Who are You? Chosen by the Father

god-chose-you

Who are you?

That is an interesting question and will have all sorts of answers depending on the individual and context. But if I was to ask the more precise question, who are you in the sight of God, this reduces the variety of answers. tells us who the Christian is in the sight of God. Consider what these verses say.

The purpose of this post isn’t to provide a thorough exegetical treatment of this profound passage (though that would be valuable!), but to simply observe three blessings every believer enjoys. These three blessings reveal who the Christian is in the sight of God. The blessings are: chosen, redeemed, and sealed. let us consider the first one.

Chosen
In Paul tells his readers that they are chosen. This act of selection is by God the Father and is the actual choosing of certain individuals to be saved. What a high and humbling thought, that God would choose from among fallen men some to be saved. Unlike the belief that says that God’s looks into the future and chooses those who choose Him, the Scripture teaches that took place before the foundation of the world” (). God’s act of choosing us was not influenced by our works, but was based on His love, mercy and purpose (cf. ). Continue reading Who are You? Chosen by the Father

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love

even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love

11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls—

God’s Providence: Our Comfort

God's Providence: Our Comfort

John Calvin writes about our “knowledge” of God’s providence in his Institutes of the Christian Religion:

‘Gratitude of mind for the favourable outcome of thing, patience in adversity, and also incredible freedom from worry about the future all necessarily follow upon this knowledge.’ (see 1.17.7)

By knowledge he means that we properly understand and see the ramifications of the doctrine. By “providence” he means that as described by many passages of scripture (e.g. ), and by the 1689 London Confession 5:1, which says that God “upholds, directs, organises and governs all creatures and things, from the greatest to the least … ” I wrote about God’s providence recently here.

With that in mind, read the quote again. Calvin says that when we know and trust God in his providence, we should be 3 things.

1. Thankful for all of the good things that come about in our life,

2. Patient in difficult times in our life, and

3. Free from worry.

God is in control, says Calvin. So, be thankful! Be patient! Don’t worry!

Picture credit: John Calvin’s church in Geneva, by Mark Gstohl. Some rights reserved.

10 declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
11 calling a bird of prey from the east,
the man of my counsel from a far country.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
I have purposed, and I will do it.

The Discontinuity of the Calvinistic Continuationist

pentecost

As I said in my previous post, I have great respect and admiration for many Calvinistic Continuationists. My posts do not call into question the benefit some of these individuals are to the church, nor do I call into question their personal piety and godly example. My aim is to respond to the claim the Calvinists ought to be charismatic. I disagree with such a claim.

What is a continuationist? The continuationist believes that the miraculous gifts are still in operation in the church today. I must say, that I agree with Phil Johnson as he has observed that “it’s pretty hard to find a real continuationist.”[1] What he means by this is that an evangelical continuationist is a cessationist at some level. With the exception of extreme continuationists, they don’t think there are apostles around today who write Scripture. It is taught that this gift is no longer in operation. In this sense, there are not many true continuationists around. Continuationists believe some of the gifts have ceased or carry a different function from apostolic age.

In my view, the Charismatic Calvinist has gone beyond the sufficiency of Scripture by claiming there are ongoing revelations today that undermine the Calvinistic high view of Scripture and the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. It is not within the scope of this post to discuss why I believe the gifts of apostleship, prophecy, tongues, healing and miracles are no longer operative today. However, by way of a brief comment I would say that the actual aforementioned spiritual gifts were real and beneficial, but they were foundational and confirmatory of the apostolic age. Continue reading The Discontinuity of the Calvinistic Continuationist

Calvinistic and Charismatic – Do they Mix?

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There is a large and influential group who would be classed as Charismatic Calvinists (or reformed continuationists). There are many from this group who have been faithful in their proclamation of the gospel and have served as examples of Christian piety. For this I am thankful and grateful for what I continue to learn from them. However, the question I ask in this post is, can you be Calvinistic and Charismatic? I ask this question because there are those who preach that the reformed must be charismatic.

The Charismatic Calvinist is a novel combination that has come to most prominence in recent years. In fact, the majority of Calvinistic teachers in the history of the church have been cessationtionists (a cessationist believes that the miraculous gifts were limited to the early church).

What is Calvinism? Being a Calvinist goes beyond the embracing of the five points (TULIP – Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of Grace). The five points are important (and Scriptural), but they are not all there is to Calvinism. Burk Parsons argues that Continue reading Calvinistic and Charismatic – Do they Mix?

High Octane Calvinism

Speaking of Calvinism, I like what Douglas Wilson has to say about the grace & works dilemma and how “High Octane Calvinism” is the only solution. How can we balance our focus on God’s grace, and also our focus on obedience and discipleship? Watch here for his answer.

Calvinsim: more like Schmalvinism!

© kristykay22 under Creative Commons

Calvinism must be one of the most overused and abused terms going around in church circles. Much of what I say below I really mean, but it is rather tongue-in-cheek. Also, the way I box people into categories is very fluid, as I will explain later. Finally, I should also apologise to anyone who goes by the name Schmalvin; any confusion is completely unintended.

There are quite a number of streams of Calvinism. Each of the groups I describe below all locate themselves in the theological heritage of the French Protestant reformer, John Calvin. It is very confusing. I hope this helps. Continue reading Calvinsim: more like Schmalvinism!