Almost anyone today who calls himself or herself a Christian will tell you that they’ve been saved by the grace of God. Sadly, however, if questioned further on the subject, you will find many, many times that a great majority of these people do not understand grace at all. They trust in their baptism, their “good deeds”, their emotions, a decision they’ve made, etc. They speak of God’s grace and sing about it in their churches; yet they try to make some sort of contribution to their salvation. Time and time again we hear the “evangelists” say “Christ has done his part now you must do your part.” This is not grace!
When the Bible speaks of grace it is talking about a grace that is quite different that what is widely being taught today. Many books have been written for and against the doctrines that we’ll look at in this study. This book does not claim to teach anything new. Some of the words are my own; some have been taken from other books, pastors, and Bible teachers. All of it, however, I believe agrees with what the Bible teaches about the grace of God.
The purpose of his study is to help the reader look for himself at what the Bible says. By no means is this to be considered an exhaustive work on the topic. Rather, it is to help inform and
encourage the reader towards further study. I recommend using the King James Version when answering the questions.
Daniel S. McPherson II
I may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. THE NEED FOR GRACE ………………………………………………… 3
2. THE CONCEPTION OF GRACE ………………………………………… 10
3. THE SECURING OF GRACE …………………………………………… 16
4. THE APPLICATION OF GRACE ………………………………………. 23
5. THE TRIUMPH OF GRACE ……………………………………………. 29
6. ANSWERS TO POPULAR OBJECTIONS ……………………………... 33
7. SUPPORTING TEXTS ………………………………………………….. 38
8. QUOTES ………………………………………………………………….. 41
LESSON ONE: THE NEED FOR GRACE
To fully understand the grace of God, it is of the utmost importance that we study the spiritual condition of man. Is man a good creature? Is he utterly evil and corrupt? Or, is he somewhere in between? Many false teachings have become popular in churches today due to a misunderstanding of where man stands in relationship to God. This is what we shall examine in lesson one.
I. Part One: The Fall of Man
1. Read Genesis 2: 16,17
a. What did God command Adam? (v. 17) _______________________________
b. What would happen the day Adam disobeyed? (v. 17) _____________________
2. Read Genesis 3: 6-19
a. Did Adam obey God’s command? (v. 6) _______________________________
b. After Adam sinned, did he lose his innocence? __________________________
c. How do you know? (v. 7) ___________________________________________
d. Did he still desire fellowship with God? ________________________________
e. How do you know? (v. 10) __________________________________________
f. Did Adam die physically that day? ____________________________________
g. In what way did Adam die? _________________________________________
1. Read Genesis 5: 1-3
a. In whose likeness was Adam created? (v. 1) ____________________________
b. Seth was born in whose likeness? (v. 3) _______________________________
c. In whose image? (v. 3) _____________________________________________
d. Did Adam’s offspring inherit his corruption? ____________________________
2. Read Romans 5: 12
a. Did spiritual death come to just Adam? ________________________________
b. To whom did spiritual death spread? __________________________________
3. Read Ephesians 2: 1-3
a. In what are the unsaved dead? (v. 1) __________________________________
b. How does unsaved man walk? (v. 2) __________________________________
c. What does God say we are by nature? (v. 3) ____________________________
4. Read Psalm 58: 3
a. When do we go astray? _____________________________________________
b. What do we speak? ________________________________________________
c. Does man have to learn to be sinful, or is he born with it? __________________
d. Is it biblical to teach that babies are innocent? ___________________________
When God created Adam, He made him perfect and free from all sin. Adam was a servant and friend of God, having fellowship with him and enjoying his presence. When Adam chose to disobey God by eating of the forbidden fruit, his relationship to God changed drastically. He was separated from God and died spiritually (and later physically). We can see the evidence of his spiritual death by the following:
1. Adam’s awareness of evil --- his eyes were opened (Gen. 3: 7)
2. Adam’s lost innocence --- he covered himself (Gen. 3: 7)
3. Adam’s broken fellowship with God --- he hid himself (Gen. 3: 8)
Adam, being the representative for all mankind, plunged the entire human race into sin.
His sin was imputed to us and therefore, we are born separated from God and in a spiritually dead condition.
II. Part Two: Every Faculty of Man is Corrupt
A. The Heart
1. Read Mark 7: 21-23
a. List some things that come from the heart of man. (vs. 21,22) _____________
b. Are any of these things pleasing to God? _____________________________
c. What do they do to man? (v. 23) _____________________________________
2. Read Ecclesiastes 9: 3
a. Of what is the heart of man full? ____________________________________
b. What else is in the heart? __________________________________________
3. Read Jeremiah 17: 9
a. How does God describe the heart of man? _____________________________
b. Is there anything that is more deceitful? _______________________________
c. Is it biblical to teach that man is basically good at heart? _________________
B. The Mind
1. Read Romans 8: 7, 8
a. What does the carnal mind have towards God? (v. 7) ____________________
b. Does the carnal mind desire to do God’s law? (v. 7) ____________________
c. Is it able? (v. 7) __________________________________________________
d. Can the carnal mind please God in any way? (v. 8) _____________________
2. Read Ephesians 4: 17-18
a. How do the unsaved walk? (v. 17) __________________________________
b. What has happened to their understanding? (v. 18) ______________________
c. What is their relationship to God? (v. 18) _____________________________
d. What is in them? (v. 18) __________________________________________
e. Why is ignorance in them? (v. 18) ___________________________________
3. Read 1 Corinthians 2: 14
a. What does God say about man receiving spiritual truth? __________________
b. What is mankind’s attitude towards the things of God? ___________________
c. Is he able to understand the things of God? ____________________________
d. Why not? _______________________________________________________
C. The Will
1. Read Romans 3: 9-12
a. Under what power is mankind? (v. 9) ________________________________
b. Are any righteous? (v. 10) _________________________________________
c. Can unsaved man understand spiritual things? (v. 11) ___________________
d. Who seeks after God? (v. 11) _______________________________________
e. Who does good? (v. 12) ___________________________________________
2. Read John 8: 44
a. Who is the father of the unsaved? ____________________________________
b. From whom are the desires of unsaved man? ___________________________
3. Read Jeremiah 13: 23
a. Does man have the ability to change his skin color? _____________________
b. Does man have the ability to change his evil nature? _____________________
c. Does this imply a freewill or a bound will? ____________________________
Since the fall of Adam, mankind has been at total enmity against God. We are born with our minds corrupted, our hearts hardened and our wills in bondage to sin. We cannot come to God nor do we want to come. The Bible speaks of us as being servants (slaves) to sin and to the devil. This does not mean that man is as sinful or as wicked as he could possibly be, but that he is sinful in all of his being. Man cannot change his evil desires.
