TULIP OR WEEDS?
Is salvation the work of God alone? or of man
cooperating with God? Is salvation bestowed by God's grace alone?
or does man merit it through an act of self-righteousness
performed by his own free will?
Church history is highlighted by confrontations
on this doctrine. Those who preach salvation involves man's free
will and works have ever opposed those who preach salvation by
God's grace alone. Scribes and Pharisees opposed Jesus Christ and
the apostles. In the fifth century, disciples of Pelagius opposed
disciples of Augustine. During the Middle Ages, Roman Catholics
opposed Anabaptists and, from 1517, Protestants. And from 1611,
Arminians (free-willers) have opposed Calvinists.
These two beliefs are identified
by the acronyms WEEDS and TULIP.
Are you a TULIP basking in God's sovereign grace?
Or are you among the WEEDS, boasting of self-righteousness?
As you examine the table below, you will see that
the references to Bible verses in the right column are verses that the Arminians
(free-willers) either ignore, misunderstand or don't even acknowledge. It
is easy to see how people can fall into the trap of believing the free-will
gospel when they completely ignore verses that state the opposite of what they
believe about man, God and salvation. As with any Bible doctrine, it is
easy to make a case for your particular interpretation if you and your hearers
examine only one or two verses in isolation. And of course it is natural
for people to NOT believe the true Gospel of salvation by grace alone if they do
not possess that salvation but are still dead in their trespasses and sins.
It is also natural for the unsaved to think that they are free to choose Christ
at any time, when in reality, the God of the Bible says they are totally in
bondage to sin, lost and unable to come to Christ of the "own free
will". Without a supernatural act of God - without a new heart and spirit
- that will remains in rebellion to the true Savior and true Gospel.
THE FALSE FREE-WILL GOSPEL OF
INVOLVING MAN'S FREE WILL
THE TRUE GOSPEL OF
BY GOD'S GRACE ALONE
of Man Is Free -
Mankind is influenced by sin, but not
under its dominion, as all yet have free will and the
ability to determine their own destiny. Anyone can of his
own free will come to Christ for salvation. All men have
faith, but not all will exercise it.
Mankind is spiritually dead and under the
dominion of sin (Ephesians 2:1-3; John 8:34). None will
of his own will come to Christ for salvation (John 5:40;
6:65). None has faith unless God graciously bestows it
Is Conditional -
Election to salvation involves both the
sinner choosing God and God choosing the sinner. God's
choice was conditioned upon man's choice, as God chose in
eternity past those whom he foresaw in time believing in
Jesus Christ for salvation.
God the Father has graciously chosen and
predestined to salvation some of our fallen race (2
Thessalonians 2:13; Ephesians 1:3-6). His choice was in
no way conditioned upon foreseen good or merit in the
chosen ones (John 15:16).
Man Is Redeemed -
Jesus Christ died for every one, paying
the price of redemption for them all. But this does not
guarantee their forgiveness, as many of His redeemed will
be eventually damned because of unbelief.
Jesus Christ died as the substitute of
God's elect, forever redeeming and forgiving them (Isaiah
53:4-6,8b; Ephesians 1:7). He did not die for any who
will die in unbelief (John 10:11,26).
Confounds Grace -
The sovereignty of God does not extend to
His salvation, as man's will can here thwart God's
purpose. God is trying to save every sinner, but He is
helpless to save any sinner who will not let Him.
God will not be thwarted in His purpose
of salvation (Daniel 4:35). Every one of His chosen and
redeemed sinners will be brought to saving faith in Jesus
Christ (John 5:37,45; Romans 8:29).
Will Lose Salvation -
God cannot preserve in salvation those
who of their own free will refuse to be preserved. Those
believers who do not remain faithful to the very end will
lose their salvation, "fall from grace," and
Of The Saints -
God preserves in salvation all believers
in Christ, and none will ever perish (Jude 24, John 3:16; 10:28).
And He enables them to persevere to the end, so that none
will be lost (Jeremiah 32:40; Romans 8:35-39).
"Another parable put he
forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a
man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his
enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But
when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then
appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came
and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy
field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An
enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then
that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye
gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let
both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest
I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares,
and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into
my barn." [Matthew 13:24-30]
DO YOU POSSESS TRUE SALVATION OR ARE YOU STILL CLINGING TO
A MAN-CENTERED GOSPEL?
edited by Ray Kane
This article written by:
DANIEL E. PARKS, PASTOR
REDEEMER BAPTIST CHURCH
2801 CLEVELAND BOULEVARD - LOUISVILLE, KY 40206