LOGICAL PROGRESSION OF THE TULIP
July 23, 2007 Leave a comment
One of the things about reformed theology that is really compelling to me is the logical progression of the system. By that I meant the logical flow of the 5 points and how they work together to form a complete theological system. I will trace that flow in this post.
Total Depravity: The foundation is the Total Depravity of man. From this the four remaining points flow. Man’s inability to have fellowship with God, as a result of the Fall, is the reason a Savior was needed. Through Adam’s disobedience sin entered the world and all humans are now born with a sin nature that separates us from God.
Unconditional Election: But God still loved us and desired to have fellowship with us. So, before the foundation of the world, He chose some to become members of the Elect – to receive salvation and therefore a restored relationship with Him. The choosing of the Elect is a function solely of God’s sovereignty. God could have chosen all or He could have chosen none but He did neither. He chose some and the choice was made solely on what pleased God. No merit in the person chosen warranted being chosen. The choice of some was the only option God had if He wished to exercise His sovereignty.
Limited Atonement: God ordains the ends and the means of the reconciliation of the relationship with His people. So, after God had chosen the Elect He then had to provide the means of the reconciliation. He did this through the blood of Jesus Christ. (If you do not understand how this was accomplished please ask me and I will be happy to explain it to you.) Jesus’ death served as the propitiation for the sins of the Elect and only the Elect. Jesus became the bridge (the Bible calls Jesus the Mediator) between God and fallen Elect. The death of Jesus was sufficient to save everyone if that had been its purpose but it was designed to save only the Elect. The death of Jesus did nothing for the non-elect because it was not intended to.
Irresistible Grace: Once the bridge had been provided then it was time to call the Elect. At the appointed time God regenerates the fallen Elect. The act of regeneration involves changing a dead in their sins person to a person with new life. This is a spiritual resurrection – spiritually dead to spiritually alive. Once the person had been changed they can now respond to the inward call of the Holy Spirit beaconing them to come to God and submit to Him as LORD and Savior. With the regeneration, a process is started that cannot help but be completed. Once the person hears the inward call they will accept it willingly and be justified. Once justified they will eventually be glorified – this happens when they enter Heaven.
Perseverance of the Saints: A person that has become a new creation by accepting the inward call can never be lost again. God has set them apart during the process and He protects them until the time they are glorified with Him. A person’s salvation does not depend on their own ability to maintain it, because they could not, but depends entirely on God’s ability to maintain it, and He is able to do so. Once God began the work of salvation in them He has promised to complete it.
In all honesty, I still have a couple points that I am having trouble with but the simple logic flow is quite compelling. It is easy to follow and makes sense to my limited mind. What do you think about the logical flow? Am I wrong in my assessment of how it flows? If there are points that you disagree with or have trouble understanding lets hear them………