III. Part Three: A Picture of Our Dead State
A. Lazarus: Read John 11: 1- 44
1. What was the physical condition of Lazarus? (v. 14) ______________________
2. What did Jesus command him to do? (v. 43) _____________________________
3. Did Lazarus come forth? (v. 44) ______________________________________
4. Did Lazarus contribute in any way to this miracle? ________________________
5. Did Lazarus come forth to receive life or did he receive life so that he could come
6. What would have happened if Jesus would have left the decision up to Lazarus? _
The historical account of Lazarus in John 11 is teaching us an important spiritual truth. Lazarus was dead. He was totally and completely unable to help himself in any way. He did not ask for life nor did he “accept” an offer for life. He was made alive by the power of Christ alone. As it was with Lazarus physically, so it is with mankind spiritually.
“If men were able in the slightest degree to try to move in God’s direction,
there would be no need for God to save them. He would allow them to
save themselves. But no man is able even to attempt it.” --- Martin Luther
LESSON TWO: THE CONCEPTION OF GRACE
If man is to be saved, God must do something for him that he cannot do for himself. The Bible is very plain in saying that all men will not be saved. Therefore, it is quite obvious that God gives saving grace to some and withholds it from others. Does God have the right to do this? Why does God choose some? When did He choose them? Did He make the choice because of something in man or in Himself? Let us humbly look to God’s word for the answers.
I. Part One: God is Sovereign Over All Things
A. Read Isaiah 46: 9- 11
1. Is there any like God? (v. 9) ____________________________________
2. What does he declare? (v. 10) ___________________________________
3. Will his counsel stand? (v. 10) __________________________________
4. What does God say he will do? (v. 11) ____________________________
B. Read 1 Chronicles 29: 10- 13
1. Name the five things listed that belong to the Lord. (v. 11)
2. How much in heaven and earth is His? (v. 11) _______________________
3. Above what is the Lord exalted? (v. 11) ___________________________
4. Over how much does God rule or reign? (v. 12) _____________________
5. What should our attitude be towards our sovereign God? (v. 13) ________
C. Read Daniel 4: 35
1. What are the inhabitants of the earth counted as compared to God? ______
2. Can God’s purpose be thwarted? _________________________________
God is the almighty, all-powerful ruler over all things. Whatever He declares will come to pass and nothing comes to pass without Him declaring it. The inhabitants of earth are counted as nothing compared to the sovereign God. We should humbly bow before Him and praise His holy name.
II. Part Two: A People Chosen For Salvation
A. Read Ephesians 1: 4-5, 11
1. What did God do for the believer? (v. 4) _________________________________
2. When did he choose him? (v. 4) ________________________________________
3. Why did God choose him? (v. 4) _______________________________________
4. Believers were predestinated according to whose will? (vs. 5 and 11) __________
B. Read John 6: 37
1. Who will come to Christ? _____________________________________________
2. If it were dependent on man’s will, whom could the Father give? ______________
3. Will the ones given certainly come? _____________________________________
C. Read Romans 9: 11-24
1. Were Jacob and Esau born before God had made his choice? (v. 11) ___________
2. Had they done anything good or evil? (v. 11) _____________________________
3. For what purpose were they chosen? (v. 11) ______________________________
4. What does God say about Jacob? (v. 13) _________________________________
5. What does God say about Esau? (v. 13) __________________________________
6. Is God unrighteous for making this choice? (v. 14) _________________________
7. On whom will God have mercy? (v. 15) __________________________________
8. On whom will God have compassion? (v. 15) _____________________________
9. Is salvation by man’s will? (v. 16) _____________________________________
10. Is salvation by man’s work? (v. 16) ____________________________________
11. On whom does salvation depend? (v. 16) ________________________________
12. Is it your place to question your maker? (v. 20) ___________________________
13. Does God have power over his creation? (v. 21) __________________________
14. What is shown by God making vessels of wrath? (v. 22) ____________________
15. What is shown by God making vessels of mercy? (v. 23) ___________________
Before the foundation of the world God, in his loving mercy, chose (elected) a people for himself. This choice was not made because of any foreseen faith, belief, or good works in the individual. God was under no obligation to choose anyone. In fact, God would have been perfectly just in sending the entire human race to hell. If it were not for God choosing some, then all would be lost.
III. Part Three: Jesus Taught Election
A. Read John 15: 16, 19
1. Who makes the choice? (v. 16) ______________________________________
2. Why were certain ones ordained? (v. 16) ______________________________
3. Why does Christ say that the world will hate believers? (v. 19) ____________
B. Read Matthew 24: 22, 24, 31
1. For whose sake shall the days be shortened? (v. 22) _____________________
2. False christ’s and false prophets would deceive whom, if possible? (v. 24) ___
3. Who will angels gather together? (v. 31) ______________________________
C. Read Luke 4: 25-30
1. To whom was Elias sent during the famine? (v. 26) _____________________
2. How many lepers were cleansed by Eliseus? (v. 27) _____________________
3. What was the reaction of the people to this doctrine? (vs. 28- 29) __________
4. What’s your reaction? _____________________________________________
Many people in our day have the same reaction to the doctrine of election that the people
had in Jesus’s day. Man, in his natural state, hates this doctrine because it puts God on the throne and man at his mercy. When the Bible speaks of salvation by grace, that is exactly what it means! It is by nothing at all in man. God does the saving.
