My Research into Calvinism

The Church today has gotten into some pretty interesting teachings and has been split for some time, especially the church here in America which focuses more on what feels good compared to the truth of God's Word. We have divisions between evangelicals and charismatics, pre-trib or post-trib rapture supporters, flat earthers and globalists, and of course Calvinism vs Arminianism, all of which have really gotten big these days.

This being said, I not only know many calvinists, but have also seen the "Calvinism craze" among a lot of younger believers here in America. I don't want to start an argument here or cause any more division than there already is, but I'm writing this article not to prove Arminianism right (because I don't believe they've got it down either) or completely deny everything Calvinism says (because in some sense they have a few things right), instead I want to analyze Calvinism, free will, and predestination according to scripture and share my findings.

I am not trying to start any arguments here or be argumentative for the sake of being argumentative, I don't hate Calvinists, I know many Calvinists and am happy to call few of them my friends, but as I don't believe scripture 100% backs-up this theological position, I felt the need to do my own research and post my findings here like I did with the Pre-Tribulation Rapture (find that article HERE).

Now, let's begin with TULIP.

TULIP stands for the five points of Calvinism: Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. Throughout this article we'll examine each of these five points in-depth in order to try to understand what God has to say about each of these subjects in the Word, cross-referencing it with various pieces of scripture.

Total Depravity

It's no secret that human beings are flawed, there's no questions about that. We all know that human beings are, in their natural state, sinful.

This is due to the Fall of Man that took place after Creation in the Garden of Eden when Adam & Eve were tempted into disobeying God (sin) by Satan and then chose to do so (Genesis 3). Because of the Fall, the thoughts of men's hearts are evil continually (Genesis 6:5 and Jeremiah 17:9) & are not at all good (Ecclesiastes 7:20 and Romans 3:10-18). Because of our sin, our open rebellion against God and His will, mankind forfeited their destiny in Heaven with our Father, for an eternity with Satan in Hell, and eventually the Lake of Fire (Matthew 3:12, 25:46, John 3:18, 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, and Revelation 20:12-15 make this clear).

There is no question that men are depraved and that this first section of Calvinism is accurate, but we must remember that Modern Calvinists often take the position that men don't truly have free will, only the appearance of free will and thus we didn't choose to be evil, we were (kind of) created that way.

This idea, however, does not fit with the biblical concept of Creation or the Fall and actually refutes God's greatest act of creation when He says that what He created on the sixth day (man and woman) was "very good" (Genesis 1:31). In fact, Solomon references this point in creation in Ecclesiastes 7:29 when he says that, "God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions." What Solomon is saying here is that God created man good, and that what God Himself says in the opening chapters of Genesis, but man chose to go their own way due to the influence of Satan in the Garden. God didn't make man sin, Satan didn't either; man chose to rebel against God in spite of God making man good.

Do you see what I'm saying here? God clearly made man in His image (Genesis 1:27) and we know that God is perfect, He is good and only good there is no evil in Him (Psalm 62:15). So then how did man chose evil? Because man was given free will, just like God had free will. God created man to create, to rule. The first thing He commanded Adam to do in the Garden was to name the animals, and whatever Adam (not God) called them, that was their name (Genesis 2:19). He not only had the God-given ability to obey God, but the choice to as well; this can be said in full confidence since at this point in time Adam was "very good" and yet without sin. But then once the serpent tempted Eve, who in turn tempted her husband, man made their first of an infinite number of wrong choices, and thus we are in total depravity.

Again, this was never God's intention, God did not create man as sinful creatures, He created us in His perfect image, it was us who rebelled against Him.

Unconditional Election

Here is where it starts to get interesting. Calvinists believe that since man has no good in him and is only evil, we cannot seek God on our own and thus God elects His few chosen into salvation through Jesus Christ. This is only partially true.

Yes, men are evil and we do not seek God on our own (Romans 3:10-18 is clear on that), and yes, that means God does have to reveal Himself to creation, but what most Calvinists don't realize is that He actually reveals Himself to every single human being and gives them the ability to come to Him. Here are the four ways, with scripture, that God reveals Himself to mankind.

