5.1 The Doctrines of Grace

Total Depravity

Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature; therefore, he will not–indeed he cannot–choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, it takes much more than the Spirit’s assistance to bring a sinner to Christ–it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God’s gift of salvation–it is God’s gift to the sinner, not the sinner’s gift to God. Genesis 2:15-17, Romans 5:12, Psalm 51:5, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Romans 3:10-18, Jeremiah 17:9, John 6:44, Ephesians 2:1-10

Unconditional Election

God’s choice of certain individuals for salvation before the foundation of the world rested solely in His own sovereign will. His choice of particular sinners was not based on any foreseen response or obedience on their part, such as faith, repentance, etc. On the contrary, God gives faith and repentance to each individual whom He selected. These acts are the result, not the cause of God’s choice. Election therefore was not determined by or conditioned upon any virtuous quality or act foreseen in man. Those whom God sovereignly elected He brings through the power of the Spirit to a willing acceptance of Christ. Thus God’s choice of the sinner, not the sinner’s choice of Christ, is the ultimate cause of salvation. Romans 9:10-21, Ephesians 1:4-11, Ephesians 2:4-10, Romans 8:29-30, Acts 11:18, Acts 13:48

Limited Atonement

Christ’s redeeming work was intended to save the elect only and actually secured salvation for them. His death was a substitutionary endurance of the penalty of sin in the place of certain specified sinners. In addition to putting away the sins of His people, Christ’s redemption secured everything necessary for their salvation, including faith, which united them to Him. The gift of faith is infallibly applied by the Spirit to all for whom Christ died, thereby guaranteeing their salvation. Matthew 1:21, Romans 5:12-21, Romans 3:21-26, Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:5-6, Philippians 1:6, John 10:11-30, John 17:6-12, Romans 8:28-30, John 6:44, Acts 20:28


Irresistible Grace

In addition to the outward general call to salvation, which is made to everyone who hears the gospel, the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation. The external call (which is made to all without distinction) can be, and often is, rejected; whereas the internal call (which is made only to the elect) cannot be rejected, it always results in conversion. By means of this special call the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ.
He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man’s will, nor is He dependent upon man’s cooperation for success. The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ. God’s grace, therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended. John 3:16, Matthew 22:14, Acts 17:29-31, Matthew 23:37-39, John 6:44, Romans 8:28-30, John 1:12-13, John 3:1-8, Ephesians 2:8-10

Perseverance of the Saints

All who were chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept in faith or preserved by the power of Almighty God and thus persevere to the end. John 3:16, John 6:35-40, John 6:44, Philippians 1:6, Philippians 2:12-13, Jude 24-25, Ephesians 1:13-14, Romans 8:28-30, Romans 8:35-39

5.2 Christ the Mediator

The Eternal Mediator

It pleased God, in his eternal purpose, to choose the Lord Jesus, his one and only Son, to be the only mediator between God and man. He was to be the Prophet, Priest, and King, the head and Savior of his church, the heir of all things and judge of the world. To the Lord Jesus the Father gave, from all eternity, a people to redeem, call, justify, sanctify, and glorify. 1 Peter 1:17-21, 1 Timothy 2:1-7, Hebrews 1:1-4, Hebrews 5:1-10, Luke 1:26-33, Ephesians 1:15-23, Romans 8:28-30, John 5:16-30

The God-Man (Hypostatic Union)

Jesus Christ, the Son of God and second person of the Trinity, is God. He is of the same essence as the Father and equal to him. At just the right time, according to the predestined plan of God, the eternal Son became a man. He was made like us in every way, except for his sinlessness. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary. This union of the divine and human made Jesus forever both God and man in one person. He is truly God and truly man. His divine and human natures are neither altered, blended, nor confused. Jesus Christ, the only mediator between God and man, was, and is, truly God and truly man. John 1:1-14, Romans 1:1-4, John 3:16, Matthew 28:18-20, John 14:5-14, John 10:22-39, Galatians 4:1-7, Hebrews 4:14-16, Luke 1:26-38, Matthew 1:18-24, 1 Timothy 2:1-7, Hebrews 2:5-18

