There are a few things that people never forget. The details of certain tragedies and trials stay by your side and the vivid details remind you of their significance. People remember where they were when the planes hit the World Trade Centers. I was leaving for work and glanced at the TV. People remember where they were when the first space-shuttle exploded. I was in eighth grade down by the snack machine getting Bugles. I remember where I was when I was told about my sisters death. I was driving down 635 just passing Preston Rd. I remember where I was when I was told about my mothers aneurysm. I was sitting on the couch on the middle cushion with cereal in my mouth. We remember certain events because of their significance. Unfortunately, most of these are tragic. It is funny to bring this up in this context, but most Christians remember where they were when they first heard about God’s election – predestination.

It was nearly 20 years ago. I was outside my mother’s room and she came to me with her Bible and said, “You think you have got it all figured out? Well, how do you deal with this?” She gave me her Bible opened to Romans 9. It was the first time I had read it. I read it right there in the hallway. When I read the words, “It does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but upon God who has mercy,” I got mad. Well, I started off confused. But I did not let my mother know this because at the time I was a know-it-all (hence, the “You think you have got it all figured out” etc.). My confusion turned into determination. Determination to resolve this “crisis.” I went into my room and laid down on my stomach on the left side of my bed. I studied that passage inside out. No, I did not consult any commentaries. I was too smart for them at the time. All I needed was the Bible and the Holy Spirit. My mother was sure to tell me that she had asked people all her life and no one could give her an answer. This fueled my motivation.

After hours alone with the text, I went back into my mother’s room and sat down on her right side on her bed. I said, “I have figured it out.” I proceeded to tell her that God “elected” people based upon what He already knew. I had reasoned this way: If God knows everything, even the future, then He knows who will choose Him. Therefore, He simply looks ahead in time and chooses those who choose Him! That is it! Next question please.

Yes, I came to that conclusion on my own without even knowing that I was articulating an Arminian position with regards to election. I left her room satisfied that she still believed I could solve any biblical dilemma. Yet, the problem was that I was not satisfied with my answer. I knew that my answer was insufficient. Deep down, I knew it. I knew that I was not being intellectually honest with my mom, myself, or the text. I knew that I was simply trying to solve a problem that when looked at in the face was very frightening. No, it was repulsive. This know-it-all-Arminian-by-nature was thoroughly confused. Why? Because the answer I gave was exactly what the text would not allow. It said, “For though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls.” And I just told my mother that it DID depend on whether or not someone had done something good or bad, namely whether or not someone had faith.

That day, whether I admitted it or not, I knew my theology was changing. I did not know what Calvinism was and was greatly unaware of the debate surrounding the issue of election, but I was becoming a Calvinist. I did not want to. I fought it for weeks, months, even years. I was a reluctant Calvinist.

However, things did change. I also remember the day that I fully (and joyfully) embraced unconditional election. I was at a seminar led by James Montgomery Boice. I don’t remember much of what he said, but I do remember this story. I will do the best I can with it.

“Imagine this. Imagine yourself being in heaven and walking with the angels. One of them asks you, “How did you get here.” You would say ‘Well, I got here by the grace of God alone.’ The angel responds and asks, ‘Well, I don’t understand. Why are you here and others are not?’ You say, ‘Because God had mercy on me.’ ‘Yes, but,’ the angel replies, ‘What makes you different.’ If you are an Arminian, you would ultimately say, ‘Well, when it comes down to it, the major difference between those people who did not make it and myself is that I choose to place my faith in God.” [At this point Boice places his thumbs under his arms with a haughty look]. The angel then says, ‘Oh, so ultimately, you are the cause of your salvation.’ But to the Calvinist, things are different. There will never be an opportunity or a place for boasting before the angels or anyone else. Not even in the slightest. There is nothing that you can claim. There is no haughtiness, no pride, no self-esteem. Only a deep understanding that God did everything and you did nothing. This is grace. To the angel, all the Calvinist can say is ‘I don’t know why God had mercy on me and not others. All I know is that it has nothing to do with me.'” 

