The Doctrines of Grace are a systematic expression of the faith once delivered to the saints. Specifically, an expression of that portion of the faith which relates to God’s gracious work in redeeming fallen men from the condemnation of sin.
The Doctrines of Grace are not a creedal statement. They are not an addition or a substitute for the systematic, doctrinal, expositional teaching of the entire counsel of God’s holy word.
The Doctrines of Grace
- Sovereignty of God
- Complete Depravity of Man
- Unconditional Election
- Particular Redemption
- Effective Grace
- Perseverance of the Saints
Sovereignty of God
By affirming the Sovereignty of God, we accept the Bible’s teaching that God is the Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer and Disposer of all that is. His Sovereignty is universal and absolute over all his creatures. He is subject to none. He is influenced by none. He does as he pleases, only as he pleases, and always as he pleases. None can frustrate him. None can resist him. None can change him. None can stop him. None can hinder him. God sits upon the throne of universal dominion, decreeing all things, directing all things, ruling all things, and working all things with infinite holiness, goodness and wisdom after the counsel of his own will for his glory and for the good of his elect.
Complete Depravity of Man
By affirming Complete Depravity, we accept the Bible’s teaching that all men are born with a fallen, sinful nature inherited from Adam. This sin nature corrupts the entire being; body, soul, spirit, mind, will and emotion. There is no portion of natural man which is not corrupted by the fallen nature. Consequently, the natural man is incapable of any spiritual good, including responding in faith to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
By affirming our belief in Unconditional Election, we accept the Bible’s teaching that God has elected unto himself a specific people from the entire fallen human race whom he will save because it pleased him to do so. God’s choice is not contingent, conditioned or constrained by any goodness in the elect or any predisposition on the part of the elect to believe the gospel.
By affirming our belief in Particular Redemption, we accept the Bible’s teaching that the Lord Jesus Christ has paid the penalty for the sins of the elect, thereby satisfying the strict demand of divine justice. Christ has fully exhausted the wrath of God for the elect once forever, so that they do not receive the just punishment for their sins. We affirm that Christ has not simply made it possible for the elect to be saved but rather he actually redeemed the elect at Calvary and made certain their ultimate salvation. We affirm the Bible’s teaching that the substitutionary sacrificial atonement made by the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary was on behalf of the elect alone. He did not die for those who are not elect and who suffer the just punishment for their sins in everlasting hell.
By affirming our belief in Effective Grace, we accept the Bible’s teaching that the elect will be saved. God will effectively call all those for whom Christ died to faith in him. The Holy Spirit regenerates the elect and simultaneously bestows the gifts of faith in Christ and repentance toward God.
Perseverance of the Saints
By affirming our belief in the Perseverance of the Saints, we accept the Bible’s teaching that none of those for whom Christ died will be lost eternally. We affirm that those who are genuinely converted will persevere and endure to the end. The Lord will restore them in his mercy and sovereign grace even if they fall grievously following public profession of faith.
It is liberating and humbling to understand and believe the Doctrines of Grace. Liberating, because we know that we have a sovereign, gracious Lord who has granted us his certain and everlasting salvation. Humbling, because we realize that we have contributed nothing and can contribute nothing.
Salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9).