His Humiliation and Exaltation

The Lord Jesus willingly accepted his appointment as mediator and perfectly fulfilled that office. He endured the most severe tortures of soul and body, was crucified, buried, and remained under the power of death for three days, without seeing corruption. He rose from the dead on the third day. He ascended into heaven, where he sat down at the Father’s right hand and intercedes for his people. From the Father’s right hand he shall physically return at the end of the world to judge all men and angels. John 10:14-18, Galatians 3:10-14, Isaiah 53, 1 Corinthians 15:1-8, Acts 1:1-11, Acts 13:34-37, Romans 8:31-34, 2 Timothy 4:1-5

He Perfectly Satisfied the Justice of God

Jesus lived a perfect sinless life, and therefore he qualified as our substitute and perfect sacrifice. By his death on the cross he satisfied the justice of God and purchased for his people their complete salvation. Romans 3:21-26, Hebrews 9:11-15, Hebrews 10:1-18, Hebrews 2:14-18, Hebrews 4:15

He is the Redeemer of Those Saved in the Old Testament

The price of redemption was not paid by Jesus Christ until after his coming in human flesh. But the benefits of his finished work were applied retroactively to God’s elect living before the cross, as well as to those of us who have followed. By means of promises, types, sacrifices, and ceremonies, the Messiah is progressively revealed to be the woman’s “offspring” who would crush the head of the serpent. He is “the lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.” He is the Savior for all the elect. Galatians 4:1-7, Romans 3:21-26, Romans 4:1-8, John 3:16, Genesis 3, Hebrews 10:1-18, Colossians 2:13-23, Revelation 5, Revelation 13:1-10, Hebrews 13:1-8

Jesus Christ, as our Prophet, Priest, and King

The three offices of Jesus Christ, our Messiah, are necessary for us. Because of our ignorance we need him to be our Prophet. Because of our separation from God we need him to be our Priest so that we can be made to be acceptable to him. Because we have rebelled against him and have become God-haters there is absolutely no way for us to return to him, therefore we need him to be our King to convince, draw, deliver, and preserve us for his heavenly kingdom. 1 Timothy 2:1-7, John 1:15-18, Colossians 1:21-22, Romans 5:9-11, Ephesians 2:1-10, John 6:44

5.3 Calling

The Outward Call

The outward or general call of God is the free offer and command to repent and believe in the gospel, to all without exception. This outward call can be, and is, resisted by the reprobate. The reprobate are the non-elect. They will never believe the gospel. John 3:16, Acts 17:29-31, Matthew 22:1-14, Matthew 23:37-39,1 Timothy 2:3-7, 2 Peter 3:1-9, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Romans 9:10-24

The Inward Call

Only the elect receive the inward or specific call of God. At a time appointed by God, those whom he has predestined to eternal life are irresistibly drawn, by his Word and Spirit, out of the state of spiritual death which they are in by nature, to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our God enables them to understand the things of God, convicts them of their sin and danger, moves them to genuine sorrow and repentance, changes their hearts, and makes them willing to believe and obey the gospel. In his irresistible call he does not force anyone to come against their will. They come because they want to come. They want to come because he has made them want to come. Romans 8:28-30, John 6:35-40, Matthew 11:25-26, John 6:44, John 3:1-8, Romans 9:10-21, Romans 10:14-15, Ephesians 2:1-10, Acts 11:18, Romans 6

Soli Deo Gloria

The irresistible call of God is not based on anything man has done, is doing, or will do. For anyone to respond and embrace the free offer of the gospel he must first be empowered by the Spirit of God. This is the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Romans 9:10-21, John 6:44, John 1:12-13, John 3:1-8, Romans 8:5-11, Titus 3:3-8

Infants and Mentally Disabled

Infants, pre-born or newly born, and the mentally disabled (as well as everyone else) are guilty of Adam’s sin and deserve eternal damnation. If God so desired he could elect and save all of them in Jesus Christ. But, the Bible is silent concerning this matter. Though we don’t know the fate of these individuals we can entrust them to our God who will do what is right. Romans 5:12-21, Romans 6:23

The Reprobate

Those not chosen by our God, the non-elect, are called the reprobate. They will never respond to the outward call of the gospel. Their end is eternal damnation. Everyone who goes to hell goes as a God-hater. Matthew 7:13-23, Revelation 20:11-15, 1 Corinthians 2:14, Romans 3:10-18

