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Do Calvinists Really Believe in Salvation by Faith Alone?

Do Calvinists believe in salvation by faith alone? Quick answer: No. But don’t quit reading. . .

When I was in undergrad, my professor made us have a debate in theology class. For the debate, he had us represent the position to which we did not adhere. He was quite excited, I think, to have me – the only Calvinist in the class (indeed, the school) – represent the Arminian position (blast him!!). Being an undergraduate course, it was very general. So my task was simple: to argue that Arminianism, in general, presents the best explanation of salvation, while Calvinism falls short. I came to appreciate this assignment much more than I thought I would. More importantly, I really think I won the debate (even though the prof said I lost). There were a couple of issues that I focused on to undermine Calvinism during this debate. I will mention only one.

Calvinists, such as myself, love two analogies: first, we like the one about the dead man in a grave. This represents the doctrine of depravity and spiritual mortality. We are dead spiritually. This means that we are eternal haters of God by nature (Eph. 2:1-5). Dead! How do you preach to a dead man? You can shout and scream at the grave all day long, but there won’t be any response. The dead must be raised in order to respond. God must make us alive before we can have faith in him. The second analogy is like the first, but has a good twist.  It is the analogy of physical birth to spiritual birth. As the sound-bite version goes, “Just as a baby naturally cries out after it has been born, so believers cry out to God in faith after they have been born again.” In other words, our calling upon God to save us, our turning to God in repentance, and our faith in him come only as a result of being regenerated. The natural man cannot accept the things of God (1 Cor. 2:14). The Gospel is most definitely a “thing of God.” Therefore, the natural man must be turned into a spiritual man before he can accept the Gospel. To have faith, God must be the instigator. To have faith, we must be born again.

Maybe you can see where I am going. During Bogaski’s class, I found the Achilles heel of Calvinism (or so I thought). It was simple: Since Calvinists believe that regeneration precedes faith, they do not really believe in salvation by faith alone! Faith was not the instrumental cause of salvation after all; regeneration was. Therefore, faith was a result of salvation. In this, Calvinists denied a central tenet of Protestantism. They (um . . . we) denied salvation by faith alone!

Arminians, on the other hand, were true Protestants who could say that they possessed an unqualified belief in salvation by faith alone. While they would agree that a dead man cannot respond, they would say that Christ makes all alive through prevenient grace. But this grace does not save. It only neutralizes the effects of spiritual deadness so the hostile sinner has a legitimate chance to make the instrumental choice of faith for or against God.  Therefore, their own faith, which has been given opportunity through God’s grace, is the instrumental cause of their salvation. Arminians do believe in salvation by faith alone.

However, this is quite misleading. I, at the time, did not understand something about the doctrine of sola fide (“faith alone”): No one has ever claimed that salvation is by faith alone. This is not a Protestant doctrine. We believe in justification by faith alone. This is what sola fide means. And Calvinists (along with Arminians) both believe that justification – the forensic declaration of our righteousness based solely on the merits of Christ – is brought about by faith.

Often, in theological language, we distinguish between salvation and the individual aspects of salvation. Ultimately salvation is much more than justification or regeneration. Involved in salvation are redemption, justification, adoption, conversion, calling, election, sanctification, glorification, and faith. Some of these happened in the past, some will happen in the future. But they are all part of our salvation. Even the Scriptures say that we have been saved (Eph. 2:8), are being saved (1 Cor. 1:18), and will be saved (Rom. 5:9). Which is it? Well, it depends on which aspect of salvation we are talking about. Justification is a once and for all event that is always past for the believer. Sanctification is an ongoing process which will culminate at the resurrection. But both fall under the broader umbrella of “salvation.” Of course Scripture does not always use such precise language to speak about such things, nor should we expect it to.

We often refer to this as the ordo salutis (Lat. “order of salvation”). While many aspects in our salvation, such as faith and justification, regeneration and conversion, do not follow a temporal order, they often follow a logical order. Logically, faith comes before justification in the ordo. Here is a look at the generally accepted ordo to which most Calvinists adhere.

 

The Arminian ordo looks a bit different:

 

And the Catholic ordo looks different still.

