J.I. Packer On The Five Points

First, it should be observed that the “five points of Calvinism,” so-called, are simply the Calvinistic answer to a five-point manifesto (the Remonstrance) put out by certain “Belgic semi-Pelagians” in the early seventeenth century. The theology which it contained (known to history as Arminianism) stemmed from two philosophical principles: first, that divine sovereignty is not compatible with human freedom, nor therefore with human responsibility; second, that ability limits obligation. (The charge of semi-Pelagianism was thus fully justified.) From these principles, the Arminians drew two deductions: first that since the Bible regards faith as a free and responsible human act, it cannot be caused by God, but is exercised independently of Him; second, that since the Bible regards faith as obligatory on the part of all who hear the gospel, ability to believe must be universal. Hence, they maintained, Scripture must be interpreted as teaching the following positions: (1.) Man is never so completely corrupted by sin that he cannot savingly believe the gospel when it is put before him, nor (2.) is he ever so completely controlled by God that he cannot reject it. (3.) God’s election of those who shall be saved is prompted by His foreseeing that they will of their own accord believe. (4.) Christ’s death did not ensure the salvation of anyone, for it did not secure the gift of faith to anyone (there is no such gift); what it did was rather to create a possibility of salvation for everyone if they believe. (5.) It rests with believers to keep themselves in a state of grace by keeping up their faith; those who fail here fall away and are lost. Thus, Arminianism made man’s salvation depend ultimately on man himself, saving faith being viewed throughout as man’s own work and, because his own, not God’s in him.

The Synod of Dort was convened in 1618 to pronounce on this theology, and the “five points of Calvinism” represent its counter-affirmations. They stem from a very different principle—the biblical principle that “salvation is of the Lord”; and they may be summarized thus: (1.) Fallen man in his natural state lacks all power to believe the gospel, just as he lacks all power to believe the law, despite all external inducements that may be extended to him. (2.) God’s election is a free, sovereign, unconditional choice of sinners, as sinners, to be redeemed by Christ, given faith and brought to glory. (3.) The redeeming work of Christ had as its end and goal the salvation of the elect. (4.) The work of the Holy Spirit in bringing men to faith never fails to achieve its object. (5.) Believers are kept in faith and grace by the unconquerable power of God till they come to glory. These five points are conveniently denoted by the mnemonic TULIP: Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, Preservation of the saints.

—J.I. Packer
Introductory Essay to John Owen’s Death of Death in the Death of Christ

The Lord Is My Salvation

The grace of God has reached for me
And pulled me from the raging sea
And I am safe on this solid ground
The Lord is my salvation

I will not fear when darkness falls
His strength will help me scale these walls
I’ll see the dawn of the rising sun
The Lord is my salvation

Who is like the Lord our God?
Strong to save, faithful in love
My debt is paid and the vict’ry won
The Lord is my salvation

My hope is hidden in the Lord
He flow’rs each promise of His Word
When winter fades I know spring will come
The Lord is my salvation

In times of waiting, times of need
When I know loss, when I am weak
I know His grace will renew these days
The Lord is my salvation

Who is like the Lord our God?
Strong to save, faithful in love
My debt is paid and the vict’ry won
The Lord is my salvation

And when I reach my final day
He will not leave me in the grave
But I will rise,
He will call me home
The Lord is my salvation

Who is like the Lord our God?
Strong to save, faithful in love
My debt is paid and the vict’ry won
The Lord is my salvation

Glory be to God the Father
Glory be to God the Son
Glory be to God the Spirit
The Lord is our salvation

—Words and Music by Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, Nathan Nockels, and Jonas Myrin
©2016 Getty Music Publishing / Sweater Weather Music / Capitol CMG Paragon / Son of the Lion

Christ The Sure And Steady Anchor

Christ, the sure and steady anchor in the fury of the storm
When the winds of doubt blow through me and my sails have all been torn.
In the suff’ring, in the sorrow, when my sinking hopes are few,
I will hold fast to the anchor; it shall never be removed.