5.4 Justification

Justification through Faith

God freely justifies, that is he declares righteous, all those he irresistibly calls to himself. He does not justify anyone on the basis of their performance (infused righteousness) but by pardoning their sins and viewing them as perfectly forgiven and accepted which is the definition of righteousness. God imputes, or gives to the believer, the complete forgiveness of sins and full acceptance by God (the righteousness of Jesus Christ). Because of his sacrificial death on the cross as the perfect payment for sin, righteousness is secured for all those who believe. Justification is received by trusting in the work of Jesus Christ alone to save us from our sins. This justifying faith is a gift of God and is not something that we are able to produce or attain on our own. Romans 3:21-31, John 6:44, Romans 4:1-25, Romans 5:12-21, Ephesians 2:4-10, Romans 10:3-4

The Payment for Justification

Jesus Christ, through his obedient death on the cross, completely paid the debt for sin that was owed by those who were to believe and be justified. He fully satisfied all the claims which God’s justice had upon them. The justification of the elect is a work of God’s grace, for no one deserves to be saved. Hebrews 10:1-14, Romans 3:19-31, Isaiah 53, Ephesians 2:1-10, Romans 5:18-19

When Are the Elect Justified?

From eternity past God decreed the justification of his elect. At just the right time Jesus Christ died for their sins and was resurrected for their justification. The elect are not personally justified until the Holy Spirit, at the appointed time, applies the saving work of Jesus Christ to them, then they believe and are justified. Ephesians 1,2, Titus 3:3-7, Romans 5:6-11, Romans 4:1-8, Romans 10:9-15

Justification in the Old Testament

Believers in the Old Testament were justified in the same way as believers in the New Testament. Romans 4, Galatians 3

5.5 Adoption

God adopts all those he justifies into his eternal family. When they are adopted they become children of God and inherit rights and privileges, which include receiving the Holy Spirit, by whom they cry “Abba” or “Father,” access in prayer to the throne of grace, and the Father’s provision, protection, and loving concern. They also receive the discipline of the Father so that they will become more and more like him in holiness. Once someone has been adopted by the Father he will never be rejected or lost. As joint-heirs with Jesus Christ they inherit eternal life. Ephesians 1:1-14, Romans 8:5-39, Hebrews 12:1-13

5.6 Sanctification

The New Heart

Those who have received Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord have been regenerated and have received a new heart. This new heart consists of a new desire created by God the Holy Spirit to make Jesus Christ the Lord and Treasure of their life. Before someone becomes a believer he is a God-hater. He is in bondage to his sin. This means that he is unable to do, and doesn’t want to do, anything that pleases the true God. As a result of conversion he now is a God-lover who desires to please the God of Scripture. Romans 6, Hebrews 8:7-13, Romans 8:1-17, Ephesians 2:1-10, Romans 1:30

Struggling with Sin

It is God’s good pleasure that believers depend on him in their struggle against sin. Perfection, however, will never be attained in this life. Galatians 5:16-18

Growth is Guaranteed

Because of the death of Jesus Christ on the cross spiritual growth is guaranteed to the believer. Jesus purchased on the cross a transformed life for everyone who believes. Though the rate and amount of growth will be different for each believer, all Christians will experience a changed life and will bear the fruit of the Spirit. Believers may get caught in sin for a season, but they will eventually repent and be restored to fellowship with the Father. Romans 6, Romans 8:1-17, Philippians 1:3-6, 1 John 3:9-11, Matthew 13:1-23, Hebrews 10:14, Revelation 2:7

Ultimate Victory is Guaranteed

It is promised to the believer that he will be preserved till the end. Jesus not only purchased a saving faith and a changed life for his people, he also purchased a guarantee that they will persevere in their faith and enter into heaven. Philippians 1:3-6, Romans 8:28-39, Jude 24-25

5.7 Saving Faith

Saving Faith is a Gift

Saving faith is a gift of God given to his elect at the appointed time by the Holy Spirit. This gift causes the elect to believe the gospel and enter into the family of God. This faith does not originate with man, nor does it come from any other source; it is a gift of God. Ephesians 2:4-10, Acts 11:18, Acts 13:48, John 1:12-13, Titus 3:4-7, John 3:1-8, 1 Corinthians 2:6-16

The Effects of Saving Faith

By this saving faith a Christian believes the Bible to be the authoritative Word of God. He is enabled to believe the Scriptures in all that they teach. The first and primary effect of saving faith is to cause one of the elect to receive Jesus Christ as his Savior and Lord, to rest upon him alone for his salvation and to embrace him for all that Scripture says he is. Saving faith will result in a life characterized by good works. 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 1 John 2:3-6, Ephesians 2:8-10, Romans 4

