Why I Am Convinced the So-Called Five Points of Calvinism are True (Part 3)
For the purpose of His great name and the exaltation of Jesus Christ, the Lord has eternally set his love upon a hell-deserving sinner like me. One thing that so drew me to this understanding of grace is that it’s thoroughly God-centered. J. I. Packer has said that Reformed Theology essentially teaches one point: God saves sinners.
God. The truine, infinitely holy, righteous, just, and beautiful Creator has swooped up and saved me from His justly deserved wrath. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit work together, not just for my election in eternity past, but for my trust in Jesus Christ, and for my continued trust and obedience during my lifetime. In perfect divine consistency the Son lays down his life for those whom His Father has given him. The Father sets his love upon a fallen people, marks them out to receive his amazing grace, his Son comes to die in their place, taking the wrath of God on himself. The Holy Spirit applies this redemption won by the Son to the people whom the Father has chosen by granting them new spiritual life (irresistible grace).
Saves. So God graciously “elects” me and sends His Son to die for me. Jesus doesn’t simply make His bride “savable.” “The Son of man came to seek and save the lost.”
“Irresistible grace” draws attention to the fact that when God sets His perfects love on you, He will not fail to rescue from you from the bondage to sin. He will perfectly succeed in opening spiritually blind eyes and granting a heart of flesh to those whom He has chosen. We see an example of this in the book of Acts where the Lord “opened the heart” of Lydia in order to believe what Paul was preaching. Sure, we know that not all people believe the gospel the first time they hear it. But ultimately God never, ever fails. He is the perfect savior. Irresistable grace doesn’t mean that God drags people kicking and screaming into the Kingdom. It doesn’t mean God violates their will (remember, sinful man’s will is not neutral but is hostile toward God). He does mean that he gives them an appetite for good things, holy things, and these are ultimately fulfilled in Christ alone.
Sinners. Since I was a hostile, rebellious, blind, and spiritually dead sinner, if God was going to save me He couldn’t set any conditions for me to fulfill. I would fail them all. There is no difference between me and those who will be screaming curses at God in hell other than the sheer, unmerited, free, and boundless love of God.