Book: Saved By Grace

Study Guide

1st edition. Copyright © 1995. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reprinted in any form without permission from the publisher, except in the case of a brief quotation used in connection with a critical article or review. For information, address:

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Introduction 

This study guide is intended to be a companion volume to Saved by Grace - a Study of the Five Points of Calvinism. It can be used as a personal study guide by those who work through the material presented in the book on their own. It can also be used in a group Bible study. In this case, answers to the various questions in the study guide can be compared and discussed for the mutual profit of the members of the group. In either case, use of the study guide is intended to enrich understanding of and appreciation for the doctrines of grace, which are commonly referred to as the Five Points of Calvinism.

The purpose of the study guide is not only to reinforce the material presented in Saved by Grace. But the purpose is to go beyond what is written in the book by way of one's own further study and personal application of the Five Points of Calvinism. The study guide is also designed to be a tool for personal, spiritual growth so that these grand truths will not only be understood and confessed but lived. Then our sovereign God, Whose glory is held forth in these doctrines, will be praised.

Soli Deo Gloria!

The Authors

Chapter 1

The Sovereignty of God

Study Questions:

1. What does it mean that "the central truth proclaimed by Calvinism ... is the absolute sovereignty of God"? 

2. What do you understand by the sovereignty of God? 

3. What is meant when it is said that God is absolutely sovereign?

4. What is included in the sovereignty of God?

5. Does the sovereignty of God make God the author of sin? Explain.

6. Does the sovereignty of God rule out the responsibility of the sinner? Explain.

7. How does communism deny the truth of the sovereignty of God?

8. How does the teaching of evolution deny the truth of the sovereignty of God?

9. How does all Arminianism and free willism deny the sovereignty of God?

10. How is the sovereignty of God important for the right worship of God?

11. Explain how the glory of God is at stake in the truth of His sovereignty.

12. How does belief in the sovereignty of God affect one's view of history?

13. How does the comfort of God's people depend on the sovereignty of God?

14. How is the truth of the sovereignty of God related to the Five Points of Calvinism?

Scripture References:

1. Prove God's sovereignty in general.

2. Prove God's sovereignty over the brute creation. 

3. Prove God's sovereignty over His rational, moral creature, man.

4. Prove God's sovereignty in salvation.

5. Prove God's sovereignty over the evils (adversities) of earthly life.

6. Prove God's sovereignty over sin and the sinner. 

Questions for Reflection:

1. What difference does belief of God's sovereignty make in your life?

2. Recall a time in your life when God sovereignly brought trouble upon you that in the end proved to be for your good.

3. What relation is there between the sovereignty of God and prayer?

4. Can a person be saved who does not believe the sovereignty of God?

5. How does belief in the sovereignty of God differ from fatalism?

Memory Work:

1. Psalm 115:3But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.

2. Daniel 4:34, 35And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

3. Matthew 10:29, 30Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 

4. Luke 22:22And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed!

Chapter 2

Total Depravity

Study Questions:

1. What do you understand by man's depravity?

2. Why do we speak of man being totally depraved? 

3. What is "original sin"?

4. How does Pelagianism deny the truth of total depravity? 

5. How does Semi-Pelagianism deny the truth of total depravity?

6. How does Arminianism deny the truth of total depravity? 

7. How does the teaching of common grace deny the truth of total depravity?

8. How does the free offer of the gospel deny the truth of total depravity?

9. How does the notion that man has a free will contradict the truth of total depravity?

10. Is there any validity to the distinction between absolute depravity and total depravity?

11. What is the relation between total depravity and repentance?

12. What is the relation between total depravity and the preaching of the gospel?

13. Of what practical significance is the truth of total depravity for parents in the bringing up of their children? 

14. Explain what is meant by the "antithesis." 

15. How is the truth of total depravity related to the other of the Five Points of Calvinism?

Scripture References:

1. Prove the doctrine of total depravity.

2. Prove that all men are depraved.

3. Prove that man's depravity extends to his nature. 

4. Prove the inability of man to save himself.

5. Prove the truth of original sin.

Questions for Reflection:

1. If all men are totally depraved, why do not all men commit every sin?

2. Adam was the head and representative of us all, so that his sin became our sin. Can you think of examples in everyday life where this principle of headship holds true?

