Trampling through the T.U.L.I.P.s
Perseverance of the Saints Calvinism John Calvin Tulip Total Depravity Unconditional Election Limited Atonement Irresistible Grace
"We are the Lord's elected few, let all the rest be damned; there's room enough in hell for you, we won't have heaven crammed!"
(Actual Calvinist song as documented in The Other Side of Calvinism by Dr. Laurence Vance)
This article is not meant to mock Calvinists. There are many God loving people who have held to Calvin’s system of soteriology, not the least of whom was Charles Haddon Spurgeon. On the flip side, there have always been very good Christians who’ve held to the opposite view, Armenianism, such as John Wesley.
Pointing out the errors in doctrine is not the same as demeaning those who believe it.
That being said, Calvinism, if taken to its logical end result can be very harmful. Those who take it there are called hyper-Calvinists, and they tend to spend their time in groups muttering about the elect, eternal decrees, and doing everything but soul winning. Thankfully, Charles Spurgeon was not a hyper-Calvinist and he actually spoke out against them.
Regardless of whether your beliefs lean towards Armenianism or Calvinism, it’s important to take a step back and examine them. I’ve seen many Calvinists accuse those who do not adhere to their doctrine as being lazy, unwilling to study the scriptures, and taking the easy way out. If you are a Calvinist, I hope you will hold yourself to the same standard of diligence that you hold others to as we take a look at the five points of T.U.L.I.P.
Rom. 3:10-12, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”
The idea behind this point in Calvin’s system is that man is so totally depraved that he lacks the ability to be able to come to God or seek Him out. Calvin is correct on this point, to a certain degree. On his own, man is so depraved that he will not seek after God. That’s easily ascertainable in the above passage.
The story doesn’t end there though; consider this woman who just wouldn’t give up:
Matt. 15:21-28, “Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 23 But he answered her not a word.”
This woman came to Jesus for help. He did not seek her out at all, she went out of her way searching for Him, and when she found Him she asked Him for help.
Jesus gave her the cold shoulder, first rejection.
“24 And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.”
Second rejection. The disciples ask Jesus to tell her to go away, right in front of her. Does this deter her?
“25 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Third rejection, right in front of the woman Jesus ignores the woman again, and tells the disciples that at that time the gospel wasn’t intended for the gentiles. At this point, the woman has experienced rejection three times and Jesus still hasn’t spoken to her directly.
“25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.”
After being rejected three times, the woman pleads with the Lord to help her. He rejects her, insults her, and insinuates that she’s not good enough to even be able to hear the gospel. The plan was not for her at the time.
In Matthew 10:6-7 Jesus clearly told his disciples to ignore everyone who was a Gentile and to only bring the gospel to the Jews. Sure, the Gentiles were going to get a “crack at it”, but not until the Jews had heard it first. The reasons behind this have to do with dispensations and the gospel of the kingdom, something that is another Bible study in of itself. Regardless, Jesus rejects this woman directly after ignoring her twice.
“27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. 28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”
After being rejected four times, the woman doesn’t try to defend herself at all. She understands that she is a lost, hell bound sinner who deserves nothing. She doesn’t argue with the Lord, she agrees with Him. Jesus is moved by this woman’s persistence and faith and goes outside of His own dispensational guidelines to save her.
How does THAT line up with the idea of total depravity, or better put, total inability?
Does this mean we take the verses in Romans 3 and throw them out the door?
Of course not. Then how do we reconcile the woman in Matthew 15 with what is written in Romans 3?
John 12:32-33, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.”
Jesus Christ is the game changer. Jesus Christ is the bridge between God and man; the woman in Matthew 15 couldn’t help but be drawn to Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and anyone in the same room as Him would know it instinctively regardless of any dispensational boundaries that may exist! We read in John 12:32 that when Christ was lifted up (“lifted up” is defined as crucifixion in the very next verse) that all men would be drawn unto Him.
Before Christ, there are many instances of men choosing of their own free will to obey God. Obviously the depravity of man does not extend to his will, when given light from God and given a choice man is able to respond to it. Without the light, man doesn’t seek out God, but with light he certainly has the ability to choose God.