That day I finally came to a settled conclusion that this is what the Bible teaches and I had better submit to its authority, not the authority of my emotion. That day I realized that salvation is a monergistic work of God. That day I realized that my faith was a response to God’s mercy upon me. That day I realized how radical grace is and how sovereign God is in His administration of it. That day I joyfully gave the Potter charge over the clay and placed my hand over my mouth. That day I knew that I could never be lost since I had nothing to do with being found.

Since then, the struggles with regards to this issue have not ceased. I still understand the problems that people have with Romans 9 and the entire doctrine of election. I understand why people reject it. Yet all the arguments that I have ever heard against it only serve to confirm my conviction of the truthfulness of unconditional election.

PS: This blog post is not necessarily meant to be an argument for Calvinism (though it is implied), but simply some details about my theological journey, if you will.

PSS: NO, I am NOT still a know-it-all. Silence!

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    182 replies to "The Day I Became a Calvinist"

    • PaulM

      Another question. I believe it was said at some point above that the human choice element in salvation would give that saved person something to boast about (i.e., I chose to accept him). How would accepting the gift be anything to brag about? I cannot remember receiving a gift and having any ability to brag about it (like accepting it was a meritorious act for which I could claim responsibility or in which I could boast).

    • C Michael Patton

      I don’t think there would be a difference. The point that Boice was making is the the reason why you are in heaven and someone else is not is due to the final causation of your choice to take the gift. “I choose to recieve the gift and others did not” would be the answer to “Why are you here while other’s are not.”

      I think the only staw man in this argument is the presumption that we will not be able to claim any role in our salvation in heaven (i.e. boast). While I don’t believe we will, I don’t think it is detrimental to a theological system to say we could. If it is the truth, it is the truth. We don’t make the rules, even if those we presume seem to elevate the role of God.

    • C Michael Patton


      Calvinism is the only system that CAN allow for tension. I am not saying that all Calvinists do. Some, for example, will deny God’s universal love to resolve the tension concerning God’s love and His unconditional election. But most respectable Calvinists do not.

      Arminianism, as a theological system, solves the tension once for all by saying that God loves everyone, therefore, He could not have unconditionally elected only some. He must have elected all “in Christ” or His election must be based upon forknowledge. Either way, conditional election is a necessary part of the Arminian system.

      My point is that Calvinism does not have this problem. A necessary component of Calvinism is not to deny God’s universal love (even though some do) or even universal atonement (most do). In the end, you can be a Calvinist who affirms both unconditional election and God’s universal love, atonement, and desire for none to be lost. I know its SOUNDS contradictory, but this is my point. Calvinism allows for this tension. John Piper, Tom Schriener, and Michael Horton, and other contemporary Calvinists, including myself, believe that God loves all people, does not want any to perish, but has only elected some. We must live with this tension.

      Arminians, because of their denial of unconditional election, have alleviated their system of such problems. My own thoughts are that their system is, to some degree, as it is defended today, a product of the enlightenment.

      It is the same thing with Jehovah’s Witnesses with regards to the doctrine of the Trinity. (Although, not the same with regards to orthodoxy). JWs cannot live with the tension of their being one God and three persons. They deny the persons to resolve this tension.

      The problem is that they have to deny clear biblical teaching to do so.

      There are three main things that I think serve as illustrations as to how the Christian faith must live with tension (though not contradiction):

      1. Creation ex nihilo. How can something come from nothing?
      2. Trinity. How can God be one and three?
      3. Election. How can God have elected only some but love all?

      Each time these issues are resolved, I believe that more than likely you have embraced a false doctrine of some sort and degree. Therefore, don’t try to resolve it. Just live with the tension. 🙂

    • […] the blog “The Day I Became a Calvinist“ is way too long, I thought that I would take a very good question concerning the tension […]

    • […] open-hearted evangelicalism, or something I struggle to get my head around. It was the latter with this statement by C Michael Patton: “most Christians remember where they were when they first heard about God’s election – […]

    • Peter Kirk

      Is this post a spoof? It certainly reads like a rather good spoof on how some people become Christians. And the introduction, complete with “The Scream” picture, makes me think that this is intended as an example of “The details of certain tragedies and trials stay by your side and the vivid details remind you of their significance.” I can understand in a way no true Calvinist can how this day might have been a tragedy and a trial for you.

