Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
1 Peter 1:1-2 (ESV)
Recently, I was watching a documentary on Georgia Public Television called The Appalachians. The subject of the section I watched was about the religious practices of Appalachia. The writers stated that the settlers that first came to the South were Calvinistic and that they believed in a harsh and stern God, who had His chosen people. Then, the documentary stated (and I’m paraphrasing), John Wesley came and preached a God of love, a God that accepted everyone, and this message was accepted by the people of Appalachia, and Calvinism was rejected. (The truth is John Wesley did not have a good reputation when He came to America in 1736 in Savannah, GA. He testifies that he had come to convert the Indians and realized that he himself was not converted. Wesley was not converted until 1738 back in England at a Moravian mission. George Whitefield the Calvinist had a far greater impact and reputation in his preaching in America, and Whitefield was called a Methodist first! That’s right: the first Methodists were Calvinists!)
The documentary got one thing right: Over a period of time, Calvinism was primarily rejected (and we are paying the price the fruit of Arminianism has caused). But it got one thing very wrong: The God of Calvinism is not like an old grumpy grandpa who really doesn’t love anybody. The biblical truth is that it is amazing that He would set His affection on any of us, rebels such as we are.
“In love He predestined us.” Eph. 1:5
“But God, being rich in mercy (rebels deserved condemnation but needed mercy), because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved.” Eph. 2:4-5
Calvinists most certainly believe the truth of God’s perfections and that He is to be feared. But Calvinists do not believe that He is a joyless God and saves a joyless people. It is actually the other way around. He is the happy God, the blessed God of 1 Timothy 1:11. He is in no way stingy with His love and grace. As a matter of fact, “Heaven will not be thinly populated. The living seed of Abraham will be as numerous as the sand on the seashores and the stars in the heavens (Gen. 15:5). Election declares the expansive generosity of God, not his stinginess.” The Father’s house of John 14 is actually a large house, and millions of believers, from every tribe and tongue and people and nation will be there. What a diverse family God’s elect become! The fact that the elect come from all over the world and from different periods of time, shows them the amazing bond they will have with those so different; and yet they have one thing in common: The Father who chose them before the foundation of the world, the Son who achieved their righteousness and died for them, and the Spirit who made the Gospel effectual in their hearts – elected by sovereign grace!
Believers should be the happiest people on earth! Peter says in verse 8 that we love the God we do not see and that this God has filled us with joy unspeakable and full of glory. It does not mean that we love to go through trials, but that even through trials there is an enduring hope and peace, a rest in God’s promises, a joy that gives strength. Believers are joyful because of God’s love and work in their lives (James 1:2-3). The elect exiles rejoice that this life is temporary and that God is producing in them a great weight of glory in their home to come.
So don’t believe the lie of those who misrepresent the God of Calvinism as a joyless, dull, loveless, graceless and gloomy God. The elect will one day enter into the joy of their Master! Believers experience God’s joy now and will in the future. May grace and peace be multiplied to you!
In Christ’s Joy,
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 Beeke, Joel. Living for God’s Glory: An Introduction to Calvinism. Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust, 2008, Pg. 67.