The Doctrines of Grace
Yeah, this is gonna be another one of those Christian blog posts. Tune out now if you’ve had enough.
We’ve all said or done something that we’ve regretted later. As I’ve been on this journey God started me on years ago, when I asked him and trusted him to humble me and reteach me everything I thought I knew, I’ve been confronted more than once with horrors and falsehoods that once issued from my mouth. It grieves me that I could have led so many astray so easily as I had been. Thankfully, in his sovereign wisdom, he has been faithful and been reteaching me about a lot of things, things I thought I knew correctly but didn’t.
One of these things he’s been pointing me toward is the Doctrines of Grace, typically most associated with Calvinism. While there are still many Calvinists in the world who give Calvinism a bad name, overall I’ve found that Calvinists tend to make more Biblically solid Christians than any other position. I spent several months studying the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism, and my ultimate conclusion was that Calvinists use the Bible to support their positions, while Arminians tend to appeal to emotions and philosophy more than the Bible. Arguably, a mixture of all three is necessary for the Christian life, but I’ve yet to meet anyone who claims to a middle ground position that will either truly engage with all the material or doesn’t just fall of the map into heresy or unorthodoxy.
On the Reformation Theology website, I ran into this article: Why I Love the Doctrines of Grace. It was an inspiring and encouraging read…two of the traits of Calvinists that I am most drawn to.
Calvinism, in and of itself, is not the Gospel, however when these doctrines come together they provide the theological framework for what is the gospel. In the gospel God saves totally depraved sinners, He chooses them unconditionally, He draws them irresistibly, and He preserves them until the end. If you remove one of these pillars then you will have succeeded in diminishing the gospel.
While the doctrines of grace are rightly associated with John Calvin, and the Reformers, the truth is that these doctrines are woven all throughout the pages of Scripture. We see them in the Psalms, they were taught by Jesus himself, and were further upheld by the apostle Paul in Romans and Ephesians, to name just a couple of books.
It’s a really good read, and I respect the author more after reading it.
There is an incredible freedom in realizing that everything about my Christian life is a result of grace. That there is no room for my boasting about my salvation or my justification or my sanctification. To realize that God sovereignly knew ahead of time about any sin in my life and has made plans to help me through it. Truly, freedom can be found in Christ, and it’s through his grace we realize it. Freedom from the law that he did not abolish but fulfilled.
So, I’m becoming more grateful for Calvinism. More grateful for Christians for whom grace is not just a means to Law fulfillment.
Which makes me think deeper. More days than not I’m still in the place where I don’t want to be a Christian. And there are few if any Christians living who inspire me to want to be like them (or more like Christ). Yet articles like this help push me toward where I need or want to be. And for that I’m grateful.
(And I still find it ironic that one of the search phrases people use to find my blog is “How can I leave my Arminian church?” Says a lot…)