      It was only when I started to read the comments, including your own ones, that I realised that, unless you are being very clever, you intend this seriously.

      For my own take for today on the issue, see here. Perhaps today is the day I became a Calvinist, because today is the day I realised that I hold more or less the same position as Jeremy who calls himself a five-point Calvinist.

    • C Michael Patton

      Peter, I am not sure what you mean. Maybe it was a bad post, but it was meant to be “a day in the life” type post. The scream is illustrative of how many people handle unconditional election.

      Hope that makes sense.

      Thanks for posting.

    • Peter Kirk

      All I can say is, read as a spoof it makes an excellent one.

    • C Michael Patton

      Still not sure what you mean, but . . . oh well, I don’t get many things.

    • Peter Kirk

      Mr Patton, do you find Tominthebox News Network funny? (Don’t worry, they are good Calvinists.) If you do, you should understand what I am getting at, although they would not have published a spoof with exactly this slant. If you don’t … But then your top twenty theological pick-up lines shows me that you do have a sense of humour.

    • C Michael Patton

      Yes, I do read that. It is great. And my top twenty theological pick-up line is quite good, I must say so myself 😉

      I guess that I will have to take your word for it on this one!

    • C Michael Patton

      By the way Kirk, it is not about “how some people become Christians” like you said, but about the first day I heard about unconditional election (Calvinism). Maybe that will help?

    • […] linked to a post The Day I Became a Calvinist at Parchment and Pen which he seemed puzzled by. I read it and decided that it was a rather […]

    • PaulM

      CMP, thanks for the reply, I think I understand, but would like to clarify. An Arminian does not need to hold the tension as there is no need because no issue. A Calvinist can hold it because there is an issue that needs resolving. Is that right?

      I have no need to justify an Arminian perspective as it has some issues too, per my understanding thanks to TTP. 😉

      However, I respectfully believe the statement that Calvinism allows for the tension because a tension created, does not mean it allows for the tension. In fact it is the supposition that creates it! While the premises for Calvinism are very biblical as they are packaged with TULIP it does not really allow for the tension but create the tension because Calvinism does not allow for the human responsibility component.

      It seems we would be better focusing on what the Bible says and allow the tension to be there. Now a good Calvinist would say, thank you that is what we are doing. You made my point! 😉

      But I see that the package of TULIP says this is how it is and so tension v. there is biblical support for this and this and we are not sure how they fit together (unless of course it is quantum mechanics, as mankind is still discovering how God has structured things). This difference/distinction may be subtle, but it feels like fire and brimstone v. grace.

      The important thing is we keep challenging ourselves to love Him and understand Him as best we can. This has really been great and helped me clarify some areas previously a little more fuzzy in my mind.

      Thanks brother!

    • C Michael Patton

      Paul, maybe you can post this on the new blog. I don’t want this conversation to get lost. I expanded my answer to you and turned it into a new post on this blog.

    • A Lover of Truth/Souls of Mankind

      Selfishness/pride/etc…is all learned behavior. It is tantamount to saying that one has a “gay” gene if one suggests humans are “naturally” selfish. This is to say that God in fact is the author of sin (the Bible denies this). Such is not the case. God created beings with the capacity to learn good/evil and to exercise their mind thus (and He made them good, Gen. 1). If a child ONLY knows good then he will not choose evil. It is not until he is persuaded to think evil thoughts (introduced from outward stimulus) that he thinks evil. The serpent was the first outward stimulus to introduce an evil thought into man’s (Adam and Eve) mind. Every subsequent sin is after this similitude.

