Updated: Dec 12, 2022
Article first published on thewordunveiled.org
A Calvinistic soteriology, when properly adopted and applied, will pervade all of life and all of experience. The doctrinal statement summed up in the Reformed doctrines of grace is much more than an exercise of the mind. But the culminating fruit of Calvinism must be the transformation of your life.
Let me explain.
A true Calvinist will have an understanding of their own innate and thorough sinfulness. They will see their darkened minds and stony hearts in the shadow of the light of Christ and His Gospel. A Calvinist will look into the mirror of God’s law and be broken by the reflection of their own depravity before them. A Calvinist will see that they are monsters of iniquity apart from the sovereign regenerating work of God on their behalf.
Which also means – that a true Calvinist will have a big and glorious vision of who God is. God is holy, holy, holy...and I am not! God is seated in the heavenlies as King and Lord, and I am not. God is Creator, and I am His creature. As B.B. Warfield once said, “A Calvinist is a man who has seen God.”
When these two truths become not only a reality of the mind, but an experience of the heart, then this will lead to the culminating fruit of Calvinism - a transformed life.
God saves sinners (by His work alone) in order that they might be zealous for good works (Titus 2:14) and Christ-exalting service. By grasping the fact that God redeems men from the dust of the ground and makes them new creations, will drive us to serve Him. Am I practicing a life consistent with this truth? That God chose me, He purchased me, and He is keeping me in order that I might serve Him in this life. Is this your experience? Are you bearing fruit in a life lived unto the service of your King? Or is Calvinism just an academic exercise for you? Examine yourself (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Secondly, if God saved you wholly by His grace alone, do you continue to live with a dependence on the Lord to complete His work in you? This means a diligent prayer life - that God will use His ordained means to accomplish His ordained ends. A Calvinist should have a life of thoughtful prayer. God is the sovereign, He is the one who can do it, so we must petition Him. Is this true in your life?
Lastly, a true Calvinist will be the most humble of men (and women). Calvinism must yield humility. How could one look upon the Mighty Savior and wretched man and come away with any room for boasting. All too often the Doctrines of Grace make us most ungracious towards others who are theologically soft. Had not God opened our eyes, we too would be swimming in a world of squishy orthodoxy. Calvinism leaves no room for boasting in self.
In conclusion, a Calvinistic soteriology must produce a fruitful life of God-honoring service, dependence, and humility. If this is not the culminating fruit of Calvinism, then your theological system has become a head religion with minimal transformation. When God makes a Calvinist, He will give them a life consistent with the doctrinal truth. Is your life producing this fruit?
Soli deo gloria