And we should not read too much into the fact that Calvinists put faith before justification. Calvinists do not believe that faith has any intrinsic efficacy. As Berkholf put it:

“Justifying faith does not justify by any meritorious or inherent efficacy of its own, but only as the instrument for receiving or laying hold on what God has provided in the merits of Christ. [The Reformers] regarded this faith primarily as a gift of God and only secondarily as an activity of man in dependence on God.” (Systematic Theology, 497)”

In the end, Calvinists do not believe in salvation by faith alone. We believe in justification by faith alone. But salvation is by God’s grace alone (sola gratia). Every aspect of the ordo is completely in God’s hands. Even the faith that we have is a gift of God’s grace (Eph. 2:8-9). While humans take part in both faith and sanctification, this does not make them meritorious for or even causal in our salvation. Salvation is ultimately by God alone (soli deo).

Therefore, while I feel I won that debate so many years ago (even though the professor did not seem to want to recognize the distinction I have made here), I only did so by creating a straw man of my own position. However, as for the other attack on my Calvinism, I feel it was legitimate and would still use it today. Another time, we might talk about it . . .

135 Responses to “Do Calvinists Really Believe in Salvation by Faith Alone?”

  1. In the first graphic, the non elect is not a free entity!

    Sorry cant accept that, no one lives like that not even Calvinists. Apply the same argument to relativists to Calvinists and you’ll see what I mean!

  2. It depends on what you mean by free. In neither are people always free in a libertarian sense. You will have to go to pelagianism to find natural neutrality. Even the Eastern Orthodox church hold to a broken will that is bent toward their sin. Our fallen nature assumes broken “freedom”.

    However, if you mean that people are free to act according to their desires, then all side hold to freedom.

  3. The whole Reformed history and reality, really does tie itself back into a foundation that goes back into the Church Fathers, and into the Holy Scripture and the Judaistic life and reality of the Jewish people itself. And here certainly is also the foundation of the OT, but that also leads to the NT reality too, which is historically Greco-Roman and Hellenistic. The point here is that our Judeo-Christian theology is always historical in its theological reality. And it is here that since the Reformation and also the Reformed heritage and tradition, that we are somewhat bound by the Augustinian positions themselves. As we know in fact that both Luther and Calvin, as too Beza, etc. were very connected here. I am always somewhat amazed how this Augustinian history and connection gets pressed into the background. It is here, for myself at least that the so-called modern Reformed have had several good historical theologians, I won’t quote the whole here. But I will mention in our time the grand works of Richard Muller! His book: The Unaccommodated Calvin, etc. is perhaps just foundational to my mind at least.

    So “Calvinisim” never drops just out of the Bible by itself, as it has its history, formation and even scholastic reality. And I speak of a Protestant and Reformed Scholasticism, in the positive myself.

  4. Good distinction, and valid. I am not a Calvinist (not an Arminian either), but we do need to be precise when discussing such theological ideas.

  5. Btw, we should note that the theological system of Calvin, and later “Calvinism” was I think founded chiefly by the Institutes, and especially as formed by Theodore Beza. I am not speaking negatively at all, for I am myself positive of both Calvin and Beza. But all theology is something of a systematic movement and even development, as we can see from the OT to the NT in itself. And we can see the later development of Calvinism itself, from the likes of the early 17th century, and the so-called Calvinistic Methodism, etc. Also the great Calvinistic Creeds are also historical, in their own time. My point, is the constant need to press Calvinism, past and present, into the interface of the Holy Scripture itself, even Reformed and Calvinistic history has the Ecclesia semper reformada, i.e. the church always reformimg. And so we should and must have Reformed dialogue, and differences!

  6. Oh yes, I am certainly Reformed and “Calvinistic”, but certainly towards the Anglican aspects historically. :)

  7. @Michael: Would you see a most definite law-gospel analogy in Calvin and Calvinism? Noting, Rom. 8:4, etc. Does not “regeneration” and “the new Man or nature” (Col. 3:10) itself effect the ability of faith, but surely always faith as a gift also, (Eph. 2:10). Note, I am not a “Lutheran” here! ;) (I have a few friends who say this position is “Catholic”!)

  8. Michael,

    You wrote “Salvation is ultimately by God alone (soli deo).” You claim this monergistic position in text, while hold in your graphic that “Conversion” is “God-man” based upon man’s repentance and faith.

    Giving double speak to this contradiction by saying “Every aspect of the ordo is completely in God’s hands. Even the faith that we have is a gift of God’s grace”, does NOT change the fact that they are mutually exclusive.