      Most behavior from children, especially infants, is from “stimuli” (touch the stove and get burned…) or from what they see from adults, but this is not a “sin”. “Sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4); children cannot actually do this. Sin is an action, not a hereditary trait (like eye color).

    • Chad Winters

      Lover of Truth:

      You are ignoring the Fall. “In one man we all sinned” and in one Man we were saved.

      Pelagianism has been soundly refuted and declared heretical by all orthodox christians, even if many are practically semi-pelagians

    • Thomas Twitchell

      Joanie D. said,

      “I think we can see the beginning of a life as kind of like the beginning of creation. In the beginning, it was all good. But as people began to think they knew better than God, things went bad. I know that is simplifying things way too much. But as I was driving along today, I was thinking about how someone would explain Christianity to some remote Amazonian tribe that had no contact with the outside world. I tell you what… you would try to make things VERY simple!”

      First of all Joanie, in the beginning God created man and woman perfect in all knowledge God-ward, as well in all practical matters of life. We see the demonstration of that when Adam names the animals. If we step back, when God made a cow he said let there be a cow. Adam gives it the proper name after God has declared it. Second, Adam was placed in the Garden to tend, and though Adam would gain temporal knowledge in experience, all things for tending the Garden were already his in knowledge. He even knew where Eve came from and of what substance (and essence) she was.

      The issues of witnessing, curiously came up in my daughter’s Sunday School class (she’s 18). It was proposed that if the natives have no concept of sin, that is, they do not acknowledge it as sin having not been instructed in it, are they not like children without knowledge of sin and therefore, they cannot sin willfully. If that is the case we sin a great sin against them in evangelism, seeing that being innocent of the content of sins being sinful, they are innocent of the blood of Christ. Should we then not evangelize? In the Arminian landscape ignorance of sin excuses it.

      Answer me this, in Jeremiah it says that the heart of man is desperately wicked above all things, who can know it? Do you sin sins of ignorance? Under the law of Moses sins of ignorance were punishable as sin whether a person became aware of them or not. According to Jeremiah, you cannot even know all the sins that you commit. And here is the catch, the mere possession of a sinful heart, is a sin. The law teaches us that we are sinners, as Paul said, I would not have known sin except the law said you shall not covet. But, the law was added after transgression. How can that be the case if sin requires knowledge of sin before it can be committed?

    • Thomas Twitchell

      Joanie D. said,

      “I agree, Lover of Truth. I don’t think we are born already “sinners.” Babies come directly from God and that is why people don’t have to worry about whether or not babies are baptized and if they are not, whether that means they can’t go to heaven.”

      The same holds here as it does with natives Joanie. If babies are born blank slates, it would behoove us to abort them all and usher them immediately into the presence of God. Yes, it would be a condemnable act on our part, but it would prevent their corruption and on that basis the greatest act of mercy even displacing Christ’s benefit’s to his elect in justification!

    • Thomas Twitchell

      Vance said,

      “Divine sovereignty, human responsibility and the free and universal offer of mercy are all found in Scripture, and though we are unable to harmonize them by our logic, they all ought to have a place in our minds.”

      Unfortunately, they do have a place in our minds and our minds demand logic. Two oppositional truths cannot remain in tension without producing pathology. As you said:

      “I think that, while the current flavors of Arminianism underplay, or outright ignore, the “God’s Choice” side of the equation, the Calvinist side equally underplays the free will side of the equation, as well as the salvation being offered to all. I think they give these lip service, but since our minds REALLY want to go one direction or the other and insists upon a logical resolution, they go to the other side without really giving full weight to maintain the full, seemingly contradictory, tension.”

      But the Calvinist side does not underplay “free-will.” It is infact as Luther said the “hinge” upon which all the rest swings. The problem is the definition of “free.” Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” What is the meaning of free, or even truth? Calvinists believe the will is always free in a peculiar sense. It is free in its motion, always. That is not the discussion in the “free-will” debate. The question is how is the motion of the will secured? There are two things that effect it, externally the choice, internally the condition of the chooser. Scripture asks us if a man has sin inside, does not the sacrifice become unclean. The sacrifice itself is clean, a right choice, the willful choice is good, it is the actor’s nature that defiles it. We take “free-will” to a level that Arminians ignore.

