Calvinism Cleared: Dispelling the Misunderstandings of the Faith

New commenter Brooks writes:

I cannot accept Calvinism simply because, then its not mans fault if one rejects God but God’s fault, thus he condemns man to hell verses man condemning himself to hell.

This is a common misconception about Calvinism. Those of us who hold to this truth understand that the choice for man is always man’s responsibility. The responsibility for trusting God, and obeying God are always upon man (even those who outright reject God, still have the responsibility to obey Him, for He is the Creator and all of mankind owes God it’s allegiance and obedience.)

The problem is that man never seeks after God (Romans 3:9-18). Because of what we call total depravity, man never desires God, nor seeks after Him, and man certainly will not believe in God for salvation UNLESS God first moves in man. This is the rub is for many believers. We all basically admit that God must move in a person’s heart for them to be saved. But when does God move? Does He move in someone’s heart before or after the someone has move towards God?

The Calvinist believe that no one moves towards God until after God has already moved in the heart of stone, and made it a heart of flesh (Jer. 31:31ff, Hebrews 8:7ff). Some say that this make it God’s responsibility for those who go to hell because He did not move in everyone’s heart. This is not true. God is never responsible for sin. Sin is man’s responsibility and it is the only thing we can claim when it comes to our salvation. We ARE SINNERS in need of being saved.

This is God’s grace. Grace is not something that He is bound to show everyone, then it would not be grace at all. Grace if favor shown towards someone who does not deserve that favor. Let me be clear, that because of our sin, and totally depraved nature, we don’t deserve anything but hell and God’s wrath for all of eternity. That being the case, who are we to question God if He decides to save some and let the other perish with the hell that they DESERVE?

Romans 9:14-18 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.”[a]16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.”[b]18 Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.

It is clearly God’s choice on whom He saves and shows mercy to. Not our choice.

I know that many believe that God looked down through the corridors of time to see who would believe and who would not believe. The problem with this is that then God is no longer sovereign. He is dependent upon the creation for making His choice when it comes to election. If that is truly the God that we have, then there is no real hope of salvation because if we can choose to follow Him, and then choose not to follow Him, we loose our salvation. Not much of a God is He?

But He is an awesome God and most powerful. He will not lose a single one of His chosen children. John 10:26-27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.

The point is that our salvation is secure in Him. When it comes to us being saved, God gets all the glory. He elects us, the Son redeems us, the Holy Spirit renews us and secures us. All of this happens for us and for His glory. Again, the only thing we bring to the table is our sin. If we are truly saved, we will want nothing to do with that sin at all.

Is God responsible for sending the anyone to hell? No, not at all. The choice is freely given to all, and all freely out of their own will, reject Christ. But out of His goodness, He changes their hearts, and they trust in Him. That is His grace. Who are we to question Him? If He chooses to save some and not others, our best response is to trust Him with HIS decisions and not question Him. He is our Creator and He can do with us as He sees fit.

Now that doesn’t mean that I sit on my laurels and not work towards the salvation of others. In His plan of salvation, He does use us in reaching others for Christ. So I pray for the lost, share with the lost, preach to the lost and hope that God sees fit to save them as well. It is true that He will not save them if they are not His elect. But alas, I don’t know who they are. So I will do what He commands us to do in bringing others to faith.

BTW, I’m not picking on Brooks. I’m just using his point of view to help discuss the matter.