    Either Justification is obtained by a MAN placing his faith in Christ (regardless of the fact the “faith” is a gift) or justification is NOT by faith and IT is imputed by God to man monergistically REGARDLESS OF ANY PERFUNCTORY GESTURE (like faith and repentance) ON THE PART OF MAN.

    Simply put, if the monergism you espouse is consistent, then NOTHING man can or will do (even if faith is a gift) is necessary or required for his Justification.

    Lastly, I noticed you completely omitted any and all comment on the “repentance” portion of the “God-man” portion in “Conversion”.

  9. Jeff,

    Thanks for the comment. You can see that repentance is in the ordo graph on conversion. Repentance is the other side of the coin of faith.

    Second, faith is a gift. Eph 2:8-9 makes that clear. Therefore, even the part of the ordo that God includes man in is of God so that “no one may boast.”

    Finally, here on P&P we try to speak with great respect, giving people the benefit of the doubt. So try to refrain from statements like “Giving double speak to this contradiction”. Here is a rephrase which is much more acceptable on this blog (not to mention for profitable an open conversation).

    “It seems like you are double speaking and offering a contradiction. Could you explain?”

    Same thing, entirely different effect.

    Thanks.

  10. Fr.

    I don’t know enough about that to speak to you question. I am sorry.

  11. @Michael: That’s fine, like you I always come down on the side of God’s hand and providence, HE is Sovereign! My Catholic friends are always seeking to stump me! ;) I always send them to Alister McGrath’s Iustitia Dei, A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification.

    Btw, as to monergism, of course we could bring Scripture like John 6:37 ; 6:44 ; 6:63-65.

  12. Or Thomas Oden’s Justifation Reader.

  13. Point taken Michael—no disrespect meant. I do sincerely apologize.

    Quite the contrary, I hold a great deal of respect for you and your opinions (or i wouldn’t bother writing).

    But, back to the point I so rudely (and apparently unsuccessfully made) was that when a man must exercise faith to be justified it is still man exercising faith to be justified. The fact that it is a gift does NOT change the fact that MAN is a part of the Ordo Salutis and is ESSENTIAL and not optional, thereby vitiating the statement you made that salvation is all of God.

    You must ask yourself, as a thinking and logical person, if a man did not use the GIFT of faith to be justified then would that person be justified?

    If yes, then you do not hold to Sola Fide for justification.
    If no, then you do not hold to “Salvation is ultimately by God alone (soli deo).”. for the justification/ salvation was not “by God ALONE”.

    BTW A good suggestion, I try to avoid, is to never use the words “clear” or “clearly” to try to prove my point; for if it was clear, then we would have no disagreements. For example I think it is “clear” (LOL) that the “Gift” in Eph 2:8,9 is NOT the faith, but the antecedent to “That” is the salvation.

    I will reserve comment on repentance being “the other side of the same coin”, if you will respond to this post.

  14. Thanks Jeff, I appreciate your humility there.

    I would say that this may be where we are parting. “”if a man did not use the GIFT of faith”. This would assume a position that faith is given to all and then one has to decide whether or not to use it. At least I think it would. When the gift of faith is given, from the Calvinist’s perspective, it is a result of regeneration so it would never not be used (is that a double negative?). Therefore, it is intrinsically tied to the new birth. It is not so much mans part in the ordo, but mans response. Hope that makes sense.

  15. Indeed Oden’s Justification Reader is grand! Some of my Catholic friends don’t always get the blunt of Scripture, so I send them to historical theological books like McGrath’s “Iustitia”. And of course Augustine had a place for GOD’s prevenient grace, which for Augustine prepare’s man’s will for justification. But even for Augustine the work of regeneration is itself the work of the Holy Spirit. And as McGrath noted the appropriation of the divine love to the person of the Holy Spirit is regarded as one of the most profound elements of/in Augustine’s doctrine of the Trinity. Only the Holy Spirit enables man to love! And for the man who have some kind of faith, and yet not love, has nothing! But the Spirit Himself is that love of God!

  16. Yeah, Fr. I would liken Augustine’s previenient grace to the reformed “common grace.” Do you think that is accurate?

  17. PS..I was loosely quoting Augustine! (By my poor memory at the end.)

  18. Yes, I see the connection, but I would have to think it out some more? I am always “thinking”! ;) But I hope not “overthinking”?

