TULIP

On thinking that God only has one begotten son – the rest of us are children by adoption – and that Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers…This is pretty long, and it’s worth the read.

Our church is doing "Adoption month."  Yes, an entire month on the topic of adoption - and I had the following story a few months ago...it's great.

 PROOF” by Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones - is a reworking of TULIP - I like the book.

“Because I’m Yours”

I never dreamed that taking a child to Disney World could be so difficult – or that such a trip could teach me so much about God’s outrageous grace.


Our middle daughter had been previously adopted by another family.  I [Timothy] am sure this couple had the best of intentions, but they never quite integrated the adopted child into their family of biological children.  After a couple of rough years, they dissolved the adoption and we ended up welcoming an eight-year-old daughter into our home.

For one reason or another, whenever our daughter’s previous family vacationed at Disney World, they took their biological children with them, but they left their adopted daughter behind with a family friend. Usually – at least in the child’s mind, this happened because she did something wrong that precluded her presence on the trip.

And so, by the time we adopted our daughter, she had seen many pictures of Disney World and she had heard about the rides and the characters and the parades.  But when it came to passing through the gates of the Magic Kingdom, she had always been the one left on the outside.  Once I found out about this history, I made plans to take her to Disney World the next time a speaking engagement took our family to the south-eastern United States.

I thought I had mastered the Disney World drill.  I knew from previous experiences that the prospect of seeing cast members in freakishly oversized mouse and duck costumes somehow turns children into squirming bundles of emotional insecurity.  What I didn’t expect was that the prospect of visiting this dreamworld would produce a stream of downright devilish behavior in our newest daughter.  In the month leading up to our trip to the Magic Kingdom, she stole food when a simple request would have gained her  a snack.  She lied when it would have been easier to tell the truth. She whispered insults that were carefully crafted to hurt her older sister as deeply as possible — and as the days on the calendar moved closer to the trip, her mutinies multiplied.

A couple of days before our family headed to Florida, I pulled our daughter into my lap to talk about her latest escapade. :I know what you’re going to do," she stated flatly.  “You’re not going to take me to Disney World, are you?”  The thought actually hadn’t crossed my mind, but her downward spiral suddenly started to make some sense.  She knew she couldn’t earn her way into the Magic Kingdom — she had tried and failed that test several times before — so she was living in a way that placed her as far as possible from the most magical place on earth.

In retrospect, I’m embarrassed to admit that, in that moment, I was tempted to turn her fear to my own advantage.  The easiest response would have been “If you don’t start behaving better, you’re right, we won’t take you”  But by God’s grace, I didn’t.  Instead I asked her, “Is this trip something we’re doing as a family?”

She nodded, brown eyes wide and tear-rimmed.

“Are you part of this family?”

She nodded again.

“Then you’re going with us.  Sure, there may be some consequences to help you remember what’s right and what’s wrong — but you’re part of our family and we’re not leaving you behind.

I’d like to say that her behaviors grew better after that moment.  They didn’t.  Her choices pretty much spiraled out of control at every hotel and every rest stop all the way to Lake Buena Vista.  Still, we headed to Disney World on the day we promised, and it was a typical Disney day.  Overpriced tickets, overpriced meals, and lots of lines, mingled with just enough manufactured magic to consider maybe going again someday.

In our hotel room that evening, a very different child emerged.  She was exhausted, pensive, and a little weepy at times, but her month-long facade of rebellion had faded.  When bedtime rolled around, I prayed with her, held her, and asked, “So, how was your first day at Disney World?”

She closed her eyes and snuggled down into her stuffed unicorn.  After a few moments, she opened her eyes every so slightly.  “Daddy,” she said, “I finally got to go to Disney World.  But it wasn’t because I was good.  It’s because I’m yours.”

It wasn’t because I was good…it’s because I’m yours.

That’s the message of outrageous grace.

Outrageous grace isn’t a favor your can achieve by being good; it’s the gift your receive by being God’s.

"The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination" by Lorraine Boettner

For a beginner to Reformed theology, this book will give the basics of TULIP in an accessible way. If you are firmly already in the "ANTI-" camp, don't bother reading the book, you'll hate it. But if you want to learn about the theology, with an open mind, this is a great place to start.

This book begins at the beginning. Boettner teaches in this book that all of "TULIP" stands or falls together and starts with the "T" - total depravity.

For Boettner, the sovereignty of God is something to be glorified, not hated. We deserve nothing from God, and the idea that He saves some at all is a testament to goodness.