5.8 Repentance

Definition of Repentance

At the appointed time the Holy Spirit grants to each of the elect repentance that causes him to ‘change his mind’; he begins to understand his rebellion against God and his guilt, which made the death of Jesus Christ necessary for his salvation. Repentance moves everyone who receives it to be genuinely sorry (godly sorrow) for having wronged his God and enables him to turn from his state of self-centeredness to a state of God-centeredness with Jesus Christ as his Lord. Luke 3:1-20, Acts 2:37-41, Acts 20:21, Acts 11:18, 2 Corinthians 7:2-12, Romans 6:15-18

The Necessity of Repentance

The message of the Gospel is: “Turn from your sins (repent), trust in Jesus Christ alone to save you from your sins by His death on the cross, and follow Him as your Lord.” Although repentance is not to be trusted as payment for sins, or as a means of earning pardon (that comes through embracing the cross-work of Jesus Christ alone), there can be no real salvation without repentance. Acts 2:37-41, Matthew 24:14, Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8

Continuing Repentance

Besides that initial act of repentance, without which no one can be saved, repentance is a lifelong concern for the believer. Since the believer continues to struggle with sin until he dies and enters into God’s presence, it is his responsibility to repent of all known sin. All true believers will exhibit a life marked by repentance. 1 John 1:5-2:2, Romans 6:14, Matthew 5:1-12, 1 John 3:9-10

5.9 Good Works

Definition of Good Works

Good works are only those works that are in agreement with the Word of God and motivated by a desire to please the God of Scripture. Only believers are capable of doing good works. 1 Corinthians 10:31, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Romans 3:9-20, Ephesians 2:8-10

Good Works Are Proof of Saving Faith

Good works are the evidence of a true saving faith. Although you are not saved because of your works, no one will be saved without them. Good works are part of that salvation that Jesus purchased on the cross for the elect. You cannot receive one part of salvation, such as faith, without also receiving a changed life marked by good works. Ephesians 2:8-10, James 2:14-26, Romans 8:5-17, 1 John 2:3-6

The Source of Good Works

The motivation and ability to do good works does not come from the believer, but from the work of the Holy Spirit who is working in him. All credit for good works must go to God alone. Ephesians 2:8-10, John 15:1-4, Hebrews 8:7-13, Titus 3:4-7, Philippians 1:6

Salvation is Not Earned

The believer’s good works cannot earn him eternal life. Everything the believer does is tainted with sin. The only reason the believer’s good works are accepted as good works is because he is unconditionally accepted by God because of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Ephesians 2:8-10, Romans 4, Galatians 3:1-14, Galatians 5:16-18, Philippians 3:12-14, Ephesians 1:11-14

The Works of the Unsaved

The only works that are acceptable to God and bring him pleasure are those works that come from a believer, done according to his Word, and done for the purpose of pleasing him. Religious or humanitarian works done by unbelievers may be called great in the eyes of the world, and helpful to themselves and others, yet they cannot please God. Romans 3:9-20, 1 Corinthians 10:31, Philippians 3:7-8

5.10 Assurance

Definition of Assurance

Assurance is the conviction that the promises of the gospel apply to you. The Holy Spirit gives assurance to all believers at conversion. Therefore, all who have saving faith will also have assurance of salvation. Romans 8:5-17, John 10:22-30, Acts 13:48

Struggles with Assurance

A true believer will never completely lose his assurance of salvation. He may struggle with his assurance for a period of time, but he will eventually regain his full assurance. The objective promises of the gospel and evidence of a changed life are used by the Holy Spirit to aid the believer in recovering his full assurance. Romans 8:5-17, 2 Peter 1:10-11, John 3:16, 1 John 3:9-10

Signs of Assurance

God promised that he would give his people under the new covenant a new heart. Along with the new heart comes new affections. There are five general affections which indicate that a person’s heart has truly been saved. He may not experience all of them with the same level of intensity, but he will have all of them in increasing measure: Love for God, love for the Bible, love for the Church, love for the Lost, and love for Holiness. Ezekiel 32:26, Ezekiel 11:19, John 3:16-21, 1 Peter 2:2, Psalm 119, 1 John 4:7, John 13:35, Romans 7, Ephesians 2:10, Mark 6:34, Romans 12:15, Matthew 9:35-36