Picking a Tulip or a Lily?

Picking a Tulip or a Lily?

 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1 John 5:11-12

Many believers are unaware that some of their beliefs many be built on the thinking and theology of two men, John Calvin (1509 to 1564) and Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609).  The systems of theology that these men created are logical and consistent with their suppositions. However, they are totally opposite of one another and therefore both cannot be true. Moreover, many believers have been cherry picked certain points from both systems to their liking.  Now this is not logical nor is it honest if done knowingly.  It also leads to inconsistent and muddled headed theology that creates doubts and division.

Let me begin with Calvinism.  Calvinism is a systematic theology where each point is built on a certain presupposition and the preceding point. In other words, if A is true, B must be true and if A is false, B must be false, if A and B are truth C must be true. Calvin himself admitted that if any point of his theology is wrong then the whole thing was wrong.  This alone might be a call for you sleepers to wake up and smell the flowers to see if you have a tulip in the garden of your mind.

In a nut shell Calvin taught God’s sovereignty is unconditional, unlimited, and absolute. All things are predetermined by God’s sovereign will before the creation. This includes the salvation of individuals. Calvin’s system has been abbreviated with the acrostic “Tulip” which stands for the five major points of his system – total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace and perseverance of the saints.

What do I think of Calvinism?  Not much, it is a very flawed system.  Its presumptions about the nature of God are based as much on philosophy as the scriptures. His system seems to image a God that is so big that He smothers mans free will. For the radical Calvinist, it completely destroys free will. However, there are some cherry-picking  Calvinists who seem to believe you have free will until you become a Christian and then some how you lose it.  I think the truth is that it would be very difficult to work any free will into any of Calvin’s five points without twisting his system and the scriptures.

There is one thing in its favor. If a person could really and totally believe it, which I doubt a person could, they could live a carefree life as a happy imbecile blaming God for everything in the world and sitting back and doing nothing to correct or improving the world.  You also could believe that you are heaven bound simply by accepting Jesus as your person savior even though you live like the devil.  This seems to be the case every year with millions of Americans being preached into heaven by their friendly minister.  If God is going to predestine people to heaven He could at least pick better people.   The problem with this belief is like all abstract beliefs; people cannot carry them into the real world for very long.  They are simply over powered by reality. Thank God!

After thinking a while (overnight) I realized that there is a group of people who really-really believe in absolute individual predestination.  In fact they not only believe it, they live it out, which is a sign of a true believer.  They’re called suicide bombers and they are Muslim, which believe in fate or absolute predestination.  In fact, some believe that John Calvin was influenced in his thinking by this extreme group.

I know some of you are thinking does the Bible teach that God predestined Christians to be saved? Right, He does. God predestined a lot of things.  First, he predestined all Christians to be free from the power of sin.  How are you doing in that area of salvation?  Then he predestined us to be free from death which would include the precursors of death, sickness and aging.  How are you doing on that one?  Now here is what the Bible teaches.  God has predestined everyone who is in Christ to be saved and conform to the image of His Son. What about conforming to the image of His Son, how are you doing on that one? The good news is that salvation has started in Christ and will be finalized in the resurrection when our adoption as sons is completed (Rom 8:23). In the resurrection, faith becomes reality. So, if you are not doing 100% in the above-mentioned  areas do not despair God is not done with you. The important question is, are you in Christ?

I know by now some of you are probably confused, so let me say a few more words about predestination. There is a lot of confusion in people’s minds on this subject, mainly for a very simple reason. The reason is that they look at it individualistic instead of corporately.  Much of the confusion disappears when a person begins to see election and predestination as God electing and predestinating  groups.  One way we could explain it is that God predestinated everyone who is in His Son[1] to go to heaven and for all those outside His Son to be lost (Rom 8:29-30). The elect are those that hear the gospel of His Son and are called out of the world into His Son (Eph 1:13).  We (those in Christ) who are predestined before the foundations of earth were laid in His Son. You see it was his Son, who was predestined; the question is, are you in him?  You see Gods grace is in His Son (2 Tim 1:9), salvation is in His Son (2 Tim 2:10), forgiveness of sin is in His Son, eternal life is in His Son; fullness is in Christ (Col 2:10).  In fact, all spiritual blessings are in Christ (Eph 1:3).  The question is not where you predestine, but rather are you in the Son.  If you are in the Son, you are going to heaven.  In fact, you are already there because you were raised with Christ (Eph 2:6).  That is if you believe in Christ, for everyone who trusts in Christ is put into Christ by their faith and baptism into Him (Rom 6:1-4, Gal 3:26, 27).