So the “T” in T.U.L.I.P is a moot point. It doesn’t matter whether or not man can come to God on His own or not, Jesus promised that if He was crucified that He’d draw all men on earth to Himself one way or another.
Eph. 1:5, 11, “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will… In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:”
The idea behind Unconditional Election is that those who trust Christ were meant to do it from the foundations of the earth. The idea is that not only did God know who would trust His Son Jesus before they were ever born (which no Christian would dispute), but He actually predestinated them to make that decision. Some He predestinated to get saved, others He left out. Even if such a thing were true, such election would be based upon foreknowledge so as to not violate man’s free will.
Most Calvinists hate to admit this, but if God unconditionally (that is the key word) predestinated some to go to Heaven that means that God also unconditionally predestinated some to go to Hell. In fact, it would mean it is God’s sovereign will that most people go to Hell. In order to help take the teeth out of this John Calvin taught that God predestinated all babies to go to Heaven, very convenient to say the least and doesn’t exactly fit with the idea that the election is “unconditional” to some people and not to others. Of course all babies go to Heaven (Rom. 7:9; 4:15, 5:13; II Sam. 12:23), but it’s not because they’re predestined to salvation.
What Calvinists who are hung up on God’s sovereign will consistently ignore is the fact that God’s will is VIOLATED every time we sin, every time someone rejects the gospel, and especially every time someone goes to Hell.
1. When we Sin:
I Thess. 4:3, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:”
I Thess 5:18, “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
2. When the Gospel is Rejected:
Acts 17:30, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:”
II Tim. 2:4-6, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
3. When a person goes to Hell:
II Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
God is not some sadist that loves you enough to send His Son to die for you, but willingly chooses for you to go to Hell. You won’t find that anywhere in the Bible.
What you will find is a couple verses here and there that talk about people being predestinated. Once again, do we ignore those verses because at first glance they do not seem to fit with the rest of scripture? Of course not.
Here’s the critical statement:
Nowhere in the Bible will you ever find anyone ever being predestinated to get saved, what you find is people being predestinated who already are saved.
“Those in the bus are predestinated to arrive at the bus station in two hours.”
Being predestinated is conditional on one thing – being in the bus!
The same thing applies to being predestinated in scripture; you have to be “in Christ”. Being “in Christ” (I Cor. 12:12-13, Rom. 6:3, Gal 3:26-27, II Cor. 5:17) means being in the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23), being in universal church (Col. 1:18, 24), and being part of the bride of Christ (Rev. 21:9, Eph. 5:23-32). They’re all the same thing. The only way you get “in Christ” is by getting saved.
In both cases in Ephesians chapter one, if you look at the verses that are talking about predestination you’ll see that they’re talking about people who are in Christ. Those who are chosen are “in Him” or “in Christ”.
Eph 1:4-5, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”
Eph. 1:10-11, “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:”
The term “predestinated” means basically that you establish to do or receive something before it actually happens. Calvinist assume that these verses mean that a person is predestinated to get “in Christ” (or get saved) before they actually receive Christ.
In both sets of verses, the people in question are predestinated to two things, the adoption of children and an inheritance. Neither verse says these people are predestinated to receive these things before they are saved, it just says that those who are in Christ are predestinated. The next logical question is what is the adoption of children and what is this inheritance that these people are predestinated to?
1. The Adoption of Children:
Rom 8:23 “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
According to this verse, we haven’t yet received the adoption, we’re still waiting for it. The adoption is the redemption of our bodies that happens to believers at the resurrection (I Cor. 15). So this verse on predestination is actually one of the strongest verses on eternal security in the Bible, because if you’re saved and in Christ you are at that point predestinated according to the will God to have your body changed into a glorified body.
2. The Inheritance Incorruptible:
I Peter 1:2-5, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
I Peter 1:2-5 takes care of several questions. First of all, what is the inheritance that is spoken of in Ephesians? In Ephesians it says we already have it, and here it says it’s reserved in Heaven for us. The only thing I can imagine it would be is a mansion (John 14:2). We, in Christ, are predestined to receive this. Not surprisingly, in the same context, we see in verse 5 one of the strongest and clearest verses on eternal security in the Bible. Predestination falls under the doctrine of eternal security for the believer who is within the body of Christ, not an unbeliever who the Bible says is dead and “in Adam”. If you’re in Adam, you’re not predestinated to anything.