Christ, the sure and steady anchor while the tempest rages on,
When temptation claims the battle and it seems the night has won;
Deeper still then goes the anchor though I justly stand accused;
I will hold fast to the anchor; it shall never be removed.

Christ, the sure and steady anchor through the floods of unbelief;
Hopeless somehow, O my soul, now lift your eyes to Calvary.
This, my ballast of assurance; see His love forever proved;
I will hold fast to the anchor; it shall never be removed.

Christ, the sure and steady anchor as we face the wave of death,
When these trials give way to glory, as we draw our final breath;
We will cross that great horizon, clouds behind and life secure,
And the calm will be the better for the storms that we endure.

Christ, the shore of our salvation, ever faithful, ever true;
We will hold fast to the anchor; it shall never be removed.

—Music and Words by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa
© 2015 Common Hymnal Publishing, 10000 Fathers, Love Your Enemies Publishing, Dayspring Publishing, LLC. CCLI #7045331

His Mercy Is More

What love could remember no wrongs we have done?
Omniscient, all-knowing, He counts not their sum;
Thrown into a sea without bottom or shore,
Our sins, they are many, His mercy is more.

What patience would wait as we constantly roam,
What Father so tender is calling us home!
He welcomes the weakest, the vilest, the poor;
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more.

Praise the Lord! His mercy is more!
Stronger than darkness, new every morn;
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more!

What riches of kindness He lavished on us;
His blood was the payment, His life was the cost.
We stood ‘neath a debt we could never afford;
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more.

Praise the Lord! His mercy is more!
Stronger than darkness, new every morn;
Our sins they are many, His mercy is more!

—Music and Words by Matt Boswell and Matt Papa
© 2016 Messenger Hymns / Getty Music Publishing / Love Your Enemies Publishing. CCLI #7065053

In My Place

God in heaven, high and holy,
measure of all good and beauty,
who can stand before the fire of holiness?

Sinners here so poor and needy,
who would come and clear the guilty?
If you numbered all our sins, Lord, who could stand?

In my place He stood,
all my debt nailed to the wood.
All my stains washed white
by the blood of Christ, my life.

Justice satisfied at Cal’vry;
sin there silenced by His mercy.
Where, O death, is your reply to Christ, our King?

In my place He stood,
all my debt nailed to the wood.
All my stains washed white
by the blood of Christ, my life.

Saints, forgiven, sing to Jesus;
bow before the lamb slain for us.
Hallelujah to the Savior evermore!

In my place He stood,
all my debt nailed to the wood.
All my stains washed white
by the blood of Christ, my life.

—Words and Music by Matt Damico

The Golden Chain

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

—Romans 8:28-30, ESV

Yet Not I, But Through Christ In Me

What gift of grace is Jesus my redeemer
There is no more for heaven now to give
He is my joy, my righteousness, and freedom
My steadfast love, my deep and boundless peace

To this I hold, my hope is only Jesus
For my life is wholly bound to his
Oh how strange and divine, I can sing: all is mine!
Yet not I, but through Christ in me

The night is dark but I am not forsaken
For by my side, the Saviour He will stay
I labour on in weakness and rejoicing
For in my need, His power is displayed

To this I hold, my Shepherd will defend me
Through the deepest valley He will lead
Oh the night has been won, and I shall overcome!
Yet not I, but through Christ in me

No fate I dread, I know I am forgiven
The future sure, the price it has been paid
For Jesus bled and suffered for my pardon
And He was raised to overthrow the grave

To this I hold, my sin has been defeated
Jesus now and ever is my plea
Oh the chains are released, I can sing: I am free!
Yet not I, but through Christ in me

With every breath I long to follow Jesus
For He has said that He will bring me home
And day by day I know He will renew me
Until I stand with joy before the throne

To this I hold, my hope is only Jesus
All the glory evermore to Him
When the race is complete, still my lips shall repeat:
Yet not I, but through Christ in me!

