Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Jesus on the Doctrines of Grace

When discussing the so-called Five Points of Calvinism, people tend to focus on the writings of Paul. that is hardly surprising, since he develops those doctrines much more than any other biblical author. however, he does not have exclusive claim on them.

Sometimes we forget that Jesus Himself taught about the doctrines of grace.

"'What must we do, to be doing the works of God?' Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.' So they said to Him, 'Then what sign do You do, that we may see and believe You? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, "He gave them bread from heaven to eat."' Jesus then said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.' They said to Him, 'Sir, give us this bread always.'"
- John 6:28-34

Here we see effectual calling, an aspect of irresistible grace. It is not the will of men to believe. Rather, it is something that God causes us to do. That's why Paul says, "So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy" (Romans 9:16).

"Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to Me, and whoever comes to Me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will but the will of Him who sent Me. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given Me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.'
- John 6:35-40

This section shows particular atonement ("all that the Father gives me"), irresistible grace ("will come to Me"), and perseverance of the saints ("I will lose nothing").

"So the Jews grumbled about Him, because He said, 'I am the bread that came down from heaven.' They said, 'Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, "I have come down from heaven"?' Jesus answered them, 'Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.'"
- John 6:41-44

And here we see reprobation ("no one can come to Me unless the Father draws Him").

Thus, in this one passage, John 6:31-44, Jesus teaches irresistible grace, particular atonement, perseverance of the saints, and reprobation (though not one of the big five). And his assertion that the saved will be those whom the Father has given Him is a description of unconditional election. Twice! The only one not here is total depravity.

I cannot see any alternative to the probability that the failure to see the doctrines associated with Calvinism is no accident, but rather deliberate blindness, which Jesus also talks about: "Seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand" (Matthew 13:13).

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