TULIP (3)

eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah. Nor do I think we can preach the Gospel unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of his elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend the Gospel which allows saints to fall away after they are called.”

“There is no soul living who holds more firmly to the doctrines of grace than I do, and if any man asks me whether I am ashamed to be called a Calvinist, I answer – I wish to be called nothing but a Christian; but if you ask me, do I hold the doctrinal views which were held by John Calvin, I reply, I do in the main hold them, and rejoice to avow it.” – C. H. Spurgeon, A Defense of Calvinism

As we embark upon the third installment of the TULIP video series with Dr. John Piper below, here is an overview of the five doctrines:

T – Total depravity
U – Unconditional election
L – Limited atonement
I – Irresistible grace
P – Perseverance of the saints

In this summary (below), the TULIP acrostic does not survive. TULIP is now changed to RUPEP, which obviously fails miserably as a memory device. Yet perhaps these terms (below) are better ones to use than the historical ones because they (the terms used in the TULIP) tend to be misleading. For instance, the “L” in the TULIP, which stands for Limited Atonement, could give the very false impression that Calvinists believe that Christ’s work on the cross has only a limited value. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. I have met more than one person who struggled for years with the doctrine of Limited Atonement simply because they could not get past their understanding of what the term meant. However, once they did understand what was actually meant by the term, they began to see the concept was clearly demonstrated by the Scripture. To avoid this kind of confusion, I believe that it is preferable to use a term which more precisely describes the doctrine concerned. Here then is the summary:

RADICAL CORRUPTION – “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately wicked.” (Jer. 17:9)

Sinners are completely helpless to redeem themselves or to contribute anything meritorious toward their own salvation. Because of the Fall of man, the sinner is not morally neutral, but actually hostile towards God. He is, in fact, the sworn enemy of God. He is spiritually dead, and therefore blind and deaf to the things of God. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature; therefore, he will not, indeed he cannot choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. He cannot because he will not. Therefore it takes much more than the Spirit’s assistance and wooing to bring a sinner to Christ – it takes a radical regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature – a heart of flesh instead of a heart of stone. Faith is the evidence of the new birth, not the cause of it. Since both repentance and faith are possible only because of the regenerating work of God, both are called the gift of God. Gen 2:15-17; Ps 51:5, Jer 17:9; Jn 6:44; 8:34, 47; 10: 26; Rom 3:10-18, 5:12, 8:7, 8; 1 Cor 2:14, Eph 2:1-9; Ph 1:29; 2 Tim 2:25; Heb. 12:2; 1 Jn 5:1

UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION – “… in order that God’s purpose of election might stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls…” (Rom. 9:11).

God’s choice of certain individuals unto salvation before the foundation of the world rested solely in His own sovereign will, not being based on any foreseen response or obedience on man’s part, such as repentance, faith, etc. On the contrary, God gives faith and repentance to each individual whom He selected. These acts are the result, not the cause of God’s choice. Election therefore was not determined by or conditioned upon any virtuous quality or act foreseen in man. God brings His elect through the power of the Spirit, to a willing acceptance of Christ. Thus God’s choice of the sinner, not the sinner’s choice of Christ, is the ultimate cause of salvation. Jn 1:12, 13; Acts 11:18; 13:48; Rom 8:28-30; 9:6-21; 1 Cor. 1:30; Eph 1:4-11; 2:1-10

PARTICULAR REDEMPTION – “…you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Mt 1:21).

“The death of the Son of God is the only and most perfect sacrifice and satisfaction for sin, and is of infinite worth and value, abundantly sufficient to expiate the sins of the whole world. This death is of such infinite value and dignity because the person who submitted to it was not only really man and perfectly holy, but also the only-begotten Son of God, of the same eternal and infinite essence with the Father and the Holy Spirit, which qualifications were necessary to constitute Him a Savior for us; and, moreover, because it was attended with a sense of the wrath and curse of God due to us for sin.” Canons of Dort – Second Head of Doctrine, Articles 3 and 4.

The doctrine of Particular Redemption speaks of God’s design in the atonement, and who it was He was intending to save when Christ went to the cross. Christ died as a substitute who bore the full weight of God’s wrath on behalf of His people, paying the penalty for their sin. Christ intended to save His sheep and actually secured everything necessary for their salvation. The gift of faith is infallibly applied by the Spirit to all for whom Christ died, thereby guaranteeing their salvation. Is 53:5-11; Mt 1:21; 20:28; Eph 5:2, 25-27; Tit 3:5-6, Jn 10:14-16, 26-30; 17:6-12; Acts 20:28; Rom 3:21-26; 5:12-21; 8:28-30; Heb 10:10-14; Rev 5:9-10; 7:9, 10

EFFECTUAL CALLING – “…these whom He called, He also justified.” (Rom. 8:30).

In addition to the outward general call to salvation which is made to everyone who hears the gospel, the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation. The external call (which is made to all without distinction) can be, and often is, rejected; whereas the internal call (which is made only to the elect) cannot be rejected, it always results in conversion. By means of this special effectual call, the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man’s will, nor is He dependent upon man’s cooperation for success. The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ. Mt 22:14; 23:37-39; Jn 1:12-13; 3:1-8; 3:16; 6:44; Rom 8:28-30; Eph 2:1-6

PRESERVATION OF THE SAINTS – “…these whom He justified, He also glorified.” (Rom 8:30).

God’s saving purpose cannot be thwarted – none of Christ’s true sheep will ever be lost. Though the elect may for a time fall into radical sin (such as Peter’s denial of Christ), God restores them to fellowship with Himself, and assures their eternal salvation. This salvation involves the work of the Trinity – All who are chosen by God the Father, redeemed by Christ the Son, and given faith by the Holy Spirit, are eternally saved. They are kept in faith by the power of Almighty God and thus persevere to the end. They persevere in faith because He preserves them. Jn 3:16; 6:35-40; 6:44; 10:27-29; Rom 8:28-39; Phil 1:6; 2:12-13; Eph 1:13-14; Jude 24-25

Here then is the third video session by John Piper, lasting 45 minutes, 57 seconds:

The 4th session is now posted here.

One thought on “TULIP (3)

  1. I really like this way of wording the principles from the classic Acrostic because the language makes a lot of sense and avoids confusing people regarding the sufficiency of Christ’s work. Nicely done!

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