Understanding the Nature of God and the nature of man PhoenixInstituteforReformationPrinciples Examining the basis of TULIP
Primary Objective: … is NOT to convince you of Reformed Theology! But … man has questions! Who IS God Who IS man? Isaiah 55:8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways, My ways. Ezekiel 18:25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is My way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?
Total Depravity/Inability • Unconditional Election • Limited/Definite Atonement • Irresistible/Efficacious Grace • Perseverance of the Saints TULIP T U L I P It is NOT: compendium on Systematic Theology (primarily focused on Soteriology) IS: An “LENS” by which we can effectively study the Nature of God / man
Genesis 1: • Let their be light … God saw that it is GOOD. • Land/Sea … God saw that it is GOOD. • Plants/growing … God saw it was GOOD. • Sun/Moon … God saw it was GOOD. • Land / Man, etc … 1:31 – God saw everything He had created/made … and behold, it was VERY GOOD. Example – What is Good? Now go to Mark 10: 17-18; How is the Nature of God and nature of man intertwined?
Total Depravity/Inability • Unconditional Election • Limited/Definite Atonement • Irresistible/Efficacious Grace • Perseverance of the Saints TULIP T U L I P
Historical basis for Tulip For 900 years, Reformed Theology has been systemically expressing a set of doctrines focused on the Nature of God (Sovereignty) and nature of man (need). Spread to all Europe and America TODAY Calvin – Geneva Systematic Theology (7 confessions) Luther/Calvin/Reformation (1450-1750) Reformers (1100-1400)
Tension – Arminius vs Reformed Church • 2 Philosophical Principles • Divine Sovereignty is NOT compatible with human freedom • Man’s ability to freely choose limits God’s obligation • 1609 • Jacobus Arminius dies • 1610 – 5 Articles of of Faith • “Remonstrance” – protest • Change the doctrinal Position of the Church of Holland. (based on the Belgic Confession and Heidelberg Catechism) • 2 Deductions • Faith cannot be caused by God; exercised independently of Him • Faith is obligatory to all who hear; therefore the ability to believe must be universal
1618: Council of Dort Arminius Positions Man is never so completely corrupted that he cannot savingly believe. Man is never so controlled by God that he cannot reject it. Man’s election is only described in light of God’s ability to see (foreknowledge) man’s will. Christ’s death created a possibility of salvation for everyone. Man must keep himself in a state of grace by keeping up his/her faith; or he will be lost. • 84 Dutch Delegates • 18 Secular Commissioners • 27 Delegates from other countries (England, Switzerland Germany, Scotland) • 154 Sessions • 7 months
Nothing new under the sun Issues relating to God’s Sovereignty and man’s responsibility continue! 400 AD 1618 Worth studying! Worth struggling with it! Uncovers the Nature of God It’s the greatest Question ever considered!
Great works of old: Saint Augustine; “City of God” He describes two cities: the earthly city and the city of god. The earthly city contains the damned, whom God has not chosen to save. The city of God contains those who have been 'repaired' by God's grace. Les Miserables Jean Valjean: “Am I forgiven?” Common Theme: “God’s Nature impacts man’s nature.”
The Nature of God and man: When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. Declaration of Independence, 1776
A Paradigm for all of life:Conclusion # 1 The Nature of God Theological Issues Christian Experience The nature of man
God’s Glory: the summation of all of God’s perfect attributes … on display to mankind through His sovereign control. Its all about God’s glory!!Conclusion #2 We easily embrace attributes like Love, Holiness, Mercy and Grace … but many question … how can our God be BOTH merciful and yet a judge that sends someone to hell? How do we reconcile this legitimate question? Grace Justice Wrath Righteous Mercy Wisdom Jealous Compassion Righteous Holy Patience Love
How Philosophy was viewed 1000 years ago Concept of “ENDS” • S • S Foundations of Thought: • U • Subordinate End(what an agent aims at) • Ultimate End(end that is valued for its own sake) • Chief End(Universal End, of highest value)
S • S Simple Example: Go to Walgreen’s • U Pick up Prescription Wife needs Medication or her condition worsens
S • S Example: Chief End (Purpose) of Christ Mediator • U Comfort Propitiation of Sins Do the Father’s will and complete the work the Father gave to Him. Display God’s attributes Both Christ/man … Fully Glorify the Father (John 17:1; 1Pt 1:8)
Tulip’s Practical challenges Emotion! Challenging: forces us to face the nature of man and and face/reconcile/consider the depth of God
Romans: 9:13 – Jacob I loved; Esau I hated! For example: Reconciling Justice and Mercy Children of Wrath ? vs. 15 In-Justice Children of Promise NO! vs. 11 (decision made before anything good/bad) Based on God’s Mercy! vs 16 Ultimately, the question is one relating to God’s Nature … NOT … mankind
How Philosophy was viewed 1000 years ago Concept of “ENDS” • Subordinate End(what an agent aims at) • Ultimate End(end that is valued for its own sake) • Chief End(Universal End, of highest value) • S • S Importance of a chief end! • U
Start with Descriptions / Definitions Describe the KEY ISSUES What does it say about the Nature of God? What does it say about the nature of man? Why study tulip … method 1 2 3 Life-long pursuit of the Nature of God John 16:14-15
TULIP 101 Seminar Total DepravityTotal Inability Ephesians 2:1-3 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked … … carrying out the desires of the body and the mindand were by nature children of wrath …
Is man really depraved? Am I really “despicable?” Just another “minion” serving an evil master?