We must remember, however, that election is not salvation. It is God’s sovereign decree that marks out his chosen. All of the elect must hear the gospel and come to faith in Christ. They must be born again. We will look at this later on in our study.
“The ultimate destiny of every individual is decided by the will of God, and
blessed it is that such be the case. If it were left to our wills, the ultimate
destination of us all would be the lake of fire.” --- A. W. Pink
LESSON THREE: THE SECURING OF GRACE
God, in order to have a people for himself, had to deal with the problem of sin. He did this by sending the Lord Jesus Christ to live a perfect life and die on the cross in the place of sinners. But what did Christ’s death accomplish? Did it make it possible for God to pardon all sinners on the condition that they would believe? Or, did it secure salvation for certain sinners so that they would believe? Let’s see how the Bible describes this doctrine.
I. Part One: What Does Christ’s Death Do?
A. It Justifies
1. Read Romans 5: 8, 9
a. What did Christ’s death do for sinners? (v. 9) _______________________
b. Much more then, what are they now? (v. 9) ________________________
c. By what are they justified? (v. 9) _________________________________
d. Shall those for whom he shed his blood be saved? (v. 9) _______________
2. Read Isaiah 53:10- 12
a. For what was Christ’s soul made an offering? (v. 10) _________________
b. Was the offering satisfactory? (v. 11) _____________________________
c. Does Christ justify those whose iniquities he bore? (v. 11) _____________
d. Is everyone justified? ___________________________________________
B. It Reconciles: Read Romans 5: 10
1. What did the death of the son do for those who were once enemies? _________
2. Will these be saved? ______________________________________________
3. By what will they be saved? ________________________________________
4. Is it possible that God is, through Christ’s death, reconciled to all men, but that
only some men are reconciled to Him? ___________________________________
C. It Cleanses: Read 1 John 1: 7
1. By what are sinners cleansed? _______________________________________
2. Does Christ’s blood cleanse from all sin, or some sin? ____________________
3. If Christ’s blood cleanses an individual of all sin, what then could send him to
D. It Purchases: Read Acts 20: 28
1. What did Christ do for the church? ___________________________________
2. With what did he purchase it? _______________________________________
3. Does every individual in the world belong to Christ’s church? _____________
4. Did Christ purchase every human being? ______________________________
E. It Redeems
1. Read Colossians 1: 13, 14
a. Because of Christ’s death, what has God done? (v. 13) _______________
b. Name the two things in verse 14 that we (believers) have. _____________
c. Through what have these two things been obtained? (v. 14) ___________
2. Read Hebrews 9: 12
a. What did Christ’s death obtain? __________________________________
b. Is every individual redeemed? ___________________________________
c. Did Jesus make salvation possible for every man, or did he obtain it for
The Bible describes the death of Christ as an actual atonement for sin, not a potential atonement. It is nonsense to think that Christ paid a ransom for every individual and yet some are not set free. The Bible calls the blood of Christ a price or a ransom (Matthew 20: 28). The purpose of a ransom is to obtain the deliverance of those for whom the price was paid. Nowhere does it speak of Christ’s death as making salvation a possibility. The shed blood of Jesus actually secured the salvation of the ones for whom he died.
II. Part Two: Payment for Whom?
A. His People: Read Matthew 1: 21
1. What was Mary to call her son? ______________________________________
2. Who will Jesus save? ______________________________________________
3. From what will he save them? _______________________________________
4. Does this verse suggest that Jesus will provide an opportunity for salvation; or
that he will actually save his people? _____________________________________
B. His Church: Read Ephesians 5: 25- 27 *
1. Husbands are love their wives as Christ loved whom? (v. 25) ______________
2. For whom did Christ give himself up? (v. 25) __________________________
3. Why did Christ give himself up? (v. 26) _______________________________
4. Are men permitted to love other women besides their wives? ______________
5. Would Christ then, loving the church as an example of how a man should love
his wife, love others as well as the church as to die for them? __________________
C. His Elect: Read Romans 8: 32-34
1. In these verses, to whom do the words “us” and “all” refer? (v. 33) _________
2. Can anything be laid to the charge of those for whom Christ has been delivered
up? (v. 33) _________________________________________________________
3. What is Christ doing at the right hand of God for those whom he died. (v. 34) _
D. His Sheep: Read John 10: 11, 14-18, 24-29
3. Will Christ bring in all the sheep for whom he laid down his life? (v. 16) ____
4. Will they heed his voice? (v. 16) ____________________________________
5. Why didn’t the Jews to whom Christ was speaking believe on him? (v. 26) ___
6. What does Christ give his sheep? (v. 28) ______________________________
7. Will they ever perish? (v. 28) _______________________________________
8. Who gave the sheep to Christ? (v. 29) ________________________________
9. Since the men to whom Jesus was speaking were not of his sheep, did he lay
down his life for them? (v. 11) _________________________________________
God declares that the wages (payment) of sin is death but his gift is eternal life through the death of Christ (Rom. 6: 23). Jesus Christ paid these wages and obtained eternal life for those whom the Father had given him. Christ did not come to try to save every individual. If so, he has failed in his purpose. He did not come to enable men to save themselves. If this were so, then salvation would be of works, not grace. Christ went to the cross to save his people, his eternal church, his elect, and his sheep, who were predestinated before the foundation of the world.