The second thing this solves is how a person becomes part of the elect. Calvin would tell you that a person is part of the elect “unconditionally”, even though you’ll never find a passage anywhere in the New Testament that says someone is saved without putting their faith in Christ. I feel like saying that once isn’t good enough, no where in scripture is anyone saved unconditionally! Salvation is conditional on you putting your faith in Jesus Christ. Do you see how if you take a verse and start building a doctrine around it you can find yourself ignoring hundreds of verses in the Bible in favor of your strange isolated interpretation?
So how does one become part of the elect then? It’s very simple; it’s through sanctification of the spirit. Look, if someone is part of the elect before they’re saved that means they have the promises of a new body and a home in heaven, something that is reserved for members of the body of Christ, while they are still “in adam” and “dead in trespasses and sins”. Do you see how ridiculous this is?
There’s one last passage on the subject of predestination in the Bible, and once again it has nothing to do with anyone being predestinated to be saved.
Rom. 8:29-30, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
The saved people in this passage are predestinated to be conformed to the image of His son, that happens at the resurrection, it goes right back to the adoption which is the redemption of the body. The subsequent event to the foreknowledge in this passage is not salvation! Does it say “For whom he did foreknow, he did predestinate to receive redemption?” No, it doesn’t say that. The event that follows the foreknowledge is a Christian getting predestinated to get a new body; it has nothing to do with salvation.
Calvinists take a couple verses in Ephesians 1 and this passage in Romans 8 and completely get the cart before the horse. The foreknowledge and predestination in this passage and I Peter 1:2 are both conditional upon “…sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ…” In other words getting saved. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, because we’re told over and over again in the New Testament that salvation is conditional upon faith, and the benefits of being saved are conditional upon (amazingly enough) actually being saved.
Before we stop on this subject, there’s one last verse that should be considered:
II Tim. 2:10, “Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
Ok, so the Calvinist will tell you that this shows that the elect aren’t saved, and that Paul’s ministry was to get the elect saved. Wait a second though, according to Calvinism, Paul wouldn’t have to endure anything for the elect to get saved, they’ll get saved regardless. What’s the point? While you’re mulling that over, let’s consider another verse to help us understand this verse.
I Tim. 2:14-15, “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. 15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”
Does this mean that women have to have children to qualify for salvation, and that ladies who never get married, have physical difficulties, or are married to men who are sterile are bound for Hell regardless of whether or not they’ve put their faith in Jesus? Of course not, being “saved” in this passage has nothing to do with the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Consider another verse along the same lines:
I Tim. 6:11-12, “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
This verse is commanding a preacher to lay hold on eternal life by living right. Wait, I John 5:11-12 tells us that eternal life is a present possession, not something we get later on! Also, eternal life is not conditional upon good works (Eph. 2:8-9), so what is it talking about in this verse when it says for us to lay hold on eternal life if we already have it? It’s talking about the same thing that Paul was suffering for in II Tim. 2:10. What would that be? Does Paul clarify what he’s talking about when he says that he’s working for the elect to receive salvation? Where would the best place to look be?
How about the very next few verses:
II Tim. 2:10-13, “Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: 13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.”
The “salvation” in II Tim. 2:10 is the same thing as the “eternal life” in I Tim. 6:12, it’s talking about earning rewards in Heaven. Paul wanted his converts to receive a “full reward” (II John 8, Phil. 3:14). We don’t know this because it sounds nice, we know it to be true because within the immediate context of II Tim. 2:10 the scriptures talk about Christians suffering to reign with Him. As a Calvinist, if you’re going to protest this then you had better make childbirth a part of salvation for a woman (I Tim. 2:14-15) and start preaching works salvation (I Tim. 6:11-12).
So the “U” in T.U.L.I.P is ridiculous because any student of the Bible can tell that salvation is not unconditional. As far as predestination, scripture is very clear that it occurs after salvation and not before.
John 10:11, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
This passage is used to demonstrate that Jesus ONLY shed His blood for the sheep.
