For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Jesus endured the cross for several hours, in what we would’ve otherwise had to endure for all eternity. Jesus endured the cross, so that we wouldn’t have to, because when a person dies without Christ, it is they who go on a cross, forever. Rejecting Christ, therefore, represents an infinite loss and an infinite waste. When a person dies rejecting Christ, simply superimpose their own face upon the image below. Now what Calvinism has done, is to change the question from “what will you do with Christ’s sacrifice for you?”, to whether Christ sacrificed anything for you at all, since only the “Calvinistically elect” allegedly have a Savior who died for them.
John Calvin: “First he points out the eternity of election, and then how we should think of it. Christ says that the elect always belonged to God. God therefore distinguishes them from the reprobate, not by faith, nor by any merit, but by pure grace; for while they are far away from him, he regards them in secret as his own.” (John: Calvin, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, p.393, emphasis mine)
Calvinist, John MacArthur: “Romans 3:24 says that we are justified as a gift by His grace. A gift by His grace. He graced us. In fact, the phrase there, in verse 6, literally means by grace we have been graced. That’s the idea. He graced us, in Christ, the beloved One. Grace, then, was the means by which He brought to pass His choice and His predetermined destiny and made us His children.” (Understanding Election, emphasis mine)
No sooner does MacArthur mention grace in Christ that he immediately invokes the alleged, elective grace hidden in the Father. Why do Calvinists so frequently lop off in Christ when quoting Ephesians 1:4? The answer is because Calvinism has taught them to see grace as having an origin in some other place than in Christ, namely in the Father, by a mysterious and unsearchable secret counsel:
John Calvin: “For God looks at nothing outside Himself by which He is moved to elect us, for the counsel of His own will is the only and proper and (as they say) intrinsic cause of election.” (Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, p.130, emphasis mine)
John Calvin: “The calling is therefore a certain and specific calling, which seals and ratifies the eternal election of God so as to make manifest what was before hidden in God.” (Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God, p.70, emphasis mine)
In Calvinism, grace originates in the Father and is actualized in Christ, such that becoming in Christ is the back end of a primary election in the Father.
Question: When Calvinists speak of Election, why do they often lop off in Christ, such as at Ephesians 1:4?
Answer: Because they do not think in terms of what they have in Christ. They think in terms of what they have in the Father. In other words, Jesus is the Elect One, and us, only insomuch as being the body of the Elect One. Calvinists instead imagine themselves as the Elect of the Father, not on account of being in Christ, but on account of being the Father’s people, with the result that they are not elect on account of Christ, but elect for Christ.
Calvinist, John MacArthur: “I’m a Christian today because before the foundation of the world from all eternity past, God chose to set His love on John MacArthur and to give him the faith to believe at the moment that God wanted him to believe. He chose us.” (Understanding Election, emphasis mine)
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)
John MacArthur: “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)
Do you see what is happening here? The confidence of a Calvinist is not what is in Christ, but what they have eternally had in the Father, allegedly. Never, at any time, were these on the path to Hell since God had them in His eternal plans to predestine them to salvation. In contrast, Arminianism teaches that predestination primarily deals with God’s plan for Christians, to conform those whom He foreknew in Christ into the image of His Son. Simply stated, God’s plan for Christians is to make them like Jesus. The confidence of an Arminian is not whether he was drafted into an alleged, eternal flock of the Father. Rather, the confidence of an Arminian is who he is in Christ, having been made Born Again in Christ.