REFORMED POSITION As a consequence of the Fall of Man, every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin and, apart from the intervening grace of God, is utterly unable to understand and accept salvation as it is offered. (TOTAL INABILITY) Defining Total Depravity ARMINIAN / FREE-WILL Sin does not completely control man’s will. Man is “sick and nearsighted” but still able to obey, believe and repent. His nature is not completely evil.
Key question and Issues HOW FAR DID ADAM FALL? Arminian View Reformed View (LINE OF INABILITY) • Deadness of man, spiritually • Free will of man • Spiritual Light
Issue: “deadness” • How, and to what – is man “dead?” • Total Depravity; focuses on the ultimate nature of man … resulting in inability • “Dead in ability to exercise saving faith” • Eph 2:1-5; dead in sins; by nature – children of wrath • Rom 7:9-11; sin came alive in me, I died. • Col 2:12-13; dead in trespass; made alive together w/Him • Rom 6:4,23 & Eph 1:19 - Buried WITH Him, raised with Him
Sovereignty of God … Man’s Responsibility • Human responsibility (accountability) means that humans are subject to God’s evaluation. • Calvinists agree that man is responsible to: • Seek salvation (Rom 1:20) • Receive Christ (John 1:12) • Serve the Lord (Josh 24:15-24) • God chooses us before we choose Him – His choice enables … co-opted our choice. Issue … Human will
Issue: Nature of mans will Point of Justification / Rebirth Whose will controls us, when? Man’s Will God’s Will Man’s will Sanctification • 3 Types of Freedom: • Moral Freedom – freedom to do good • Compatibilist freedom – to do what you want to do • Libertarian Freedom – inherent power to choose with equal ease between alternatives
S • S Total depravity/inability Man is able to make decisions Man is capable of good • U Man’s will subject to God’s sovereignty Man (spiritually) is raised from the dead as Christ’s body was raised Justification of man must extraordinarily magnify God’s glory
(TOTAL INABILITY) Total Depravity – implications Implication on the Nature of God Defines the chasm between nature’s Magnifies His grace Highlights His Love Maintains His Justice Implication on the Nature of Man Adam’s fall impacted the nature of man Regarding Justification, man’s will is UNABLE Maintains man’s responsibility
TULIP 101 Seminar Unconditional election John 17:6 I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave ME out of the world; they were Yours … and You gave them to Me.
REFORMED POSITION Our salvation does not have any conditions. God elects those who are unable to choose God due to their fallen nature. God elects them on the basis of His sovereign good pleasure alone. Defining unconditional election ARMINIAN / FREE-WILL Election is conditional – on man. God chose the elect on the basis of their foreseen faith. God passed over no one, but gives everyone an equal chance to be saved. Man’s choice of Christ overrides the Father’s choice of the sinner.
Debate… is notthat election is Scriptural, but the groundson which some are elected Issue – conditional on who/what Election: Three views 1 Merited Election: God elects those that are good 2 Conditional Election: God elects the depraved who He knows will exercise their free will to accept Him. 3 Unconditional Election: depraved people, where God overcomes their fallen will.
Issue: god’s foreknowledge Foreknowledge based upon God’s decision, not subject to knowing man’s decision: • 1. Decretal Foreknowledge: we are not elected either FOR our faith … or ACCORDING to our faith … but TO our faith. i.e. we are elected SO THAT we might believe. • Rom 8:29a – He also predestined to be conformed … • Acts 2:23 – God’s foreknowledge is inseparable from His sovereign plan and purposes. • 2. Affectionate Foreknowledge: we see God’s nature of affection in unconditional election • Deut 7:6-8; “treasured possession … God set His love on you • Eph 1: 4-5; “in love, He predestined us to His purpose • Jn 17:22 – Christ glory, given by the Father – is given to us!
Cannot be conditional upon man, for God always protects and maximizes His glory. He never puts His glory … “at risk.” • Is 43: 1,7,25 • 1 Cor 1:26-31 • Jn 17:1-3,6b-10,22 Issue: For God’s chief End–His glory
Unconditional election– implications Implication on the Nature of God Shows God’s great mercy Active, not passive; He both decreed it, and affectionately made it happen. Protects the Chief end – Glory of God Implication on the Nature of Man Man is undeserving and wholly dependant upon God. Humbles us; gives us joy Directs our focus away from man, to God
TULIP 101 Seminar Limited/Definite atonement John 5:21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life; so also the Son gives life to whom he will.
