Thoughts on Arminianism…the insecurity of the believer and real worship in spirit and TRUTH.

ESV: Romans Chapter 8 [28] And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. [29] For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. [30] And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. [31] What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

I’ve heard it mentioned many times in the church, especially during worship service, things like “Lord, your love is unchanging…You never change, Lord…God is in control…God is sovereign…etc.” The truth is, statements like these seem somewhat out of place in churches where the theology regarding salvation is Arminian. I’ve always felt that the Arminian outlook is incongruent with songs that have lyrics like this and that if this viewpoint were in fact really true, at any moment the whole thing can just come crashing down. If weak, sinful men are the sovereigns over the most personally important phases of their own salvation, then all the benefits of knowing God by grace and enjoying His great, unchanging love is dependant on our choosing to get in and then working like crazy to stay in this thing. I remember as a child hearing a Sunday School teacher tell me, “if you’re ever out in the street and you’re about to get hit by a bus, you’d better confess your sins and say the sinner’s prayer just to make sure.” Needless to say, this terrified me! I prayed the sinner’s prayer and confessed every sin I could think of every time we even talked about going for a ride in the car! But, don’t you think this sounds more like Catholocism and a couple “Hail Mary’s” more than “eternal comfort and good hope through grace?!”

ESV: II Thessalonians Chapter 2 [16] Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, [17] comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

The great Puritan theologian, John Owen, likened my old Sunday school teacher’s kind of thinking to imagining that God is up there in heaven angrily hunching over the Lamb’s book of Life with a gigantic eraser constantly scratching out and re-writing names back in, kind of a spiritual dry-erase board. This perspective doesn’t understand the Biblical truths that it is indeed God who has pursued, God who has called through the Gospel, God who has given the ability to receive His Son and God who now holds His own in His unchanging hands having made an everlasting covenant with His elect.

ESV: John Chapter 6 [44] No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

ESV: I Corinthians Chapter 1 [22] For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, [23] but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, [24] but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

ESV: II Thessalonians Chapter 2 [13] But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. [14] To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

ESV: John Chapter 10 [27] My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. [28] I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. [29] My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. [30] I and the Father are one.

ESV: Psalms Chapter 139 [16] Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them. [17] How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

ESV: Revelation of John Chapter 13 [8] and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.

ESV: Romans Chapter 8 [28] And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. [29] For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. [30] And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. [31] What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

The reality is that God is already where He rightfully belongs, regardless of whether we believe it, know it, are Calvinist, Arminianist or whatever. Correctly understanding the Bible helps put man in his proper place and helps us weak men actually come to know that God really is more than our heavenly sugar-daddy. Knowing what the Bible teaches us about God and His work in the lives of sinners like me helps us actually understand Him and worship Him in both spirit and truth. In other words, by approaching the Bible with a teachable spirit and a willingness to learn the sweet things along with the hard, it helps us to truly know Him for who He really is in all His great goodness and awe-inspiring severity. It’s wrong to study the Bible in order to find a cushy, false sense of comfort or an excuse to sin. It’s equally wrong to look for proof texts to smack people over the head with in order to try and make them act like “good little church people.” The sad reality is, due to a lack of true Gospel preaching, many that we try to smack over the head with morality verses are more than likely not even be born-again (SIDENOTE: born-again people act like born-again people. See Matthew 7:16-20). Jesus said that true eternal life is to know God, to know Him for who He really is and worship Him for who He really is. When we understand what the Bible teaches about who God is, we can then sing songs about His unchanging nature, His sovereignty, and character with holy joy and true conviction. Then our worship will not be empty, vain repetitions that are incongruent with our actual theology, but true worship both in spirit and truth.

ESV: John Chapter 17 [3] And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

ESV: Matthew Chapter 6 [7] And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.

ESV: II Timothy Chapter 2 [7] Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

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One thought on “Thoughts on Arminianism…the insecurity of the believer and real worship in spirit and TRUTH.

  1. I have to confess I’ve been away from the Bible for a little while, though I often comfort or encourage friends with scripture (whether they know it or not). And recently having come back to it, I am embarrassingly amazed at the extra dimensions the Gospel has that I never noticed before.

    How often people rail on ideas or preach ideas they know nothing about or have no support for. All of us see it daily. Guess this is kinda the point of your blog….

    Good post.

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