      “You can’t have a logical, systematic theological resolution AND a mystery at the same time. And you definitely can’t have a dogmatic presentation of any area that is a mystery.”

      Yes you can. A boat lost at see, simply being lost, does not negate the fact that it is a boat. Because you cannot find it does not make is non-existent. The Scripture discribes two kinds of mystery. There is the mystery revealed. Before the mystery was revealed it was both hidden, and a mystery. When revealed it remains a mystery. Scripture speaks of the mystery of disobedience, and the mystery of righteousness. But, they have both been revealed. How is that the case? Because the mysteriousness remains, or the how remains, but the what is revealed. It is not illogical to tell time with a watch without knowing the inner workings of the watch. What the watch is and what it does remains within a logical realm and is not disturbed by the mystery of the mechanism. Beyond that we elevate responsibility far above the Arminian.

      First of all human responsibility is not on the same plane as God sovereignty as the Arminian juxtaposes it. It is a created responsibility unlike but in the likeness of Sovereignty. Second man was created responsible (set in the garden to tend it) and above that God made him responsible even for that which he knew not. Sin was a mystery to him, he had no knowledge of it, nor could we say that he had a full understanding of the consequences, but only a bare knowledge of them. Third, God held him responsible even though he was deceived. Deception is not right knowledge, it is in fact ignorance disguised as knowledge. When “Jesus said, “Woe to anyone who teaches one of these little ones to sin,” he was looking back at Eden. If you will return there you will find that the Elohim put the pair out of the Garden because they had become like them knowing good and evil. They did not know before what it was, but they were still responsible for it.

      Far and away, the Calvinist has a greater respect and a much higher view of responsibility than the Arminian. We indeed make the cure beyond man’s ability while elevating it to God’s sovereignty. In other words, what man could not do God did, but the responsibility was man’s, that is, the accountability was his and his condemnation was the cost of his own action. God though takes that burden which he had placed upon man, and puts it on the shoulders of the Son. Arminian believe in a Governmental Atonement which leaves the responsibility on man’s shoulders. It accomplishes nothing for him.

      “Human language for God Things = Through a glass darkly, at best.”

      Did the writers of the Scripture understand? Did they see God face to face? You misuse this verse. It is talking about the resurrection, not the available knowledge as revealed in Scripture. The writers there spoke as oracles of God, carried along by the Holy Spirit. Now, this is a mystery. Why is it that we do not understand what was clearly written? There are God things, which Scripture clearly states that we can never know, they remain a mystery. But it has been full demystefied that they are mystery. So, this verse does not apply to the knowledge that man can have of Truth. In fact it goes on to say, that they we will know as we are known. But Scripture concludes that the things of God are not given for man to understand, calling them hidden things and forbids even searching them out. See 2 Corinthians, it clearly says that the things of God that are for us to know have, not will be, been given to us for we have the mind of Christ.

    • Darrin

      I truly appreciate your post, and have experienced similar doctrinal struggles. In my youth, I wondered that, since biblically there is clearly no inherent good in me (nor anyone else), why did I accept Christ while others do not? Unconditional election is surely the only scriptural way to answer this. So much is clarified in scripture once God’s complete sovereignty is acknowledged. It is also wonderful to see the truth opposing our own tendency toward humanism and pride.
      Thanks again, and soli Deo gloria.

    • Kris

      I couldn’t agree more Darrin. When you view scripture through the lens of
      God’s sovereignty and complete freedom you come to a different conclusion
      than before.

    • joshk

      “There are a few things that people never forget. The details of certain tragedies and trials stay by your side and the vivid details remind you of their significance.”

      Becoming a Calvinist does classify as a tragedy.