3. Does God still today punish sin with sin? Explain. 

4. What considerations might enter into a man's doing deeds that are only outwardly "good"?

5. React to the statement: "You can't legislate morality."

Memory Work:

1. Psalm 14:1-3The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

2. Psalm 51:5Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

3. Romans 8:7, 8Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

4. Ephesians 2:1: And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.

Chapter 3

Unconditional Election

Study Questions:

1. Why can predestination be called "the heart of the gospel"?

2. What is predestination? What is election?

3. What are the outstanding characteristics of election? 

4. What is meant by "double" predestination? What is reprobation?

5. Does the teaching of predestination contradict the truth that God is a God of love? Explain.

6. Does the teaching of predestination contradict the righteousness of God? Explain.

7. Does the teaching of predestination deny man's responsibility and lead to determinism? Explain.

8. How is the teaching of free will a denial of predestination? 

9. How is the teaching of common grace a denial of predestination?

10. How is the teaching of the free offer of the gospel a denial of predestination?

11. What connection is there between predestination and the antithesis?

12. How does the truth of predestination provide a motivation to the church in the preaching of the gospel?

13. How does the truth of predestination inspire humility in the believer?

14. How does the truth of predestination relate to the glory of God?

15. How is the truth of unconditional election related to the other of the Five Points of Calvinism?

Scripture References:

1. Prove the doctrine of election.

2. Prove that election is definite and personal. 

3. Prove that election is an eternal decree.

4. Prove that election is unto salvation.

5. Prove that election is gracious and unconditional. 

6. Prove that the basis for election is in Jesus Christ.

7. Prove the doctrine of reprobation.

Questions for Reflection:

1. Hypothetically, God could have chosen to save all men, or He could have chosen to save none. He did neither; He chose to save some. Why would this be His will, rather than one of the other alternatives?

2. How can a person be sure that he is an elect child of God?

3. Is it possible for an elect child of God to lose the assurance of his election? If so, how?

4. Is it possible for a reprobate person to be convinced mistakenly that he is an elect child of God?

5. Ought we to be concerned that the preaching of election and reprobation might frighten genuine believers and plant seeds of doubt in their minds?

Memory Work:

1. John 15:16: Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

2. Romans 9:11-13: (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

3. Ephesians 1:3-5: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.

4. Jude 4: For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Chapter 4

Limited Atonement

Study Questions:

1. What is meant by the atonement?

2. Why do we speak of the atonement as limited? 

 

3. Did Christ's death on the cross merely make salvation possible? Explain.

4. In light of the truth of limited atonement, explain I Timothy 2:4-6.

5. In light of the truth of limited atonement, explain John 3:16.

6. How does the teaching of universalism deny the truth of limited atonement?

7. How does the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church contradict the truth of limited atonement?

8. How does the teaching of Arminianism deny the truth of limited atonement?

9. What does modernism teach about the death of Christ? 

10. How does the teaching of the free offer of the gospel stand at odds with the truth of limited atonement?

11. How does the truth of limited atonement impact the preaching of the gospel?

12. How does the truth of limited atonement affect the church's mission work?

13. How does the truth of limited atonement relate to the assurance of salvation?

14. How is the glory of God at stake in the truth of limited atonement?

15. How is the truth of limited atonement related to the other of the Five Points of Calvinism?

Scripture References:

1. Prove limited atonement.

2. Prove that Christ laid down His life for certain particular persons.

3. Prove the efficacy of the death of Christ.

4. Prove that Christ's death was satisfaction of God's justice.

5. Quote a Bible text that speaks of Christ's death as:

a. Propitiation.

b. Reconciliation.

c. Redemption.

Questions for Reflection:

1. How does the justice of God relate to the truth of limited atonement?

2. What does it mean that Christ died for the "ungodly," Romans 5:6?

3. Why was it necessary that Christ's death should be by crucifixion?

4. Christ's death was vicarious or substitutionary. What does this mean? Of what importance is this truth?

5. What was the greatest suffering endured by Christ on the cross?

6. Sometimes the distinction is made between Christ's active obedience and His passive obedience. What is the distinction? What is your evaluation of this distinction?

