Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. - Psalm 119:105


TULIP? What is it all about?

By Dr. Richard J. Krejcir
Calvin stated that we cannot please God; it is by what Christ has done through faith that pleases Him.

Total depravity
Unconditional Election
Limited Atonement
Irresistible Grace
Perseverance of the Saints

Think Calvin was wrong? See what the Bible has to say….
Think Calvin was wrong? See what the Bible has to say….


T "Total depravity" the T in T.U. L I. P. This is a doctrine of grace. It means all people have been 'effected' by sin. It does not mean we are as bad as we could be, because the Holy Spirit is the great restrainer. Thus nothing good can come from us to please God.  This is also called 'original sin'. (1 Cor. 15:42-49; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:24; Phil.. 3:20; Col. 3:10) Growing in faith, education and commitment will prevent sin's practice, but it is still there. When we reject this essential doctrine what we are doing is in fact saying we have no need for a Savior. This is what the Universalist and Unitarian Churches believe.

Calvin speaks a lot on the 'civil good', that is our good deeds; however, this cannot please God, it is by what Christ has done through faith that pleases Him. We cannot seek God either, thus "seekers" is not a Biblical term, God seeks us.

U "Unconditional Election", The "U" in TULIP, means to select or to chose, that God chose us by His purpose, period, by nothing else, either by our means or His foreknowledge (Eph. 1:3-14; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; 2 Tim. 1:9-10;) We cannot fathom this true implication, meaning or reasoning, we have to trust that God is God and we are not, thus we have no idea of His plan or purpose. All Christian groups who use the Bible teach election, the division is in its meaning and purpose, which God has not revealed to us, we can only speculate. We only know what He has revealed, that He does elect, our call is to trust and obey (1 Cor. 1:8-9; Phil.1:6; 1 Thess. 1:3-6; 5:23-24; II Tim. 1-12; 4:18; II Pet. 1:10) Our purpose is not to argue over this, but to accept His amazing grace. The term "Reprobation" refers to His decision "to elect and to others He choose not to elect". Also God allows us to stay in our sins as a form of judgement (vs. 1:24-26; 9:14-24; 11:25) God in His reasoning, which is perfect and holy, does not select some, and/or allows them to stay in sin. This does not mean He chose them to go to hell. This is "Hyper Calvinism" or "Double Predestination" and this is not Biblical doctrine (Psalm 81:12; 1 Pet 2:8)! "Unconditional Election",  Puts the emphasis on our depravity. People do not want to think of themselves as worthless, and unredeemable by their own merit, this is un-American, yet it is very Biblical. We are unable and unwilling to seek God on our own, thus we need divine intervention. This is the role of the Holy Spirit. This is God's choosing for God's purpose, in His incredible love, He seeks us!!! Election is no excuse to sit and do nothing in service and witness to others!

L "Limited Atonement", the "L" in T.U.L.I.P. Christ's atonement in no way was or is restrictive, or has a limited value, or only powerful enough for just a few people. Hence, there is a lot of misleading theology by a misunderstanding of this term. Christ's sacrifice was, and continues to be, limitless in it's scope and value and power. It is fully enough to save all who ever lived. But the focus is not the power and ability, but the purpose. Traditional reformed thinking is that Christ's sacrifice was for only those who the father has selected (Election). And that He bore our place in suffering and wrath and in taking God's judgment upon Himself for us. Thus this term "Limited Atonement" should be "Specific Redemption". Note that all Christian faith's teach this doctrine! Even Arminianism. The difference is Arminiaus taught that, because of God's "fore-knowledge", Calvin said because of God's "Purpose". Romans says the latter.       

              I "Irresistible Grace": the "I" in T.U.L.I.P.  Greek, "charis" meaning undeserving act of kindness. This is one of the most enduring actions of love that could ever be conceived (Gen. 6:8; Psalm 45:2; 84:11; Zech. 12:10; Luke 2:40; John 1:17; Acts 4:33; Rom. 1:7; 5:17; 11:6; 16:20; II Cor. 8:9; 13:14; Gal. 5:4; Eph. 1:7; 3:2; 4:7; 6:24; Heb. 12:28; James 4:6; ! This means that our salvation is a gift, that can not be earned or purchased (Hos. 14:4; John 1:16; 10:4; Gal. 1:3; Eph. 2:8-9; I Pet. 1:2; 5:12 II Pet. 3:18). "Sola Gratia", by Grace Alone, the sounding proclamation of the reformation. What this means in reformed theology is that Jesus knows His sheep, that He reveals Himself in such a way that we will respond. He does not force us, nor coerce us to follow Him. He creates the work to allow us to be willing to be lead and purchased by His blood. The "irresistible" part means we will put up a fight against Him naturally, being resistant! If we are left out on our own, we would never accept His precious gift. Thus, it is by Christ's work first, then we respond, that He creates the "irresistible" aspect. We do not respond first, because we are unable to do so. God is the one who regenerates us, creating a new will to allow the work of the Spirit. His Grace is sufficient, "effectual", meaning it will overcome our sin, to accomplish God's purpose.

            P "Perseverance of the Saints" The "P" in TULIP: That we are preserved in faith by the strength of Christ, our salvation is secure and cannot be lost. God is the one who perseveres, we are its recipients. Faith is our entire being in a right relationship with Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit (Heb. 11:6). We can continue in the faith for the long run because of His work and not our sanctification or growth. This is the proof of our election (Gal. 5). Our growth is a result, and effect and not the cause. Those who truly are regenerative are secure, and if they fall into sin there is forgiveness and consequence. Those who are not regenerative have no hope. (John 6:37-40; 10:28-29; 17:2-24; Phil. 1:6; 1 Cor. 1:8; 9:1; 1 Thess. 5:23-24; 2 Thess. 3:32 Tim. 1:12; 4:18) However, our desire and response to regeneration is to be humble, knowledgeable and repentive, and always seeking God.

© 1992, 2001 R.J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word  

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