When the race is complete, still my lips shall repeat:
Yet not I, but through Christ in me!
Yet not I, but through Christ in me!
Yet not I, but through Christ in me!

—Jonny Robinson, Rich Thompson, Michael Farren

Via: CityAlight

Prayer For Good Friday

My Father,
Enlarge my heart, warm my affections, open my lips,
    supply words that proclaim ‘Love lustres at Calvary.’
There grace removes my burdens and heaps them on thy Son,
    made a transgressor, a curse, and sin for me;
There the sword of thy justice smote the man, thy fellow;
There thy infinite attributes were magnified,
    and infinite atonement was made;
There infinite punishment was due,
    and infinite punishment was endured.
Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy,
        cast off that I might be brought in,
        trodden down as an enemy
            that I might be welcomed as a friend,
        surrendered to hell’s worst
            that I might attain heaven’s best,
        stripped that I might be clothed,
        wounded that I might be healed,
        athirst that I might drink,
        tormented that I might be comforted,
        made a shame that I might inherit glory,
        entered darkness that I might have eternal light.
My Savior wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes,
            groaned that I might have endless song,
            endured all pain that I might have unfading health,
            bore a thorned crown that I might have a glory-diadem,
            bowed his head that I might uplift mine,
            experienced reproach that I might receive welcome,
            closed his eyes in death that i might gaze on unclouded brightness.
            expired that I might for ever live.
O Father, who spared not thine only Son that thou mightest spare me,
All this transfer thy love designed and accomplished;
Help me to adore thee by lips and life.
O that my every breath might be ecstatic praise,
        my every step buoyant with delight, as I see
        my enemies crushed,
        Satan baffled, defeated, destroyed,
        sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood,
        hell’s gates closed, heaven’s portal open.
Go forth, O conquering God, and show me the cross,
    mighty to subdue, comfort and save.

—The poem Love Lustres at Calvary from The Valley of Vision edited by Arthur Bennett

Christ is Mine Forevermore

Mine are days that God has numbered
I was made to walk with Him
Yet I look for worldly treasure
And forsake the King of kings
But mine is hope in my Redeemer
Though I fall, his love is sure
For Christ has paid for every failing
I am His forevermore

Mine are tears in times of sorrow
Darkness not yet understood
Through the valley I must travel
Where I see no earthly good
But mine is peace that flows from heaven
And the strength in times of need
I know my pain will not be wasted
Christ completes his work in me

Mine are days here as a stranger
Pilgrim on a narrow way
One with Christ I will encounter
Harm and hatred for his name
But mine is armour for this battle
Strong enough to last the war
And he has said he will deliver
Safely to the golden shore

And mine are keys to Zion city
Where beside the King I walk
For there my heart has found its treasure
Christ is mine forevermore
Come rejoice now, O my soul
For his love is my reward
Fear is gone and hope is sure
Christ is mine forevermore!

— Jonny Robinson and Rich Thompson
CCLI 7036096

Via: CityAlight

Prayer For The New Year

O LORD,
Length of days does not profit me except the days are passed
                in thy presence, in thy service, to thy glory.
Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains,
                sanctifies, aids every hour,
        that I may not be one moment apart from thee,
        but may rely on thy Spirit
                to supply every thought,
                speak in every word,
                direct every step,
                prosper every work,
                build up every mote of faith,
                and give me a desire
                        to show forth thy praise,
                        testify thy love,
                        advance thy kingdom.
I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
                with thee, O Father, as my harbour,
                        thee, O Son, at my helm,
                        thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.
Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
                                my lamp burning,
                                my ear open to thy calls,
                                my heart full of love,
                                my soul free.
Give me thy grace to sanctify me,
                thy comforts to cheer,
                thy wisdom to teach,
                thy right hand to guide,
                thy counsel to instruct,
                thy law to judge,
                thy presence to stabilize.
May thy fear be my awe,
                thy triumphs my joy.

—The poem New Year from The Valley of Vision edited by Arthur Bennett