God Became A Baby

I love Christmas carols. Some more so than others, but Christmas carols are a favourite of mine. I have a large playlist of carols that gets thorough usage every year. Yet there are some notable absentees to my Christmas carol playlist. Some so – called carols have nothing substantially to do with the birth of Christ beside some token lyrics (think The Holly and the Ivy), but some traditional numbers are omitted for more nefarious reasons. The most obvious one of these is the ever popular Away in a Manger. I don’t sing this particular carol (and it is blacklisted from my playlist) because of the following line:

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.

This line looks and sounds innocent enough. Babies don’t always cry when awoken, after all. But I think it a fairly superfluous inclusion if the hymnwriter is merely telling us whether Jesus cried or not on a particular occasion. The hymnwriter wasn’t there, after all. How did he know Jesus did not cry? It think it fairly obvious that this is a theological inclusion, meant to tell us something about character of Jesus.

All too often, we have a view of Jesus’s infancy as a serene, peaceful, and heavenly paradise. This is the idea behind Silent Night, where the chaos of a full – to – bursting Bethlehem is ignored to perpetuate the idea, as well as in the “no crying he makes” lyric. How often do we think of Mary as heavily pregnant and then, in the next moment, a tranquil nativity scene. In characterising Jesus’s birth in this way, we deify Jesus’s human experience. Jesus crying is seen as too dependent. Too vulnerable. Too fragile. Too weak.

Yet the truth is that human babies are dependent on their parents. Jesus was truly human and so He was dependent on Mary to survive. Jesus’s humanity was a real humanity. He would have soiled Himself and screamed for milk. Jesus would have sicked up His food and dribbled over Joseph. He would have fallen over when trying to walk, and cried incessantly when He was teething. I sometimes ponder some of the moments of Jesus’s infancy; about whether Mary had trouble breastfeeding the baby Jesus, how she must have felt singing Him to sleep when He awoke in the night, and how Jesus would sound as He first started to learn how to talk.

Too often, we are so committed to preserving Jesus’s deity and holiness that it seems irreverent to us to think of Jesus in this way – as truly human. But the wonder and the mystery of the incarnation of Jesus is that He experienced the same vulnerability and weakness as us all.

Our tendency as contemporary evangelical, or even Reformed, Christians to deify Christ’s nature is not a new phenomenon. Back in the late 4th and early 5th centuries, there was a popular movement in the Church that sought to try and understand how the human and divine were related in the person of Christ. This teaching was a form of monophysitism (from the Greek mono meaning ‘one’ and physis meaning ‘nature’) that understood Jesus as having a single nature; a divine – human nature. It became popular through the teaching of Eutyches of Constantinople, and is thus named Eutychianism. The Eutychian teaching about Christ’s nature is that it is a blending of both human nature and divine nature into a third type, a theanthropic, nature, that is a mixture of both.

Eutyches taught that the divine nature “swallows up” the human nature, just as the ocean would consume a single drop of vinegar. Essentially, the human nature of Christ is deified. This leads to two major problems.

First, a Euytchian view of Jesus finds the very real and human experiences of Jesus problematic. As the lyric in Away in a Manger demonstrates, deifying Christ’s human nature leads to a stumbling block around the non – sinful limitations and experiences of humanity. Jesus is said to have only pretended to sleep on the boat (Matthew 8:24), since God does not grow weary. Jesus, by the same token, did not cry as a child dependent on its mother, as God is self – sufficient (Acts 17:25).

Second, if this view of Christ’s humanity is true, then He is not qualified to be our saviour. Christ is called the “last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45-49) because He represented sinful humanity on the cross. It is humanity, as represented by the first Adam, that owes the debt to God. Without Christ being truly human, with a truly human nature, He cannot represent us to make atonement before God. Moreover, He cannot serve as mediator between God and man, since He has neither true divine nature nor true human nature. By blending the two natures together, this view of Jesus disqualifies Him for the role as our saviour and High Priest.

Christ’s true humanity must be embraced, and it is rightly considered one of the most wondrous acts of God. He became a real baby in the uterus of an ordinary woman. He was born, and grew up as a human child, learning to talk and walk, and how to read. He ate and drank and slept and sweated and went to the toilet. But He didn’t just do those things as a show or facade. He needed to do those things.

It is worth heeding the sage advice of C. S. Lewis, however, who said:

“The devil always sends errors into the world in pairs – pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one.”

The opposite error to Eutychianism is found in Nestorianism. Named after the Archbishop of Constantinople, Nestorius (thought there is significant historical debate about whether Nestorius was in fact a Nestorian!), Nestorianism does not teach a mixture or blending of the divine and human natures, but rather a radical separation between them.

