I start with the truism that each Christian’s prayer life, like every good marriage, has in it common factors about which one can generalise and also uniqueness which no other Christian’s prayer life will quite match. You are you and I am I, and we must each find our own way with God.
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Packer said, “The very act of setting out Calvinistic soteriology [the doctrine of salvation] in the form of five distinct points (a number due, as we saw, merely to the fact that there were five Arminian points for the Synod of Dort to answer) tends to obscure the organic character of Calvinistic thought on this subject. For the five points, though separately stated, are inseparable. They hang together; you cannot reject one without rejecting them all, at least in the sense in which the Synod meant them. For to Calvinism there is really only one point to be made in the field of soteriology: the point that God saves sinners.
“God” the Triune Jehovah, Father, Son and Spirit; three Persons working together in sovereign wisdom, power and love to achieve the salvation of a chosen people, the Father electing, the Son fulfilling the Father’s will by redeeming, the Spirit executing the purpose of Father and Son by renewing.”
“Saves”does everything, first to last, that is involved in bringing man from death in sin to life in glory: plans, achieves and communicates redemption, calls and keeps, justifies, sanctifies, glorifies.”
“Sinners” men as God finds them, guilty, vile, helpless, powerless, unable to lift a finger to do God’s will or better their spiritual lot. God saves sinners and the force of this confession may not be weakened by disrupting the unity of the work of the Trinity, or by dividing the achievement of salvation between God and man and making the decisive part man’s own, or by soft-pedalling the sinner’s inability so as to allow him to share the praise of his salvation with his Saviour.
This is the one point of Calvinistic soteriology which the “five points” are concerned to establish and Arminianism in all its forms to deny: namely, that sinners to not save themselves in any sense at all, but that salvation, first and last, whole and entire, past, present and future, is of the Lord, to whom be glory for ever; amen.”
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Justification is a forensic idea, conceived in terms of law, and viewing
God as judge. In justification, God declares of penitent believers that
they are not, and never will be, liable to the death that their sins deserve,
because Jesus Christ, their substitute and sacrifice, tasted death in their
place on the cross.
But contrast this, now, with adoption. Adoption is a family idea,
conceived in terms of love, and viewing God as father. In adoption, God
takes us into his family and fellowship, and establishes us as his children
and heirs. Closeness, affection and generosity are at the heart of the
relationship. To be right with God the judge is a great thing, but to be
loved and cared for by God is a greater
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