This post is a response to a post that I saw yesterday on Facebook. Here is that post:
A Calvinist cannot become more righteous than what he already is, by virtue of his ‘electness’.
Yet, God desires righteousness and even saved us to do good works. Why is Calvinism so anti-works? We shall be judged by our works, not our mental assent of God or our agreement with Calvin or Luther’s ideologies.
Calvinists would have the shock of their life at the judgment seat of Christ.
Also, God must love all persons among the ‘elect’ equally. Why did He love the prophets and the other servants He called above the common people? Why does a righteous man have access to the Holy hill of God (Psalm 15), and not someone who brags about sin? Does God love all people among the so called ‘elect’ equally?
If we have the very righteousness of Christ the ultimatum in God’s eyes), why is sanctification even necessary? Thus, we have a system which abolishes itself! They say justification=getting the perfect righteousness of Christ and sanctification = becoming more like Him. How can both be true at the same time?????
Let me clarify certain things.
First of all, I do not side with any man’s opinion; neither Calvinism, nor Arianism but with God’s revealed Word to the best of my understanding as of now. My understanding may change later as I study more and more. After all, that is what growth/maturity is all about. I am willing change as my understanding grows.
Regardless of one’s calling (prophet, priest, evangelist, pastor, etc), God loves His children without partiality and without conditions. The conditions are attached only to rewards. Paul says, ‘If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved–even though only as one escaping through the flames.” (KJV: If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.) Here in 1 Corinthians 3, Paul is all the more clear about the security/guarantee of the salvation of everyone who believes regardless of his works. I believe, his loss will be only of rewards and not eternal life.
Yes I agree that only a righteous man has access to God. That is because of God’s nature (holiness) not because of a man’s standing before God in regard to righteousness no matter how righteous or pious he is.
Someone might ask “does God love all people among the so called ‘elect’ equally?”
Now, let me answer the question “does God love all people among the so called ‘elect’ equally?” from the standpoint of a serious student of the Bible rather than as a Calvinist or an Armenian or any other (if any) for that matter.
Before I go any further, some clarifications are necessary. I do not know who is the ‘elect’ of God but only God knows. For that matter, I cannot know who is the elect of God at all. Only God knows. Man judges outwardly but God inwardly. The only objective measure I use to determine if someone is saved or not is his confession and the fruit of his life which is the result of his confession.
Let me illustrate. If someone was an idolator before coming to the Lord, and professed to be a Christian, there should not be idols in any shape or form as objects of worship in his life any more. If there be, then I conclude that his profession of faith was fake or for some other ulterior motive/gain (like marriage, burial place, inheritance, wanting to be part of a growing religion, name/fame, business, money, starting a cult, becoming a prophet/leader, et cetera.). A biblical example would be Judas Iscariot, whose ‘love’ of money never changed despite being with the Lord for 3 plus years!! I believe he was not born again at all in the first place. Let us not go on a tangent on Judas Iscariot now.
Being a convert from Hinduism, this clarification is of utmost importance to me. If I could be saved by works/efforts, why leave Hinduism (or Islam or any other effort-based religion for that matter) which is just another of ‘you-have-to-do-something-to-get-saved’ religion? In my opinion, all religions (Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc) are man’s effort to reach God but Christ (note that I did not say Christianity as many forms of Christianity are perverted, e.g. Catholicism, Mormonism, Islam, etc.) is the way God reached man to save him (both for the Jew and the gentile alike).
Now, let me answer the question I brought up earlier.
Yes, God does love all His children both by creation (as His creatures) and by New Birth for He sends/provides rain/food/air/water to all (children by creation and children by righteousness of Christ) without partiality. The earth (and universe for that matter) is custom made for man to dwell in human body. Those of us who believed in Christ Jesus, received the right to be His children, not by our own intention but by His grace. We love God because He first loved us. We prove that love by obedience. So, our works (I would rather call it our efforts) are simply to show/prove our love for God.
Someone might ask me why are you so anti-works. I am not anti-works but I am against any effort to earn salvation by myself. You cannot ‘do’ anything to please God; to make Him accept you except believe in Him. Jesus said ‘these are the works of God that ye should believe in Him that sent Me.”‘ But I do work; do my best efforts to please God in every aspect of my life not because I want to earn God’s favor of salvation but to prove my love for Him who loved me first. Author of Hebrews says clearly that ‘he who comes to God must first believe that He is and is a Rewarder of those that seek Him.’ So, in the words of Peter the apostle, I also work out my salvation just to please Him and to be rewarded by Him alone.
Let us look at Abraham in this regard. Galatians very very clearly says that “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. ” Abraham was not justified by his works but by his faith. Paul is so clear about this matter in Galatians. Paul says: “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” So, no one is saved by works or his righteousness by keeping the law for the Jew and conscience for the gentile. Righteousness comes by ‘believing.’ And believing is followed/evidenced by works. So works of righteousness for a born again child of God is nothing but the result of ‘believing,’ never the other way around…
Yes, I also agree with the notion that “a Calvinist cannot become more righteous than what he already is, by virtue of his ‘election.’ ” For that matter, no real child of God becomes more righteous by virtue of his ‘election’ or his works of righteousness than the imputed righteousness that God counts to his account because of Christ. We do good works for the sake of Christ and for the sake of our calling to be children of the Most High.
It is possible for followers of leader to be so blinded that they don’t mind offending God continually while trying not to offend their leader. If I am trying to please God, I will take the utmost care not to offend God in any way because I love Him. And once again, we love Him because He first loved us.