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Soteriology Overview and Distinctions

Overview

Seven Key Words (ideas) in the Bible

  1. God—Sovereign, holy, righteous, love, eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, immutable, truthful, and created all things living and non living. Exodus 34.5-7; Psalm 90.2.
  2. Man—God created mankind in his own image to honor God, rule creation, and fellowship with God. Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8.4-9.
  3. Sin—Eve and then Adam sinned resulting in judgment from God, and sin passed to everyone. Genesis 3:1-7; Romans 5.12.
  4. Christ—He came to take the judgment for sin that we deserve; he is the substitute for the whole world. John 1.1-17; 1 Timothy 1:15.
  5. Grace—God offers forgiveness, everlasting life, and abundant life as a free gift to those who take it. Romans 5.21; Ephesians 2:8-9.
  6. Faith—A person gains forgiveness, everlasting life, and abundant life by trusting Jesus Christ for them. John 3.16; Ephesians 2:8-9.
  7. Future—Christ returns, Resurrection, Kingdom, Judgment, Eternity. Acts 17.30-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 20.11-15.

Correct Soteriology—Biblical

  1. Sovereignty. God is completely sovereign. He foreknows all events, actual and possible. He gave free will, delegated authority and responsibility.
  2. Total depravity. Extensive corruption, not inability. Still in the image of God and able to believe.
  3. Conditional election. God foreknows those who will believe and elects them in Christ.
  4. Unlimited atonement. Christ died as a substitute for the sins of everyone. Whoever wants may be saved.
  5. Resistible grace. People, by their own free will can resist God’s grace and reject forgiveness and life.
  6. Eternal security. Everyone who believes in Jesus Christ is elect and secure forever.

Correct Soteriology—Expanded Biblical View

  1. Preeminent Grace. God makes himself known to mankind, and the Holy Spirit enlightens a person through the veil that Satan uses to blind mankind to the gospel (Romans 1.18-32; Acts 17.24-31; 2 Corinthians 4.1-7; John 16.8-11). 
  2. Responsible Agency.  God holds man responsible for his moral decisions (John 3.16-18, 36; Luke 16.19-31; Hebrews 4.1-2; Romans 1.20).
  3. Free will or volition. God created man in his image and created him with free will. He can and does make choices for and against God’s will (Genesis 2.16-17; Isaiah 1.16-20; Job 1-2; Romans 9.30-33; John 1.9-13; Matthew 11.28-30; 1 Peter 1.-2; Revelation 22.17).
  4. Faith. Faith is simply believing God. Faith has no merit (Romans 4.4-5; Acts 16.31; Ephesians 2.8-9; Acts 28.23-24; John 6:25-30). 
  5. Eternal Security. Every person who has believed in Jesus Christ as Savior possesses eternal life forever. A believer can never lose his salvation (Ephesians 1.13-14; John 10.28-29; Ephesians 2.8-9; Romans 8.28-39). This is not perseverance of the saints.
  6. Rewards for Obedience. Rewards are distinct from eternal salvation. Rewards are earned by service while walking by the Holy Spirit, in the light, in fellowship with God, and properly building on Jesus Christ, the foundation (Romans 14.10-12; 1 Corinthians 3.8-15; 2 Corinthians 5.9-10; 2 John 8).

Wrong Soteriology—Canons of Dort, Extreme Calvinism, TULIP, 1618-1619

  1. Total Depravity. Man unable to believe in Christ, so God regenerates him, then God’s gives him faith. Believes that faith has merit. 
  2. Unconditional Election. God unconditionally elects or chooses certain people to be saved and rejects the rest.
  3. Limited Atonement. Christ died only for the elect.
  4. Irresistible Grace. Since God elects certain individuals for eternal salvation, those elected cannot resist his sovereign grace to respond to the gospel.
  5. Perseverance. The elect will persevere in faith and works, and so demonstrate their election.

Wrong Soteriology—Extreme Calvinism

  1. Sovereignty. God has determined everything to take place in the universe including saved and lost.
  2. Total depravity. Spiritual death is the total inability to please God and to believe in Christ.
  3. Unconditional election. God decreed who will be saved and who will be lost. The basis is unknown.
  4. Limited atonement. Christ died for only the sovereignly chosen elect. God does not love the non-elect.
  5. Irresistible grace. The elect are irresistibly regenerated before God gives them faith to believe.
  6. Perseverance of saints. The elect will persevere, but cannot be sure they are elect until the end.

Wrong Soteriology—Arminianism

  1. Sovereignty. God is completely sovereign. He foreknows all events, actual and possible. He gave free will, delegated authority and responsibility.
  2. Total depravity. There are diverse views. God gives grace to enable people to believe the gospel and to do any good works necessary to keep salvation. 
  3. Conditional election. God elects those whom he foreknows will believe and persevere in good works.
  4. Unlimited atonement. Christ died for all mankind.
  5. Resistible grace. People, by their own free will can resist God’s grace and reject forgiveness and life.
  6. Conditional security. Diverse views. Ultimate salvation depends on continued faith and good works.

Last Update

Saturday, February 11, 2017