According to Nestorianism, the two natures of Christ are divided as two separate persons. The human person Jesus of Nazareth and the Second Person of the Trinity, God the Son, were united in purpose and will, but not in their nature. Nestorians taught that when Christ died, the human person died, but when Christ performed a miracle, it was the divine person of God the Son performing the miracle, independent of the human person.

The fire of controversy was ignited over Nestorians refusing to us the term theotokos (Greek, literally meaning “God-bearer”) to describe Mary. They believed that the child whom Mary bore was human but not divine. The human son of Mary may have been indwelt by the Son of God, but his nature was fundamentally separate from the divine nature.

As we said about Eutychianism, Nestorianism has a number of problems regarding the atonement. One such problem can be highlighted using another controversial song lyric. This time it is Charles Wesley’s hymn And Can It Be? that comes under scrutiny with the line:

Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

Some Christians have called for this lyric to be changed or removed because, they reason, God cannot die. Unfortunately, just as the lyric in Away in a Manger displayed (unconsciously) a spirit of Eutychianism, so calls to change this lyric of And Can It Be? (again, unconsciously, I am sure) display a spirit of Nestorianism. Under the Nestorian view of Christ, the divine person cannot die on the cross, since God cannot die or suffer. Therefore, the human person must have died on the cross. But think of the implications. If it were simply a human who died on the cross with one, finite human nature, then how could his death accomplish salvation for others? How could a simple, finite human nature withstand the wrath of God and rise again on the third day? Like Eutychianism, Nestorianism leaves us with no atonement and no salvation.

As 21st century Christians, we should feel ourselves incredibly privileged and blessed to have so much Church history behind us. We do not have to wrestle through such difficult and challenging subjects unaided. By God’s providence, the Church has been able explain how to understand the divine and human natures of Jesus.

In the middle of the 5th century, Christianity was embroiled in a battle between Eutychianism on the one hand, and Nestorianism on the other hand. The Church convened a great council, consisting of over 500 members, in Chalcedon, modern – day Turkey. The main fruit of the council was to settle this debate about the natures of Christ. Eventually, the council produced what it known as the Chalcedonian Definition (given in full at the bottom).

The five key points of the Definition can be summarised as follows:

1. Jesus Christ is one person
A repeated phrase in the Definition is “one and the same”, indicating that the human Son of Mary is “one and the same” as the divine Son of God. There are not two persons and two Sons, but one and the same Son.

2. Jesus has true human nature and a true divine nature
Jesus is said to be “co-essential” with the Father, meaning that He has the same (divine) nature as does the Father. Yet Jesus is also said to be “co-essential” with us, meaning that He has the same (human) nature as we do, sin apart. The council also affirmed the use of the title theotokos being applied to Mary, as it is a way of declaring that the child in her womb was indeed God incarnate.

3. Eutychianism is rejected
The council teaches that the natures of Christ are united “unconfusedly” and “unchangeably”, rejecting the Eutychian idea of a nature that is a mixture of human and divine.

4. Nestorianism is rejected
The council also teaches that the natures of Christ are united “indivisibly” and “inseparably”, rejecting the Nestorian idea of a separation between the divine and human natures. There are two natures, united in one Person.

5. Each nature retains its own attributes
This important detail was taught to makes sense of the union between the human and divine natures. To understand what the council meant by saying that each nature preserves its own properties, we can boil it down to saying that whatever can be said of one nature can be said of the Person but not of the other nature. So, for example, we can say the following:

The human nature needs to be sustained by food, therefore the person of Jesus needs to be sustained by food, but the divine nature does not need to be sustained by food.

Conversely, the divine nature is all – powerful, therefore the person of Jesus is all – powerful, but the human nature is not all – powerful.

This helps to give us a Biblically sound framework of talking accurately, and without confusion, about the incarnate Christ.

The incarnation of the Son of God is a wondrous mystery; how God the Son condescended to us and took upon Himself a human nature. He became a vulnerable baby, a real human baby, and grew to ultimately live a perfect life under the Law, and a sacrificial death of atonement for His people. He was able to secure our redemption because He was both truly human and also truly divine, able to represent man and bear the wrath of God laid upon Him. Though, touching His human nature, He has ascended into Heaven, nevertheless He, touching His divine nature, is never absent from us.

When we rejoice at the birth of our Lord Jesus, we ought to wonder at the true divinity and the true humanity of the God – man, united unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably.

