at enmity with God Eph.

The Five Points of Calvinism (TULIP)

And, is by nature a child of wrath Eph. Therefore God must predestine. God does not base His election on anything He sees in the individual. He chooses the elect according to the kind intention of His will Eph. Nor does God look into the future to see who would pick Him. Also, as some are elected into salvation, others are not Rom.

Jesus died only for the elect. Jesus only bore the sins of the elect.

T.U.L.I.P. or, The Five Points of Calvinism

Support for this position is drawn from such scriptures as Matt. When God calls his elect into salvation, they cannot resist. God offers to all people the gospel message. This is called the external call. But to the elect, God extends an internal call and it cannot be resisted. This call is by the Holy Spirit who works in the hearts and minds of the elect to bring them to repentance and regeneration whereby they willingly and freely come to God.

Some of the verses used in support of this teaching are Romans 9: Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel.


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Such a gospel I abhor. What Spurgeon is saying, very simply, is that the Christian gospel offers salvation freely in Jesus Christ. It is a work of God from beginning to end.


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God is the active giver: He chooses, He draws, He saves, and He keeps. It is all His doing. Anything less, he says, is not the gospel. This idea lies just on the face of Scripture. The apostle Paul said that God saves in such a way that it leaves no room at all for men to congratulate themselves 1Cor.

Salvation is a work of God, designed to bring glory to Himself. We shudder to think of any condition laid upon us as a prerequisite for salvation. If God does not save freely, we know that we will not be saved at all. But hearing that He has promised to save us without condition, that He will take us just as we are, is precisely what gives us hope and confidence. God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, has done for us everything that God has required of us; and trusting in Him Who has accomplished in our place a perfect righteousness and Who has paid the penalty of our sin by His substitutional sacrifice on the cross, we have peace with God Rom.

This is the wonderful offer of the gospel. Salvation is free, in Jesus Christ. Sadly, however, this simplicity of the gospel has often been complicated even by well-intentioned men. And this confusing of the terms of salvation has caused considerable debate within the Christian community. Many have taught that it is man, not God, who is the determining party in salvation. His condition is one of sin; but his sinfulness, they teach, is not such that renders him incapable of choosing God. If he will but turn to God, then God will choose to save him, but not unless.

Further, the atonement of Christ, this theory teaches, was intended to do the very same thing for all men everywhere and without exception. Finally, once that a man has chosen God and becomes a Christian, he may again choose not to be a Christian and may eventually fall away into condemnation. In all of this there is one central tenet: His will is free to make the choice, and this is what determines the outcome. God leaves the matter with us. What Spurgeon was emphasizing in the quote above, however, is that this is not at all the case.

God has not left the matter with us. It is God and not man who makes the difference. God makes the choice, not man; indeed, man is so ruined by sin that he is unable to choose God. Further, God does the drawing; He goes before and Himself brings the sinner to Christ. And having saved them, God keeps them and will never allow them to stray so far as to fall into condemnation. Salvation, from beginning to end, is of God Jonah 2: Debate over these issues traces back even to the early centuries.

The Reformers were all united on these truths: God and not man is the determining cause of salvation. In response, the Synod of Dort reaffirmed that: This response of Dort has been fashioned into an acronym after the state flower of Holland, the tulip. Oddly enough, although this matter of salvation as a work of God alone is a rather minority opinion today, it is a point of repeated emphasis in the Scriptures. We will work it out here in the form that it has been given to us for years: Owing to God his very existence and receiving from Him daily his life and health and joys, man still has not found it in his heart to seek God; he rebels.

Religion he has and even wants, but God he would rather do without Rom. That is to say, he has no time for God; he is a rebel. Indeed, God stands, as it were, with outstretched arms in willingness to receive the sinner Rom. He stoops even to begging sinners to come, as a street vender hawking his goods Isa.