Memory Work:

1. Isaiah 53:11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities. 

2. Matthew 1:21: And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

3. John 10:11: I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

4. Acts 20:28: Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Chapter 5

Irresistible Grace

Study Questions:

1. What does it mean that we are saved by grace? 

2. What is meant by irresistible grace?

3. Does irresistible grace imply that man is saved contrary to his will? Explain.

4. What is the fruit of God's grace in the sinner? 

5. Does the truth of irresistible grace preclude the use of means, particularly the means of the preaching of the gospel? Explain.

6. How can you explain those passages of Scripture (like Matthew 23:37 and Acts 7:51) which seem to teach that it is possible for the sinner to resist God's grace?

7. How is the teaching of free will a denial of irresistible grace?

8. How does the teaching of common grace lead to a denial of irresistible grace?

9. How is the teaching of the free offer of the gospel an implicit denial of irresistible grace?

10. What is the importance of maintaining that grace is irresistible as far as the truth that salvation is by grace alone is concerned?

11. What is the importance of the doctrine of irresistible grace in relation to the believer's assurance?

12. What impact has the doctrine of irresistible grace on the truth of conversion?

13. How is the truth of irresistible grace related to the other of the Five Points of Calvinism?

Scripture References:

1. Prove that salvation is by grace alone.

2. Prove that salvation is not on account of man's works.

3. Prove that even our repenting and believing are due to the grace of God.

4. Prove that the grace of salvation is irresistible. 

5. Quote a passage of Scripture that speaks of salvation as re-birth, re-creation, or resurrection. Explain how this passage proves irresistible grace.

Questions for Reflection:

1. What impact has the truth of irresistible grace on the Reformed view of the preaching of the gospel? Is the methodology of Reformed preaching different from the methodology employed in Arminian preaching because of the doctrine of irresistible grace?

2. Is it possible for a man to be brought to salvation by "natural light" apart from the grace of God?

3. What are the fruits of irresistible grace for which a Christian ought to look in his life and by which he may be assured that he is the object of God's grace? Are these fruits of grace present in your life?

4. Is it a matter of "grace" that a man outwardly conforms himself to the law of God? What considerations might enter in here?

5. Is the truth of irresistible grace experienced by the believer? Explain.

Memory Work:

1. Romans 8:29, 30For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 

2. Romans 9:16: So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy. 

3. Ephesians 2:8-10: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

4. John 3:3: Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Chapter 6

The Perseverance of the Saints

Study Questions:

1. What is meant by the perseverance of the saints? 

2. Why do we speak of those whom God preserves as saints?

3. What is the relation between the perseverance of the saints and God's preservation of them?

4. Do the saints fall? Do the saints fall away? Explain. 

5. In light of the perseverance of the saints, explain Hebrews 6:4-6.

6. Does the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints lead to careless living? Explain.

7. How does Roman Catholicism deny the truth of the perseverance of the saints?

8. How does Arminianism deny the truth of the perseverance of the saints?

9. How does the teaching of free will contradict the truth of the perseverance of the saints?

10. How does Antinomianism deny the truth of the perseverance of the saints?

11. How does perfectionism overthrow the truth of the perseverance of the saints?

12. What is the relation between the perseverance of the saints and prayer?

13. What is the relation between the perseverance of the saints and the preaching of the gospel?

14. How does the believer's assurance rest on the truth of the perseverance of the saints?

15. How is the truth of the perseverance of the saints related to the other of the Five Points of Calvinism?

Scripture References:

1. Prove the truth of the perseverance of the saints. 

2. Prove that it is God Who preserves the saints. 

3. Prove that the saints' preservation is a preservation of them in holiness.

4. Prove that God always renews His people to repentance when they fall into sin.

5. Prove that it is by means of the Word of God and the preaching of the Word that we are preserved in salvation. 

6. Prove that it is by means of prayer that we are enabled to persevere to the end.

Questions for Reflection:

1. Is there such a thing as a "carnal Christian"? 

2. What means does God use to preserve us in salvation? Have you been diligent to make use of these means?

3. God preserves us not as so many individuals in isolation from each other, but as saints in relation to each other. Of what significance is membership in the church for the perseverance of the saints?

4. Will it be necessary for God to preserve us in salvation also in heaven? Explain.

5. Why is God pleased to make us perfect in the life to come, but not yet in this life?

Memory Work:

1. Psalm 37:23, 24: The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord; and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.

2. John 10:27-29: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

3. Philippians 1:6: Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

4. I Peter 1:5: Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

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