Calvinism: Why it Matters
Jimmy De Los Santos
I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. ~Isaiah 42:8
There was a day when I received a promotion at my job. I did good, I thought. I called my mother. “Mom, I got a promotion!” “Praise the Lord,” she replied, “give Him all the glory.” “But Mom, you don’t seem to understand. I got the promotion! Me. I got it.” Mom, a little frustrated, “Give God all the glory, Mijo.”
I couldn’t see it at the time, and even though I was a Christian at the time, I was believing that I deserved this promotion. Today, I will tell you that I cling to Christ and He deserves all honor and glory for anything and everything, whether you view it as good or bad. You and I both, can’t see the end from the beginning and if left up to us, we would be selfish and claim that everything was something we had accomplished. We would look up to the stars with our children and say, “I did that.”
In episode 4 of the Sola Cast podcast, Pastor Chris Hernandez and I presented Calvinism in an attempt to bring the ideas to the average man. We have had a few good responses that indicated we dealt with the subject with grace and compassion. We are grateful for those responses. I want to try to continue the grace and compassion in this blog entry and I am praying that I can do well with that.
Last summer I attended the Ambassador’s Academy in Los Angeles with Living Waters. One of the instructions we were given as we started was to leave the debatable things behind because our mission was Evangelism. I do believe that both sides, Calvinists and Arminians, can work side by side to evangelize the lost. The sheep hear Jesus’ voice regardless. But there are areas where I believe it truly matters and that is what I want to present today. There is a lot I won’t be able to cover, but I will present 3 reasons Calvinism matters. Since, my specialty is evangelism, this blog entry will be geared toward why it matters in evangelism.
1. David took a census without permission.
In 1 Chronicles 21:8, David cries out that he has acted foolishly in this thing that he has done. Without a clear understanding of what Calvinism teaches when it comes to the sovereignty of God and that He has already chosen His sheep, we tend to want to believe that we have been overly effective and count the sheep that have “said the prayer” or “walked the aisle” or “made the decision.” We are taking a census without permission. Only God knows truly what is in man’s heart.
2. The Pharisees travel across land and sea to make one proselyte, only to make him twice the child of hell.
Matthew 23 is full of woes. Woe to the Pharisees, teachers of religious law, and hypocrites. I was recently told by a family member that “God hates the sin, but loves the sinner” is scripture in the Bible. I asked for chapter and verse. It’s not in there. It’s a true statement that what we win them with is what we win them to. The idea that my salvation is a synergistic work, involving my own participation and not God’s alone, tends to make me believe I still have power in myself to save myself. It isn’t biblical. If we present them with a love for God’s word and insist on a Berean attitude, they will see that this is all God’s doing and that we had nothing to do with it.
3. It’s true.
God is the Author and the Finisher of my faith. He that began a good work in me is faithful to complete it. He called me out of the grave that I was in. I was dead in my trespasses and sins and He called, “Jimmy, come forth!!” He raised me to new life in Christ and I am no longer the man I used to be, but I am a new creation. He lift me up out of the pit, out of the miry clay and set my feet upon a rock and made my footsteps firm. He is creating in me a clean heart, He is renewing a right spirit in me, He is transforming me from day to day.
In short, He deserves all honor and glory for the work of Salvation for every one of His sheep. For all those who follow the Good Shepherd. It was Him. It was all Him. Soli Deo Gloria.
God bless and until next time, let’s get to the meat.