Calvinism in 3 Verses

It seems to me that in John 3:19-21 Jesus explains the broad overview of what we call Calvinism, or the doctrines of grace, or whatever.

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been carried out in God.

When Jesus says, “people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil,” I think he means the same thing we mean by total depravity or total inability: that our hearts, outside the work of the Holy Spirit, are inherently opposed to God. We don’t naturally love God, we naturally love our sin– “the darkness.”

Of course, some do come to the light: “whoever does what is true,” v 21. They do this because a fundamental shift has happened: now they can do good works, including coming to the light, precisely because their good works have been wrought by God. So the act of “coming to the light,” the believer’s action in salvation, demonstrates that all our good actions have God, not ourselves, at their root. Why do some come to the light? Because their deeds have been carried out in God.

This is the sum of what Calvinists believe: people are inherently opposed to God, so for us to be reconciled to God he has to do all the work. We do indeed have to place our faith in Christ, but we can’t do that unless God overcomes the hardness of our hearts and makes us willing to believe.


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