The invitation is both free and universal: He will take all who come Mat. No, the problem is not that God is unwilling; the problem is that man is unwilling. Loving their sin more than God, men refuse Him Jn. Foolish as it is, man will not have God. And even a quick glance over our society will provide the evidence for this. Mankind has rejected God. Now this might seem unnatural. If God created man in His own image, we might expect man to have more favorable opinions of God! But something has happened, and that something is sin.

Not My Choice

Through our father Adam sin has entered into all of humanity, and this in such a way that all men are inherently sinful Rom. Worse yet, Jesus describes them as children of the devil who both will and act like their father Jn. Put another way, natural man lives in a state of spiritual death Eph.

All this universal disobedience, then, is not an odd coincidence. All men have not somehow become sinners simply because they have all sinned.

They all sin because they are sinners. It is a matter of natural tendency and disposition. Spiritual death brings an insensitivity to the things of God. It is a spiritual slavery, the prisoners of which are helpless. This is the doctrine of total depravity. It does not mean, as many have misunderstood, that man is as bad as he can possibly be. It means that man is as bad off as he can possibly be. He is a sinner. He is guilty and deserving of divine wrath. And for this he can provide no remedy himself — he is the sinner! And the one remedy which is offered in Christ he will not take.

Indeed, he cannot understand it. Simply put, man is without ability to remedy his condition, and he is unwilling to be otherwise. He is as bad off as he could possibly be. The bottom line is this: It is our will that has got us lost! We are all sure for condemnation unless God would somehow incline our wills in the opposite direction. We must have a savior who is mighty enough to rescue us from ourselves. Clearly, God must do something. We are hopelessly lost — unless God will choose otherwise. It naturally follows, then, that if we are to be saved God must choose to do it.

T.U.L.I.P. or, The Five Points of Calvinism

This is precisely what the Scriptures tell us. Salvation comes to us because God has graciously chosen us. Jesus said this to His disciples: Now Jesus is not denying here that His disciples had, in fact, decided themselves to follow the Lord; very obviously, they had heartily agreed to do so. But what was it that made them so agreeable? Of course, and this is what Jesus addresses. It was not their choice of Him that determined His choice of them; that could never be. Rather it was His choice of them which preceded and determined their choice of Him. It was His choice that made the difference.

And well it should.

Dead in Sin?

Our refusal of Him was no deterrent to His grace. Jesus refers to this again in John 6: In the following verses Jesus identifies them as the objects of His saving mission. The Father gave them to Him, and He came to save them. This is how Jesus explains it all in His prayer to the Father: God in grace chose a people to be saved and sent His Son to accomplish that salvation for them. Indeed, the universal authority given to the Son is for this purpose exactly: Jesus further clarifies this later on in the same chapter.

It is only His sheep who come to believe in Him; the others refuse Him vv. It is to His sheep that He gives eternal life v.

Why Ravi Zacharias rejects Calvinism: Romans 9

In other words, God did not leave us to our own will. He saved us despite our contrary will. Nor did He save us by accident; He did it on purpose. If we are saved, we owe it to His electing grace. The apostle Paul argues this at length in Romans chapter 9.

His whole purpose here is to show that salvation comes by grace and by grace alone, and this he sets out to prove by an exposition of the doctrine of election. He does not play down the idea of divine sovereignty. Instead, he pushes the matter further: Who are you to define for God what is fair? Is He not free to do as He wills with His creation? And after all, was there anyone who deserved salvation?

And if not, then how can you object to His gracious choice of anyone? That God should hate Esau is very understandable. Nor was the nation which came after him. Does this election sound like a stuffed ballot box? And this is precisely our hope. Satan had cast his ballot for us. And our vote had been gladly cast with him. But God in grace overruled both.

Many have misunderstood this wonderful truth. They see election as a negative thing. But of course this is all wrong. It is not that some want in but God bars the door. The reality is that the door is wide open for any to enter — but none will! But, happily, God did not leave the matter there. He could have, and if He had He would have been entirely just in doing so. He instead made His own choice, one which overruled our own madness.

And in His gracious choice we find the grace that brings salvation.