Calvinism and Arminianism 26

One of the greatest differences between the evangelical Calvinists and those they deride as “Hyper-calvinists,” is the evangelical Calvinists believe Arminians and Pelagians are otherwise sound “Christians,” and refer to them as their brothers and sisters. The Hyper-calvinists believe that as long as one is unconverted from his natural freewill state by the operation of the Spirit of God, and converted to the free grace of God by the Gospel of the grace of God, there is insufficient evidence to consider such as a “Christian,” or a “brother or sister.”

“This false idea of ‘free-will’ is a real threat to salvation, and a delusion fraught with the most perilous consequences” (Luther).

“Till you feel yourself in this extremity of weakness, you are not in a condition (if I may say so) to receive the heavenly help. Your idea of remaining ability is the very thing that repels the help of the Spirit, just as any idea of remaining goodness thrusts away the propitiation of the Savior. It is your not seeing that you have no strength that is keeping you from believing” (Pink).

If the three quotes from above are taken as accurately representing the state of man in his depravity and inability and the absolute need for the grace of God to work alone and unaided, we can see that Luther is correct and that idea of ‘free-will’ is indeed a threat to salvation and is a delusion (deception of the devil) that has the most perilous of consequences. Each soul hangs upon a slender thread over the pit of hell and it cannot look to its own will for help in the matter, but instead it must look to grace alone for help.

As long as people look to their ‘free-will’ for help, they are not looking to anything that can help. Instead of looking to Christ alone by grace alone for the only true help for the soul, the attention of these people is diverted by looking to themselves and the ability of their own wills. This is a great danger. It is looking from the only real power (Christ and His grace) that can help to that which has no power or ability to help at all. Not only does the will not have any ability or power or life to help, by looking to it and trusting in the delusion of help it offers one is trusting in something that keeps them from looking to what can bring real help.

The doctrine of ‘free-will’ is not just a doctrine as such, but when people believe that they have such a will that has power to believe in Christ, they will wait until the last moment or a moment of their own choosing to be saved. Instead of seeking the Lord who gives grace as He pleases and to whom He pleases, they look to themselves to be saved as they please and when they are pleased. This is as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and free-grace alone as one can get. The soul that looks to its own will is in reality looking to its own will to apply grace to itself instead of looking to God alone who can give grace. This should show us that the ‘free-will’ teaching is in reality opposed to the truth of ‘free-grace’ and that there is no ground at all in the middle between the two. It is either ‘free-will’ alone or it is free-grace alone. It is either the sovereignty of the will or the sovereignty of God.

The two beliefs are really like the tips of icebergs that have a lot below the surface. The two tips cannot come together because of a lot of other things below the surface. These two systems of belief cannot be reconciled and it is simply and plainly one or the other. The glorious reality of justification by grace alone will not allow one single act of the “free-will” as that would be a work and a “free-will” cannot admit of a free-grace which saves as it pleases apart from any and all works of men. But again, these two are as opposite to each other as fire and water. You cannot have a large amount of both in the same place at the same time.

It is true that we live in a day where people are always trying to reconcile beliefs and belief systems, and for some reason many are trying to reconcile ‘free-will’ and free-grace. While the efforts of many nice, gracious, and winsome people are aimed at doing this very thing, the only reconciliation with God is when a person is translated from a ‘free-will’ (based on the work of self) system to free-grace (based on the work of God). But again, the two beliefs are at the heads (so to speak) of two belief systems and the two beliefs cannot be reconciled to each other without demolishing the belief systems that they are built on. Both cannot be true despite all the efforts of modern Erasmus’ to do so. It is when people prefer a unity built on a house of cards rather than truth that these things are thought to be accomplished. How we need a new Reformation in our day!

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