Saturday, September 28, 2013

Is Satan A Calvinist? (part 10 of 10)

Calvinism has been defined and demonstrated.  So, I ask the question again, “is Satan a Calvinist?”  The answer, in a matter of speaking, is yes and no.  More precisely, “yes” doctrinally, but “no” practically.  Ultimately, however, the answer has to be “no”!  Why?  Because theology and doxology cannot and must not be separated.  Ever!  You cannot truly have one without the other.  Theology absent of practice is like a head missing its body.  It is dead and cannot function; it will not be able to perform or fulfill the purpose for which it was created.
Moreover, biblical, systematic, consistent Calvinism hinges on God and his glory.  That is God’s glory being revealed (Lk. 9:28-35; 2 Cor. 3:18; 4:6; Ex. 33:18-34:8), exulted in (Eph. 1:3-14; Ps. 22:23; 29:2; 57:5; 145:1-12; 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 4:11; 5:12-14; 7:12), and seen as the goal of creation and redemption (Matt. 25:34; Tit. 1:2; Rev. 13:8; Rom. 5:14; 1 Pet. 1:19-20; 2 Tim. 1:9; Eph. 1:4; 3:7-11; 1 Cor. 15:24-28; Jn. 17:2, 6). 
If that is the case, then we know that Satan will not willingly worship, honor, glorify God, or seek his glory.  He finds no pleasure or joy in God or his majesty.  The devil is wicked and bent on corrupting or dispelling the light with his darkness.  He too is radically depraved.  However, indirectly and against his will, Satan brings glory to God by being conquered, triumphed over, judged, and punished for eternity (Rev. 20:10; 1 Jn. 3:8; Heb. 2:14).  Note, the devil does not glorify God, but God glorifies himself through his actions directed towards Satan.  Calvin, as is expected, sheds much needed light on this,

Satan is clearly under God’s power, and is so ruled by His bidding as to be     compelled to render Him service... For inasmuch as the devil is by nature wicked, he is not at all inclined to obedience to the divine will, but utterly intent upon contumacy and rebellion... By this wickedness he is urged on to attempt courses of actions which he believes to be most hostile to God.  But because with the bridle of His power God holds him bound and restrained, he carries out only those things which have been divinely permitted to him; and so he obeys his Creator, whether he will or not, because he is compelled to yield Him service wherever God impels him.[1]

When all is said and done, God will glorify himself by executing holy judgment and righteous indignation on Satan and his minions.  God’s justice will be vindicated and his wrath poured out for all eternity on those who sought only to glorify themselves and not obey and serve the Creator (Rev. 12:9-12; 1 Cor. 15:25-28).  Keep in mind that Satan knows all the right things, he is doctrinally sound.  That knowledge will not save him though.  He is wise, extremely intelligent, and educated beyond human comprehension, yet he will endure everlasting punishment and torment in hell.  Knowledge does not save.  Neither does doctrine.  Christ saves!
     Calvinism begins with a gospel-saturated mind and heart that worships and adores the Lord as he is; as he reveals himself.  In other words, it treats God as God.  The focus is rightly placed on the glory, sovereignty, freedom, and purposes of God.  Only then does it move to rebellious, sinful, iniquitous, wicked man.  This is not, nor could it be a manmade invention or creation.  Mankind has always set himself at the heart of everything and then expected God to work within prefabricated and predefined parameters.  Notwithstanding, Calvinism is God-centered, Christ-exalting, Spirit-inflamed, grace-driven, joy-producing, gospel-empowered Christianity.  These doctrines seek to glorify God and humble humanity; honors God as King and sees man as beggars; magnifies God as the Lord of Life and man as dead and lifeless.  “Salvation belongs to the Lord” (Jon. 2:9).  As such, man would never seek after God unless he sought to save sinners first.  Just as light from the sun is needed to see the sun, we need God in order to see God (Ps. 36:9 “in Your light do we see light”).

[1]Calvin, Institutes, 1.14.17.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Is Satan A Calvinist (part 9 of 10)

