Bible Lesson 84


Ephesians 2:1-10


Once we begin to see God correctly, and most today do not see God as He really is, we will experience the freedom that comes with true salvation. Instead we seem to have found ourselves a small god, a god that is on our level and who answers to our call and that we more or less control. I would warn you right here ‘that if that is your God, your god is not a supernatural God; because He is entirely too small.

Our God, the Christian God is a Sovereign, Almighty, all knowing, present at every place at one time God who not only created us all but who providentially controls and has provided all that we need to live in this world and to have eternal life in heaven, if we truly believe, believe unto obedience. That speaks of being Supernatural. God is supernatural, as was the creation of the World, and human life, and our destiny, our Bible, our quickening by the Holy Spirit, our Faith and the Judgment, and many more areas of our lives. Do you believe in a Supernatural God or is your god the god of modern thought’

Though supernatural is not a word used in the Bible it is certainly a word that is taught by our Bible. Creation, there in Genesis chapter one and verse one, is certainly a supernatural act and can be attributed only to our Sovereign God. How else would you describe that act, where God merely spoke and all that we know that exists in the multitude of universes, and planets and suns and stars came into being. Not just, came into being, but came into a well ordered existence with all other parts of our creation.

That is a supernatural work and it cannot be denied; however there are confused church members everywhere in our day that have bought into the ‘big bang’ theory, or evolution or some wrong headed idea about the truth, which is that God spoke all that we know into being. Many in our time give a nod of the head to ideas of supernatural experiences but they do not really believe and act on their beliefs. What we believe empowers how we act and see things around us. The true Christian sees God in all things and that determines how they act in living and evangelizing.

John Calvin was a man who interpreted the doctrines of Grace correctly and who gave us an understanding of who God is and how God operates with mankind when He set down the five points of Calvinism.

Those five points give glory to God and humble the pride of man. They are best described in an Acrostic that we title ‘Tulip’. Point one is the ‘Total depravity of man’. Point two is ‘Unconditional Election’.

Point three is ‘Limited Atonement’. Point four is ‘Irresistible Grace’. and Point five is ‘Perseverance of the Saints’. It should be no surprise to those of you who have followed my teaching that I am a Calvinist. Calvin did not save me; because He was not supernatural, God saved me, and only God can save anyone; however, it is clear that John Calvin gave us a clear and correct understanding of the doctrines of Grace which gives us a clear understanding of how Great and Gracious and Supernatural our God Jehovah is.

Calvin’s understanding that man (in his fallen state) is a creature that was effected in every aspect of his life by the nature of Adam in his fallen state (John 5:40; 1st Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:2-3; Genesis 6:5; John 3:19; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 8:43-44) Not everyone commits a grievous sin or goes to the depths of depravity but given the right circumstances and the right conditions we all had the nature that would allow us to commit the vilest of sins.

Calvin gave us the truth about God’s elective purpose, and that is that before the foundation of the worlds God chose a people to be Christ’s (See Ephesians 1:4; Romans 8:28-29; Romans 9:11; 1st Timothy 1:9), so the truth about the election is that God chose a people, not because of anything that they could or would do, or because of how they looked or how good they were, but because God chooses to choose them.

Now we will look quickly at each of the five points we looked a few words ago at some of the first point, that being the Total Depravity of man in his fallen state. Most of the great reformers understood that to mean that man was as bad off as man could be. Man was born in a fallen state, beyond all self-help because he was born into this world dead in trespasses and sins, and was fully loyal to Satan, the god of the dead (Ephesians 2:2-3; Romans 3:10-11; Jeremiah 17:9; 1st Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:4-5).

Total Depravity’ means that man does not have a ‘free will’ in the sense that He is free to trust Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior, unless and until God quickens him or brings him back to Spiritual life. Unconditional Election’ means that fallen man does not have any connection to God and can do nothing to merit his salvation.

Christ said to His disciples in John 15:16, ‘You did not choose Me, but I chose you’.’ Our election or calling is not conditioned by anything that man does for God, but according to His purpose (1st Timothy 1:9). There is no way that anyone can fail to understand the clear word of Jesus Christ the Savior, when He said in John 6:44 that ‘No man can come to Me, except the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him at the last day’.

Limited Atonement’ means that Jesus Christ died for those that were elected by the Father before the foundation of the world. Contrary to popular belief ‘Jesus Christ did not die for everyone, for if He did then everyone would be saved. The Bible says that Jesus ‘became eternal salvation for those who would obey Him’ (Hebrews 5:8-9; Ephesians 1:4; Galatians 1:3-5; John 10:14-15; John 10:27,29,46; 1st Peter 2:9; Matthew 1:21; Romans 5:8).

