Scripture Against Calvinism #4

For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Romans 3:28

Through Him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the Law of Moses. Acts 13:39

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. Romans 3:22

It is common for Calvinists to champion the doctrine of justification by faith or Sola Fide, which is one of the “Five Solas” of the Reformation ( along with Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, Sola Scriptura, and Soli Deo Gloria). But Sola Fide is by far the most iconic doctrine of the Reformation, which Martin Luther called the doctrine “by which the Church stands or falls”. Many prominent Calvinists see themselves as guards of the Reformation’s legacy, ( which may be why they like the label “reformed”) and take a dim view of any deviation from its doctrines, especially justification by faith. Wouldn’t it be supremely ironic then if Calvinism implies a denial of  Sola Fide? If Calvinism is true then we are not really justified by our faith in Jesus but by God’s decree to save us. Since everything is determined by God in spiritual matters, it therefore only takes God’s decree to save us and we will be justified because we helplessly and flawlessly conform to that decree. We don’t have free will with regard to salvation which means there is no spiritual significance, as far as justification or any other spiritual event is concerned, in our belief or decision to believe.

Put differently, you are justified by God’s decree that you believe in Jesus not by your belief in Jesus. These two ideas are definitely not the same. There is a crucial difference, because the decisive factor in justification is the decree and not the faith. This then is a denial of justification by faith and the verses in the New Testament that explicitly say that it is the faith of the individual that justifies. This becomes even more clear by how Calvinists interpret Romans 9. Everything has really been accomplished already before you were born: the clock has been wound and the program has been written and finished. All that’s left is to press play. Everything that could decisively impact events has already been taken care of. All that’s left is the mechanics. This means that justification is not a question of faith at all, if Calvinism is true. It is purely a question of what God decides to do, and not what we believe. In the Calvinist scheme, our own belief or faith in Jesus is just an outworking of the event of justification that has already taken place, but not the cause of that event.

 

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