Some of my best friends on the planet are Calvinists. I totally honor and respect their thinking processes and value their insight, but I see part of scripture through a very different lens.
From my perspective certain sins are total deal breakers with God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 states, in part, that people who do a variety of listed sins “shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” My Calvinist friends understand the kingdom of God, not as heaven, eternal life, or the New Jerusalem, but as some kind of reward. A friend, who holds a Th.D. for writing about Calvin’s perspective of limited atonement, told me, “The adulterer is saved and in God’s family, but simply does not receive his reward.”
I replied with the following question, “What happens on Judgment Day when a “Christian” adulterer and a non-Christian adulterer both stand before God?” He replied, “The Christian adulterer is elect and predestined for salvation and he is saved. The non-Christian adulterer is not of the elect and is therefore eternally lost.”
Personally, I can’t get there, in fact, I don’t want to get there.
Today, referring to a situation in the Anchorage news coverage, I stated, “I do not think that you are saved if you are actively participating in sexual sin. Repent of sin and live holy before the Lord.”
I understand that this is offensive to people who want to claim salvation and live with deal breaker sins in their lives. It is much more politically correct to say, “There are no deal breaker sins. You are saved. You will enjoy the blessings of eternity with Christ. You didn’t choose God, He chose you. Your sin? Oh, you will lose some of your reward for that, but not to worry, everything else is just fine.”
I like the “What if I am wrong?” approach. If my Calvinist friends are wrong, then the “Christian” adulterer is, in fact, not Christian at all, and has been nudged to sleep in his sin, rather than being called to repentance. If they are wrong, this man has lost everything.
If I am wrong, the “Christian” adulterer has lost nothing, and is celebrating the joy of heaven and eternal life, with just a small loss of a reward that he won’t keep anyway, but place at the feet of Jesus in worship.
Back to the conversation with God at the Judgement. “Excuse me, God. Why does he enter heaven and eternal life and I am banished to everlasting punishment?” Asks the unsaved adulterer. “Oh, that is very simple,” says God. “He is one of my elect. I am sorry, but I didn’t chose you.”
Unfortunately I am no scholar like MacArthur, Piper, Calvin, and Luther. But if they are even partly wrong…………