Irresistible Grace’ means that the efficacious call of God upon the heart and mind of the elect will always be answered by the amen of the one He has called. Remember that we said before that God quickens the elect at some point in time, and that quickening means that God brings them back to life Spiritually.

Since the living human spirit which has been born of God finds the Living God wholly irresistible; just as that dead human spirit had found the god of the dead (Satan) irresistible, the call of God’s grace is irresistible. When God calls the elect run to the cross. Nowhere in the Bible can you find a verse that says that a man chooses eternal life of his own will! Instead, Jesus said in John 6:37…’

All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out’. We need to make that verse clear because it says that those that cometh to Me I will not cast out’.but Jesus Christ says in Luke 14:26-33, that we must come to Jesus having counted the cost and then Jesus lists the cost of being His disciple. Read that for yourself. The genesis of the first church is laid out for us in the book of Acts, and that book makes it clear who it was that it was the people who had been ordained or predestined to eternal life believed (Acts 13:48).

Perseverance of the Saints’.This means that those who are ever truly saved and born again will act like saved people as long as they live on the earth. The born again person knows the truth of God and is now free in Christ. Philippians 1:6 reminds us that we can be ‘Confident of this very thing, that He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ’.

The truly saved, born again and the obedient person is now, right here on the earth a citizen of heaven; and that God is working in us and He can subdue all things unto Himself (Philippians 3:20-21). The person who is ‘In Christ’ is saved to the uttermost'(John 6:39; John 10:28; 1st Peter 1:4-5; 2nd Timothy 1:12; 2nd Thessalonians 2:14; Jude 1,24).

Now, you may ask why I chose to instruct about the Doctrines of Grace which John Calvin interpreted and stated for our edification so clearly, and I say that it is because the Biblical doctrine that was stated in the TULIP was the clear teaching of God in His Word the Bible; and that doctrine lifts the glory and grace of God for us in a way that we can understand it.

Man has to find himself in the dust with his face to the ground before this great and loving and gracious God who has done all that man needed to have done to forgive sin and justify him and be fitted for heaven.

This is the only way for pastors and individuals to ever know the truth about God and his salvation. Salvation is not something that any man can snatch from the hands of God. God is sovereign in everything’.especially in salvation! Man likes to think that he can be saved, anytime and anywhere that he decides to be saved; however, the bad news is that all that flesh can produce is flesh, and salvation is Spiritual and must be produced by a supernatural God.

Don’t ever be guilty of leading people into hell by introducing them to fleshly salvation. Fleshly salvation is one that is produced by a person or a group of people in concert trying to make you a church member. You or anyone else or a Church, or a denomination have no saving grace. Grace belongs to God and if we are ever saved and fitted for heaven it must be by God’s Amazing Grace.

The denominational church for the most part, over the past century or so, chooses to short cut the way God saves people and has begun to leave God out of the process because God takes more time than we have if we are going to have a large congregation.

We have taken steps to leave out true repentance and faith and offer church membership which many equate with salvation, and have invited people to walk the aisles to the front of our churches and make a profession of some sort that says they believe and we make the ‘Christians’, notice I used a small c in Christian there because in the great majority of cases these supplicants are not saved and have no real idea of what salvation is all about. These are church members and they do not know how to live and are not being taught anything about God and His Sovereignty.

Our prayers in this kind of situation must be to call on God and ask Him to open eyes and hearts and minds to desire the truth of His inerrant Word and to save those that He wills. Some preachers and teachers need to repent of not being men with enough backbone to tell sinners the truth, just like Jesus did it.

Many people have the idea that you never confront sinners with the sad truth about their lives’..instead, we want to compromise God’s Word and attempt to find some kernel of truth in their ungodly belief systems and warn them about hell and tell them about the love of Christ.

We have to be careful never to use the love of God to paint over areas where it will not stick. We have come to the point that we want to believe and preach that Jesus loves everybody, and Jesus died for everybody and really if people just do the best that they can do ‘.they will be alright.

That is a lie off of the mudsills of hell and we must understand that to say those things make us call God a liar! Be sure and check the following verses out and you will see that many have been lying to people when they preach anything that is not Biblical truth (John 14:15; John 14:21-24; John 15:9-10,14; John 17:23-26; John 16:27; Hebrews 5:8-9; John 3:16-21; Galatians 2:20).