  19. Great post and commentary!

  20. “Second, faith is a gift. Eph 2:8-9 makes that clear.”

    No it doesn’t make that clear!

    In Ephesians 2:8-9 the subject is our salvation. Therefore the gift is salvation. The gift is given “by Grace” (God’s part) and received by Faith (Our part).

    Thoughout scripture the author of faith is consistently human. Hebrews 11 gives a few examples. Notice the end of the chapter: “These were all commended for their faith.” Why would they have been commended if it had just been a gift from God.

  21. I would also like to point out that most Arminians do not believe that you can “lose your faith”. Rather it is a conscience rejection of Christ that places one on a path to destruction.

  22. Hey brother great article. Can I humbly suggest a proofread? I saw a few typos. Anyway, I like the graphics. Just thought I’d tell you about the typos.

  23. “Conditional damnation”?

    I’m not positive what you mean but are you suggesting that, according to Calvinism, election is unconditional but reprobation is somehow conditional? That’s utterly inconsistent with the logic of Calvinism.

  24. Well, unless one believes in double-predestination or retrobutionism, which most evangelical Calvinists don’t, the state of the non-elect is conditioned upon their own choice (which will never change). In other words the non-elect state is conditioned on them, not an eternal positive decree of God.

  25. That’s exactly right Michael; most Calvinists are utterly inconsistent with the logic of Calvinism.

    though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

    It’s frustrating that so many Calvinists shy away from a consistent interpretation of a text like this (not to mention a consistent application of their logic about what “God’s sovereignty” means and what it entails).

    disclaimer: I’m not a Calvinist

  26. Hi michael
    Im new to the board and been following your blog for awhile but i figured I would chime in. Came across this quote from Calvins Commentaries on Eph 2:9 translated by Pringle.
    “And here we must advert to a very common error in the interpretation of this passage. Many persons restrict the word gift to faith alone. But Paul is only repeating in other words the former sentiment. His meaning is, not that faith is the gift of God, but that salvation is given to us by God, or, that we obtain it by the gift of God.”

    Seems that apart from understanding the grammar of the passage itself, not even Calvin held to faith being a gift of God.

    Link to commentary here: http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_staticxt&staticfile=show.php%3Ftitle=1793&layout=html

  27. “While humans take part in both faith and sanctification, this does not make them meritorious for or even causal in our salvation. Salvation is ultimately by God alone (soli deo).”

    “But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.’ ” (Jon 2:9).

    Well done, Michael.

  28. “While humans take part in both faith and sanctification, this does not make them meritorious for or even causal in our salvation. ”

    Michael, I’m trying to think of a new analogy that would help the avg. non-theologically trained person understand this. Any ideas?

    This is a VERY hard concept to get across. At least for me.

  29. Amen there Michael, thank goodness that “logic” alone does not press or understand so-called “Calvinism”. And the reprobate are always left alone to their own will, though in great ignorance. They choose with a sinful will their own way, and they like it, or prefer it. The Doctrines of Grace only affect the Election of Grace! (Prov. 2:18-19)

  30. Indeed Calvin knew that salvation included both “faith” and “works”, but faith is never “of yourselves it is God’s gift. Not of works…”, but.. “We are His masterpiece, having been created IN CHRIST JESUS for good works which God previously prepared that (literally) in them we should walk.” (Eph. 2:9-10)

    Indeed by grace, “faith” and “works” are both God’s gift, in salvation! But there is also a “temporal order” of causes and effects, thru which the salvation of the sinner is wrought. But this emphasis is upon God’s eternal decree and its execution in time. This is the doctrine of the Reformed Faith!

  31. Btw, Calvinism, unlike Lutheranism closely connects justification and sanctification, but they are still separate in Reformed dogmatics. But “biblically” they work closely together! (1 Cor. 5: 11)

  32. The Doctrines of Grace only affect the Election of Grace!

    There is literally nothing in a consistent interpretation of the passage I quoted to suggest this (and your citation of a proverbs about prostitution doesn’t change that).

    It’s probably the case that most Calvinists simply don’t like the idea of unconditional reprobation because they find it cruel and unfair. This, and only this, is what drives their inconsistent interpretation of Romans 9.

