TULIP OR WEEDS?
By Daniel Parks
Is salvation the work of God alone? or of man cooperating with God? Is salvation bestowed by God's grace alone? or does man merit it through an act of self-righteousness performed by his own free will?
Church history is highlighted by confrontations on this doctrine. Those who preach salvation involves man's free will and works have ever opposed those who preach salvation by God's grace alone. Scribes and Pharisees opposed Jesus Christ and the apostles. In the fifth century, disciples of Pelagius opposed disciples of Augustine. During the Middle Ages, Roman Catholics opposed Anabaptists and, from 1517, Protestants. And from 1611, Arminians have opposed Calvinists.
The areas of disagreement in this controversy are set forth below.
MAN'S FREE WILL
Will of Man Is Free
Mankind is influenced by sin, but
not under its dominion, as all yet
have free will and the ability to
determine their own destiny.
Anyone can of his own free will
come to Christ for salvation. All
men have faith, but not all will to
Election Is Conditional
Election to salvation involves both
the sinner choosing God and God
choosing the sinner. God's choice
was conditioned upon man's
choice, as God chose in eternity
past those whom He foresaw in
time believing in Jesus Christ for
Every Man Is Redeemed
Jesus Christ died for every one,
paying the price of redemption
for them all. But this does not
guarantee their forgiveness, as many
of His redeemed will be
eventually damned because of unbelief.
Denial Confounds Grace
The sovereignty of God does not
extend to His salvation, as man's
will can here thwart God's purpose.
God is trying to save every sinner,
but He is helpless to save any
sinner who will not let Him.
Some Will Lose Salvation
God cannot preserve in salvation
those who of their own free will
refuse to be preserved, Those
believers who do not remain
faithful to the very end will lose
their salvation, "fall from grace,"
and eventually perish.
SALVATION IS BY
GOD'S GRACE ALONE
Mankind is spiritually dead and
under the dominion of sin
(Ephesians 2:1-3; John 8:34).
None can of his own will come
to Christ for salvation (John
5:40; 6:65). None has faith
unless God graciously bestows
it (Ephesians 2:8).
God the Father has graciously
chosen and predestined to
salvation some of the fallen
(2 Thessalonians 2:13;
Ephesians 1:3-6). His choice
was in no way conditioned
upon foreseen good or merit in
the chosen ones. (John 15:16).
Jesus Christ died as the substitute
of God's elect, forever redeeming
and forgiving them (Isaiah 53:4-6,8b;
Ephesians 1:7). He did not die for any
who will die in unbelief
God will not be thwarted in
His purpose of salvation
(Daniel 4:35). Every one of
His chosen and redeemed sinners
will be brought to saving faith in
Jesus Christ (John 6:37,45; Romans 8:29f).
Perseverance of the Saints
God preserves in salvation all
believers in Christ, and none
will ever perish (John 3:16;
10:28f). And He enables them
to persevere to the end, so
none will be lost (Jeremiah 32,40;
| These two belief systems are identified by the acronyms WEEDS and TULIP (see underlinings above).
Are you a TULIP basking in God's sovereign grace?
Or are you among WEEDS boasting of self-righteousness?