We worship a sovereign, almighty, God who can be everywhere at the same time. That is supernatural without any question. We are introduced to the supernatural whenever we read the Bible, it took supernatural power for God to inspire the writers and to make sure that what they wrote was exactly what God wanted you and I to know.

God is a Supernatural being because He did not come into being at some point in time, He has always been and will always be. The creation that we read about in Genesis chapters 1 and 2 is supernatural creation. The life of mankind is supernatural because it only becomes life when God instills the soul of man. Our salvation is supernatural, because it was the plan of God from before the foundation of the world, that certain ones would be saved and given to Christ as the True Church.

The means of our salvation are supernatural because it was God that permitted and supervised the Cross of Jesus Christ. The blood of Christ that continually cleanses us from sin is a supernatural means. It was a supernatural God who resurrected Christ on the third day after He had laid in the grave. After a supernatural Spiritual war, Christ arose from the grave having defeated Satan, death, and hell. The Christian’s destiny, heaven, is a supernatural place, where there will be no sickness, death, disease, pain, tears, or problems. God calls us out and quickens us by a supernatural means. Our faith is a supernatural gift from God.

That and many more proofs of the supernatural character of our God and His work in us, and for us in our salvation, should give us pause to look up and thank and praise our Supernatural God. Jesus Christ was both natural and supernatural at the same time. He was fully man as he lived and died here on the earth; while at the same time He was fully God, and had supernaturally veiled His God-hood.

We all need to recognize that fact. Our Lord and Savior lived as a man here on the earth just as you and I and we need to remember that He was a man’s man. Jesus Christ was not without a backbone as many so-called Christians like to paint him. He was a man who knew the word and will of God and He stood firmly on the truths of the Word of God. He never compromised the Will of God to make some sinner feel good about themselves. The truth is always the Truth, even when everyone is against the truth; and faithful pastors, preachers, and teachers are always to stand for the truth, especially when it sounds confrontational. Jesus did that and we are to be like Jesus. In closing, I want to include excerpts from a message by the Theologian B.B. Warfield, who was a Calvinist and he wrote and I quote”””””’

‘On the whole, however, I think we must allow, especially when we are contemplating the trend of current thought, that the fortunes of Calvinism are certainly not at their flood. Those whose heritage it was, have in large numbers drifted away from it. Those who still formally profess it do not always illustrate it in life or proclaim it in word.

There remains, however, undoubtedly a remnant according to the election of grace. But the condition of a remnant, while it may well be a healthful one’ bearing in it, as a fruitful seed, the promise, and potency of future expansion’ are little Likely to be a happy one.

Unfriendly faces meet it on every side; if doubt and hesitation are not engendered, as least an apologetical attitude is fostered, and an apologetical attitude is not becoming in Calvinists, whose trust is in the Lord God Almighty. In such a situation, Calvinism seems shorn of its strength and is tempted to stand fearful and half-ashamed in the marts of men.

I have no wish to paint the situation in too dark colors; I fully believe that Calvinism, as it has supplied the sinew of evangelical Christianity in the past, so is its strength in the present and its hope for the future. Meanwhile, does it not seem, in large circles at all events, to be thrown very much on the defensive’ In the measure in which you feel this to be the case, in that measure, you will be prepared to ask with me for the causes and significance of this state of things.

We should begin, I think, by recalling precisely what Calvinism is. It may be fairly summed up in these three propositions. Calvinism is (1) Theism comes to its rights. Calvinism is (2) Religion at the height of its conception. Calvinism is (3) Evangelicalism in its purest and most stable expression.

(1) Calvinism, I say, is Theism comes to its rights. For in what does Theism come to its rights but in a teleological view of the universe’ For, though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or on earth’s there are gods many and lords conceived by men ‘yet to the Theist there can be but one God, of who are all things and unto whom, are all things. You see, we have already slipped into the Calvinistic formula, ‘The will of God is the cause of things.’ I do not say, you will observe, that Theism and Calvinism have points of affinity, lie close to one another; I say they are identical.

I say that Theism which is truly Theism, consistently Theism, all that Theism to be Theism must be, is already in principle Calvinism; that Calvinism in its cosmological aspect is nothing more than Theism in its purity.

To fall away from Calvinism is to fall away, by just so much, from a truly theistic conception of the universe. Of course then, to fall away in any degree from a pure Theism in our conception of things is just by that much to fall away from Calvinism. Wherever in our view of the world, an imperfect Theism has crept in, there Calvinism has become impossible.