III. Part Three: The High Priestly Prayer
A. Read John 17
1. For whom did Christ pray for eternal life? (vs. 2, 6, 9, 11, 24) _____________
2. What did he pray they might do? (v. 3) _______________________________
3. For what doesn’t Christ pray? (v. 9) _________________________________
4. For whose sakes did Christ sanctify himself? (v. 19) _____________________
5. Christ not only prays for the disciples, but also for whom else? (v. 20) _____
6. Does Christ pray for the ones who won’t believe? _______________________
7. If the great high priest, Jesus Christ, was unwilling to pray for those who were
not his own, would he then offer himself up for them? _______________________
In John 17, Jesus, in his prayer, refers to his giving himself in death and his praying for his own whom the Father had given him. It is clear that his intercession must be for the same people as those for whom he died. These are God’s elect.
“We can put the matter like this: Christ suffered for either,
all the sins of all men, or
all the sins of some men, or
some of the sins of all men.
If the last statement is true, then all men are still left with some sins, and so no one can be redeemed.
If the first statement is true, then why are not all men freed from sin? You may say, Because of their unbelief. But I ask, is unbelief a sin? If it is not, why are men punished for it? If it is a sin, then it must be among the sins for which Christ died. So the first statement cannot be true!
So it is clear that the only possibility remaining is that Christ had laid upon him all the sins of some men, the elect, only. It is this that I believe is the teaching of the Bible.” –John Owen
* In the Bible, God talks about “His church” in two ways. One way that he presents the church is as a corporate body. The corporate body of believers or the external church consists of all those from every denomination that have joined up with Christ by making a profession or becoming a member in a local church. Within this corporate visible church there are those who have not become saved. Corporately they may enjoy many privileges and blessings but personally they have not yet become born again. These are the ones that passages like II Peter 2:20 and Hebrews 10:26, 27 are referring to.
At other times in scripture, when God talks about the body of Christ or the church, He is referring to individuals who have personally become born again. These individuals are members of the eternal church. Theses are the ones who have had their sins paid. These are the ones for whom Christ prays for in John 17. These are the ones who have truly trusted in the Lord and have become new creatures in Christ Jesus. On the last day the tares (unbelievers) will be separated from the wheat (believers) and we will know those who belong to the eternal church (Matthew 13).
LESSON FOUR: THE APPLICATION OF GRACE
In Romans 10: 17, we are told that faith comes by hearing God’s word (the bible). Jesus commands us to take God’s word into all the world (Mark 16: 15). As we are obedient to Christ’s command, we are giving a general or external call to men to believe the gospel message. To most of the ones that hear this message it is foolishness. But we also see that there are those who do come to Christ for salvation. Why? Were these people smarter? Were they somehow less sinful than those who rejected the gospel? Obviously, from what we learned in lesson one, the answer is no. We know that men reject the gospel because of their total depravity (Rom. 3: 11). The miraculous thing is that any believe. Let us now look further into why this is so.
I. Part One: The Internal Effectual Call
A. Read John 6: 44, 45, 63- 65
1. Is man able to come to Christ of himself? (v. 44) _______________________
2. What is the only way that man can come? (v. 44) _______________________
3. What will God do to those he draws? (v. 44) ___________________________
4. Of whom shall the ones who are drawn be taught? (v. 45) _________________
5. Who is it that quickens (makes alive)? (v. 63) ___________________________
6. What does the flesh profit? (v. 63) ___________________________________
7. Who gives man the ability to come to Christ? (v. 65) ____________________
B. Read 2 Timothy 1: 9
1. With what have we (believers) been called? ____________________________
2. Were we called because of something we did? __________________________
3. According to what was the call? _____________________________________
C. Read 1 Peter 2: 9
1. What four things does God call believers in this verse?
2. What were we chosen to show forth? __________________________________
3. What has God done to get us out of darkness and into his light? _____________
D. Read John 10: 3,4
1. Who hears the shepherd’s (Christ’s) voice? (v. 3) _______________________
2. By what does he call them? (v. 3) ____________________________________
3. What else does the shepherd do? (v. 3) ________________________________
4. Do the sheep, whom the shepherd has called by name, follow him? (v. 4) ____
5. Why do they follow him? (v. 4) _____________________________________
When the natural unregenerate man hears the external call of the gospel, he is unwilling and unable to forsake his evil ways and humbly submit to it. He is a spiritual corpse that is dead in his sin (see lesson 1). The only way he will answer the call is if God the Holy Spirit draws him. Therefore, God, in order to bring his sheep (the elect) to himself, extends to them a special
inward call in addition to the outward call contained in the gospel message. This call becomes effectual in the hearts of God’s elect. These are the ones the shepherd calls by name. They will heed his voice and follow him.
II. Part Two: God Gives Faith
A. Read Ephesians 2: 8
1. By what are we saved? ____________________________________________
2. Through what are we saved by grace? ________________________________
3. Is faith something that we have in ourselves? ___________________________
4. Of whom is the gift of faith? ________________________________________
B. Read Matthew 16: 15-17
1. Did Simon Peter believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? (v. 16) ________________
2. Did he believe because of anything in or of himself? (v. 17) _______________
3. Why did he believe? (v. 17) ________________________________________
4. Would he have believed if God had not opened his eyes to the truth? __
C. Read Acts 16: 14*
1. Did Lydia respond to the gospel? ____________________________________
2. Did she respond because she was smarter or somehow better than those who did
3. What did the Lord do to her heart? ___________________________________
4. Did God open her heart because she responded to the gospel or did he open her
heart so she would respond? ___________________________________________
D. Read Luke 8: 9, 10
1. How does someone come to know the things of God? (v. 10) _____________
2. Was it Christ’s purpose that everyone should understand the gospel message?
3. Who’s the one who must give spiritual eyes and ears to understand the gospel?
When God calls one of his elect he also gives him the faith to believe. He draws the sinner to himself. He opens his spiritual eyes and ears so that the sinner will see his helpless condition. And he gives him a new heart that makes him willing to trust in Christ as his Saviour. This will result in salvation. This is the new birth. “….Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3: 3) Does man have control over his physical birth? Does man make a decision to be born? Of course not! God creates the babe in the womb in his own time. The one being born is totally passive. The same is true in salvation.
