What do your Calvinistic convictions do to you? Do they make you angry at people who don’t have tulips in their theological garden? Do they make you want to buy a bunch of books by old dead guys, half of which you won’t read, so you can impress your friends? Do they make you bloodthirsty for debates because your theological guns are locked and loaded with a bunch of Pauline-poof texts? Do they make you unable to sit through a sermon that doesn’t explicitly reference at least one of the five points? Do they make you unwilling to listen to the advice of a more seasoned saint in Christ just because they read John Wesley?
Call it what you want (cage-stage?), it’s really sin trying to sabotage good theology. When our theological convictions merely sit in our head, not yet infiltrating our heart, indwelling sin will hijack the intended effects of truth. What results is often a living breathing oxymoron. There is no denying it, we’ve been (are?) contradictions in practice to our Calvinistic convictions. I’m convinced that this is due, in part, to the fact that we stop short of the ”so what?” question and are content to only answer the “what?” question. We’re theologically ADD. We sit long enough to have our Calvinist convictions formulated, but we “get up” before Calvinism is formed in us.
But what should Calvinism do to us? What would a consistent Calvinist look like? Or to state it another way: What should “contradictory” Calvinists be begging God for more of?
These two characteristics are by no means exhaustive (numerous characteristics could be added to it), nor is it in a prioritized manner, but it’s something to pray and strive for.
Calvinists Should Ooze Joy
God has graciously set his saving love upon us. The spirit has powerfully overcome our all out sprint of rebellion toward hell. Our eyes have been opened to see the irresistible beauty of Christ, and we woke up GRUMPY this morning?
The mountain of our sin has been cast into the sea by the mercy of God, and we don’t feel the singing-spirit of Julie Andrews (think Sound of Music) bubbling up within us to the tune of ‘Amazing Grace’?
We should be really happy, the kind of happy that makes pessimists uncomfortable because it threatens their desire to have a bad day.
We should exude so much joy it makes cessationists question our views on the gifts of the spirit.
We should display so much delight that Arminians feel guilty because their jealously is in danger of violating the 10th commandment.
Calvinists Should Radiate Humility
There wasn’t a single shred of merit in us when God regenerated us. In fact, all the evidence was stacked against us and there was no offer of a plea-bargain. We loved the sin that was killing us, yet Christ laid down his life for us. We should be experiencing the eternal justice of God’s wrath right now, yet we are the object of His steadfast love, and we’re known by those closest to us for our arrogance? Our Arminian fellow church members are turned off by the stench of superiority that fills our speech?
We who have tasted the depths (even though we still haven’t seen the bottom yet, that will take an eternity!) of sovereign grace, should have a deep humility, the kind that puts you on your knees in thankfulness.
We should have the type of humility that is so busy being broken over our own sin we don’t have time to look down on others for theirs.
We should have the type of humility that listens to a sermon on the Gospel and is left with only two words, “why me?”
We should have the type of humility that at times forgoes a theological debate because we’d rather maintain a friendship than be ‘king of the theological hill’.
We should have the type of humility that says ”I could be wrong,” and means it.
Has your Calvinism done that to you yet? Is there contradictions between your character and convictions? Then do what any proper Calvinist would do: Repent, with your hands folded, head bowed, and eyes closed before the only God who can work these characteristics in you.