1. Nature - If you look at Psalm 8:3-4, Job 26:8-9 and verse 14, and Romans 1:20, all of these passages declare that God reveals Himself to us all through nature. David even writes in Psalm 8 that he considers God's creation and wonders why God is even mindful of mankind. Then Paul writes in Romans 1 that the visible and invisible things that God created are not only seen, but clearly understood "so that they are without excuse". Here Paul is talking about the wrath of God against sin, specifically against those who have denied the truth through their sin and who "served the creature rather than the Creator" (verse 25), but the key phrase for this point is that even in their sin, God made Himself known to them through His creation so that they were without an excuse for rejecting His free gift and bringing condemnation upon themselves.

2. Our Conscience - Paul brings up the conscience in Romans 2 when he says, "for when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves; which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another". Okay, so that's a lot, but what Paul is saying is that since God has written His Law on man's hearts (Hebrews 8:10 & 10:16, Jeremiah 31:33), including gentiles and other nonbelievers (this is why people still know that it's wrong to steal, murder, or lie even if they don't believe in God), this is a witness in and of itself as to who God is and He reveals Himself to humanity through the conscience. Since everyone has a conscience (some of ours more skewered than others), every man has had God reveal Himself to them through it.

3. Jesus Christ - This one is real obvious, but Jesus is the perfect example of God revealing Himself to us. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life". The writer of Hebrews says in chapter 1 verses 1-2 that He, "hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son...". History also proves that Jesus was an actual person here on this Earth with many different philosophers, scholars, historians, and even political commentators from the first and second centuries describing Jesus. And finally, Matthew 11:27 mentions that whoever the Son reveals Himself to will know the Father. So if creation and your conscience wasn't enough for you to reach out to God, Jesus ought to be for sure.

4. God's Word/the Bible - Finally, the Bible is the fourth way that God reveals Himself to us according to scripture. 2 Timothy 3:16 is very clear that ALL scripture is God-breathed, and although the 66 books of the Bible were all written by men from Moses to the Apostle John, they were all under the inspiration of the same perfect and Holy Spirit. This is the most specific way in which God can reveal Himself to mankind, and often the most powerful; as it should be, it was His word that spoke creation into existence.

The reason I bring these four points up when talking about unconditional election is because I want to make it very clear that God isn't going to pick your best friend to go to Heaven but decide that you should go to Hell instead. Unconditional election is a lie not because God doesn't choose people for certain things, He certainly does (remember, he rejected Saul as king of Israel and chose David instead), but when it comes to salvation there's one specific verse that Calvinists like to forget about when it comes to God's will for people's salvation, and that's 1 Timothy 2:4 (below in the ESV):
...who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
 Alright, so God clearly desires all men to be saved, that is HIS WILL. Look below at Ezekiel 18:22.
Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? Declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
Again, His will is that people would repent and be saved, not to die in their sins and be judged for eternity in Hell. Look below at 2 Peter 3:9.
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
The reason Jesus didn't come back to Earth in the past two-thousand years isn't because He fell asleep or doesn't care about what's going on in the world anymore, He hasn't come back because He is giving grace to those who still need to repent, and He desires all to repent and come to Him. If you look at Matthew 23:37, Jesus basically pleads with Jerusalem, telling them that He gathered them together to receive Him and the gospel but they refused! Not only that, but all throughout scripture we see God pleading with humanity, trying to save them all. We see this with all of the major and minor prophets in the Old Testament, prophesying to Israel that if they did not repent and seek God, they would face destruction, but if they did that God would restore them and their land (this also proves that there was a choice involved on Israel's part and that there were two different paths they could have taken). Jonah, when he went to Nineveh actually got upset with God because God didn't destroy the city like He said He would, but God didn't have to because the people repented and turned to Him.

You see, anyone can be saved if they repent and trust in the one true God (John 3:16, Romans 10:13, Acts 16:30-31, Romans 3:24)! Jesus didn't even want the Pharisees to die in their sins and go to Hell and often debated with them, sharing the truth any chance He could get, going so far as to meet with Nicodemus to talk about being born again in John 3! Even Rahab the harlot is forever in the Hebrews Hall of Faith because she heard what Israel said about God destroying Jericho, and by faith hid the spies so that she and her family might be saved. God didn't force her to make that choice, by faith she did so.
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17)
But let's back-track for a second here and talk about another portion of unconditional election, the predestination part...

