For the Son of God, Christ Jesus, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silvanus and Timothy—was not yes and no, but is yes in Him. For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.
Question: Are the promises of God in us, or in Christ?
Answer: According to Calvinism, the promises of God are in ourselves because God picked us. The Father chose us to be special enough to receive special Election, for a reason known to no one. Arminianism, however, founds election on being in Christ.
Calvinist, James White: “God elects a specific people unto Himself without reference to anything they do. This means the basis of God’s choice of the elect is solely within Himself: His grace, His mercy, His will.” (The Potter’s Freedom, p.39, emphasis mine)
Calvinists would be correct if Ephesians 1:4 had instead stated: “...just as He chose us in Himself....”
Calvinist, John MacArthur: “We are chosen unto salvation. We are chosen to belong to Him. When you look at your salvation, then thank God. Thank God! Because you are a Christian because He chose you. I don’t understand the mystery of that. That’s just what the word of God teaches. That is the most humbling doctrine in all of Scripture. I take no credit, not even credit for my faith. It all came from Him. He chose me. He selected people to be made holy in order to be with Him forever. Why he selected me, I will never know. I’m no better than anyone else. I’m worse than many. But He chose me.” (Understanding Election, emphasis mine)
MacArthur asks: “To whom do you owe your salvation? You owe it to the God who chose you. You owe it to the God who predestined you. You owe it to the God who redeemed you, the God who forgave you, the God who wanted you to be His own because He wanted you to be His own. It doesn’t give any other reason, even though we are so unworthy, so unworthy.” (Understanding Election, emphasis mine)
This is what happens when the cause of Election is separated from its foundation in Christ.
In Christ, are the promises of God. It’s not in ourselves, and no one comes to the Father, but through the Son: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’” (John 14:6) However, Calvinists seem to have, in effect, discovered another way to the Father: Unconditional Election.
John Calvin: “This way of speaking, however, may seem to be different from many passages of Scripture which attribute to Christ the first foundation of God’s love for us and show that outside Christ we are detested by God. But we ought to remember, as I have already said, that the Heavenly Father’s secret love which embraced us is the first love given to us.” (John: Calvin, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, pp.76, emphasis mine)
This is a startling admission from John Calvin, as to how Calvinism is not truly Christocentric.
Calvinist, William MacDonald comments on 1st John 2:24: “Here we have the wonderful truth of the unity between the Father and the Son. You cannot have the Father unless you have the Son. This is a message which should be heeded by all Unitarians, Christian Scientists, Muslims, Modernists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Jews.” (Believer’s Bible Commentary, p.2315, emphasis mine)
So, why didn’t he include the Calvinists in his list? Aren’t Calvinists the biggest offenders since they claim to be eternally hidden in the Father in order to be given to the Son?
William MacDonald: “Election refers to His sovereign, eternal choice of individuals to belong to Himself.” (Believer’s Bible Commentary, pp.2290-2291, emphasis mine)
Either Calvinism is Decretalcentric or Father-centric (Patricentric), but not Christocentric.
James White: “Jesus begins where Christian salvation begins (and ends!), with the Father. The Father gives a particular people to the Son.” (Debating Calvinism, p.118, emphasis mine)
James White: “...God brings His elect to Himself in love....” (Debating Calvinism, p.306, emphasis mine)
James White: “I just also believe the undisputed and unrefuted fact that I come to Christ daily because the Father, on the sole basis of His mercy and grace, gave me to the Son in eternity past.” (Debating Calvinism, p.306, emphasis mine)
Calvinists fancy themselves as secretly belonging to God, from all eternity, simply because God wanted it that way, which was perhaps to demonstrate various divine attributes, by having a corresponding non-elect caste. However, according to Arminianism, the promises of God are in Christ alone, and we share in Christ’s promises, just as any wife shares equally with the promises of her husband. As an example, who ever heard of a man who won the lottery, and yet turned to his wife and said, “Well it looks like I won, and not you. Sorry.”? No, they share equally in marriage. So if Jesus is “the Elect One,” then His Body and Bride would share in His Election, too, and by virtue of that alone, His Body and Bride would be called “elect,” with Him. Notice how much different Calvinism is? In the one system, we are special because God chose to make us special, whereas in the other system, we are special only because of the One whom we are hitched with. Now that’s truly Christocentric.