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Calvinism Honors Christ's Death
L. R. Shelton

An audio file of this sermon is available at

The one outstanding evil of Calvinism is viewed by the unsaved religionist, or the Arminian, is the Sovereignty of God. Now let me hammer on that thing – I'll get to the responsibility of man after a while. A lot of folks are writing in saying, "What are you going to do with 'whosoever will'?" We are going to leave it right there in God's Word, just like we are going to leave the Sovereignty of God in God's Word. Let me say here that the great truths of Man's Responsibility and God's Sovereignty are two eternal truths that flow right through God's Word from Genesis to Revelation. They never conflict except in your depraved mind. Now you get that. These two great truths – the Responsibility of Man and God's Sovereignty – never conflict; they run parallel throughout God's Word. I preach both of them. As I said, they never conflict except in your depraved mind. That you may jump up and say, "Well, if God has elected folks to be saved, then what is the use to pray for them – what is the use to preach to them, etc.? They will be saved anyway." You can't understand it, because the conflict is not in God's Word but in your depraved mind. There is no conflict in the mind that has been opened by the Holy Spirit; to that individual those truths are clear, but to the unsaved mind you ask, "Well, Brother Shelton, can you reconcile them?" No – I don't try. "Do they ever meet?" Yes, before the throne of God's grace at the Mercy Seat. So that me state again: one outstanding evil of Calvinism as viewed by the unsaved religionist, or the Arminian, is the Sovereignty of God.

They will not have it that God works all things after the council of His own will according to His own purpose as He pleases. Now I am honoring my Lord this morning. Now you get it. It seems almost a shame that these fellows didn't live back in Eternity before God so they could have instructed the Lord God of Heaven. As the Word of God says, they are wise in their own conceit (Rom. 11:25; 12:16). Let's read Eph. 1:11, "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." Look at that expression, "who worketh ALL things." How? "After the counsel of his own will." Did you noticed that expression, "His own will." God never consults man, and God has never consulted man about one thing. And God doesn't consult a sinner when He gets ready to save that sinner. Did you know that? That's right. God never consults a sinner when He gets ready to save him! God comes and broods over that sinner by the power of the Holy Spirit, opens that sinner's heart, mind, and understanding, and lets the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ shine into that sinner's heart. Brother, that's the most unexpected thing that sinner ever witnessed in his life! When that sinner comes to know Christ in full assurance, then he never ceases to rejoice that God elected him, called him with the effectual call, and revealed Christ to his heart. He never does! God does not now, and never will, consult man about anything in the world. Every sinner who ever gets saved gets saved on God's terms, and every individual who walks with God walks with God on God's terms. That's right. Now you remember that.

Now let's look at Rom. 11:34-36, "For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen." That puts God on the throne and puts man at His footstool begging for mercy as an object of His grace, doesn't it? Now that's the true relationship. Job 12:10 says, "In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind." My friend, I care not who you are, what you are, or what you can do – whether you are saved or lost, whether you are on the road to Heaven or on the road to Hell – you are in the hands of God like I am. Even your breath is in His hands, and He does with you as He pleases, and you cannot tell Him, "Nay." We find in Proverbs 21:1, "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will." God's one look at you disarms you. Now, brother, you can strut your stuff, you can do this or that, but one look from the Lord God of Heaven can disarm you and make you fall that His feet. That is all. That night when He looked at Peter – just one look, and Peter went off to the wailing wall. One look from the Lord God of Heaven, and you will go to the wailing wall. That's right.

God can break that will of yours if He wants to, if He wills to do it. He can break that stubborn will of yours. He can. He can break that self-will of yours. He can break that rebellious heart of yours. I don't care how sinful, I don't care how rebellious, I don't care how hard – He can soften that heart: it is in His hands. "Well, why doesn't He save everybody?" I don't know – you ask Him. I am glad He saved me. Has He saved you? That's a truth of Calvinism and the Bible that every Freewiller, or Arminian, hates, yet it is as much God's Word as John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." "For God so loved the world of His elect, the world of believers." That is what it means – "The world of His elect." I will challenge you on that thing. "That he gave his only begotten Son." John 17:6 He says, "Thine they were, and thou gavest them me." "Father these were Thine; You gave them to Me." Seven times in that 17th chapter of John Christ said, "You gave them to Me." It is because of your depraved, wicked, self-will that you stand in defiance of a Sovereign God who is on the throne. Now there's what we face today everywhere. Brother, if we preachers would put God on the throne in our preaching, and in our thinking, and then preach a Sovereign God to a depraved people, the Holy Spirit would bless that message.