Predestination is "the divine foreordaining of what will happen". Passages in the New Testament like Romans 8:29-39, Ephesians 1:4-12, and others talk about how God has "chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world... ...unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself..." (Ephesians 1:4-5). With passages like these you would think that the doctrine of predestination would be a no-brainer, and I would agree, you would think that that is just how it is and that's it.

But, there's a problem with just saying that "God predestined one person to Heaven and another to Hell", in Romans 8:29, Paul tells us that God's predestination is based on his foreknowledge. What is foreknowledge? It's simply "the awareness of something before it happens or exists." Based on this definition, and other scriptures that affirm Romans 8's claim that God is omnipotent, we know that this means that since God knew what was going to happen before it happened, God predestined (or chose) believers to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself based on the foreknowledge of who would receive the gospel and who would reject it.

You see, God never refuses anyone who comes to Him in faith (John 6:37, Romans 10:13), and anyone who draws near to God, He will in turn draw near to (James 4:8). This all being said, it's by God's grace and His willingness to reveal Himself to us (see the four points above) that we can believe Him (Mark 10:27, Matthew 19:26), but even when God does reveal Himself to us, we must still make the choice to accept Him as our Savior and submit to Him as our Lord, not because our choice will save us in-and-of itself, but because it allows God's grace to redeem us through the faith which He freely gives (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
I love that verse because it so clearly lays out that we are still able to make our own decisions, but it's God leading us throughout the way. We still have to choose to walk, but He'll be our guide. It's like the old saying, "you can lead of horse to water, but you can't make it drink." That is so true. As I stated above, God draws us to Him through various means, but ultimately we will either allow His grace to wash over us and let Him save us, or we will reject Him completely and be separated from Him eternally. It's like Peter drowning after he took his eyes off Jesus, he could have simply struggled and drown, but instead his first and immediate response was to call out to his Master and say, "Lord, save me." (Matthew 14:30)

Take a look at this short article to see how foreknowledge and predestination work hand-in-hand, with the latter being a result of the former:

Now, there are two examples of predestination that I want to share briefly to show that God does in fact predestine based on foreknowledge and not simply "personal favor", because we know from Romans 2:11 and Acts 10:34-35 that "God is no respecter of persons", meaning He has no personal favorites.
Now the word of the Lord came unto me saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations. (Jeremiah 1:4)
God is very straight-forward with Jeremiah, and it's a good thing that he is, because here we see that Jeremiah's destiny on Earth as a prophet was pre-ordained by the Lord. This actually fits well into the idea that God doesn't choose certain people for Heaven and others for Hell. Let me explain.

We already read the passage in Ephesians that talks about how God predestined us to adoption through Jesus Christ, and that is very true, He predestined humanity to be saved which is why He sent His Son to be a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45), but what Paul goes onto say in his letter to the Ephesians (remember, these letters are continuous thoughts from the Holy Spirit to the Church) in chapter 2 verse 10 is that "for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained [predestined] that we should walk in them." He then goes onto explain in verse 11 through the end of the chapter that it was only because of Jesus that the Gentiles (the rest of humanity aside from Israel) were able to enter into this covenant and be apart of this salvation (now we know from Rahab and others that there were other non-Jews saved by faith, but this made it "official").

The reason this passage is so important is that God very clearly predestines certain people for certain duties and tasks, He has made us all individually and uniquely capable of doing His will through His power and Spirit, but He doesn't force us into a relationship with Him. John 1:12 says that "to those who received Him, He gave the right to become the children of God". Those who receive Him. We know that, according to Romans 1, men are without excuse if they don't come to know God and repent of their sin, because He has revealed Himself to the whole world (through nature, our conscience, His Son, and the Bible); which means that everyone, on some level, is drawn to the Son by the Father, even if they don't realize it, perceive it, or receive it.

When Jonah was told by God to go to Nineveh, he refused and went the opposite way. Now we know based on Genesis 3 that when man decides to go his own way and step out of the will of God, that things don't go so well for him, and the same can be said here with Jonah. Jonah ended up in the belly of a big fish until he finally repented and did what he was told, but Jonah had to choose to repent and cry out to the Lord before He would be set free.

Jeremiah was told by God that He had predestined him as a prophet, this was to assure Jeremiah that he was in the Lord's hands and that he was in fact following the will of God, nothing more.

