When we read scripture we see that God is a jealous God. Exodus 34:14, “for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (See also Zechariah 8:2, Nahum 1:2, Joshua 24:19, Deuteronomy 6:15, 2 Corinthians 11:2, etc.) But what is God jealous for? Simply, God is jealous for His glory.
God created everything for His glory, including you. (See Psalm 19:1, Isaiah 43:7) Because of our sin, we fail to give God glory (See Romans 3:23). Instead of glorifying God, we give other things glory, like ourselves. This is the essence of idol worship, and this is why God sent Jesus, so as to restore the Glory due His name.
What is interesting is that the means by which God restores His glory is the apex of God’s Glory. Saving wretched sinners by grace through faith in Christ is where we observe the pinnacle of God’s infinite value. It is where God’s glory shines most brightly. And this is where many times the battle for glory comes into play, for man loves to take credit (glory) for his own salvation.
However, God will not share his glory when it comes to saving sinners (Se Isaiah 42:8). There are many versus that point to this truth, but the most succinct is Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
God, by His will, has structured salvation in such a way that no man will stand before him with a puffed out chest. God will not share His glory when it comes to your salvation. Salvation is a gift, and God is a jealous God.
Only Calvinism teaches that salvation is entirely, completely, 100% a gift. How? It does so by teaching that not only is grace a gift, but faith is also a gift. Re-read Ephesians 2:8-9 and you can see it plainly, but here is a sample of other text that point to this same truth.
- 2 Peter 1:1 – “To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:”
- Philippians 1:29 – “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,“
- Acts 3:16 – “And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.”
- Romans 12:3 – “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”
- 1 Timothy 1:13-14 – “though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”
This is just a sample of versus that tells us that faith is a gift. God’s Word is abundantly clear that we believe in Christ because God gives us the ability to believe in Christ.
So why does it matter? It matters because God is a jealous God, and He will not share His glory with another, especially in the salvation of man, for it is the pinnacle of His Glory displayed. If our faith is a means to God’s grace, and it is God who supplies our faith, then ultimately God must be praised for giving us faith.
If Churches teach free will, claiming that fallen, unspiritual, dead men supply their own faith, then they are undeniably patting themselves on the back. They are taking the credit. They are taking the praise. Teaching free will is kindling God’s wrath, for it makes your congregation glory exchangers, for they are ungrateful for their faith, for they say that God played no role in the ultimate decision to follow Jesus. Free will is therefore not salvation, but merely opportunity, and Christ is no longer a savior, but merely an usher.
Likewise, if Churches ignore this doctrine by sticking their head in the sand, they are failing to feed the sheep with the sanctifying Word of God. This leads to nominal Christians who do not praise God for all that He has done. Faith is fundamental to our walk with Christ, to ignore God’s sovereign role in something that is fundamental to our union with Christ is simply a dereliction of duty.
Teaching Calvinism is about eliminating all pride that Christians may have as they stand before a Sovereign God. Teaching Calvinism is about defending the honor of God and praising Him for ALL the work He has done, not just some of His work. Teaching Calvinism is about being jealous for what God is jealous for…His Glory.