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Posts Tagged ‘Doctrines of Grace’

I don’t remember how I came to embrace what is know as Calvinism or the Doctrines of Grace. And as much as I try to find a way around it I can’t get pass what I feel to be an honest reading of the scriptures. There are times I come across scriptures that seem to tug me in the other direction, but by the end of all of my reading and rereading of the New Testament, things such as the sovereign and unconditional election of the believer, the security of the believer, by being seated with Christ in heaven, and the depravity of mankind to the fact that it seems that they will not search out God seems to be the most consistent.

I think the biggest problem that many people have with those who embrace the Doctrines of Grace is the fact that they have big heads and the hearts of ants! I can’t deny this because most of those I interact with online and even some in person happen to fit the bill. The Doctrines of Grace become something to believe that separates us from other believers and not something to live that drive us to serve other believers and even the lost. So I am going to attempt to tackle 3 points of the doctrine of grace and how they should be lived out. Let me know what you think (all checks can be mailed to…)

Perseverance of the Saints

Many who hold to the Doctrines of Grace simultaneously embraces the Puritans. I will tell you upfront I am no fan of the Puritans. I tried the little reading club and purchased a bunch of books from Banner of Truth but by the second book, I felt that I needed to go to confession, Celebrate Recovery, Excommunicate myself, and then join a monastery! Why? Because they focused on Sin more than Christ. I found myself policing my entire life, instead of depending on and trusting in the only one who could save me. I found myself doing the opposite of what they were saying. Which was applying the blood to the doorposts of my life, instead of trying to stack up enough chips to pay the house back what I owed!

The perseverance of the saints happen to be the most beautiful doctrine for the believer. I believe it goes hand in hand with justification, regeneration and adoption. I will go on the record to say that the perseverance of the saints actually encompasses or I would say actually can be defined by the simultaneous and seamless work of God in regenerating, justifying and adopting us.

So how does it work? Simply put. When I understand that I am secure my focus shifts from me trying to earn righteousness, favor and divine blessing and my focus shifts to the one who imparts righteousness, favor and divine blessing. So Christ can now be my treasure. Unlike the pirate who can never rest because he knows the owner will come looking for his treasure, perseverance gives me the treasure with full title! I don’t have to worry about protecting it, it is fully mine. Many Christians today who don’t believe that find themselves, focusing their energy on trying to stay reconciled to God instead of reconciling the world to God. I live for self preservation versus sharing the Divine Father and all He has to offer to the world. I believe this is why many Christians don’t reach out to others and have very little relationships with those who threaten their safety from all things sin.

Depravity

Two of my favorite verses are found in Ephesians 2:1-10 and Titus 3:1-8. In both Paul reminds the believers of their past depravity and hopelessness in order for them to see the graciousness of God but also to see their total inability to come to God on their own accord. I want you to also note that in both of these sections, Paul turns them to good works to be done because of God’s grace in their lives. Because God has done a gracious work in us, that is, Him sending His Son to secure all who are the elect, we are now to extend God to the world by doing good works!

I also want to focus on our graciousness towards the sinner. We were dead and without hope. And God loved us and showed us the richness of  His mercy.  But for some reason those who embrace the Doctrines of Grace seem to be the most judgmental and abrasive. We who uphold depravity, especially total inability should be the nicest folks on the planet. We should make the Cleavers look like the Bloods and Crips. But we can be the harshest, the most impatient, and the most judgmental, easily forgetting our inability and God’s work of Grace in regeneration. We were dead and there was nothing we did to be regenerated or to have God shine His love in our hearts. We should extend grace like its nobodys business.

Election:

Election goes hand in hand with Depravity. But we understand that God loved us because of His own divine mercy and the only and I do mean only reason we are saved is due to the extreme grace of God. We didn’t pull the long straw or pick the right number, nor was there any spark of goodness in us. We could have easily been on highway to hell doing a 150MPH with no brakes. But God chose us from the foundation of the world that He may show His kindness. We understand that God is so totally self sufficient that He doesn’t need humans nor angels to worship Him. We understand that it is God’s mercy that allows us to worship Him. We understand that it costs the Father a Son to redeem us. We understand that we weren’t the cream of the crop. Paul says to the Corinths that “you were a bunch of nobodys”. We should be the last to boast! We should be the last to look down our noses. We should be the last to shake our head at the nonbeliever. Or call the Atheist dumb, or mock the Muslim, or belittle the Witch. We should be quick to show mercy and compassion because we understand that it was God alone who accomplished the salvation we now enjoy and walk in. The Doctrine of election should be the most humbling and humiliating doctrine, but it seems to produce the most proud. Given the scope of our condition before God I can’t understand how.

I close with this. If you are one who upholds the Doctrines of Grace, you should be quick to show mercy and be a sloth at judging (myself included). Why? Because God interrupted history in His Son to reverse the curse and the subsequent damnation that we were all faced with. It was not because God saw a spark of good in us, it is because He is good alone. The next time you see a guy boasting in his righteousness in the name of the Doctrines of Grace you may want to remind him what such a doctrine implies.

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Monergism is offering a 15 sermon MP3 CD on the Doctrines of Grace. From Dr. Arturo G. Azurdia III who happens to be my favorite preacher. Here are the sermons:

The Doctrines of Grace
Christians often speak about being saved by grace.  But what does this mean?  Does God save us apart from our willing cooperation?  Does God’s grace invalidate the demand for our obedience?  Why do some people embrace the Gospel while others adamantly refuse it?  Is our experience of salvation, from God’s perspective, a predetermined purpose or heartfelt hope?

Track List
1) Total Depravity        
2) Unconditional Election        
3) Limited Atonement        
4) Irresistible Grace        
5) Perseverance of the Saints        
6) Q&A on the Doctrines of Grace Part 1    
7) Q&A on the Doctrines of Grace Part 2    
8) Q&A on the Doctrines of Grace Part 3    
Plus:
9) The Discriminating Love of Jesus Christ – John 13:1
10) Did Jesus Pray for You? – John 17:20
11) Monergistic Regeneration Part 1
12) Monergistic Regeneration Part 2
13) The Ultimate Hermeneutic Part 1
14) The Ultimate Hermeneutic Part 2
15) Solus Christus – Isaiah 55:1-12

About the Speaker
Arturo (Art) Azurdia III joined the faculty of Western Seminary Portland, OR, in January 2006. He directs the pastoral mentoring program and teaches selected preaching courses for both masters and doctoral students. Education: BA-California State University (’81), MA-Simpson College (’83), MDiv-American Baptist Seminary of the West (’88), DMin-Westminster Theological Seminary (’98). Pastoral Experience: 1981-1986: College and Career Pastor at Neighborhood Church; 1987-2005: Founder and Pastor of Christ Community Church. Written Works: Spirit Empowered Preaching and Partners in Preaching

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