The second example of predestination I want to share is that of Jacob and Esau. In Romans 9:10-13 and Malachi 1:2-3, it's made very clear that God loved Jacob and hated Esau and that He chose Jacob over Esau. This is one that Calvinists like to use to prove that God chooses some for Heaven and others for Hell, but the truth of the matter is that this loving and hating didn't have to do directly with salvation, and not only that but this choice that God made was based completely on His own foreknowledge! Let's look at that Malachi example below.
Was not Esau Jacob's brother? Yet I have loved Jacob and Esau I have hated.
So what's up with this? Well, it's actually a little simpler than you might think. Jacob and Esau were the twin brothers of Isaac. Esau was a hunter and an "overall good-guy", while Jacob was sneaky, crafty, and a liar at heart. So why did God love Jacob and hate Esau when one was clearly a bad guy and the other not-as-bad?

The Lord reveals this answer through the writer of Hebrews in chapter 12 verses 15-17.
See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.
In Genesis 25:34, it's said that "Esau despised his birthright." He was indifferent to what God had freely given Him, instead giving it up because he believed it was worthless. In the Hebrews passage, Esau is described as godless and classified with the sexually immoral. Compared to Esau, Jacob wanted God's best and in Genesis 32:34-28, we see Jacob struggle with God, not letting go until God had blessed him. You see, Jacob sought after God, and thus God loved him because before He was born God could already see what Jacob would choose and what Esau would give up. It's a lot like the story of Mary and Martha with Jesus where Martha gets upset because Mary doesn't help her, but Jesus reassures her that Mary had chosen better, and it would not be taken away from her (Luke 10:41-42).

And before anyone says it, NO, God did not create Esau to reject his birthright or Jacob to be a liar and take it from his brother, God does not create us to sin, He does not condone all our our motives, methods, or character flaws, if we look back at Genesis 1-3 we'll remember that God was the one who created mankind as "very good" and in His perfected image, but it's man who chose to go their own way. God didn't create Esau to go and sell his birthright, if that were the case he would have caused Jacob to be born first so Jacob could inherit the birthright legally, but instead he gave it to Esau, allowing him to make the choice himself. Similarly, God did not harden Pharaoh's heart when Moses continued to ask him to let Israel go until after Pharaoh had hardened it himself (Exodus 8:32, 9:12).

God predestined mankind to be saved by Jesus Christ, and He knew from the beginning that there would be those who would believe and those who wouldn't. It isn't that He wants anyone to perish, He doesn't, in fact He didn't even create Hell for man! God created Hell as a punishment for Satan and his angels (Matthew 25:41) and the only reason we are going there now is because Lucifer tricked us into joining him; but God does give us a choice, and ANYONE who receives Him He gives the right to become the children of God and to share everlasting life (John 1:12, 3:16). If God had simply sat back and predestined those who would know Him and those who wouldn't, there'd truly be no need for evangelism because God could have an upper-room or "Road to Damascus" moment with everyone who He had predestined and no believer would ever have to lift a finger, but that's not the point.

Since we know God's will will ultimately be done, and God's will will is that all men would be saved, the question then remains who did Jesus die for, because we know there will always be people who refuse grace and go to Hell. Well, let's move onto our next point to answer that question.

Limited Atonement

Limited Atonement is simply the idea that God sent Jesus to die only for the sins of the elect that the elect might be saved. It only takes one verse to prove this idea false, but I'll give you several starting with the classic John 3:16.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John specifically points out that God loved the whole world and died not just "for the sake of the elect" (though that phrase is used other places in the gospels when referring to Judgement and the End Times) but for every person ever to be born or whoever had been born. This verse is one of the most famous verses in the Bible mainly because it proves that God loves all people, every tribe, every tongue, and every nation included (Revelation 7:9-10), and that ANYONE can come to Him for forgiveness of sins and eternal life (John 6:37, remember God has revealed Himself to all of creation).

Another verse that proves limited atonement wrong is 1 John 2:2, where John proves this concept again...
And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
John is explaining to whoever that in the supernatural Jesus has taken on the sins of the whole wide world, not just specific elect. Just a few verses earlier, John says that "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." We must make a choice to confess our sin before the Lord before Jesus' atonement can cover us of our sin and cleanse us. Repent and believe.

