Doctrines of Grace

SpurgeonWhen I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me. I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this. I can recall the very day and hour when first I received those truths in my own soul - when they were as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron; and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown all of a sudden from a babe into a man - that I had made progress in scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, the clue to the truth of God ... I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, I ascribe my change wholly to God. (Charles Haddon Spurgeon)


Doctrines of Grace:


    • Total Depravity
    • Unconditional Election
    • Particular Redemption
    • Effectual Grace
    • Preservation/Perseverence of the Saints


Total Depravity:

Genesis 1:31 tells us that Adam was created "very good".  When Adam sinned he died as God had promised (Genesis 2:17).  He was "alienated from the life of God" (Ephesians 4:18); spiritually dead and eventually physically dead.  The completeness of his ruin was seen when his firstborn son killed his brother.  The consequences of Adam's sin fell upon the human race: "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12).  People are totally depraved (from the latin "pravus" meaning "crooked") sinners from birth, by nature and by choice (Psalm 51:5, 58:3; Ephesians 4:17-19).  This does not mean that people behave as badly as they could, but that they are thoroughly ruined and incapable of doing anything right in God's sight (Romans 3:10-12).

Unconditional Election:

Before the creation of the world, God chose to save certain sinners who would be born throughout human history (Acts 13:48; Ephesians 1:4,5; 2 Timothy 1:19; Romans 9:6-24). The ones he chose did not merit His favour more than the ones he did not choose. Everyone justly deserves the same consequence for their sin – eternal damnation in Hell (Genesis 2:17) – yet God righteously spares the ones of his choosing by the substutionary death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The elect persons, however, remain dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1) until God saves them by pure grace without any contribution from man.

Our hearts should be overflowing with humility, praise and thanksgiving to God for our salvation.  Not even in the least can we claim any credit for our salvation.  Apart from the elective and regenerative intervention of God, salvation would be impossible (Matthew 19:25,26), not one person would ever be saved.

Particular Redemption:

To redeem a person  is to pay a ransom price for their release.  Thus we read, "In whom (Jesus Christ) we (the Apostle Paul and the saints in Ephesus) have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Ephesians 1:7).  Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep" (John 10:11-16).  The sheep are the elect and the goats are those who perish in their sins (Matthew 25:31-46).

The question is asked: "What about the world God so loves?" (John 3:16).  The basic meaning of the Greek word translated "world" in John 3:16 is "orderly arrangement" (Strong's Concordance #2889), and that basic meaning is seen as "adorning" in 1 Peter 3:13.  The word has many applications as are noted by careful observance of context; e.g. "God hath made the world and all things therein" (Acts 17:24) and "if the fall of them (Israel) be the riches of the world (Gentiles)" (Romans 11:12).

For the sake of this article, there is a world that God "so" loves and for which Jesus died to redeem (John 3:16,17; 1 John 3:16, 4:9-11; Ephesians 2:4).  There is another world over which Satan rules (John 12:31), which hates Jesus and His people (John 15:18,19) and for the salvation of which, Jesus would not pray for (John 17:9).  That world is utterly condemned (1 Corinthians 11:32).

Jesus effectually secured the eternal salvation of his elect (2 Timothy 1:8-10).

Effectual Grace:

Salvation is by grace through faith, without works.

The elect sinner, dead in sins, is made alive (regenerated, Titus 3:5; born-again, John 3:1-10) by the Holy Spirit using the Word of God (James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23).  The regenerated soul is given the gifts of repentance and faith (Acts 5:31, 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25; Ephesians 2:8,9; Philippians 1:29; Hebrews 12:2; 2 Peter 1:1), and believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.  God righteously and effectually accomplishes this saving work in his elect upon the basis of the truth that the elect actually died in Christ, were buried in Christ, quickened and raised in Christ, ascended and are seated at the right hand of God in Christ (Galatians 2:20, 6:14; Colossians 2:13, 2:20, 3:1-3; 2 Timothy 2:11; Romans 6:6-13; Ephesians 2:5,6).  These events took place when Jesus died and ascended, not when an individual believes.

Preservation/Perseverance of the Saints:

All who are chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved. They are kept in faith by the power of Almighty God and thus persevere to the end (1 Peter 1: 3-5).  There are many professing Christians who trust in their own works, goodness, merits for their salvation. These people are trusting in their own "righteousness”, instead of Jesus' blood, and do not have true faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore, later on they may get discouraged (in themselves) and decide to leave the faith and no longer be a Christian. This does not prove that they were saved and then lost their salvation, but simply that they deserted the Christian religion because they had only a said faith rather than a genuine one. Genuinely born again people, drawn to Christ by the Father, never fall away. They remain. But those who refuse God's grace by turning from Him, no matter how authentic they may have appeared, prove that they were never truly born again to begin with. (1 John 2:19 and 27)

God saves His people unto holiness, and holy they must and will become.  Believers have a great love for the Lord, and strive to obey and please Him in all they do (in gratitude and love – not to gain or retain salvation).  In this world, human imperfection and sinful flesh causes all to sin at times. No one on earth is sinless (1 John 1:8-10). But God will keep His saints. He will see to it that all those He elected, died for, and regenerated will be glorified and glorify Him. (John 6:39-40, John 10:28-29, Romans 8:35-39)
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