When you adhere to the “U” in T.U.L.I.P. you’ll find yourself going down the slippery slope of having to believe in “L”, “I”, and “P”. The last three letters of T.U.L.I.P are completely ridiculous, and hardly merit much of a response. The first one, Limited Atonement, is the blasphemous teaching that Jesus only shed His blood for the elect.
When you start believing that God controls everything we do in life, most importantly acceptance and rejection of the gospel, then the sky’s the limit. If God only chose a select group to go to Heaven and created billions of others for the purpose of going to Hell, then it is only rational to conclude that Jesus only shed His blood for the elect and they are the only ones capable of making use of it for redemption. If there’s no such thing as free will, then of course this makes sense.
Let’s look at a couple of clear verses that debunk this idea:
I Tim. 2:4, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
I Tim. 2:6, “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
The Calvinist will insist that “all” means “all the elect” in these verses. Ok, fine, show me in the context of those verses where the elect are mentioned.
They’re not mentioned in the entire chapter. In fact, nowhere in the entire book are any “elect” human beings mentioned at all. The only elect in I Timothy are “elect angels” in I Tim. 5:21. All “elect” means is “chosen”, Israel is an elect nation (Is. 65:9) and Jesus was called God’s elect (Is. 42:1-4).
I Peter 2:1, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”
Jesus shed His blood for false prophets and false teachers in this passage.
I Tim. 4:10, “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.”
Jesus Christ is the Saviour of all men, and a clear distinction is made between those who believe and do not. He is especially the savior of those that choose to accept Him.
I John 2:2, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
His blood atonement is not only available for those who accept Him, but for the whole world.
If there’s really such a thing as limited atonement, then Hell was made for the billions of people that God would put in Hell. Why was Hell made?
Matt. 25:41, “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”
Hell was made for Satan; it was not originally intended for people. Hell was created after Satan fell, and it was intended for Him and the angels that rebelled against God. What the Calvinist is saying, whether he wants to admit it or not, is that God willfully creates people so that He can put them in Hell.
Meaning, it’s God’s will for most people to perish.
II Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Yes, there are plenty of verses that talk about Christ’s blood being shed to redeem men and that His blood was shed for the saved, His bride, and His sheep. That is doesn’t mean that His blood was only shed for those who would accept Him. His blood was shed for every man, woman, and child that ever lived.
II Peter 3:9 tells us that it is specifically against the will of God for anyone to go to Hell. That means, contrary to Calvinism, the atonement at Calvary is unlimited.
Acts 13:48, “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”
The teaching of Irresistible Grace is that not only does God choose who’s going to get saved, but He also overpowers them and basically forces them to accept Him. Those who are predestinated to receive Christ must accept Him, and they are unable to resist the Holy Spirit in the matter of salvation.
Unable to find a verse that would even hint at such a thing, the Calvinist will yank this verse out of Acts and a couple other verses about God forcefully preparing somebody for a specific task (none of those tasks have anything to do with receiving Christ) and claim that God’s sovereign will forces people to accept Him outside of their free will. At best, this is a quantum leap based upon a couple verses in the Bible, ignoring a huge host of verses that talk about men having free will to choose Christ or not.
If man is unable to resist the Holy Spirit, then how does the Calvinist explain these verses?
Acts 7:51, “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.”
Matt. 23:37, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”
II Tim. 3:8, “Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.”
Duet. 8:20, “As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God.”
II Chr. 33:10, “And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken.”
These verses demonstrate that man can overrule the will and commandment of God. God’s grace and His commandments are clearly resistible. Yes there are cases in the Bible where God hardens someone’s heart (Ex. 9:12), allows them to be deceived (I Kings 22, II Thess. 2:11), gives them over to a reprobate mind (Rom. 1:28), or even turns away from an entire nation or group of people (Acts 13:46, Rom. 9:22) – but in every case it’s only after the person or group of people have continually rejected the light that God has given them.
Now back to Acts 13:48. When it says that these Gentiles were ordained to eternal life, what does it mean? We’ve already determined from several other passages that it doesn’t mean they had no choice in the matter and were predestinated to receive Christ, so then what does it mean that they were “ordained to eternal life”?