Take a look at Hebrews 2:9.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
And finally, Paul writes to his son-in-the-faith Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:10...
For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specically to those that believe. 
 While Jesus sacrifice was sufficient for all men, all of humanity, it's only efficient for those who believe, for those who turn from their wickedness and trust in the power of God and the name of Jesus. This is very clear all throughout the New Testament, so while it's an understandable mistake on the part of Modern Calvinists to believe that it was only for the elect that Jesus died, it's still a mistake nevertheless.

Paul says that,
God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
The whole world is and was full of sinners, there were none righteous on their own accord, and since God knew that, He knew that if He were to send His Son to die, it would have to be for all sinners. Ultimately yes, Jesus death was for His sheep (John 10:11, 15), the church, and those are the only ones who will receive the benefit of His death since they believe (John 3:18), but He still bore the weight of all of our sin, including those who would reject Him.

Irresistible Grace

Since we've already talked about how mankind has free will and God predestines/chooses based on His foreknowledge as opposed to pulling all of our strings like a puppetmaster, the concept of irresistible grace should be a somewhat brief topic.

With this issue, Calvinists say that since man cannot come to God on their own, God must make Himself known to man and in turn makes man willing to come to Him, thus taking away man's ability to choose. The issue here is that while Arminians may believe that man is saved by their choice, Calvinists argue that man is saved by God alone, and scripture is clear that the Calvinists are right. The catch is that choice is still a factor in God's grace.

Titus 3:5 says,
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
So we aren't saved by our works, we know that (Ephesians 2:8-9 is one of the most famous verses on that passage), we are saved by God's grace working through us by the power of the Holy Spirit, anyone who argues that we are saved by anything but God's grace doesn't understand salvation.

Jesus says in John 6:37-40 that whoever the Father gives to Him, He "will in no wise cast out" and that "anyone who sees the Son, and believes on Him, will have eternal life". We know that without faith, without the knowledge of God and trust in Him, it's impossible to believe God, because we have to come to God in faith (Hebrews 11:6). The conditions here to man receiving God's grace is that one comes to God in the first place and has faith that God will save them.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8)
We must draw near to God in order to receive the blessings of God, including salvation. When Jesus called his disciples, they didn't just stay in their fishing boats, waiting to receive the blessing, they immediately got out and ran to Jesus, taking whatever He had to offer.
Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:12-13)
We know that no man naturally, in sin, seeks God (Romans 3:11), but we also know that God draws us to Him through his creation, our conscience, the person of Jesus, and His written Word, and that all men are without excuse (Romans 1:20). Yes, God does the wooing, if you will, but we are the ones who have to receive the gift of grace, we still have to enter in through faith. If we don't believe God is who He said He is, and that He can do what He promised to do (save us), then how can we expect to inherit eternal life? Yes, grace is resistible, that's been proven because people go to Hell and will continue to go to Hell, but God desires all to come to repentance and receive Him so that they don't have to (1 Timothy 2:4).

Persevering of the Saints

The final point in TULIP, Persevering of the Saints, which is the idea that only those chosen by God will persevere through the power of the Holy Spirit and they will be the ones who inherit eternal life. Again, I think Calvinism gets this point more-or-less right, we see in John 6:37-47 that Jesus is very clear, whoever the Father brings to Him, whoever believes the good news, He will not loose. Paul tells us at the end of Romans 8 that he was persuaded that no circumstance, spirit, or natural device could separate us from the love of God in Christ. And then, Philippians 1:6 says,
Being confident in this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
It's clear that the Lord desires to bring us all into the fullness of salvation and will not let us go once we have received Him as both Lord and Savior (there is no salvation without both).

This all being said, I want to briefly give a few examples of those who didn't finish the race or keep the faith, starting with those John references in 1 John 2:19,
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
This passage is talking about antichrists who have come into the world, opposers of Christ, and people who look like Christians but who are truly wolves in sheeps clothing. Jesus warns His disciples about these people in Matthew 7 when He says, "Not everyone that says to me, 'Lord, Lord' will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father..." Jesus knew that there would be people who would join churches and become part of the religious system, claiming Him and yet not living for Him. I think of Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Muslims, Catholics (not all, but many), and even many "Christians" here in America who have never truly surrendered their lives to Christ. Scripture is clear that these will not be saved.

But that's an easy one, and John makes it clear that they were never really of the church to begin with, so the real question is is there anyone is the Bible who was chosen by God but rejected the call?