The Chalcedonian Definition (451 AD):

Following, then, the holy Fathers, we all unanimously teach that our Lord Jesus Christ is to us One and the same Son, the Self-same Perfect in Godhead, the Self-same Perfect in Manhood; truly God and truly Man; the Self-same of a rational soul and body; co-essential with the Father according to the Godhead, the Self-same co-essential with us according to the Manhood; like us in all things, sin apart; before the ages begotten of the Father as to the Godhead, but in the last days, the Self-same, for us and for our salvation (born) of Mary the Virgin Theotokos as to the Manhood; One and the Same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten; acknowledged in Two Natures unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the difference of the Natures being in no way removed because of the Union, but rather the properties of each Nature being preserved, and (both) concurring into One Person and One Hypostasis; not as though He was parted or divided into Two Persons, but One and the Self-same Son and Only-begotten God, Word, Lord, Jesus Christ; even as from the beginning the prophets have taught concerning Him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself has taught us, and as the Symbol of the Fathers has handed down to us.

The Five Points of Grace

A couple of months ago during the Coronavirus pandemic I had a conversation with the Pastor of my church. Among other things, we spoke of salvation and of the so – called “5 Points of Calvinism”. Like almost every other Calvinist I have ever read or heard speak on the subject, I have issues with the “5 Points” and their English acronym “TULIP”.

For starters, “Calvinism” was a historical pejorative used initially by Lutherans, and then later by Arminians, against the established Reformed view of theology. It has nothing substantially to do with the man John Calvin at all, who would not understand, or appreciate, the term. Moreover, “Calvinism” in the original sense, was a whole system of theology: from epistemology to eschatology. Calvinism never had “5 Points”, but simply five answers to the five objections of Arminianism as put forth in the Canons of Dordt.

This inaccuracy notwithstanding, the “5 Points of Calvinism” have shifted from the precise and confessional document of the Canons of Dordt to a 20th Century English slogan under the acronym TULIP. So successful has this been that when you talk about the “5 Points of Calvinism”, people will often think of TULIP, rather than the Canons of Dordt. The problem is that TULIP as an acronym is problematic. Whilst it may be serviceable for what it is, the words used to fit difficult theology into a pronounceable English acronym often do more harm than good. TULIP stands for:

Total depravity

Unconditional election

Limited atonement

Irresistible grace

Perseverance of the saints

Many people have an aversion to Calvinism because of some of the misleading terminology expressed in the five points. The caricature to which Calvinism is often subject is usually founded the language used in TULIP. For example, “irresistible grace” seems to give an impression that God drags people, kicking and screaming, against their will. Similarly, “limited atonement” is interpreted to mean that some people who are seeking salvation in Christ are refused it.

In our conversation, my Pastor challenged me to come up with a better summary that better emphasised the centrality of God’s grace in salvation. After all, an alternative (and much superior) nickname for the 5 points of Calvinism is the “Doctrines of Grace”, due to how God’s grace is the true foundation of what they teach. This is my attempt to explain the 5 Points of Grace.

Regenerating Grace

The first of the five points of grace confronts the reality of our sinful human nature. We are not sinners because we sin. Rather, we sin because we are sinners. Our corrupt nature, inherited from Adam (Romans 5:12) is the cause, and not the result, of the sins we commit. The Bible makes it clear that we are born in this condition when it calls us “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3), and that the “intention of man’s heart is evil from His youth” (Genesis 8:21). This condition extends to the heart of every human, as the Psalmist says

“They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt;
    there is none who does good,
    not even one.”
(Psalm 14:3)

Yet not only do we have a sinful nature that affects us and keeps us from perfection, the Biblical reality is that it has corrupted us to the very heart. That is not to say that we are as bad or as evil as we could possibly be. God extends to us common grace by way of laws that restrict the evil in men’s hearts, as well as moral consciences. God, by His mercy and grace, restrains all of us – believer or no. He could leave us to our depraved hearts and desires that the Bible says are “deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9), since we are slaves to our sinful nature (Romans 6:20), but out of His grace upholds us even in our sin.

The effect this has on us as people is that we reject God. We “loved the darkness rather than the light because [our] works were evil” (John 3:19) and are, in our nature, hostile to God. As Paul explains succinctly

“For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:7 – 8)

Since we, due to our sinful humanity cannot please God, there is no way for us to come to Him of our own accord. We are, therefore, dependent upon God’s grace for salvation. Not only do we need God to help us, we need God to save us. We are dependent upon His grace to act first to reconcile us to Himself. Without His grace, we remain dead. With His grace, we are regenerated; born again. Only then, as people with new hearts and desires, may we come to the Father. Jesus was clear on this point when He said

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:44)

When God regenerates us, transforming our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26), we have the spiritual ability to put our faith in Christ. He has no obligation to give us new life. God is free to leave us in our sin. It is only through the free grace of God that He choses to change our hearts our corrupt nature begins its restoration.