What does it mean to be in Christ?  It simply means everything; it means that Christ is all, and in all. Being in Christ is equivalent to being in the kingdom of Christ and being in his body, the church. It means to be in the family of God with Jesus being your big brother.  It means to be hidden in Christ from the principalities and powers.  It means to be protected by Gods divine power.  It means to be in relationship with God through Jesus Christ. In Christ means; to be in the place where all of God’s spiritual blessings are found.

Sounds like a great place to be, right?  Well, it is, You could say it is the place where the action is, that is God’s action.  How do you get into Christ?  You get into Christ through faiths-baptism (Rom 6: 1-5, Gal 3:26, 27)and by trusting in the God that raised him from the dead, and you abide in Him by that same saving faith.  But doesn’t the Bible say that when we were powerless, Christ died for us?  That is right; there was nothing we could do to save ourselves, which is why we had to simply trust God to do it.  Trusting God is not trusting ourselves, even our faith.  Faith itself would be a work of righteousness if you were to trust that it was through your great faith that you were saved.  Great faith is a gift of God’s grace and is different than saving faith that simply puts its trust in God’s grace and his word. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith” (Eph 2:8a).

If you abide in Christ, you will be saved and you will naturally grow and bear fruit. (John 15:1-8) How does one abide in Christ? The same way that you get in him, by grace, through faith. Grace comes to us through faith in two ways. Grace given for forgiveness and grace given as power to be set free from the dominance of sin.  In Scripture, salvation is salvation from sin and death.  No one can be saved and be a slave to sin.  How can anyone be saved from something and still have sin as their master (Rom 6:15-18)?  Paul said that we are not under the law therefore we do not sin, but he also said that we are not under sin.  I know some Christians that say they are not under the law, but they are still a slave to sin.  What is that all about?  God’s grace has freed us from both, not just one. So, if you abuse God’s grace, look out for the wrath of God that is to come upon the sons[2] of disobedience. (Eph 5:6-7).

Let me suggest that you get rid of the Tulip in your mind and replace it with the Lily of the Valley “Jesus.”  Fall in love with Jesus and you will not have to worry about growing in the Lord, losing your salvation or anything else. In fact, you will not need to believe in Tulip to know and have assurance that you are saved, (1 John 5:13)  You will know that you are saved because you are in Christ by grace, through faith, because your faith is being lived out in loving your brothers, which you were saved to do. (Read 1John)

[1] The expression “in Christ” is used in scriptures to denote his corporate body, i.e. all those who in his church by faith.

[2] Some versions read Children or on those that are disobedient, but the Greek text reads Sons. This misinterpretation shows the vast influence of Calvinistic teaching which would deny that any believer could be lost and under the wrath of God. The new international version of the Bible is very Calvinistic and distorts many passages of Scripture to make them support Calvinism.

ETERNAL SECURITY Questions To Ask Yourself


Questions To Ask Yourself

Thanks to Charles Stanley 

My Answer and questions to Mr. Stanley.

I found these question by Charles Stanly on the net. My responds to Mr. Stanly is based on the simple belief that we are saved in Christ. To be in Christ is to be in a loving relationship with Christ and His Father. This relationship is entered through faith and is maintained by faith. However, I believe a person can lose their faith and fall out of this loving relationship with Jesus and be lost.


If Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost, and yet we can somehow become unsaved – and therefore undo what Christ came to do – would it not be wise for God to take us on to heaven the moment we are saved in order to insure we make it? Isn’t it unnecessarily risky to force us to stay here?

Satan and Man have been undoing the things of God since the fall. If this was not the case, we would have no free will. If we have no free will, we are simply a part of a comic rerun where everything has all ready been determined.

I  personally have not reached the point where I can judge what is wise for God to do, or not to do. I guess Mr. Stanley has.

It seems that Mr. Stanley’s questions come from the presumption that Gods eternal purpose is to save mankind.  Really?  Is mankind the center of Gods purpose? I was under the impression that God and Christ were the center and their purpose is, and was, to restore Gods rule or the kingdom of God? Could it be that God only wants the tried and the true to serve him in his kingdom?