    • C Michael Patton

      lol…I don’t think it is a tragedy, but a very real trial of your faith. (Although, there are many who would think it is a tragedy!)

    • caleb

      As a seminary student and lover of theology, this post seriously looks like satire.

      It might just be that i have settled these issues to the point of my own satisfaction, which is such that it enables me to effectively minister. Beyond that, it is foolishness (Deuteronomy 29:29) to try to make God’s infinite wisdom ans sovereignty fit into a system devised by out finite and depraved minds.

    • C Michael Patton

      Thanks Caleb. I am not sure if you read the rest of the thread, but someone else said that.

      It is not satire at all. It is a testimony about my first exposure to unconditional election (not so much Calvinism).

      “The Day I Became and Unconditional Electionist” did not sound to interesting. So I just used Calvinist. It does however show that this day was the day I began to move toward Calvinism.

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      >>> In life, I admit, it is weird and confusing. To see people give up the faith after so many years of apparent sincerity and devotion toward Christ. I’m also reminded of the disciples in John’s gospel who fell away when Jesus discussed, in rather graphic detail, election. They couldn’t deal with it, apparently. Jesus said, “Because of this I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has allowed him to come.” Some will fall away; its confusing; its deceitful; its heart breaking; its reality. Its all I can do from becoming too depressed about it all. My hope is that in glory, these things will, perhaps, become more clear.<<< Dear Enterprise24 (if you are still tracking this thread), I have thought a lot about your "disciplining until death" remark as a way to still retain "P" within the TULIP framework. I hope that that is true. In my quiet time and re-reading Samuel's account of Saul... the Holy Spirit did come upon Saul in the beginning. Saul was elected by God to serve as king, even though having a king was not what God recommended. But Saul did not end well. I hope Saul is a case, an exemplar of being disciplined until death, but still a member of the elect. Thanks for dialoguing with me. Pax. P.S. It would have been helpful if the blog owner, CMP, had the time to address my hypothetical in comment #95.

    • Enterprise24

      Pax/Truth Unites,

      Yup, I’m still tracking this thread.

      The Scriptures to say that God changed Saul’s inmost being (or “God turned for him another heart”). I do find it interesting that at the end of Saul’s life, God had stopped listening to him. In fact, the Bible says that the Lord’s Spirit had come out of Saul and an evil spirit was there tormenting him. In 1 Sam 18, it says than an evil spirit rushed upon Saul and he prophesied by trying to kill David with a spear.

      I’m finding it difficult to believe one way or another on the status of Saul’s salvation. O.T. salvation was still by God’s grace, as in the N.T. It seems like the O.T. saints weren’t indwelt by the Spirit as N.T. believers are; it also seems like God’s grace and favor was administered through obedience to the Law, not merely going through the actions of the Law, but with a contrite and humble heart, obeying the commands of the Lord.

      Stark disobedience to the Law and to God’s commands would bring judgment. With Adam, his disobedience to God’s clear command brought about the judgment of death. With Saul, his disobedience brought about God’s judgment. Look at 1 Sam 12:15. The covenant was there: If the people and the king obey the Lord in what he says, they will do well. If the people and the king disobey the Lord in what he says, rebelling against the Lord, his hand will be against both the people and the king. Then look at Samuel’s discourse in 12:20-25. The Lord’s favor comes upon anyone who serves him with all their heart. Saul did not serve the Lord with all his heart, so judgment came upon him and Israel. (Look also at 1 Chron 10:13-14.)

      If this man was saved, then God sure dealt with him harshly. Serves as an example to me of what not to do, and what attitudes I should not have in obeying (or not obeying) commands from the Lord.

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      Alright!! Very glad, very happy that you, Enterprise24, are still tracking this thread!

      I’ll be very candid. I want to retain “P”. I’m first and foremost a Christian. So I’m not beholden or wedded to being a 5-Pointer. But I really like the “cleanness” or “elegant truthfulness” of TULIP…. except for the empirical difficulties of “P”.

      You know the well-worn phrase by Paul about working out your salvation with fear and trembling. And how it needs to be translated and understood properly.