Way Of Life
Boice, quoting Warfield, states that “Calvinism is that sight of the majesty of God that pervaded all of life and all experience.”[1]  He goes on to say, “it is especially important to understand that Calvinism is not a set of doctrines but a whole way of life.  God has revealed the doctrines of grace not simply for the instructions of our minds, but ultimately for the transformation of our lives.”[2]  Here are several ways Calvinism can be viewed as a way of life:
·      Affects prayer, study, Bible reading, and meditation (Rom. 15:4; 1 Thess. 5:17; 2 Tim. 2:15; Ps. 119:15, 27, 78, 97; Phil. 4:8; Col. 3:16).
·      Instills hope, confidence, joy, humility, anticipation, and thankfulness (Ps. 50:23, 30:4-5, 71:5, 107:8-9, 130:3-5; Phil. 2:3-5; 1 Pet. 1:8, 3:15; Tit. 2:3; Col. 1:21-23; 1 Cor. 13:13; 2 Thess. 2:16; 1 Thess. 5:18).  Calvin wrote, “... man is never sufficiently touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with God’s majesty.”[3]
·      Heightens love, worship, and praise (1 Pet. 2:9; Ps. 66:16; 63:1-8; 70:4; 35:9; 98:1-4; Heb. 13:15; Rom. 5:2, 11). 
·      Drives one to learn about and seek God in his creation and providence (Ps. 111:2; 143:5; 8:3-9; 19:1-3; 40:5; 77:12; Rev. 15:3-4; Rom. 8:28).

·      Fills with awe, reverence, godly fear, wonder, amazement, and delight (Hab. 2:20; Ps. 1:2; 16:11; 17:15; 25:4-11; 33:8; 36:8-9; 42:1-2; 65:4; 66:16; 86:8-13; 89:7; 107:9; 118:15; 119:14-16, 77, 92, 143, 174; 147:11; Is. 61:10; 1 Pet. 1:8; Matt. 10:28).  Beeke has written, “As Calvinists, we are enamored with God.  We are overwhelmed by His majesty, His beauty, His holiness, and His grace.  We seek His glory, desire His presence, and model our lives after Him... we have only one concern: to know God, to serve Him, and to see Him glorified.”[4]
·      Motivates to witness and work (Eph. 2:10; Tit. 2:14; 3:8; Col. 1:10, 22; 2 Thess. 2:16-17)
·      Moves one to repentance, godly sorrow, holiness, and the mortification of the flesh (Rom. 3:14; 1 Pet. 2:1, 4:2; Gal. 5:16; 1 Jn. 3:3; Ps. 119:11; Phil. 3:3; Col. 3:5-9).  “A penitent spirit” wrote Boice, “is one of the hallmarks of Calvinism.”[5] 
·      Encourages to do all for the glory and honor of God (1 Cor. 6:20; 10:31; Col. 3:17; 1 Pet. 4:11).  Once more Boice, “The true Calvinist not only recognizes God’s glory but is also jealous to promote it.”[6]
·      It is not just a way of life, it is the Christian life (1 Jn. 2:6; Eph. 5:2; Rom. 6:4; 7:4; Col. 2:6-7; 3:1-3, 12-15).
·      Enables one to always rejoice and trust in Christ even in the midst of suffering (Phil. 4:4; 1 Thess. 5:16; 2 Cor. 6:10; 1 Pet. 1:3-9; 4:12-13).

[1]James Montgomery Boice and Philip Graham Ryken, The Doctrines of Grace: Rediscovering The                            Evangelical Gospel (Wheaton, Il: Crossway, 2002), 180-181.
[2]Ibid. 184.
[3]Calvin, Institutes, 1.1.3.
[4]Beeke, Living, 42.
[5]Boice, Doctrines, 186.
[6]Ibid. 198.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Is Satan a Calvinist (part 8 of 10)

Theology of the Bible
     Calvinists believe that their system is the teaching of the entire Bible.  It is a “system” taken from the scriptures themselves; derived from the very words of God.  They hold that they are merely thinking God’s thoughts after him.  The doctrines of Calvinism form lenses that view God’s word as theocentric and Christ-centered, provide a hermeneutic to interpret the scriptures along those lines, with the end result being doxology.  Packer’s thoughts on Calvinism:
Calvinism is a whole worldview, stemming from a clear vision of God as the whole world’s Maker and King.  Calvinism is the consistent endeavor to acknowledge the Creator as the Lord, working all things after the counsel of His will.  Calvinism is a theocentric way of thinking about all life under the direction and control of God’s own word.  Calvinism, in other words, is the theology of the Bible viewed from the perspective of the Bible- the God-centered outlook that sees the Creator as the source and means and end of everything that is, both in nature and in grace.  Calvinism is thus theism (belief in God as the ground of all things), religion (dependance on God as the giver of all things), and evangelicalism (trust in God through Christ for all things), all in their purest and most highly developed form.  And Calvinism is a unified philosophy of history that sees the whole diversity of processes and events that take place in God’s world as no more, and no less than the outworking of His great preordained plan for His creatures and His church.[1]