III. Part Three: Dry Bones Receive Life
A. Read Ezekiel 37: 1- 14
1. What did God command Ezekiel to do unto the dry bones in his vision? (v. 4) _
2. Did these dry bones receive life? (v. 10) ______________________________
3. Why did they live? (v. 5) __________________________________________
4. Could these bones have lived if not for the power of God? ________________
Just as in lesson one, when we looked at the raising of Lazarus, so the vision of Ezekiel teaches us the same spiritual truth. Believers are commanded to go out into the world with the word of the Lord. We preach to spiritually dry dead sinners. They have absolutely no hope in themselves. They are unable to make themselves spiritually alive. But, when the message is accompanied by the power of God the Holy Spirit, the dead sinner becomes a new creature. God puts his spirit in the hearts of his elect. These are the whole house of Israel (God’s Spiritual Israel, Rom. 9: 6-9). And these will be the ones brought into the land (heaven) which God had prepared for them.
“The Bible very clearly teaches that man is powerless, indeed dead, in his sin.
He is entirely unable to contribute anything towards his spiritual awakening. That
awakening is one hundred percent the activity of the Holy Spirit. So all the credit,
all the glory and all the gratitude belong to the Holy Spirit.” --George Smeaton
* “Lydia…which worshipped God” this means that Lydia was a Gentile converted to Judaism, not that she was a true believer before she heard Paul preach.
LESSON FIVE: THE TRIUMPH OF GRACE
So far in our study, we’ve looked at what God graciously does for poor dead sinners. The Father chose a people for himself. The Son died for those whom the Father had chosen. And the Holy Spirit applies this to their hearts and brings them to faith. These doctrines logically imply that the ones who receive these blessings will certainly be saved. Yet, there are those who teach that a true believer can fall from grace and lose his salvation. Is this the teaching of the Bible?
I. Part One: Safe and Secure
A. Read John 5: 24
1. What does the believer have? _______________________________________
2. Will he come into judgement? _______________________________________
3. From what has he passed? __________________________________________
B. Read John 6: 35- 40
1. What does Christ say about those who come and believe on him? (v. 35) ____
2. Will they be cast out? (v. 37) _______________________________________
3. Will Christ lose any that the Father gave him? (v. 39) ____________________
4. What kind of life does a person have when he believes? (v. 40) ____________
C. Read Romans 8: 35- 39
1. What are believers in all things? (v. 37) _______________________________
2. Through whom are we more than conquerors? (v. 37) ___________________
3. Can anything separate a believer from the love of God? (v. 39) ____________
D. Read Philippians 1: 6
1. If God begins the work of salvation, will he complete it? __________________
2. Can we be confident of this? ________________________________________
E. Read Psalm 37: 23, 24, 28
1. By whom are the steps of the believer ordered? (v. 23) ___________________
2. Does God delight in the believer’s way? (v. 23) ________________________
3. If he falls into sin, will he be cast down? (v. 24) ________________________
4. Who upholds the believer? (v. 24) __________________________________
5. Will God forsake his saints? (v. 28) __________________________________
6. How long will they be preserved? (v. 28) ______________________________
F. Read Romans 8: 28
1. How many things work for good to believers? __________________________
2. Would losing one’s salvation be a good thing? __________________________
G. Read 1 John 2: 19, 25
1. If someone becomes saved, will they continue in the faith? (v. 19) __________
2. If someone leaves the faith, were they really saved to begin with? (v. 19) ____
3. What has God promised true believers? (v. 25) _________________________
The teaching of scripture is clear that those who are saved will certainly persevere. They are given ETERNAL life the moment they believe. True believers are kept by the power of God and will not be separated from his love. Whatever God purposes, he will surely bring it to pass. He will complete the work he has begun. This does not mean that all who profess to be Christians will be saved. It is the saints, the true believers that are secure. There are many who profess to believe and then fall away, but the reason they fall away is that they were never in grace.
II. Part Two: Five Links in The Chain of Grace
A. Read Romans 8: 29, 30
1. What did God do for those He foreknew (foreloved)? (v. 29) ______________
2. For whom he did predestinate? (v. 30) _______________________________
3. Whom he called? (v. 30) ___________________________________________
4. For whom he justified? (v. 30) ______________________________________
Now, let’s look at the chain in reverse order.
5. What were those who will be glorified? (v. 30) ________________________
6. Those who were justified? (v. 30) ___________________________________
7. Those who were called? (v. 30) _____________________________________
8. Those who were predestinated? (v. 29) _______________________________
In Romans 8 God shows us the “five links” in his chain of grace. These five links are “foreknowledge”, “predestination”, “calling”, “justification”, and “glorification”. Each of these is true of every believer. Not one of these links will fail or break. Here we see that the activity is on the part of God alone. He does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Also, notice the fifth link in the chain- “glorification”. This is the destiny of every true believer. Salvation can never be lost because those, whom God has foreknown (foreloved), predestinated, called, and justified, he will also glorify. The verbs in these verses are in the past tense because in the mind of God, he sees his eternal purpose as already complete.