    Who are you, oh man, to talk back to God?

    WCF: “God from all eternity did by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass.”

    “Whatsoever” includes reprobation. Man’s sin is simply the means by which the reprobate are damned. This is the logic of historic, consistent Calvinism.

  33. @Ron: You might want to look a little deeper into the history of Calvinism! The fact is, many, if not most of the Reformed Creeds are written from the position of the Infralapsarian – I will let you do your homewerk here! Thankfully there are other views besides the Supralapsarian.

    And the quotation from Proverbs, was meant to be Prov. 4:18-19! (So chaper 2 was incorrect, my poor memory) ;)

  34. Here is a quote from the Irish Articles 1615, written foremost by that great Anglican, Archbishop James Ussher..

    Of God’s eternal decree, and Predestination.

    11. God from all eternity did by his unchangeable counsel ordain whatsoever in time should come to pass: yet so, as thereby no violence is offered to the wills of the reasonable creatures, and neither the liberty nor the contingency of the second causes is taken away, but established rather.

    12. By the same eternal counsel God hath predestinated some unto life, and reprobated some unto death: of both which there is a certain number, known only to God, which can neither be increased nor diminished.

    13. Predestination to life, is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby, before the foundations of the world were laid, he hath constantly decreed in his secret counsel to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ unto everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honor.

    14. The cause moving God to predestinate unto life, is not the foreseeing of faith, or perseverance, or good works, or of any thing which is in the person predestinated, but only the good pleasure of God himself. For all things being ordained for the manifestation of his glory, and his glory being to appear both in the works of his Mercy and of his Justice; it seemed good to his heavenly wisdom to choose out a certain number towards whom he would extend his undeserved mercy,…

  35. 14…

    14. The cause moving God to predestinate unto life, is not the foreseeing of faith, or perseverance, or good works, or of any thing which is in the person predestinated, but only the good pleasure of God himself. For all things being ordained for the manifestation of his glory, and his glory being to appear both in the works of his Mercy and of his Justice; it seemed good to his heavenly wisdom to choose out a certain number towards whom he would extend his undeserved mercy, leaving the rest to be spectacles of his justice.

  36. You’re mistaken Robert. The lapsarian question need not come into play here.

    You can embrace double predestination and be an infralapsarian (even though infras may not lay it out exactly like I did above).

    Even if I’m wrong about this, it only speaks to the historical question. To say that reprobation is God’s reaction to sin completely destroys the symmetry of Romans 9:11-13.

    I will make two points about the lapsarian debate though:

    1. Appealing to infralapsarianism logically gets you nowhere. Ok, people are reprobated because of their sin, but they’re sinful only because God decreed that they be so. It’s a game.

    2. Logically speaking, there is nothing that would make us prefer infralapsarianism over supralapsarianism. Again, Calvinists reject the latter simply because it seems cruel and unfair. Turretin wrote that it “does not appear to agree sufficiently with [God’s] unspeakable goodness.”

    Who are you, oh man, to talk back to God?

  37. @Brian: This is a grand quote from “InChristus”. The point being that GOD is really the player and mover over man, sinful man is always the passive actor in the things of God. Indeed a mystery, but still none the less.. God’s Mystery in His “causal” order! Btw, let me recommend a book here: Introduction to Reformed Scholasticism, by Willem J. Van Asselt. With the foreward by Richard Muller. Indeed a Protestant, Reformed Scholastcism is simply neccessary and historical to an understanding of the Reformed Faith!

  38. @Ron: Again mate, your seeking to make it an either or? And I am simply seeking to point us to the “mystery” of both God, and His Holy Scripture! Something sadly often lacking with many so-called modern Calvinists. And again, one can only press “logic” so far here! GOD is much more than the great logician, it is here that men like old Tertullian can really help us, with his profound understanding of the Antitheses in God! (See, btw, Eric Osborn’s fine book: Tertullian, First Theologian of the West.)

  39. And I am myself never one to talk back to God! ;) Though I do use my mind to grapple with His Mystery! But of course in the end, I am nothing, but dust.. and yet as Paul says: “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves.” (2 Cor. 4:7) :)

  40. So in other words, when non-Calvinists appeal to God’s goodness and justice as reasons for rejecting Calvinism, they are placing mere human reasoning and “emotions” over “the clear teaching of Scripture.”

