I have had a sunday school class this summer on the Protestant Reformation dealt with Martin Luther.John Huss, John Wycliffe principles of the Reformatiion and John Calvin. Calvin is always kind of a trigger for me because i really disagree with so much of his theology which is called *calvinism* The funny thing discovered in researching him is that what has been passed down as his theology all these eons actually was not done by calvin himself but his followers. Especially the TULIP an acronym for the most outstanding tenets of his theological system. Calvin himself was hugely influenced by Augustine who in turn was impacted by plato.
My torn title comes in from the discussion that ensued. calvinism teaches that God sent Jesus to save only the *elect* Just who the *elect* are is something ultimately only God knows. He chooses those who are based solely on His sovereign authority as God. We as the creation have no say and should not even question Him in anyway shape or fashion because we are mere clay and He is the Creator, His ways and decisions so far above us we dare not even attempt a glance at discovering His purposes just accept them and follow obediently. I fall on the opposite side of the spectrum regarding Gods purposes. I believe He created us as free beings able to make choices even choices that are bad and wrong. This is because He is a loving God who places relationship as a supreme value and love. The price of creating us in this way leaves open the possibility we will reject Him and His love and desire for relationship with us. Because of His character God still wanted to give us a way to overcome ourselves and sent His Son, who is His exact replica in human form to take on our flesh and our nature and then die as a substitute for us. We become His *elect* by choosing to accept the free gift of salvation He offers through His Son.
My torn part comes from knowing the assurance of salvation. The calvinist side say once God has chosen you as His elect then nothing can pull you away from Him and you are eternally secure. The freewill side says you choose salvation He offers but have the choice to walk away from it or lose it since it is a gift and choice made. The whole idea of a transformed life came up and how a life that is *born again* and surrendered to Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit would look like and would continously be like. Are there certain sins a *Spirit-filled* christian would cease to ever commit???? Is there a way to continue in addictive behaiors and certain activities and attitudes that resist or actively rebel against God and still be serving and seeking Him at sametime???
This kind of stuff tears me up because I spend so much time seeking to surrender myself to God and Jesus and turn over all of myself as well as openly face the times and ways I still engage in sin and other unholy behaviors. i am seeking to be transparent before Him and to become more like Christ yet still have so much where I fall way short and still need to be repenting from. Part of me thinks God understands its a constant war and battle and will be until He takes me into eternity and part of me thinks He has the way set for how His chosen should be living and I always am falling short and even resisting so maybe Im not one of the ^elect* and THAT serves to be the biggest buzzkill that can ever happen. Sooooooooooooooooooooooo TORN
Does this debate occur inside your minds??? Any of these issues or concerns??? Should believers always have absolute confidence in the assurance of their salvation??? Can God be at work in us as His even if we are still struggling in several areas to become holy??? All thoughts welcome as always!!!