“Believers stand as upon a stable rock, and they are placed as upon a mountain
of brass, so cannot totally and finally fall; for the Father is not inconsistent in his
love; he doth not love today and hate tomorrow.” -- Christopher Ness
God deals with people in two ways. To some he gives mercy and to others he gives justice. To nobody does he give injustice. We must remember that God was under no obligation to save anyone. If God were to give everyone what he or she deserved, we would all be eternally damned.
Let’s say there are one hundred men on death row. You are a powerful judge who has the right and the means to pardon men on death row. You are also able to take care of them and turn them into upright citizens. You decide that you’re going to show mercy. You are going to show an act of kindness to these death deserving prisoners. So you go and exert your power and authority, releasing twenty-five of these men. Could I say to you, “Hey, that’s not fair. These other seventy five men deserve to be released also.”? The answer is no! That would not be a true statement. The amazing thing would be that the twenty-five were released from their death penalty, not that the seventy-five were left to suffer the consequences of justice.
This is what God does in election. All of us are on death row. We have all committed treason. For God to chose some and leaves the rest to justice is not unfair, it is marvelously merciful! The question is why would he save some in the first place.
2. “I don’t believe in election because God is a gentleman and would not violate my freewill.”
The Bible does not teach a neutral will. The Bible speaks of the human will as being enslaved to sin. It is free only in that it can sin freely. If God were to leave it to our will, not a single person would come to him (Rom. 3: 11). We should therefore rejoice in the fact that God intervenes.
3. “If a certain number are chosen for salvation, that would mean that there’s no use in spreading the gospel or praying for the unsaved.”
In order to become saved, the elect must first hear the gospel message. This is the job that the church is privileged to have. If God has ordained someone to be saved, he has also ordained that they should hear the gospel, believe, and repent. Only God knows whom all of his elect are. This is not our business. Our job is to faithfully spread the gospel and pray for the unsaved. God through our witnessing and prayers works to change the hearts of whom he will. God not only foreordains the ends, but also the means.
4. “Teaching people that we cannot lose our salvation will encourage them to live in and enjoy
the pleasure of sin.”
A true child of God will realize how untrue this statement is. When we become saved, we are a new creature ( 2 Cor. 5: 17, 18). A child of God has been given a new soul that causes severe conflict within his own personality when he sins. The true believer finds his highest pleasure in obedience to God. It is therefore impossible for a born-from-above believer to live as the unsaved person he was before he became a new creature in Christ. If we truly love him, we will keep his commandments (John 14: 15, 21).
*5. “I don’t believe that Christ died for only the elect because the Bible says that God loves the
“world” and wants “all” to come to repentance.”
The word “world” in scripture commonly means only some men in the world. Look up the following verses:
Luke 2: 1 - “all the world”. Every human being on the planet was not under the rule of
Caesar. The word “world” in this verse clearly means the Roman Empire.
John 1: 10 - “the world knew him not”. If “world” meant every individual in this verse, we
would have to conclude that there was nobody on the planet that was a believer.
But we know that some men did believe on him.
1 John 5: 19 - “the whole world”. This cannot mean every individual because we know there
are many true believers in the world that are not under the power of the wicked
John 8: 26 - “I speak to the world”. Was Jesus speaking to every person in the world? No.
Only a few Jews heard him speak.
John 12:19 - “The world is gone after him”. Did the Pharisees mean that every person in the
world was following Jesus? No. This can only mean most of the Jewish
nation had gone after him.
Now let’s look at some passages that are used to teach that Christ died for every human being.
1 John 2: 1, 2 - “for the sins of the whole world”.
To understand this verse, we must remember to whom it was that John was writing. Yes, the scriptures are for the whole church, but here John was writing especially to Jews. We know that John was an apostle to the Jews (the circumcision) from Galatians 2: 9. We can also see this in 1 John 2:7. He is writing to those who had previously heard God’s word. We know that God’s word came to the Jew first (Rom. 1: 16)
The Jewish nation was under the opinion that their nation alone was God’s people. John is concerned with preventing Jewish Christians from falling into the error of supposing that they were the only Christians. Christ made atonement for all of his elect which are scattered throughout the world. He did not die for Jews only, but for people from every nation and tongue (John 11: 52). This verse does not teach a doctrine of Christ dying for each and every man.
John 3: 16 - “For God so loved the world”.
This verse has been used more than any other to try to prove that Jesus died for everyone in the world. Look at the verse closely. God loved the world, his creation; therefore, he gave his only begotten son so that those of this world who believe on him should not perish. The declaration, “that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,” automatically excludes the rest! God did not send his son for those who will not believe. The Bible tells us who will believe. It is all of God’s elect. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and he that cometh I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6: 37) The rest shall perish because of their sins. If we were to conclude that Christ paid for everyone’s sins we would not be in agreement with the Bible that a great company of people will pay for their sins in hell.
1 John 4:14 - “Saviour of the world”.
Christ is called the Saviour of the world because there is no other saviour for any in the world (Acts 4: 12) and he alone saves all that are saved, all over the world. Obviously, he cannot be called the Saviour of the world because he has actually saved everyone – for he has not.
There are many other scripture passages containing the word “world”, but we will stop here. We must remember to see how God uses a word in the Bible. We must let the Bible be it’s own dictionary. We cannot assume that a word means something without comparing it to other scriptures. Now, let’s look at some passages containing the words “all men” or “every man”.
1 Timothy 2: 4- 6 - “Who will have all men to be saved”.
We know that God does whatever he pleases (Psalm 115: 3). So if “all men” means the whole human race, then everyone is saved. If not, then God has failed in his purpose. We know that neither of these conclusions is true. From other passages in the Bible it is plain that God does not will that the whole human race should come to knowledge of the truth (Psalm 147: 19, 20); Matthew 11: 25, 26; Acts 14: 16; Colossians 1: 26; Acts 17: 30). I Timothy 2: 4-6 can only mean some men of all sorts.