(2) Calvinism, I have said, is religion at the height of its conception, for, whatever else may enter into the conscious religious relation,’ a vague feeling of mystery, a struggling reaching out towards the infinite, a deep sentiment of reverence and awe, a keen recognition or dull apprehension of responsibility,’ certainly its substance lies in a sense of absolute dependence upon a Supreme Being.

I do not say, you will observe, an absolute feeling of dependence, which, in the Schleiermacherian meaning at least of a feeling without intellectual content, was an absurdity. What I say is, that religion in its substance is a sense of absolute dependence on God and reaches the height of its conception only when this sense of absolute dependence is complete and all-pervasive, in the thought and feeling and life. But when this stage is reached we have just Calvinism.

For what is Calvinism but the theistical expression of religion, conceived as absolute dependence on God’ Wherever we find religion in its purity, therefore, there Calvinism is implicit. I do not say, observe again, that an approach to Calvinism is traceable there, in less or greater measure.

I say, there Calvinism is’implicit indeed, but present. Religion in its purity is Calvinism in life, and you can fall away from Calvinism only by just in that measure falling away from religion, and you do fall away from Calvinism just in proportion as you fall away from religion in its purity. It is, however, dreadfully easy to fall away from religion at the height of its conception.

We may assume the truly religious attitude of heart and mind for a moment; it is hard to maintain it and give it unbroken dominance in our thought, feeling, and action. Our soul’s attitude in prayer’ that is the religious attitude at its height. But do we preserve the attitude we assume in prayer towards God, when we rise from our knees’ Or does our Amen! cut it off at once, and do we go on about our affairs in an entirely different mood’ Now, Calvinism means just the preservation, in all our thinking and feeling and action, of the attitude of utter dependence on God which we assume in prayer.

It is the mood of religion made determinative of all our thinking and feeling and willing. It is therefore conterminous with religion in the height of its conception. Wherever religion in any measure loses hold of the reins of life and our immanent thought has slipped away from its control,’there Calvinism has become impossible.

(3) I have said too, that Calvinism is evangelicalism in its pure and only stable expression. When we say evangelicalism we say sin and salvation. Evangelicalism is a soteriological conception, it implies sin, and salvation from sin. There may be religion without evangelicalism. We may go further: religion might conceivably exist at the height of its conception and evangelicalism be lacking.

But not in sinners. Evangelicalism is religion at the height of its conception as it forms itself in the hearts of sinners. It means utter dependence on God for salvation. It implies, therefore, need of salvation and a profound sense of this need, along with an equally profound sense of helplessness in the presence of this need, and utter dependence on God for its satisfaction. Its type is found in the publican who smote his breast and cried, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’

No question there of saving himself, or of helping God to save him, or of opening the way to God to save him. No question of anything but, ‘I am a sinner, and all my hope is in God my Saviour!’ Now this is Calvinism; not, note once more, something like Calvinism or an approach to Calvinism, but just Calvinism in its vital manifestation. Wherever this attitude of heart is found and is given expression in direct and unambiguous terms, there is Calvinism. Wherever this attitude of mind and heart is fallen away from, in however small a measure, there Calvinism has become impossible.

Calvinism, in this soteriological aspect of it, is just the perception and expression and defense of the utter dependence of the soul on the free grace of God for salvation. All its so-called hard features’ its doctrine of original sin, yes, speak it right out, its doctrine of total depravity and the entire inability of the sinful will to good; its doctrine of election, or, to put it in the words everywhere spoken against, its doctrine of predestination and preterition, of reprobation itself’ means just this and nothing more.

Calvinism will not play fast and loose with the free grace of God. It is set upon giving to God, and God alone, the glory, and all the glory of salvation. There are others than Calvinists, no doubt, who would fain make the same great confession. But they make it with reserves, or they painfully justify the making of it by some tenuous theory which confuses nature and grace.

They leave logical pitfalls on this side or that, and the difference between logical pitfalls and other pitfalls is that the wayfarer may fall into the others, but the plain man, just because he is a simple mind, must fall into those. Calvinism will leave no logical pitfalls and will make no reserves.

It will have nothing to do with theories whose function it is to explain away facts. It confesses, with a heart full of adoring gratitude that to God, and God alone belongs salvation and the whole of salvation; that it is He, and He alone, who works salvation in its whole reach.’

We are supernaturally Save, Supernaturally changed into a Saint, supernaturally seated in heavenly places, and supernaturally kept from falling by our Supernatural God, Jehovah, The Great I AM!

Until next time,

may God bless and keep you

This is Bro. Bob