Our subject is, "Calvinism Honors Christ's Death." Calvinism exalts the death, burial and resurrection of Christ as the only hope for an awakened sinner. Every unsaved religionist hates blood redemption. They may mention it in their preaching and in their teaching, but they never magnify it above everything else for the salvation of a lost soul. The Bible teaches that Christ actually died in the sinner's place as the sinner's Substitute. Listen, awakened sinner, Christ died for you! Yes, He did; He died for you just as much as He died for me. Now let me say this here, and you get it – the death, burial, and resurrection of our blessed Lord is the central doctrine of God's Word. The Sovereignty of God is the foundation doctrine of the Word of God, and the death, burial and resurrection of Christ is the central doctrine or teaching of God's Word. Don't you get away from that fact. Any individual, I don't care who he is, who emphasizes any other doctrine of the Word of God above the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is a false prophet! Now that will hold them. We read in I Cor. 15:3, 4, "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures: and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures." Rom. 5:8 says, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Calvinism magnifies the substitutionary death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.

There isn't anything in the world that Satan and his unsaved emissaries hate any more than the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross. Why? Because, as we said, it is the central doctrine of the entire Book, the Bible. They hate it first as they hate the Sovereignty of God because it is the foundation, the basic doctrine, of God's Word. You ask the average Arminian why he doesn't magnified the death of Christ, and here is his usual answer, "Oh, don't misunderstand me now, I believe in the death of Christ for sinners." That's his answer. "Why, what are you talking about? Don't you know everybody believes that? That's taken for granted," and that's exactly what they do – they take it for granted! Just as a preacher said one day, "I don't preach on the New Birth because, you know, I take that for granted. Folks don't understand it, and I just don't preach on it. I take that for granted." And so preachers have taken for granted the death, burial, and resurrection of our blessed Lord for sinners, until the average person has never heard it preached, and doesn't know it today. They have substituted everything else; most of them have substituted a little program. Being blinded, they do not see that blood redemption is the heart and center of all the doctrines of God's Word, and in their preaching or teaching they are always stressing some other portion of the Bible, largely along the line of sin and so-called Christian living. Now you listen to the average preacher, and that is what you hear. Naturally they let blood redemption in Christ drift into the background.

A man visited Spurgeon in London, and that night he preached on the New Birth; twenty years later he visited him again, and again he preached on the New Birth. The man said to him after the service, "Mr. Spurgeon, you haven't grown one bit. You are preaching the same thing that you preached twenty years ago." Mr. Spurgeon answered him, saying, "Yes, you have to be born again today just like they had to twenty years ago. There is no difference, and if I live twenty years from now I'll be preaching on the New Birth, because sinners have to be born again." Brother, you have to have a Substitute today just as you did two thousand years ago, or five thousand years ago. There is no difference.

All men are not saved. This is brought out so clearly in Matt. 7:13, 14, "Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." My listener, have you found that way of life? Do you know that you are saved? Have you entered into that strait gate? That word "strait" means narrow. Then if all men are not saved, Christ could not therefore have suffered and died for their sins. If He had, all men would be saved. All right, listen to John 8:24, "I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." Therefore, we find that the sins of unbelievers remain.

There is no such thing as universal salvation taught in God's Word. There is no such doctrine taught in God's Word that Christ died and paid the sin-debt of the whole world. That's right.

Study your Bible more closely, my friend. If Christ died for that man out yonder who rejects the truth and goes out under the cloud unsaved, paid that man's sin-debt in full at the bar of justice, that man would have to be saved. Did you know that? Listen, let me tell you something, if Christ paid for the sin of every man on the cross of Calvary, every man would be saved, and there would be universal salvation. God couldn't turn around at the Great White Throne judgment and demand that that individual pay for his sin-debt in Hell. He couldn't, if Christ paid for it. If God in Christ paid that sinners sin-debt in full, and that sinner rejected the truth of God's Word and went to the Great White Throne judgment, he could stand there demanding that he go to Heaven, because he could say, "Christ paid my sin-debt in full. Now God cannot collect a sin-debt from me after He has collected it from Christ." That's right.