2 Peter 3: 9 - “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”.
Here the apostle is speaking to “us”. Who are these? In his first letter they are called the “elect” (1 Peter 1: 2) and “purchased people” (1 Peter 2: 9). In the second letter they are called “the beloved” (2 Peter 3: 1), the ones who received great and precious promises (2 Peter 1: 4) and are distinguished from scoffers (2 Peter 3: 3). It is clear that this verse means that it is all and only his elect whom he would not have perish.
Hebrews 2: 9 - “that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man”.
Let’s look closely at Hebrews 2 to see who is meant by “every man”. They are many sons (v. 10), the sanctified (v. 11), his brethren (v. 11), the children God gave him (v. 13), and those who are delivered (v. 15). Since none of these descriptions can apply to those who remain in unbelief, “every man” here cannot mean the whole human race.
When looking at verses such as these we must look at them in the light of the whole Bible. In Revelation 5: 9 and Revelation 7: 9, John uses “world” as a global perspective of people from every nation and tongue. John 11: 49 speaks of the elect who are scattered throughout the “whole world”. In John 6: 37 we see the “all” that God does not wish to perish. They are “all” of the elect throughout the “whole world”.
6. “Election simply means that God knew beforehand who would believe on him and chose these for salvation (Romans 8: 29).
If you have any understanding of the natural man, as taught in the Bible, you’ll understand
why this cannot be true. A corpse cannot believe and we are spiritually dead. There’s none that seeks after God (Rom. 3: 11). If God simply looked ahead to see who would believe on him he would have found no one. We could stop the argument right there, but we’ll look at some scripture containing the words “know” and “knew”.
Amos 3: 2 - “You only have I known”. Does this verse mean that God was ignorant of all other nations except for Israel? No. It means he knew Israel in a special way.
2 Timothy 2: 19 - “The Lord knoweth them that are his”.
1 Corinthians 8: 3 - “the same is known of him”. Do these verses mean that God is ignorant of all those who are not his? No. It means he regards those who are his with a special favor or love.
Matthew 7: 23 - “I never knew you”. Will the Lord tell people to depart from him because he was not aware of their existence? No. It is because he never “knew” them intimately, in a saving way.
The word “foreknow” adds the thought of “beforehand” to the word “know”. Many times in scripture the word “know” means far more than intellectual awareness. It often means love, to set regard upon, affection, etc. (Gen. 18: 19; Exodus 2: 25; Psalm 1: 6; 144: 3; Jer. 1: 5; Hosea 13: 5; 1 John 3: 1).
In Romans 8: 29, it does not say that God knew something about certain individuals (that they would do this or that), but it says that God knew the individuals themselves. The word “foreknow” is equivalent to “foreloved”. Also, in Acts 13: 48, we read “… as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” Nowhere does the Bible teach that as many as believed were ordained to eternal life! The only reason a person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ is because he was foreordained.
*Some of the arguments against statement number five in this section can be found (along with many others) in the book “The Death of Death in the Death of Christ”, by John Owen. It is available from the Banner of Truth Trust P.O. Box 621, Carlisle, PA 17013.
Although much more could be written on these great biblical truths, I trust that I’ve set forth enough evidence to show that God alone does the work of salvation apart from anything in or of man. These doctrines are of utmost importance because it is a matter of spiritual life or death. Are you trusting in a work that you’ve done? Do you believe that Christ has done ninety nine percent of the work and that one percent is left up to you? If so, you do not believe in the salvation plan of the Bible. God gets no less than one hundred percent of the credit for salvation.
Someone reading this might be thinking “But I remember a day when I did answer the call to salvation. I did believe on Christ and my life did change.” If you’re truly saved, let me say that, yes, you did believe. God did not believe for you. But the only reason you did believe was that God changed your heart first. He gets all the glory.
Others reading this might be saying “I really do want to be saved. I do want Christ as my saviour, but what if I’m not one of God’s elect?” First of all there will be absolutely no one on judgement day that will be able to say to Christ, “I sought you with all my heart, but it was no use. I wasn’t one of the chosen.” This is an impossibility. The promises of the Bible are true. Those who truly seek Christ will surely find him. Those who believe on him will be saved. If you are not born again or are unsure of your salvation, cry to the Lord for mercy like the publican in Luke 18: 13. If you do this with a broken and a contrite heart it is evidence that the Lord is at work in you. “And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev. 22: 17) Just remember that whosoever comes does so because he is one of God’s elect.
I once heard a pastor tell a story about a Methodist woman who was faithfully reading and studying her Bible. She kept coming across those passages that deal with election, the elect, and God choosing. Now, of course, the Methodist church doesn’t believe much about election so she hadn’t been taught anything about it. One day she decided she would go next door and ask her neighbor, the Baptist preacher, to explain election to her.
“I think I can help you” said the preacher. Then he asked the woman if she was saved. “Well, yes, I am” she answered. “Who saved you?” asked the preacher. “God did” replied the woman, “God saved me.” “Are you sure?” “Yes, I’m sure God saved me” answered the woman. “Well,” said the preacher, “Did you help him save you or did he save you all by himself?” “Oh no, he saved me all by himself” she replied. “ Now, I have one more question for you. Did God do that on purpose or did he kind of do it by accident?” “I guess he did it on purpose” exclaimed the woman. The preacher said, “That’s election.”
One time a man went up to the great English preacher Charles Spurgeon and said, “Mr. Spurgeon, I’ve read my Bible through twenty times on my knees and I haven’t found the doctrine of election once.” Spurgeon replied, “No wonder, reading in such an uncomfortable position at such a fast pace, it’s a wonder you’ve noticed anything in the book! May I suggest that you sit down and read more slowly.”
The following verses are given to help with further study of each lesson. Some verses will be repeated since they often teach more than one truth. More scripture could be given since the whole Bible teaches these doctrines, but I believe the ones listed are the most clear.