REFORMED POSITION Definite Atonement; Christ’s atoning work, while efficacious for all of mankind’s sins … it is specifically applied (definitively applied) to the elect only. Defining limited atonement ARMINIAN / FREE-WILL Universal atonement – Christ died equally for all men, and paid a provisional price that made salvation possible for all but guaranteed it for none.
Any definition of Christianity that does not have redemptive atonement at its core is fundamentally defective. • Lev 1:4 – You are to lay your hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on your behalf to make atonement for you. • Mark 2:7 – “only God can forgive sins … blasphemy!” • John 3:16 … “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son … • Rom 5:8 – but God demonstrates His love toward us that while we were yet sinners, Christ dies for us. l – Limited Atonement Centrality of the theme of Atonement (reconciliation) Question: What is the extent/intent? Is it universal?
Was Jesus’ atonement able to save all? • Universalist – atonement will extend to all of mankind, eventually winning all. (No hell) • “World” – John 1:6-13; 3:16,17; (God’s love is pitted against His justice!) • “All” - Rom 5:18; 2 Cor 5:15; Heb 2:9 Issue: Extent of atonement • There is a QUALIFIER! 1Jn 2:2-3; Heb 2:8-12 • This Qualifier will show us that Christ’s death was ableto save all –Christ’s death is efficacious enough for every single human, but will be limited! • Our grasp of God’s Nature will be tested!
What was the INTENT of Jesus’ atonement? • He calls out specific, certain (definite) people • Rom 5:12/3:19 – Death spread to all / world is accountable • 1 Tim 4:10 – “Savior of all men … especially believers.” • Jn 10:11-13; “My sheep hear my voice …” • Matt 1:21 – He shall save His people (Jews?) • Jn 17:6 – “Yours they were, and you gave them to me Issue: INTENT of atonement Conclusion: While His atonement is not limited in it’s value/ability, it’s intent is for those the Father has called.
S • S Definite atonement Christ’s death – able to save all Christ’s death made all the world accountable Christ suffered for the world • U EXTENT Limited Atonement is a function of Father/Son relationship INTENT God called and chose certain people Definite Atonement magnifies God’s Sovereign glory
Definite atonement– implications Implication on the Nature of God Christ’s death/suffering sealed His efficacious atonement (Heb 2:10) Intent of atonement depends on the Nature of God Atonement is personal between Father/Son Implication on the Nature of Man Aim for His plan! (Believe and receive) Trust His Nature Strengthens our evangelistic zeal – definite number
TULIP 101 Seminar Irresistible/effectual Grace Ephesians 4:30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
REFORMED POSITION The doctrine which says that the Holy Spirit is invincible and intervenes in man’s will. In its purpose of the regeneration of the elect, He never fails to bring the elect to Justification. Defining irresistible grace ARMINIAN / FREE-WILL Resistible Grace – Saving grace is resistible for God cannot interfere with man’s fee will. Man is born again after he believes, for faith and repentance are not gifts of God.
Two types of “calls?” • Outward Call – to each and every person • Is 45:22 – turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth for I am God and there is no other.2 Peter 3:7-9; desires non to perish, all to repentance • Matt 22:2-14; Broad calling … and is rejected in 4 ways (intellectually, behaviorally, volitionally and affectionately) • Specific Call – to the elect; result is salvation • Matt 22:14 – many are called, few are chosen • Acts 2:39 – as many as the Lord calls to Himself! • Hebrews 9:15 – those called receive promise (eternal life) Issue: calling and mans will
Why is the call … Irresistible? • Each Person of the Trinity participates in and contributes to the work of salvation • Before time began, the Father marked those that would be saved. He then gave these people to His Son to be His people (John 17:6-7; 6:37) • At the right time, His Son redeemed them with His blood for the chief end/purpose of glorifying God. (Jn 17:1, 4) • Lastly is the renewing work of the Holy Spirit, by which redemption is applied to the elect. (Jn 16:7-8: 6:63) • 2 Cor 3:6 and 4:3-6 Issue: work of the trinity
Disciples: dramatic, effectual!! • Call of Simon, James, John (Luke 5) • Call of Matthew • The Twelve • Call of Saul/Paul • Early Church – see 1 Thess 1:4,5 • How different from today’s mentality! Irresistible? examples
Irresistible Grace– implications Implication on the Nature of God Goodness is revealed to all of mankind. The very depth of the Trinity is involved Effectual – will always accomplish it’s goal Implication on the Nature of Man Man is without excuse We are not left to the powers of our fallen will Our deadness is overcomeby the Light.
TULIP 101 Seminar Perseverance of the saints Phil. 1:6 For I am confident of this, He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
REFORMED POSITION All who partake of the grace and power of saving union with Christ by faith shall continue in that union to the end (preservation). Full assurance of faith is afforded as God enables the Christian to persevere to the end. Defining Perseverance of the saints ARMINIAN / FREE-WILL Man is able to fall from grace with God by a sinful life. Only a few Christians continue on in their faith and obedience to the end. (undecided if one can actually loose their salvation)