By: Ng Shaowen
Jesus died on the cross for an ultimate substitutionary death.
But the question of who Jesus died for continues till today.
The classic Arminianism vs Calvinism debate is as follows:
(By a man called Jacobus Arminius) Arminianism: Born sinners not guilty in Adam, Jesus died for all people, and everyone who does not reject God is saved
(By a man called John Calvin and then modified) Calvinism: Born sinners guilty in Adam, Jesus died for “the elect”, and God gets to decide who He wants to save from eternity past.
The whole debate started on the notion of free will. Arminians believes that all men have free will and choose sin. Calvinists believe that all Adam had free will, sinned, and we’re sinful because we’re his descendants. Both sides have buckets of verses to back themselves up.
Personally, I don’t know who’s right. Maybe it’s one of the first few questions I’ll ask God when we go to heaven.
However, I think God is a Calvinist dad because every good daddy decides what’s best for His children by over-riding their free will. Here’s why:
Children all choose to do what’s destructive
When i was younger, i always liked to provoke stray dogs. (This was when there were still a rather substantial amount of stray dogs) My mum always used to tell me, “Boy ah, don’t provoke the stray dogs, one day they’ll retaliate.” I’d say, “Yes mum”. Nonetheless, me being the 9-year-old punk, obviously ignored my mum’s notice and continued to provoke the stray dogs near my neighbourhood to test whether they’ll chase after me. One fine day, the dog was so pissed that it finally chased me. My mum realised that I was chased, protected me, and fearlessly swung her bag of groceries at the dog, and the dog backed off. You would imagine that i would be grateful towards her kind act, but i screamed at her for taking away my “freedom” of letting the dog chase me.
Adam had free will. God laid down the ground rules in Gen 2:16-17 to him specifically. Likewise, I had free will. My mum laid down the consequences if i didn’t obey. However, like Adam, I decided to test my boundaries and got what we wanted, which was bad for us.
The question of, “what if the dog bites me?”, or in Adam’s case, “so what if i knew good and evil” never came to mind because we were too engrossed in enjoying our freedom.
We, like Adam, always run towards devastation, Satan, sin, death and hell. Therefore, Adam’s free will was taken away from him forcefully because our lives mattered more to God than our free will.
Eph 1:4-5 “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will”
God’s a father. He initiates to take away our sins and made us His church, so that His appointed people may be adopted as sons and daughters through the work of His Chosen One, Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection for a simple reason: So that we may be reconciled to Him because of our foolish decision while we had free will.
We’re creation and He’s creator. We may have free will, but the Author of our free will, will definitely know what’s best for us, and He knows what will keep us alive.
1Cor 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. ”
Like what my favourite preacher (Mark Driscoll) says, “If it were anybody to choose my salvation, I’d rather let God choose.”