Let me begin by putting my cards on the table. I…am a Calvinist. Now, if you don’t know what that means, I encourage you to read the excellent and mercifully short book Five Points by John Piper. If you already know what a Calvinist is, and you also happen to call yourself a Calvinist, you may have noticed that it’s not always the most comfortable thing to acknowledge that fact. You see, all too often when we are asked the question, “Are you a Calvinist?” the conversation ends up going something like this…
- Random person: “Are you a Calvinist?”
- You: “Yes, I am.”
- Random person: “Wow! You actually believe that God is some monster who only chooses a few people to go to heaven and cruelly damns the rest of humanity to hell?! What kind of person are you?!”
- You (while the other person walks away from you in disgust): “What?! No! That’s not it at all! Give me just a second! I can explain!”
Of course, this isn’t always how it goes. I mean, every now and then we discover another Calvinist, right? And so those conversations often sound something like this…
- Random Calvinist: “Hey…psst…Are you a Calvinist?”
- You: “Yes, I am.”
- Random Calvinist: “Shhhhhh! Keep your voice down! Someone could hear us! But FYI, I am, too.”
- You (now whispering so that no one hears you): “Sweet!”
Let me just say that it is time to be done with the whispering! The truth of God’s sovereign grace is nothing to be ashamed of! Rather, it is supposed to be our only boast and our only source of hope! So, if you have ever felt a little squeamish about calling yourself a Calvinist, today’s blog is for you! Today I want to help you become a courageous Calvinist. To do so, I simply want to remind you of those five glorious and biblical truths…
- Total Depravity— Total depravity means that because of the fall, every single person on the planet is sinful and unable to come to faith in Jesus apart from a special and effective work of God’s grace. And there is absolutely nothing shameful about believing this truth! After all, the Bible so clearly teaches this in passages like John 6:44 and Romans 8:7-8.
- Unconditional Election—Unconditional election means that God has chosen to save certain people by his own grace apart from any merit or foreseen faith within them. Again, there is nothing to be ashamed of here. What could possibly be more beautiful and loving than grace being given to people who haven’t merited it in any way? This too is clearly taught in passages like Ephesians 1:4-6 and Romans 9:10-16.
- Limited Atonement—Limited atonement means that Jesus’ sacrificial death was only for the elect. In other words, Jesus’ blood did not pay the ransom for people who will eternally reject him. Now, isn’t it this point that causes so many of us to get a little uncomfortable? Yet, there is no need. This truth ought to cause our souls to rejoice that God is not a cruel God who will punish sin twice. You see, if Jesus’ blood was shed for those who never come to faith in him, and then those same people end up in hell, isn’t God punishing their sin twice? Wouldn’t God have punished Jesus for their sin, and then also be punishing them in eternity for the very same sin? This is why the truth of limited atonement is nothing to be ashamed of. The fact that Jesus’ sacrificial death was only for God’s people proves to us that God is NOT a cruel, unjust God that will make people pay a debt that has already been paid. So lets worship the Lord for this truth that we see in passages like John 10:11, John 10:25-27, and John 17:6-9.
- Irresistible Grace—Irresistible grace means that God’s grace will effectively bring all of his chosen people to faith. He ensures that they will hear the gospel proclaimed and he gives them ears to hear and hearts to believe the gospel. Again what is there to be ashamed of in this? Are we to be ashamed that God is perfectly effective in saving all of his people? Certainly not! In fact, truths like this should cause our hearts to soar in worship as we read of them in passages like John 6:37 and John 10:14-16.
- Perseverance of the Saints—Perseverance of the saints means that God’s grace causes every single one of his chosen people to remain in the faith. In other words, you can’t lose your salvation. Now again I ask, how could this ever be something to be ashamed of? Is there any truth more comforting than knowing that we are absolutely, one hundred percent safe in the hands of our savior? We should be comforted and full of gratitude as we celebrate this truth taught in passages like Hebrews 3:14, Philippians 1:6, John 6:37-40, John 10:27-30, and Romans 8:35-39.
So if you’re a Calvinist, be not ashamed! Be bold! Stand firm in the sovereign grace that has saved you and will keep you eternally secure! No need to be an obnoxious Calvinist ( you all know who you are), but by all means, be a courageous Calvinist.