Romans 2:4-7, “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? 5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds: 7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:”
At first glance this passage could seem to teach that God renders eternal life according to the good deeds of people. In other words, works salvation. We know that’s not true based upon plenty of other verses in the Bible that say salvation is a free gift of grace through faith. So what is it talking about? It’s talking about repentance, look at verse 4. Lost people who respond to their conscience and seek after God (because Christ was lifted up they can do that, see the part about Total Depravity) are rewarded in this life for their good works by receiving more light. An example of this would be Cornelius.
Acts 10:1-4, 21-22, 30-31, 44-45, “There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, 2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. 3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. 4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.”
This man was a lost Gentile. He sought after God, and God heard his prayers, saw that he fasted and wound up sending Peter to him so he could get saved.
“Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come? 22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.”
Peter tells the man that God has heard his prayers, and that God told Peter to go to him.
“30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, 31 And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.”
Peter preaches a message to Cornelius and several other Gentiles who are present, and in the middle of the message they wind up accepting Christ and receiving the Holy Spirit.
“While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Another example of a Gentile seeking out God of his own according and God rewarding him with more light is the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8. The Bible is very clear that God rewards those that seek Him.
Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
With all that being said, do you see how God takes extra care and prepares some to get saved, based upon how they respond to the light that God gives them? See, the problem is the Calvinist takes this one verse and one word in it, “ordained”, and builds a doctrine around what they think that word means, without checking out the rest of the Bible first.
They assume that “ordained” means “predestinated”. If you can find a verse in the Bible that says people are predestinated before salvation to receive Christ, then you might have a point – but you can’t. All ordained means in this case is “prepared”, God takes special care and attention to those who seek after Him and he prepares them to one day receive Christ. He doesn’t make them do it, but He gives them every chance He can and helps them out as much as possible. That is what the Bible teaches, and that is the correct interpretation of being “ordained to eternal life”. That interpretation is not based upon a Greek word or a dictionary definition; it is based upon clear scripture with scripture Bible study.
It’s a sad thing when someone resists the calling of the Holy Spirit to salvation, but it happens all the time. God’s grace is resistible, and man does have a free will.
Perseverance of the Saints
Matt. 10:22, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”
Depending upon how it’s taught, this can actually be the one point in Calvinism that is correct. If taught that the believer has eternal security, then it’s correct. We understand that eternal security is a Bible doctrine based upon several verses in the Bible (Eph. 1:3, Heb 13:5, I Peter 1:5, Rom. 8:38-39).
Many Calvinists take a skewed view of Matt. 10:22 and teach that if you’re part of the elect you will endure to the end. In this case, “the end” would be the end of your life. What results in that kind of thinking is actually very ironic.
Here you have a group of people that swear on three verses in the Bible (not to be confused with swearing on a stack of Bibles) that God unconditionally predestinated certain people to be saved. He then overpowers them and forces them to choose Him. These folks really have no choice in the matter, and they’re pretty much eternally secure before they’re even born.
Then the same people teach that the elect will serve the Lord and endure for Him up until the end, and that they are predestined to do just that. The problem is, when you take this teaching and bring it back into the real world, you wind up with a bunch of Hyper-Calvinists wondering if they’re really part of the elect. In other words, these good folks who believe in eternal security on a doctrinal level have no assurance of their salvation on a practical level. It’s actually very sad.
Matt. 10:22 has nothing to do with people who are saved enduring to the end of their lives. The context is the Tribulation, and all it means is that saved folks who manage to survive the horrors of the Tribulation will be delivered out of it at the very end by Jesus Christ Himself when He comes back.
In conclusion, let me say that John Calvin was a shining light for his day and was used to God to rebel against the oppressive and tyrannical Roman Catholic Church. He had, however, a huge list of practical and doctrinal shortcomings, and those who refuse to go further than him in Bible study are bound to be fouled up.
Calvinism is just like any other cult. It is built on a few verses, taken out of context and interpreted without supporting scripture.
What is clear in the Bible is that God loved the entire world enough to send His Son to die and pay the penalty for everyone, that He wants all men to come to Him, and anyone who does come to Him He will not cast out.
Rom. 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Rev. 22:17, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”