Calvinism is theocentric.  That is, God-centered and God-saturated; God permeates every proverbial inch of Calvinism.  God is the focus, source, end, and nidus.  Calvinism is God-driven and God-enraptured theology at its very finest.  It seeks to bring honor and glory to God by placing him and his will at the center of all.  The Calvinist is jealous for God’s resplendency because he is worthy and his word preaches and teaches that same message (Eph. 1:3-14; 1 Cor. 15:28, 8:6; Acts 2:23; Rom. 11:36, 16:25-27).  If this is true then all the doctrines in the Bible must be seen in this light, they are to be interpreted in relation to God.  Here is an example from Beeke, “...Calvinists define all doctrines in a God-centered way.  Sin is horrible because it is an affront to God.  Salvation is wonderful because it brings glory to God.  Heaven is glorious because it is the place where God is all in all.  Hell is infernal because it is where God manifest His righteous wrath.”[2]   
Christicentric is also used to describe Calvinism’s approach to theology.  As the Bible centers on God it points the reader to Christ.  He is the Word.  Christ is in the Old Testament as well as the New.  He was in the garden with Adam and Eve, confronted Cain, met with Abram, wrestled with Jacob, appeared to Moses in the burning bush, rescued the three men in the fiery furnace, closed the mouth of the lion, sat on his throne in Isaiah’s vision, clothed the high priest Joshua, to name only a few instances of Christ in the Old Testament.  The Old Testament looked forward to Christ and the New Testament looks back on him.  He is the focal point of Scripture and all of history for that matter (Lk. 22:37, 24:27, 18:31-33; Matt. 26:24, 53-54; Jn. 5:39; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; 1 Pet. 1:19-20).

Calvinism is even hermeneutical.  It serves as a grid in which to interpret all of Scripture.  It has its origin in Scripture so can be used as a guide in interpreting. Calvinists do not impose their own beliefs and convictions into a text.  They believe that Scripture interprets Scripture, so they are justified in using their model as a template in which to explain a passage.  And since God inspired his word, had it written down for man, and is the subject of his revelation, it follows that his self-extolling plans and decrees (which are completely sovereign and formed only in the mind of God with his end in view) that are gleaned from them, form the very bases for his word to man.  In other words, Calvinism takes its doctrines from the very pages that the God they exalt had written in order to unveil himself and his redemptive purposes.  Calvinism is nothing less than what the bible teaches about God and his magnificent salvation (Lk. 24:25-27; Acts 10:43, 24:14, 26:22-23; Rom. 1:2, 3:21).
In the end, Calvinism is doxological.  It humbles man and exalts God.  The result is that all praise, adoration, obedience, worship, honor, fear, and reverence are due God.  He alone is worthy.  It is God who works all things to their appointed ends all for his glory.  He created and revealed himself.  It was God who planned to manifest all of his glorious attributes in the fall of his creatures and in the redemption of his chosen.  He had his word written and preserved and raised up prophets and preachers as his heralds.  He now calls and sends, draws and delivers, convicts and condemns, blesses and curses, softens and hardens, saves and passes over; he opens the very heavens, condescends, and meets with his redeemed.  He shows mercy and pours forth grace.  He loves and forgives those who repent.  Our God uses sinful vessels to accomplish his will.  Oh how patient and slow to anger is this God.  These doctrines elevate the Lord and ought to produce worship (1 Pet. 2:9; Eph. 1:3-14; Ps. 73:25-28, 66:3-4, 46:10; Rom. 16:25-27).

[1]J .I. Packer, “Saved By His Precious Blood: An Introduction to John Owen’s The Death of Death in the                    Death of Christ” in In My Place Condemned He Stood: Celebrating the Glory of the Atonement, J. I.                        Packer and Mark Dever (Wheaton, Il: Crossway, 2001), 116-117.
[2]Joel R. Beeke, “The Marrow of Calvinism” in Living for God’s Glory: An Introduction To Calvinism                        (Orlando, Fl: Reformation Trust, 2008), 42.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Is Satan A Calvinist (part 7 of 10)