    But when Calvinists appeal to God’s goodness and justice to reject unconditional reprobation and a consistent reading of Romans 9, they are simply making proper use of “mystery” and appropriately refraining from being too logical.

  41. But of course in the end, I am nothing, but dust

    I actually believe we are nothing but dust. If I’m not mistaken (from previous interactions with you), you believe that humans are essentially immaterial, immortal souls.

  42. @Ron: I am somewhat missing your ad hoc in or towards Romans 9? I know you are “playing a bit of the devils advocate here”!

    And, I don’t remember you, sir? I am over 60, but I hope a young 62? ;)

    Indeed Man, or humanity are spirit and souls. And like Plato, I believe the soul is immoral! But, I am also close to Traducianism, and see the soul as somehow part of the body, and for Augustine, the two constituents make up a human being. But of course at death the soul and spirit depart and return to God.

  43. *immortal (wow, yes often times immoral also! ;)

  44. @Michael, was that last a Freudian slip? As a Calvinist? ;)

  45. I am not playing devil’s advocate, nor am I being ad hoc. I believe you are misusing the latter.

    The point I’m making is abundantly clear. So much so that I can’t help but think that anyone who says he doesn’t get what I’m arguing is either not carefully reading my posts or being coy. In light of that, I retire from this exchange with you.

    And I did remember correctly. On your view, you are absolutely not dust. At most, a non-essential part of you is dust.

  46. C Michael Patton March 15, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Ryan,

    Yes, Calvin was representing the grammar faithfully. The issue is what is the antecedent to “that”. Is it faith or salvation. Priority is normally given to the gender inflection, which favors the antecedent being salvation. However, the neuter suggests that it is the entire salvation process, including faith, that is the gift.

    That faith is a gift of grace is not disputed by any Christian tradition that I know of. Even Catholics hold to this.

    Here is what the Pillar commentary says:

    The context demands that this be understood of salvation by grace as a whole, including the faith (or faithfulness) through which it is received.

  47. Also, here is the Word Biblical Commentary:

    “and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” In the history of interpretation τοῦτο has been taken by some to refer specifically to the last word in the preceding clause, “faith” (among recent commentators cf. Caird, 53), so that even faith itself is explicitly said not to come from a human source but from God as his gift. But the parallelism of the two clauses of v 8b and v 9 suggests, rather, that both are comments about the introductory clause of v 8a. τοῦτο is probably best taken, therefore, as referring to the preceding clause as a whole, and thus to the whole process of salvation it describes, which of course includes faith as its means (cf. also Abbott, 51; Gaugler, 98; Bruce, 51; Schlier, 115; Gnilka, 129; Mitton, 97; Schnackenburg, 98). “Not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” can be seen as a further explanation of the grace aspect of salvation. The precise wording has no antecedent in Paul, but the thought reflects his belief accurately. ἐκ here denotes origin, cause, or source, so οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν excludes the readers’ causation or authorship of their salvation. The equivalent thought in Paul is his setting the righteousness that comes from God over against people’s own righteousness based on law (cf. Rom 10:3; Phil 3:9; cf. also Rom 9:16). A literal rendering of the second part of v 8b would be “God’s is the gift.” θεοῦ has been placed first in the word order for the sake of an emphatic contrast with the ὑμῶν. Salvation has its source not in the readers but in God, and it comes from him as a gift. τὸ δῶρον is used only here in the Pauline corpus. Elsewhere in Ephesians ἡ δωρεά is the term employed for gift (cf. 3:7; 4:7), and it is this term which was, in fact, used by Paul to refer to the generosity of God’s activity in Christ on behalf of men and women (cf. Rom 3:24; 5:15, 17; 2 Cor 9:15).

    Lincoln, A. T. (2002). Vol. 42: Word Biblical Commentary : Ephesians. Word Biblical Commentary (111–112). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.

  48. I do think that Calvinists believe in ‘faith alone’ as all one needs for salvation.

    Trouble is that they don’t have any assurance. So doubt creeps in and the internal examinations start. That is a formula for despair…or pride.

  49. Michael, how do you interpret John 5:40 where Jesus says to the pharisees…”and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” This verse, and others in John, have always seemed to indicate to me that people do actually have some sort of decision-making process in the order.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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