If a person cannot be unsaved who was saved before, how can a small child who is saved or at least safe become unsaved? If people are elected in eternity to be saved how then did they become lost or unelected requiring Jesus to die for them?  Why did Jesus  come, to seek and to save the lost, if saved people cannot become  lost people and the unsaved people could not respond to his preaching because they were not elected in eternity? Is the coming of Christ just a cosmic deception or joke?


If our salvation is not secure, how could Jesus say about those to whom He gives eternal life, “and they shall never perish” (John 10:28)? If even one man or woman receives eternal life and then forfeits it through sin or apostasy, will they not perish? And by doing so, do they not make Jesus’ words a lie?  Is Christ a liar???

The gift of eternal life is given to those that hear and follow Christ, which means that the promise of eternal life is conditional.  In verse 10:27 of the book of John, He tells us who his sheep are. They are those that hear his voice and follow him which are two conditions.  In this section of scripture Jesus says nothing about the gift being free or coming without conditions, or by some prior election by God.  These ideas are read into the passage by Mr. Stanley. In actuality, the text has nothing to do with whether a person can fall away from Christ (stop hearing his voice and following Christ). This section of Scripture is not talking about the sheep falling away, but rather them being force or captured against their will by Satan. It is very similar to the thoughts of Paul when he says that no temptation is to great to overcome the believer (1 Cor 10:13). The real question is can a people lose their faith in Christ and stop listening and following Christ? Does a person lose their free will when they become a Christian?

When Christ gives a gift, he surely guards the gift so that no one can take it from the one receiving it. However, he does not force one to accept or keep the gift. If that was the case we would not have free will, something I wonder if Mr. Stanley believes in. Where in the Bible does it teach that a person loses their free will when they become a Christian? Can something be rightly call a gift if it is forced on someone?

Moreover, from the context it is very doubtful that Jesus is talking about people losing their salvation through personal sin. Rather, he seems to be talking about Satan pulling the Lord’s sheep out relationship with the Father. “My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10:29). Jesus is simply saying that God  will never let Satan tempt us beyond our ability to endure. He is not talking about eternal security. In Christ we enter the protective care of God, similar to the relationship that Adam had with God in the garden. He was protected from the power of Satan (Satan powers were limited), but Adam had the free will to succumb to temptation and walk away from his relationship with God. It was Satan who told Adam “you will not die”. Do not let anyone tell you, you will not die. Satan is still saying you shall not die and God is still saying, “The wages sin is death”.


Why should God let you into heaven? If your answer includes words such as try, my best, church, believe in God, Sunday School, teach or give, chances are that you still haven’t come to grips with the simple truth that salvation is by faith alone. 

The Bible teaches us that we are saved by grace through faith. Why does Mr. Stanley add the word “alone”. Could you please give me a passage in the Bible where the phase “by faith alone or by grace alone” is used? Can real faith be separated from obedience? What is real faith? Is true faith simply mental assent?

Let me ask the question another way: What are you trusting in, to get you into heaven? Is it Christ plus something? Or can you say with confidence that your hope and your trust are in Christ and Christ alone

Mr. Stanley is right if you are a person who trusts in their own effort and goodness to get themselves into heaven. No human being can obligate God to save them by being good enough. Questions like those above are appropriate when talking to a people who are self righteous.  However,  their presumption really doesn’t have much to do with the question of unconditional salvation, for that question hinges on the definition of faith. What is saving faith and what does it do, i.e. what does faith look like?


If salvation wasn’t permanent, why introduce the concept of adoption? Wouldn’t it have been better just to describe salvation in terms of a conditional legal contract between man and God?

The Bible teaches that our adoption is finalized at the resurrection, not at the point of faith (Rom 8:23).  After one has put their faith in Christ they enter a time of testing and growth just like the first Adam, Israel and Christ himself. Unfortunately, like the Israelites in the wilderness some will not pass the test. Was the promise of entering the Promised Land conditional or unconditional? If unconditional then why did so few make it in?


The authors of the New Testament left us with detailed explanations of how one becomes a child of God. If that process could be reversed doesn’t it make sense that at least one of them would have gone into equal detail explaining that as well?