      I fully agree with you when you write: “Serves as an example to me of what not to do, and what attitudes I should not have in obeying (or not obeying) commands from the Lord.”

      Yet this statement also seems to me that you are not experiencing the peace of mind that’s supposed to come from “P” and the felt reassurance of “eternal security”.

      I thought “P” was supposed to reassure those fretting, nail-biting Christians that they are truly saved, once and for all!!!

    • Thomas Twitchell

      Verses do not stand alone in Scripture, read all of


      but do not stop there go to Proverbs, fear is the beginning of wisdom, yet wisdom is the #1 thing to get.

      What if someone who is a believer suffers for wrong doing does it fit Hebrews 12 and mastigoo. You do not whip a law keeper, but a law breaker. And since 1 John 1:8 makes it clear that we all sin, then Philippians is spot on.

      Beyond that Hebrews 12 also speaks of persecution.

      Then there is Philippians 2:13, which follows on the heals of the fear passage. It is one of the clearest sovereignty passages. It is he who wills in us both the willingness and the power to carry it out for his purpose. Yet this does not stand alone. Galatians 5:17; For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. The word want is thelo, to will. Which dovetails perfectly with Romans 7 culminating in why we have assurance. Perserverence is not passive. Like all of salvation it is a monergistic work in which we are active. I describe it as passive/participation because what he wills we will do. That is the essence of faith and the knowledge of the One who carries out all things according to his own council. In the end there is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ, because there is no one who can bring a charge against God’s anointed.

      Back to Saul- I do not know what God’s disposition of the soul of Saul was, but David would not bring a charge against him and rebuked those who touched God’s anointed. The anointed in Isaiah, is first Christ, but he is the firstfruit and we are the anointed ones of God, the firstfruits.

      The true appreciation of the Deity must begin with fear. At his appearance the flesh falls face down, undone. But, to those like Isaiah who God calls, he sends forth the cherubim, which can mean flaming sword, and cleanses them of all unrighteousness so that even though the body remains dead because of tresspasses the spirit is made alive. It is the cleansing of the Lord that makes us to stand even in our weaknesses. As long as we exist in the flesh we will be subject to the wrath of God against our sins. Not to the judgement of wrath that is to condemnation, but to put to death the sin remaining in us. Beyond that, there is God’s awesomeness. He being the Almighty who gives breath to life and takes it back, it is to him we must turn and bow, knowing that he is able to destroy both the body and the soul in hell. He in us, is both our trembling and our comfort, for he has sworn, and because he cannot lie, we have his Word, that he will never leave us nor forsake us, even if we sin, for we have an advocate with the Father who intercedes on our behalf, for ever a priest. This perserverence then is our sanctification progressively according for each man according to God’s purpose to transform them into the likeness of God’s own Son, in is in the end to our glorification, no matter where we might be lead by his Spirit. And, yes, though I walk through the valley of death…God prepares a table for me….my sins are ever before me…but you have tried me….now destroy my enemies…. One of the things that we hear from Jesus’ lips to Peter is “What is that to you?” This was in response to Pete’s question of the disposition of John. Later we find this same Peter denying the Lord’s grace again, Galatians.

      The righteous perish and no man considers it. Being a Christian is to acknowledge that as Saul, God can do with you as he pleases. Remember he was the anointed of God and what befell him was at God’s bidding, for it was God who was working in him both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Pray therefore that God would grant you a life of peace and understanding what the will of the Lord means.

    • […] wasn’t using the following so much as an argument but as a retelling of his own theological journey. What’s interesting about the story is that […]

    • ds

      Romans 9…

      Hey Mr. Patton…
      Below is the link to this youtube video, Part 5 of a series by Dr. Jerry Walls and Paul Sloan

      If you can… please watch part 4 first
      and then 5

      But if you have no time, then

      This is personally a (concise AND) good interpretation of what’s being said in Rom 9 – 11

      Would love to hear your thoughts 🙂

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