Gen. 6:5 Is. 64:6 Eph. 5:8
Gen. 8:21 Matt. 7:16-18 Col.2:13
Job 14:4 Matt. 12:33 2 Tim. 2:25,26
Job 15:14-16 John 3:5-7,19 Titus 1:15
Ps. 51:5 John 6:44,65 Titus 3:3
Ps. 130:3 John 8:34 1 John 1:8,10
Ps. 143:2 Rom. 6:20 1 John 3:10
Prov. 20:9 Rom. 11:35,36 1 John 5:19
Eccles. 7:20,29 1 Cor. 3:5
Is. 53:6 1 Cor. 4:7
Ex. 33:19 Matt. 19:26 Phil. 2:12,13
Deut. 7:6,7 Matt. 20:15 Col. 3:12
Deut. 10:14,15 Matt. 22:14 1 Thess. 1:4,5
Job 42:1,2 Mark 13:20 1 Thess. 5:9
Ps. 33:12 Luke 18:7 2 Thess. 2:13,14
Ps. 65:4 Acts 13:48 1 Tim. 1:9
Ps. 106:5 Acts 18:27 2 Tim. 2:10
Ps. 115:3 Rom. 8:28-30,33 Titus 1:1
Ps. 135:6 Rom. 10:20 James 2:5
Is. 14:24,27 Rom. 11:4-7,28,33-36 1 Pet. 1:1,2
Is. 55:11 1 Cor. 1:27-29 1 Pet. 2:8,9
Jer. 32:17 Eph. 1:4,12 2 Pet. 1:5-11
Hag. 2:23 Eph. 2:10 Rev. 13:8
Matt. 11:27 Phil. 1:29 Rev. 17:8,14
Matt. 20:28 2 Cor. 5:18,19,21 Titus 2:14
Matt. 26:28 Gal. 1:3,4 Titus 3:5,6
Luke 19:10 Gal. 3:13 Heb. 9:14,15,28
John 6:35-40 Eph. 1:3,4 Heb. 13:12
John 11:50-53 Eph. 2:15,16 1 Pet. 2:24
Acts 5:31 Phil. 1:29 1 Pet. 3:18
Rom. 3:24,25 Col. 1:21,22 Rev. 5:9
1 Cor. 1:30 1 Tim. 1:15
Deut. 30:6 Rom. 8:14,30 Phil 1:29
Is. 55:11 Rom. 9:16,23,24 Phil. 2:12
Ezek. 36:26,27 1 Cor. 1:1,2,9,23-31 Col. 2:13
Matt. 11:25-27 1 Cor. 2:10-14 2 Tim. 2:25,26
Matt. 13:10,11,16 1 Cor. 3:6,7 Titus 3:5
Luke 10:21 1 Cor. 4:7 Heb. 9:15
John 1:12,13 1 Cor. 6:11 James 1:18
John 3:3-8,27 1 Cor. 12:3 1 Pet. 1:2,3
John 5:21 2 Cor. 3:6,17,18 1 Pet. 1:15,23
John 17:2 2 Cor. 5:17,18 1 Pet. 5:10
Acts 5:31 Gal. 1:15,16 2 Pet. 1:3
Acts 11:18 Gal. 6:15 1 John 5:4,20
Acts 13:48 Eph. 1:17,18 Jude 1
Acts 18:27 Eph. 2:1,5,10 Rev. 17:14
Rom. 1:6,7 Eph. 4:4
Is. 43:1-3 Rom. 8:1 Heb. 9:12,15
Is. 54:10 1 Cor.1:7-9 Heb. 10:14
Jer. 32:40 1 Cor. 10:13 Heb. 12:28
Matt. 18:12-14 2 Cor. 4:14,17 1 Pet. 1:3-5
John 3:16,36 Eph. 1:5,13,14 1 John 2:19,25
John 6:47 Eph. 4:30 1 John 4,11-
John 10:27-30 Col. 3:3,4 13,20
John 17:11,12,15 1 Thess. 5:23,24 Jude 1,24,25
Rom. 5:8-10 2 Tim. 4:18
“Those who reject the doctrine of election are also doing away with humility, for it takes
real humility to see that we could not even start to turn ourselves to God.” --- John Calvin
“By “free-will”, not one person can be saved. But by free grace, many will be saved.” --- Martin Luther
“As for a hazy atonement that atones for everybody in general and for nobody in particular – an atonement made equally for Judas and for John – I care nothing for it.” ---
“Whether you are elected or not, I know not, but this I know – if you believe on Christ you will be saved.” --- Robert Murray M’Cheyne
“Little hope have we, my friends, if our salvation depends upon ourselves; but the salvation of which the Bible speaks is rooted in the eternal counsel of God.” --- J. Gresham Machen
“Since God always does things the right way, we must say that all who are actually redeemed are all he intended to redeem.” --- John Owen
“When the Spirit of God first begins to work in people’s hearts, His tendency is to bring them to a conviction of their absolute dependence on His sovereign power and grace.” –
“If the absolute determination of Christ included all mankind, then all mankind would most certainly be saved.” --- A.W. Pink
“Christ’s sacrifice is absolutely infinitely sufficient and utterly secures the salvation of anyone for whom it was made. To deny that would be to deny the gospel.” --- John Gerstner
“A man has no more power to change himself than to create himself.” --- Thomas Watson
“Christ’s death did not ‘create opportunities,’ it established certainties. Everyone for whom the Lord Jesus died is sure to be reconciled to God.” --- Tom Wells
“An awakening by mere natural conscience is very different from an awakening by the Spirit of God.” --- Robert Murray M’Cheyne
“When God saves those who deserve otherwise, no one complains. But when God condemns them, there is great protest.” --- Martin Luther
Agape Chapel Ministries