In the letter of 1John the apostle John go into great detail about who is a Christian and how they can have the security of knowing that they have eternal life.  His letter rules out the majority of people that claim to be Christian, and his criteria for knowing that you have eternal life would limit that knowledge to very few (Matt 7:13-14).  By the way, he does not list believing in unconditional security as one of the proofs of salvation or even being a Christian.


What is the significance of a seal that can be continually removed and reapplied? What does it really seal?

The seal is not a seal like the one you put on a jar of canned goods. It was the mark or seal of the king. Yes, we are sealed or marked by the Holy Spirit. The mark of the Holy Spirit is a life lived in holiness and love. If one continues to live in sin after believing in Jesus he probably was not saved to begin with and therefore never received the seal of the Spirit (living like Jesus). Then you have those who become Christians and begin to live like Jesus which is the seal of the Spirit and then they fall into sin. At that point they simply no longer have the mark or seal of the Spirit, which is living like Jesus. “We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands.  Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.  But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them.  This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:3-6

The seal of the Spirit is not some mystical mark or seal. It is simply living like Jesus. This is too simple for those who want to live like the devil and at the same time have the good feeling that they are eternally secure in Christ by accepted Jesus into their heart sometime in the past which the Bible nowhere tells people to do for salvation.


If a man or a woman ends up in hell, who has at some point in life put his or her trust in Christ, doesn’t that make what Jesus said to Nicodemus a lie? Or at best only half true?

In his discussion with Nicodemus, Jesus was not talking about a person losing their salvation.  Again as in many places, Mr. Stanley uses the silence of the Scriptures to argue his point.


If my faith maintains my salvation, I must ask myself, “What must I do to maintain my faith?” For, to neglect the cultivation of my faith is to run the risk of weakening or losing my faith and thus my salvation. I have discovered that my faith is maintained and strengthened by activities such as the following: Prayer, Bible Study, Christian Fellowship, Church Attendance and Evangelism. If these and similar activities are necessary to maintain my faith – and the maintenance of my faith is necessary for salvation – how can I avoid the conclusion that I am saved by my good works?

 “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.  Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall. “ Peter 1:5-11   How does Mr. Stanley’s ideas square with what Peter says?

Here Mr. Stanley shows his real colors in making faith, a good work. He misunderstands Paul’s understanding of good works and in doing so, embraces the totality of the teaching of Calvinism, which one would have to do to be logical and consistent in accepting unconditional security. It appears that Mr. Stanley believes that faith is a gift from God and is given to those that God elected in eternity. In this Mr. Stanley demonstrates himself as a true Calvinist. I respect Mr. Stanley’s consistency, but totally reject his Calvinism.

In Ephesians 2:8 the apostle Paul says, “For it is by grace  you have been saved, through faith – and this not of yourselves for it is the gift of God”. Calvinists misunderstand this passage and interpret the gift as faith. However a close reading of the passage seems to indicate that God’s  gift is salvation, not  grace or faith. The gift comes out of God’s grace and is  accepted by faith. The gift is salvation or eternal life. The wages sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus” (Rom 6:23).


If our salvation hinges on the consistency of our faith, by what standard are we to judge our consistency?

Can we have doubts at all? How long can we doubt? To what degree can we doubt? Is there a divine quota we dare not exceed?

Mr. Stanley is great at asking questions.  Questions that are similar to the faulty and loaded questions, such as  “When did you  stop beating your wife?” or “Who created God?”  However, I do not find them helping his position on unconditional security. Here are a few realistic questions. Can you find one plain passage of Scripture that teaches that a Christian has unconditional security?  Is the term unconditional security or any of its equivalent phrases such as, “once saved always saved” or even “eternal security”, ever been found in the Bible? Why  has the doctrine of unconditional security  not been found in the early Christian fathers manuscripts which record the historical faith for first 400 years of the Christian movement, right up to the time of Augustine? What about the hundreds of warnings in the Bible that teach that a person must have faith to be saved and the fruit of faith to know that they are saved?

To answer Mr. Stanley’s questions about faith and doubt, Jesus said that if we had the faith the size of a mustard seed we could move mountains.  It does not take a lot of real faith to be saved. The question is, do we have any? Moreover, true faith does not spend its’ time introspectively looking at itself. It is too concerned with doing the will of the Father. It is the faith of the  Gnostic who would  look inward for confirmation. True faith looks outward at its fruit. The fruit does not make the tree, but  it sure tells you what kind of tree it is.

Watch the following video to see what the early Christians believed about this subject