Each segment is supported with Scripture, and explained thoroughly.

There is a little bit of "here's where the other side is wrong" - and sometimes in not very graceful language - but even those are framed in "here's why from Scripture"

I read the Amazon reviews and there were a few of "one-star" reviews. ALL of these were not based on the writing of the book, but on their disagreement with Calvinism.

On this Resurrection Sunday, I am reminded that

The assurance that Christians can never be separated from the love of God is one of the greatest comforts of the Christian life. To deny this doctrine is to destroy the grounds for any rejoicing among the saints on earth; for what kind of rejoicing can those have who believe that they may at any time be deceived and led astray? If our sense of security is based only on our changeable and wavering natures, we can never know the inward calm and peace which, should characterize the Christian.

(From "Reformed Doctrine of Predestination" by Loraine Boettner)

When Jesus died on that cross, He bought us with His blood. When He rose, the conquered death.

We live because He died, we die to ourselves because He lives.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels, descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

3 Comments

Reason #3 - I'm not going back

We are not as bad as could possibly be...but all possible parts of us are touched with bad.

When Adam fell, sin entered the world. As a result, we are all sinners. "Total depravity" doesn't mean that we are as wicked as we can possibly be. It does mean that every single part of our being has been tainted by sin. Our "will" (ability to make decisions) has been so tainted that not a single one of will willingly, of our own accord, turn and follow Christ. Because of our sin nature, no one seeks God...no not one. We have all gone astray. When left to our own devices, we will...we MUST...act according to our nature...and the nature that we are born with is a sinful one. Without the Holy Spirit's effectual call, we will continue the path of destruction, unable to choose any other path.

;

1 Comment

(I'm not going back)

Henceforth:

I will call Bible things by Bible names:

- Predestined, elect, justification, sanctification

I will not be a wuss about using "Reformed" terms.

- "Doctrines of Grace"

I have hesitated because - that's what Reformers called TULIP but I've been a bit timid about using the term...because I'm afraid of "Dave Hunt."

No more.

😉 some of us have a "mid life crisis" - or "second childhood."

I may be having a "second cage phase"

Reason #2 - I'm not going back

OK - maybe not the whole thing. Taken one piece at a time.

A self-challenge. It just hit me today how comforting it is to believe that God has me. No matter what, who, how, where, when. God HAS ME.

I was listening to Matt Chandler. No matter what things come my way, if God's not in control, what good is suffering? If God cannot make this work out for good, why suffer?

Even if we cannot comprehend what good "this" could be...God does know, He has us in His hands.

Also reading Acts 9. Saul was minding his own business (of persecuting Jesus) when he was knocked on his butt. Not exactly consensual.

Later in the chapter, Peter raised Dorcas from the dead. Was she exercising her "free will"?

I need to touch base with the fundamentals. This challenge will be a cool start.

Reason #2 - I'm not going back.

Perseverance and assurance may go hand in hand, but they're not the same thing.

Perseverance and "once saved always saved" may sound like they're the same, but they're not.

Assurance is in the "now" - right now, you can be sure of your salvation.

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life - 1 John 5:13

"Assurance" means that right now, this very minute, you can know that you have eternal life. It may be, if you believe such things, that tomorrow or the next day...or sometime in the future...you may sin too much or do too little and lose it. You can be assured now...but tomorrow may be a different story. You have the choice, in the future, to walk away.

"Once saved, always saved" gives the impression that..well, just what it says. No matter what you do or believe, you have no choice. It's the "fire insurance" way of thinking. Even if you want to walk away...shoot...even if you DO walk away...you're stuck with your salvation. "Once saved, always saved" is about what you have.

"Perseverance of the saints" is very different. It's not our salvation that is preserved...it's God who makes us persevere. If we are in Christ, we don't WANT to walk away.

"6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" ` Philippians 1:6

We are now, and will be, assured of our salvation because we are preserved and sealed by the Holy Spirit.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory ` Eph. 1:11-14

Conclusion - both "perseverance" and "once saved, always saved" comes with assurance, and even "I can lose it later" can have assurance in the present.

"OSAS" - you don't have a choice if you wanted it
"POTS" - even if you have the choice, you are sealed by the promise that you won't want the choice.

When I'm following my self-imposed schedule, I blog "Reformed" on Sundays - so I'm planning getting through TULIP for the next few weeks, on Sundays.

This all falls or stands together (with the possible exception of Limited Atonement), so I'm going  to start at the beginning.

T - Total Depravity of Man.