Adopting Grace

A consequence of our corrupt nature is that we are, by birth, children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). That is, since our very natures are slaves to sin, God’s judgement rests upon all of us. Yet, God does not leave everyone in that state of condemnation. Out of His free grace, He adopts a people in His family as co – heirs of Christ (Romans 8:17).

It is a human temptation, as old as the church itself, to believe that we have made ourselves worthy of God’s adoption. Whether that means that we have to be a particular type of person, or have attained some level of obedience to God’s law, it amounts to the same central idea. It is our natural tendency to think that we have to earn God’s adopting love. It is the very reasoning that Paul often combats in his epistles, and no clearer does he rebut it than in Ephesians

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:4 – 9)

God uses the image of adoption for a reason. Adopted children do not earn the acceptance of their adopting parents. There are no works they must be able to perform beforehand. The adoption is based only on the free gracious provision of the adopting parents.

Our adoption as children of God is not based upon anything that we do, or anything that we are. The is no condition we must first meet. He has no obligation to adopt us as His children. We have done nothing to deserve the adoption as a co – heir with Christ; in fact, our thoughts and actions have left us in greater condemnation. Yet by God’s free grace, He sets His love upon us, in eternity past, to be united to Him by the sacrifice of Christ.

We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:10), as underserving and wretched as we are, and has chosen out of the overflowing of His grace to look upon us as holy, forgiven sons and daughters.

Effectual Grace

The incarnate Son of God has many names given to Him in Scripture. From Old Testament titles such as “Prince of Peace” and “Son of Man” to other titles in the New Testament, such as “Christ” and “Lord”. However, the most common name He is given is the name “Jesus”. As we are told in the Bible, the name Jesus means “God saves” and He was named Jesus because “He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

There is no doubt from that Gospels (not to mention the prophecies of the Old Testament) that this was Jesus’s main purpose is His incarnation on Earth 2000 years ago. He came to save His people from their sins. This tells us two things about God’s grace for the salvation of His people.

First, is that He came to save a specific people. “He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21, emphasis mine). Jesus has a people He can call His own. Nobody is saved accidentally or randomly. No Christian is adopted into God’s covenant family mistakenly. God’s grace in seeking to save the lost (Luke 19:10) was, and is, purposeful. His plan of salvation is for a particular purpose, for a particular people. Out of His mere grace, we, as a Church, have the right to call Christ our own, just as He calls us His own.

The New Testament frequently references the Church as Christ’s bride. The marriage relationship was made and designed to point to the reality of Christ and His Church. It is an illustration of our relationship with Jesus. So, just as all married people have one wife, or husband, to whom they are married, so too Christ has one people, the Church. Just as a man or woman knows whom they will marry and has set their love upon them before they consummate the marriage in the wedding ceremony, so too does Christ know His people, the Church, before our Heavenly wedding in glory. There is no guesswork or uncertainty. God, out of nothing but grace, has given us confidence and surety, that we have been chosen as His from before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4) and that Christ has set His gracious love upon us, before we even knew Him (1 John 4:10,19)!

Secondly, God’s grace in saving us will be effective. “He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21, emphasis mine). Not only are we told that God has assured us that we are saved as a specific people for Christ, but that our salvation is secured as a certainty. In other words, God has not merely made it possible for us to be saved in Christ’s Church; He has actually and really delivered us! God’s grace is an effectual grace. It has not left the job of our salvation unfinished so that we have to make the finishing touches ourselves by our own efforts (including faith that we exercise). Our justification before God was complete on the cross. Whilst we may not experience it until later in time, Christ has already achieved our salvation!

Let Paul explain more fully from the book of Romans,

“[B]ut God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.” (Romans 5:8-10)

Paul shows us here that God saved us while we were yet sinners. Before we had even exercised faith in Him, our salvation was already secure! The language of reconciliation is in the past tense. ‘We were reconciled by the death of His Son’ (v. 10, emphasis). It is not conditional in us in any sense; God’s grace is effective in truly saving us by the blood of Christ.

Sufficient Grace

The first point in this summary of the 5 points of grace established that grace was necessary for our salvation. We are dependent upon God’s grace in order for us to have our natures changed from one that rejects and hates God, to one that is spiritually able to respond to Him and appropriate the benefits of Christ’s blood. The point to be made here, building on the last two points, is that grace is not only necessary, but it is sufficient. That is, not only do we all need grace, but grace is all we need.