Well, the most famous out of all of these would be Judas Iscariot. We know that Judas was called by Jesus to "follow Him", as all the twelve disciples were (Matthew 10:1-4, Mark 3:13-19, Luke 6:12-16), and because of this calling by God he was given the authority to cast out demons and heal diseases and sicknesses. Judas was very much a Christian from the sense that he followed and obeyed Jesus. He learned from Jesus for three years, was taught by Him and had a personal relationship with Him, but Judas did not persevere and he let sin get the best of him, with Satan himself even entering into him after being rebuked out of Peter (Luke 22:3). In John 6:64, Jesus makes it clear that He knew from the beginning which of His disciples would believe and which would betray Him, even saying later in verses 70-71, "Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?"

This is a prime example of predestination and foreknowledge working hand-in-hand, Jesus knew from the beginning that Judas would betray Him, yet He chose Him anyway, exposing him to the truth on a daily basis because God desires none to perish, but ALL to come to repentance (1 Timothy 2:4, 2 Peter 3:9). He still gave Judas the chance to choose! Even when Peter denied Christ three times, he still repented and Christ forgave Peter that betrayal, but Judas, instead of repenting, was filled with remorse and killed himself (Matthew 27:3-10, Acts 1:18-19), although he still had the opportunity to repent and believe.

Judas contradicts the Calvinistic idea that those chosen by God can't resist His grace and will always persevere, because Jesus is clear the He chose Judas, yet Judas betrayed Him and turned from God completely.

This being said, yes, if we continue to trust in the Lord, He will keep us in His hands, He won't fail us, but that doesn't mean we won't fail Him. We often failed the Lord when we sin, but so many Christians have a hard time believing that we could fail Him in the faith as well. God may not let go of us, but that doesn't mean we won't let go of Him. Let's look at a few verses to clarify this.
but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers. (Luke 22:32)
Jesus tells Peter that He prayed for him so his faith wouldn't fail, meaning two things:

1. It's possible for a true Christian's faith to fail
2. It's not based on God that faith fails, it's on man's end

Jesus didn't want Peter's faith to fail, and Jesus is the Son of God, so God didn't want Peter's faith to fail, but it could have hence the prayer. James 5:19-20 says,
My brothers, if anyone among you [the Church] wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
James reveals that it's possible for a brother (or sister) in the church to wander from the truth, to backslide back into sin and "fall from grace", in fact, that's what Paul writes to the Galatians about in the Book of Galatians where he warns them that they started off in the truth, they were saved, but if they continued in their legalistic ways they would fall from grace! Hebrews 6:4-6 confirms the idea that believers can apostatize and leave the faith when it's writer warns,
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to open shame.
 In The Dake Annotated Reference Bible, one of the notes under the section "5-Fold Apostasy and End of Apostates" states,
To renew them again to repentance is impossible. The reason given is that they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to open shame. This is the final act of apostasy. They publicly judge Him as imposter and worthy of death. That is, they do not believe in Him or His atonement any longer. Since such faith is the only thing that could renew them again to repentance, it then becomes impossible. How could they be renewed again to repentance if they had not experienced repentance before? The word again means once more; another time; anew; and this require repentance once before.
Yes, the Holy Spirit gives us the strength to persevere in the faith and continue on to the end, but since people do make choices, and choices have consequences, it is possible for even those who were originally believers to reject Christ and end up in Hell. 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 talks about a "great falling away" (1 Timothy 4 references this as well) and that Christ will not actually return until this happens within the church.


At the end of the day, Calvinism does get some things right. Predestination is an actual thing, but it's based on the foreknowledge of God. Yes, God initiates a relationship with us, but we have the ability to either receive or reject that free gift of grace. Of course, those who "endure to the end will be saved", no question about it, but that doesn't mean that those who didn't endure didn't at one point in time believe in Christ themselves. The issue I see with Calvinism isn't that Calvinists don't believe the Word of God, they do, it's that they get hung up on one or two verses that support their claim and lay waste to the rest until they have to acknowledge them; not all are like this, I have a friend who is not, but many Modern Calvinists unfortunately are. Just remember, God doesn't desire anyone to go to Hell, He didn't create Hell for human beings, and He doesn't take any pleasure in the punishment of the wicked, but He is also just and true. He sent His only Son to die for us, in our place, so that we might be saved by His grace, should we receive the free gift. Blessings to all.
Verily, verily I say unto you, he that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death to life. (John 5:24)


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