On the 5 points of Calvinism, please consider my personal position on each one of them:
1. Total Depravity – The consequence of sin is eternal death. And this extends to all humanity since the sin of Adam, with eternal death as punishment, was imputed to all human beings (Rom 5:12-13). Even a newborn that did not sin yet, has eternal death as a consequence of sin. Not anyone’s particular sin but all sin “devolved” from that specific sin of Adam in the book of Genesis. Whether or not there were people before Adam’s creation (according to anthropologist) is immaterial, as imputation still goes back to Adam’s sin. Also, this imputation commenced/was counted when the Law was given to Moses, even when “sin occurred before the Law“(Rom. 5:13); not unveiled until then so that sin will be amplified and defined (Rom. 5:20). This imputation to one man was done so that death of one man, i.e., man-Jesus, will also be imputed to all mankind. There is no other person’s death but Jesus’ that this consequence of sin can be paid for (Rom. 5:6-21). Indeed, a total depravity. See also, Rom. 3:10, Gen. 6:5, Jer. 17:9.
2. Unconditional Election – Election and predestination are unconditional and planned for all by God from the beginning. His love covers all. He planned this even before anyone of us did anything right or wrong. Jesus was the unconditional election before he or any other human did “any works” While that is so, the end-point or outcome of these is still dependent on man’s free will and response. Free will defines the right choice of man-Jesus to follow to become the “Son of God” and for Lucifer to become an adversary, Satan. And so it does for any man.
Romans 8:29-30 , 9:11, Eph.1:4-6,11-12, speak of a group of “predestinated, called and justified”, from where God provides the “chance” to be “glorified” or “saved“. There is that “chance” being given that will result in and bear out “firstfruits” at the “first resurrection” to start the Millenium. And, there is a “chance” to be given after the Millenium that will result in “latter fruits”. This is their 1st chance and not about “second-chances” but a matter of “election”. There is a “timetable“, for everyone, as in Eccl. 9:11 “for time and chance overtake them all“. And these “chances” are referring to the time of offering the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit. With the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit, the person given that chance still have to choose, whether to follow the will of the Father or not. Even Jesus has shown free-will in the garden of Gethsemane to follow the Holy Spirit, (in-dwelling in him from river Jordan,Matt. 3:16), as in “not my will but yours“( Lu.22:42;Matt. 26:39); so, should we all who are called, follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. From these groups that had “election, predestination, calling” and “justification” given “unconditionally” through Christ, will come out the “firstfruits” and “latterfruits” depending on their “oneness” with God.
3. Limited Atonement – The Creator YHVH who incarnated to “man-Jesus”
(anthropos) died for the remission of all mankind’s sin and atoned for all. Atonement is for everyone and is not limited by God, except for the “time appointed” by himself. However, it is limited by each person, (at appointed time of in-dwelling of Holy Spirit) depending upon whether he/she believes in this atoning sacrifice of Jesus. It is also limited to those who are “called” at a particular timetable; those partakers in the first resurrection, then those in the second resurrection. This is the context of Matthew 1:21,John 10:11,17:9, Acts 20:28,
4.Irresistible Grace – this is a gift that is so supreme and sublime that will not be “forced down our throats“. Grace was given before the foundation of the world as planned. But, while given to those predestined, called and in-dwelled to open the spiritual “blindness and deafness”, it can be resisted when it is already in-dwelling, i.e., after given. The Father wants “free will” and Jesus as an example in the “garden of Gethsemane” knew this all along, could have resisted it but, instead, concurred willingly with “not my will” but “his will”. If the in-dwelling Holy Spirit, given as a gift by grace, can not be resisted then where is “free-will”? And, why the need to “persevere and overcome” the pull of the flesh?
5. Perseverance of the Saints – They have to. Otherwise, no reward of immortality/ salvation. But not all will “persevere“. In fact, even those written in the “book of life” and have been “predestined“, “elected“, “called”, “justified” can still be removed from that “book” as in Rev. 2:19. We need to endure, to be saved, as in, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”(Matt. 10:22). NB. “…shall be..”.
When humans were created, they were the best of all creation such that angels rejoiced(Job 38:7). But, while “perfect” at creation, humans as flesh-composed, are incomplete and therefore “weak”. Jesus at Gethsemane proved this to himself 3 x before he rejected “his will” and followed “his Father’s will”.
Adam in Genesis was created perfectly but just like the best of any human, he was “incomplete/weak” to attain his goal of “being like him“(God). Predictably, by his “own works” he tried but failed in his goal because he did not have the “Helper” to empower him to overcome. This narrative in Genesis was written for us to understand the principle of “election, predestination” that it would be the “chosen man-Jesus“, the first man (captain/trailblazer)who was predestined to have the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit, which occurred in the River Jordan.
Adam’s sin and death were counted to all; such is “total depravity“. And this, so that one man, “anthropos-Jesus“‘ death, will also be counted for reconciliation with the Father. Jesus is the “only way, truth and life” and no other human could do this, as appointed, an “unconditional election”. Atonement of sins are for all and unlimited by God; for all at their appointed times, at which time man has to choose to follow the in-dwelling Holy Spirit or not. Grace was given out of love, “irresistible” as far as appointed time for Holy Spirit to in-dwell and do”spiritual hearing/seeing“, “predestination/calling”. But this spirit can be resisted( Acts 7:51).
To attain or reach the goal of “immortality/salvation”, and be a spirit-composed member of the “body-of-Christ” the “God-kingdom”, one has to persevere, overcome voluntarily by using this “power of the Holy Spirit” to be guided on actions to take so that the works are “fruits of the Holy Spirit“, not from your own “so no one can boast”
Hyperlink version posted 3/15/19
Critique is welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.