“Man, by his fall Into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.” (Westminster Confession of Faith, Ch. IX, sec. III.)

There is a list of Scripture proofs (I'll add them at the bottom) but to explain "total depravity" in my own words is easy.

It's not that we're all equally bad, or that all of us are as bad as we could possibly be.

It's that no matter what part of our own selves we examine, that part is tainted with sin.

It's the knowing my own self well enough, and dropping my own pride far enough to know that there is nothing in me that would seek after God, unless He was the one bringing me into life.

 

  • I Cor. 2:14: The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged.
  • Rom. 5:12: Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned.
  • II Cor. 1:9: Yea, we ourselves had the sentence of death within ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead.
  • Eph. 2:1-3: And you did He make alive, when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins, wherein ye once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the powers of the air, of the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience; among whom ye also all once lived in the lusts of your flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
  • Eph. 2:12: Ye were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
  • Jer. 13:23: Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.
  • Rom. 3:10-12: As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one;
  • There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God;
    They have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable;
    There is none that doeth good, no, not so much as one.
  • Job 14:4: Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.
  • I Cor. 1:18: For the word of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God.
  • Acts 13:41: Behold, ye despisers, and wonder and perish; For I work a work in your days, A work which ye shall in no wise believe, if one declare it unto you.
  • Prov. 30:12: There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes,
    And yet are not washed from their filthiness.
  • John 5:21: For as the Father raiseth the dead and giveth them life, even so the Son also giveth life to whom He will.
  • John 6:53: Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, ye have not life in yourselves.
  • John 8:19: They said therefore unto Him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye know neither me, nor my Father; if ye knew me, ye would know my Father also.
  • II Cor. 5:17: if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature.
  • John 14:16: (And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may be with you forever,) even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive; for it beholdeth Him not, neither knoweth Him; ye know Him; for He abideth with you, and shall be in you.
  • John 3:19: And this is the judgment, that light is come unto the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil.

 

 

34 Comments

This is from Reclaiming the Mind - I'd rather comment there, but for whatever reason, my browser doesn't want to show me the combox...

This interaction was interesting.

~~~

@MzEllen:

(I asked)Why does one fear Him and another does not? Intelligence? Random Chance?

(another answered)Have you had children? Have you examined your body and how incredibly it is made? Have you gazed at the starry host and wondered at the vastness of what God has created? Have you considered the amount of energy within a single atom and how it holds itself together? How about the energy present within the fabric we call space and often thing of as a vast expanse of nothing? I have watched the BBC Earth series and my jaw literally drops to the floor when I consider the incredible creation of God.

We have more information today than we have in the past, but all the big stuff is easily within reach. And you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to recognize the obvious about God.

~~~

yes.  I have children.  Yes, we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

This is a wonderful answer...but I have no clue what the question was.

The answer given has ZERO to do with the question that I asked.

If our salvation depends on our decision to choose to accept Christ, why did I choose, and why didn't the person next to me in the pew choose?

What makes me so smart?  spiritual?  special?

If the answer to that was "because God chooses those who fear Him" - why do some fear Him, and others not?

If the answer lies with the person, what is the answer?

If the answer lies with God - isn't that "election"?

(this post is "recycled" while I update categories)

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— (Romans 5:12 ESV)

This is not a "Federal Headship" post. This verse does not say because one man sinned, we are all guilty of his sin...it says "all sinned"

We are all touched by death; all of us have known somebody who has died. Some of us have had a very close loved one leave this earth. For some of us, we have the comfort of knowing that we will see them again. Others of us do not have that comfort.

It is not "life" that gives us death.

It is SIN that gives us death

"and, you know, we all will probably die with something sooner or later..." (former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders)

Yes...we all will "probably" die. All of us that are walking on this earth right now are mortal...we will die

That is the "T". The Total Depravity that touches all of our lives.

The "T" is important because it makes the problem crystal clear. All have sinned.

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in< his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:21-26 ESV)

Without the "T", the need for a Saviour is not so clear. Without the Saviour, the "T" brings hopelessness.

But we do have the "T", we do need a Saviour and we do HAVE a Saviour.

We have hope...

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Eph. 2:8-9 ESV)

The "T" makes us understand that we are so steeped in sin that there is nothing we can do to merit our salvation.

The hope is in Christ and in Christ alone. It is by grace, through faith, not of works.

We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls upon your name,
who rouses himself to take hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us,
and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.(ISA 64: 6-7 ESV)

It is only in our understanding of our need for the Saviour that we are able to reach out for salvation.