The Tulip Driven Life Podcast

Monday, January 9, 2012

Calvinism Is Not Enough

I've believed in the TULIP, the doctrines of grace, the five points, the biblical way in which God saves man, for a little over three years now. And I've been reforming everything ever since. Understanding rightly how God saves you for the first time, changes everything. It changes your view of God, of Christ, of man. That's an all-encompassing, paradigm shifting, truth, and all one's theology and all one's life must be conformed to it. Unfortunately, we seem to have something of a melting pot of Calvinism- we take a little charismatic teaching and attach it to a Calvinistic soteriology, or a seeker-oriented church preaches Calvinistic soteriology (which, on all accounts, makes zero sense whatsoever). But I believe that even those who do not add these more extreme admixtures can still fall into the trap of thinking that the five points are enough, that Calvinism is enough, that Calvinism speaks to salvation and nothing else. On the contrary, because Calvinism speaks to salvation, it must speak to everything!

This is simply because the gospel is applicable to every area of life. If all of life is to be done unto the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31), and Christ died to save us so that we can once again work and live for His glory (Eph. 2:1-10), then it follows that understanding rightly the nature of Christ's salvation, which frees us to live for God again (some do not even realize this), has huge bearing on the manner in which we must live for it to be God pleasing and God glorifying. Ultimately Piper's statements such as "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him" and "Man's chief end is to glorify God BY enjoying Him forever" I believe are biblically true. But the root of these truths is the ultimate truth that all that is, is for God's glory. God made all things for His glory:

36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. (Rom. 11:36)

 Or take this beautiful explanation from Colossians 1:

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
Reconciled in Christ
19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 22 in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.

This is weighty stuff. God sent Christ to die so that Christ could have the preeminence in all things. Clearly then, Calvinism, the five points, is the beginning of the journey, not the end. The five points are like walking into Narnia, not coming full circle and exiting again through the wardrobe. Calvinism is the gateway into seeing the world like Narnia, or kind of like what Chesterton calls "Elfland." But once you discover this beautiful gospel, this beautiful world, this beautiful Story that you are part of, you have to start changing your views and ways in all things so that you can be conformed to the image of the Son, so that you can play your role out as He has specifically called you to do. We will never stop learning new, mind blowing things about the Cross, about Calvary. As the popular song says, "I'll never know how much it cost, to see my sin upon that cross."

It is true, we will never know, fully, but we must always be learning, always be reforming, and as we learn and reform, we become more conformed to the image of the Son; and the more conformed to His image we are, the better we can reflect and refract the glory of the Lord. And rightly reflecting the glory of the Lord is what we were made for, is what this world was made for. It is the Story of All Things, and it is a masterpiece.

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