In I Tim. 2:5, 6 we find these words, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all (his sheep), to be testified in due time." Well, now you say, "Doesn't that mean that He died for all?" No – He died for all His sheep. Now, that is a Scripture that Arminians want to quote and say, "Well, didn't Christ give Himself a ransom for all?" Yes, for all His sheep, because Christ says in John 10:15, "I lay down my life for the sheep." One Scripture does not contradict another; you cannot array one Scripture over against another. Now, if you take a Scripture out of its setting, you can prove anything in the world. That's the reason there are so many cults today. There isn't a religious cult in the world but whose basis for their teachings is the Word of God. If John 10:15 is so, Christ laid down His life for His sheep, then I Tim. 2:6 would have to mean, "Christ gave himself a ransom for all (His sheep)," because that is what is inferred from the first Scripture. Now, just let the Bible speak for itself.

Another Scripture that Arminians like to quote is II Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any ("us-ward") should perish, but that all ("us-ward") should come to repentance." I want you to notice that word "us-ward." The true meaning of a verse of Scripture many times turns on one little word, and in this verse that word is "us-ward." Who did Christ die for? "Us-ward" – His elect. Let's turn now to I John 2:2, "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (world of believers, which means God's elect). This is one of the great doctrines of God's Word that Arminians hate with undying vengeance. The reason they hate it is because it throws them completely back upon God, a Sovereign Potentate, who does as He pleases, saves whom He pleases and when He pleases. All right, let's look at that Scripture again. He says, "…but also for the sins of the whole world," "The whole world" of what? Of believers, which means God's elect. "Well," you say, "you are misquoting it." No, I'm not misquoting it; it is the whole world of believers. "Well," you say, "that word 'world' isn't used in that respect." Well, you need to study your Bible. Turn to I John 5:19. It says there, "The whole world lieth in wickedness (lit. in the lap of the evil one)." Now God's children don't lie in the lap of the evil one. He is talking about the whole world of unbelievers that lie in the lap of the evil one. You see there, the whole world of unbelievers lie in the lap of the evil one, because God's children have been delivered from Satan's power, and they don't lie in the lap of the evil one. Then when He says Christ is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world – it is the world of believers. The zealous Arminian says, "We have to go out and win the world to Christ." The Lord Jesus Christ didn't say, "Go out and win the world": He said, "Go…and preach the gospel to every creature," and those that believe should be saved. The Word of God, when rightly understood, throws us back completely upon the Lord God of Heaven as Sovereign – and that's the way it should be. It breaks the saint or sinner that the feet of Christ; it develops a prayer life and sends the individual crying unto Him who sits on the throne. It works patients in that individual's life and leads him to surrender unto the Lord and unto the Sovereign God of Heaven to trust Him for everything in the world. Now you can be brought to that place by the power of God's Holy Spirit to rest at His feet and to trust Him for everything in the world. Now that's what it does. But the doctrine of Arminianism, of freewillism that exalts man, exalts the self-will of man, and puts man's will above the will of God. Now who is the voice of authority – you or God? Its God.

On the other hand, Arminianism sends a fellow fourth to win the whole world to Christ; it reduces salvation to a mere decision for Christ, exalts the evangelist or pastor above measure, sets him on the throne as a great dignified, exalted individual. Instead of being Christ-centered, while a cover up there emptiness with such terms and slogans as, "A Christ-centered program," or "The World for Christ," and so on. They put the emphasis on man, and man's will, and not on Christ and Blood Redemption, where the emphasis belongs. They have zeal without knowledge, according to Rom. 10:2. By praise God for the zeal of any man – I like zealousness; I do. But, my friend, when there is zeal without knowledge, it is blindness, it is ignorance, it is folly.

But Calvinism with the Bible puts the emphasis upon God as Sovereign, as on the throne; it teaches the Gospel is "the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Rom. 1:16), and makes the Gospel the center of all the teachings of God's Word. The Gospel rests upon the Sovereignty of God and flows out from God's Elective Grace; you cannot have Salvation by Grace apart from God's Election. Then it puts man as the footstool of the Lord God Almighty and as the bondslave of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is exalted and magnified, and the individual is not afraid to rest everything in the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Sovereign God. Now, there's the difference between Calvinism and Arminianism, a vast difference. And so let's rest our hope, our salvation in Christ, in the hands of a Sovereign God, and not in the decision of a little frail sinner like you and like me. My friends, this is God's message today to your hearts. I have brought it has God has led me, with all the tenderness He has given me. I can't open your heart, I can't make you see it, but thank God, He can, and I am praying with every breath that I breathe, "Lord, open their hearts and let them see it and understand their true condition before God." May He turn you today.




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