We’ve already seen how the Bible shows that man’s nature is corrupt and cannot please or accept God. We are naturally hostile to God. Any effort ours will only serve to further our separation and hostility. In order to come to God for forgiveness and reconciliation, God must be the one initiate a change in our nature and regenerate our hearts. But not simply is God the initiator of our regeneration, He is the author and finisher. He does it all. There is no further work or act that contributes to our regeneration except the Spirit of God who regenerates us by His grace.

The work of the Spirit in the regeneration of man encompasses a complete renovation. Consider what the Bible says that the Holy Spirit does in us, out of grace:

  1. A New Birth

“But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12 – 13)

“Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5 – 8)

2. A New Heart

“And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:6)

“‘I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. ‘I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27)

3. A New Creation

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” (Galatians 6:15)

4. A Resurrection

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4-5a)

“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses” (Colossians 2:13)

God’s work in the renewal of our nature is comprehensive. In all the above Scripture quotations, God is identified as the one working our regeneration. The stress is always upon what He does in us; we contribute nothing. All can be summed up by Paul’s pithy summary in Titus,

“He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5)

The exercise of faith in the experience of the believer, therefore, is reactionary of what the Spirit has done already for us. He draws us to the Father (John 6:44), He convinces and convicts us of our sin (John 16:8), He teaches us of Christ by His Word (Romans 10:17), regenerates and renews us, making us able to accept and trust in Christ and His work for us. It is entirely of His all-powerful and sufficient grace!

Victorious Grace

As Christians, we are involved in a spiritual battle. Though are natures are renewed by the Holy Spirit, that does not mean that we are free from sin in our life. Paul grieves over his continued sin in Romans 7, saying

“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:15 – 19)

Although this is our experience as believers, it is only temporary. God has not only secured our salvation from the penalty of sin (justification), He will one day deliver us from the presence of sin (glorification). God has promised us that as surely as we are justified before Him, so too will we be glorified in Heaven. The spiritual battle in which we are engaged will be successful. We cannot lose. God has secured our salvation and will not allow us to be defeated. The grace that He gives in salvation is victorious over sin, death, and the Devil.

A true believer will never be finally lost. Eternal life is our possession now, even if it is not our reality now (John 6:47). God’s grace not only saves us, but it keeps us. He is not only patient and gracious to us when we were rebellious sinners, but He extends that mercy and grace to us as believers, too. Though we may sin, and sin seriously, God will not cast us away. The Holy Spirit that dwells within us is God’s promise to keep us. In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he says

“And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put His seal on us and given us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” (2 Corinthians 1:21 – 22)

The word translated as ‘guarantee’ in the ESV is also translated ‘deposit’, ‘down – payment’, or sometimes ‘earnest’. The image that Paul is using is that of real estate, and other significant financial transactions. Buying a house, for example, often requires a deposit that acts as a guarantee from those which wish the purchase the house. They pay part of the final price immediately to signify their committal to buy the property later. Moreover, if they pull out on their commitment, their deposit is forfeited. It marks a point of ‘no return’ for the buyers.

Paul uses this image of the Spirit of God. He is our deposit, or guarantee, given to us. The gift of the Spirit is the immediate gift He has given us as a sign that He is committed on our complete salvation from sin in eternity. We have a foretaste of that final glorification, even though it is not yet a full reality. Furthermore, the Spirit as our deposit guarantees that God will keep us. As a deposit, the Spirit is making a promise for our final salvation. If that promise is broken, God forfeits His Holy Spirit. For this to happen, there would be rift in the Trinity; God would cease to be God.

In other words, what God is saying us in giving the Holy Spirit as a seal and guarantee is that for God to abandon you and renege on His promise of salvation, He would cease to be God. That is a sure a promise and guarantee that could exist.

Although, at times our spiritual battle seems to be going poorly and sin is threatening to overwhelm us, God has guaranteed our victory. Nothing can possibly remove us from His hand,

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38 – 39)

He came to save us, and He will not let us go. He is a good shepherd who will not abandon His sheep. Even as redeemed people, we do not deserve with unending patience and mercy that God shows us in keep us in love. It is only by His all-conquering grace will we win final victory over sin.

Whilst this summary of the 5 points of grace is neither comprehensive, nor perfect, they serve to point to the reality that salvation is the Lord’s. He has won it for us, and we may boast in none of it.

“The doctrines of grace stand or fall together, and together they point to one central truth: salvation is all of grace because it is all of God; and because it is all of God, it is all for His glory”

James Montgomery Boice