The Sola’s

The next subject beyond the five points are what is commonly termed the Sola’s.  These are: sola Scriptura, sola gratia, sola fide, solus Christus, and soli deo gloria. Sola Scriptura is the teaching that the “Scripture alone” is the churches authority.  It is not the Bible and (fill in the blank); Scripture is sufficient for Christ’s church.  As the written word of God, it is the only source of the gospel and sanctification for the believer.  As such, the scriptures must be preached, taught, expounded, sung, exposited, explained, lived, loved, treasured, translated, obeyed, and memorized  (2 Pet. 1:21; Is. 55:10-11; Ps. 19:7-11; Deut. 29:29; 2 Tim. 3:15-16).
Sola gratia means that salvation is by “grace alone.”  Man cannot save himself, nor is he willing to come until the Spirit does a work in an unbeliever’s heart.  Also, mankind has no merit before God; all humanity stands condemned and worthy of God’s righteous indignation.  We have merited or earned hell and judgment.  But, God saves sinners by showing them favor.  He gives the undeserving forgiveness of sins and eternal life (Gal. 2:21; Rom. 9:16, 11:6, 5:20-27; Eph. 2:1-10).
Sola fide is the teaching that salvation is through “faith alone.”  Faith is the channel in which salvation flows.  It is the repentant sinner knowing, believing, and trusting Christ and his gospel for salvation.  The sinner clings to Christ and is united to the Savior.  As a result, the sinner is justified (declared righteous due to the imputed righteousness of Christ), set apart, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and promised glorification (Rom. 3:22, 28, 30; 4:1-15; Eph. 2:8).

Solus Christus means that Christ did the work of salvation, accomplished it on behalf of his elect.  “Christ alone” is the only Savior; there is no other.  He is the sinners perfect Prophet, Priest, and King.  He is the source of salvation, he is salvation.  It was Christ that made atonement for sin.  It was Christ that propitiated the wrath of the Father.  It was Christ who lived a perfect and sinless life, obeying the Father in all things, thereby imputing his active righteousness to believers.  It was Christ, the one who knew no sin, that became sin.  It was Christ that became a curse.  It was Christ that humbled himself and veiled himself in flesh, becoming a man and being tempted in every way that we are, yet without sin.  It was Christ that was forsaken on the cross, died a repulsive and horrifying death, buried in a borrowed tomb, and raised on the third day.  It is Christ that now lives and makes intercession for his own.  Salvation is in Christ alone (1 Pet. 2:24, 3:18; 1 Cor. 15:1-3, 2:2; 2 Cor. 5:21; Acts 4:12, 2:21; Jn. 3:36, 17:3)!
The final sola is soli deo gloria.  That is, “glory to God alone.”  God does everything for his glory.  Everything.  He is a jealous God and will not give his glory to another.  He demands that creation worship and obey him because he is worthy and glorious.  This is far reaching.  His creating, preserving, saving, damning, calling, blessing, cursing, giving, taking, judging, humbling, breaking, killing, using, encouraging, building, destroying, guiding, leading, forsaking, condemning, glorifying, hardening, softening, all serve to glorify him.  Obviously, this is beyond us, who can even begin to know and understand the mind of the Lord (Rom. 9:22-23, 11:33-36; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:16; Is. 48:11, 43:7, 21-25, 60:21; Ps. 25:11, 79:9, 46:10; Neh. 9:10; Dan. 9:15; 1 Jn. 2:12; Phil. 2:13)?
In summary: salvation is in Christ alone, by grace alone, through faith alone, as revealed in Scripture alone, for the glory of God alone.  It is apparent that these are not man-made doctrines.  They are counterintuitive to everything that is in sinful man.  These are human-humbling and God-exalting. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Is Satan A Calvinist? (part 6 of 10)

Next, the covenants need discussion and enhancement.  Calvinists have historically interpreted Scripture through several covenants initiated by God.  For our purpose we will look at those dealing particularly with redemption and salvation.  The first was a covenant between the Father and Son.  This is referred to as the Covenant of Redemption.  Jesus was “foreknown before the foundation of the world” (1 Pet. 2:20); grace was given to us “in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” (2 Tim. 1:9); Jesus “accomplished the work that you [the Father] gave me to do” (Jn. 17:4); “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world...” (Eph. 1:4).
Second is the Covenant of Works.  This is seen as promises made to Adam pertaining to his obedience.  God told him to not eat of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  If Adam obeyed, during a period of probation, he and his posterity would have life with God.  Upon disobedience, all mankind would surely die.  This is seen in Genesis 2:16-17, Hosea 6:7, 1 Corinthians 15:44-49, and Romans 5:12-21.  The Westminster Confession states it this way, “the first covenant made with man was a covenant of works, wherein life was promised to Adam; and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience” (VII. II.).
Next is the Covenant of Grace.  This is God working out the Covenant of Redemption in space and time.  Support for this is viewed in Genesis 3:15, Ezekiel 11:18-21, Jeremiah 31:27-37, and Hebrews 8:7-13 with 9:24.  In this covenant God offers eternal life and salvation through Christ.  This salvation is only by the grace of God and given exclusively to his elect.  He calls and draws them unto himself.  Again, the Westminster Confession is helpful,
Man, by his fall, having made himself incapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second... wherein He freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ; requiring of them faith in Him, that they may be saved, and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life His Holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe (VII. III.).