What has Jesus Done In Us? Why do we believe what we believe? We should understand our position as Christians. We are called to love the world, not beat them over the head with theology. But, we should be educated about what we believe based on the Bible, so we can answer the world’s view on things. We should read the the Bible contextually, as it can be applied to any circumstance. There should be a balance between head knowledge and heart experience, though. We know the Holy Spirit came to empower us so we could be a better witness for Christ. We know that He gives us gifts to help us and to elevate and worship Jesus and bring the power of Jesus on earth.
There are certain arguments between the Calvinists and Armenians. According to John Calvin: Salvation is accomplished by the almighty power of the triune God. The Father chooses a people. The Son died for them. The Holy Spirit makes Christ’s death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the gospel. The entire process is the work of God and by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.
According to Jacobus Armenius: Salvation is accomplished through the combined efforts of God, who took the initiative, and man, who must respond. Man’s response by faith is the determining factor. God has provided salvation for everyone (as opposed to the Calvinists who say it is only for the chosen.) God’s provision becomes effective only for those who, of their own free will, choose to cooperate with Him and accept His offer of grace. At this crucial point, man’s free will plays the decisive role. Thus, man, and not God, determines who will be the recipients of salvation.
Scriptures can be used to support both positions and the argument has been going on for 500 years. This is what I believe, based on scriptures. If those that are supposed to be saved will be saved, then why are we given the Great Commission? God knows who is going to respond, but we do not. We are called to go into the world and preach the gospel. This is not an us or them message, but one to provoke you to think about why you choose to believe. God used people to get you in the position, so you could choose to believe. When people respond, when they choose, it is due to people being obedient to God’s word, which is His will. His will is for us to share the gospel. God uses people not only to get us saved, but also to keep us saved.
The Prodigal Son is an analogy about a father that has a house with provision and covering for his two sons. One son wants to choose to live outside the covering, teaching, and inheritance of his father. The father allows him to choose. God does not force salvation upon us. God provided a way and we have to choose whether or not to go down that path. It all comes back to faith. The son in the parable wasted his money on wild living, and there began a famine and the son began to starve. When we leave the covering, the stream of blessing will run out, and we starve of the things that really matter in life. The son got a job on a farm, and he was so hungry that the pig slop looked good. When we step outside of the covering, even the worst things in life begin to look good – so severe is the deprivation of man. The father allowed the son to sink to this point. God does not want ONE person to perish. For this, He gave His only son. He gives every single person the ability; He provides the atonement. The blood of Jesus is enough for the whole world. But, He does not force our salvation. The son is repentant and thinks he might be allowed to come back as a servant. The father is waiting and runs to the son, because he is so grateful, ready, and desperate to bring him back into the covering. He is not judgmental and vengeful! God is waiting and sending people into your path, and people are praying for you, and despite you refusing to listen repeatedly – He waits! He waits for you to make your move, to decide to believe that Jesus died for you and forgives you for your sin. God is loving, and always willing to receive, when we respond to His call. Not with judgment, but with celebration. He is waiting for you. What do you believe?