Well, as I have heard from my father about Bible study, is to 'keep it simple, stupid.' It didn't make sense to me. What is simple about the nature of God? Of the Bible?
If you try to 'keep it simple,' you'll ultimately ignore possibly big theological gaps and allow false doctrines into your life.
When Christ saved us, we weren't just offered a ticket into Heaven. Antinomians believe just that. They believe in a 'radical grace.' That is obviously wrong.
When Christ saved us, He gave us a new nature. He completely changed our desires and needs. We want to please the LORD, not grieve Him.
Not so with the unregenerate though… They ponder the words of many famous philosophers and eventually come to the conclusion that they're either great or they're just utter rubbish. [I believe mankind is rubbish, but that'll be expounded on in just a minute.]
The unregenerate are lovers of themselves. They pursue religion to satisfy themselves. They don't pursue God. They don't seek God!
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh God." (Romans 3:11)
And if they claim to seek 'God,' they are making their own version of God that suits their desires. See their focus on themselves? That is the hallmark trait of an unregenerate man.
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all man, as theirs also was." (2 Timothy 3:1-9)
That is a pretty damning passage of Scripture, but it is so true, even more so today. I make witness of this happening today. People seek their own desires, are in constant rebellion, and even the 'religious' making their own versions of God so they can have 'a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.' Mankind has a truly sad fate in Hell, truth be told.
But if anyone genuinely seeks the real God, he/she is elect. Only the elect can know the real God. Want to know why? He reveals Himself to them spiritually. He gives them knowledge of His own kingdom!
What a Sovereign and Gracious God we have. It is a tragedy that very few will know the true LORD.
Well, you want to hear the candid truth about the human race? Do you really want to hear it? If you do, hang in.
We are utter rubbish. We are the scum of the earth. We are literally the most depraved beings in the entire universe. (Except for Satan.) Not one part of us is without sin. We are totally depraved. (The 2 Timothy passage pretty much sums up how depraved we are, especially the recent generations.)
Without Christ, God would be more than just to damn us. We are the stains upon the Earth. Of course God would want to make the world shiny again. We are the problem, dudes and gals. Ever since Adam and Eve committed their sins, we have been filthily corrupt.
We, in fact, are so corrupt, that we cannot believe the true God without His grace impacting us beforehand. It gives me a reason to celebrate that He has shown me His grace.
"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because 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." (Romans 8:6-8)
Jesus died on the cross to pay for the sins of the entire world. Our Savior paved the way for salvation. Yet only a few would be able to see it. Only a few would repent and turn to Jesus. Only those in which God granted His grace would be able to see His kingdom.
"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." (v. 9-11)
His elect are like a family, and they were all adopted. There will be the goat that tries to masquerade with the sheep, but the LORD shall weed him out in due time.
"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, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; having made us known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
"In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
"In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all." (Ephesians 1:4-23)
That's a mouthful of a reference, but I hope it enlightened you to the wondrous reality of election and predestination.
Here is my opinion. It is not 'word of God,' but you should consider it. The elect will come to understand the doctrines of grace. They might not agree on all of the five points of Reformed theology, but I believe that they will come to agree on most of the points, pointing out a mutual understanding of God's nature.
For example, I am debating whether limited atonement is correct, because the Bible clearly points out that Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. Yet on a logical basis of thought, the limited atonement does make sense, because all who did not repent of their sins will be burning in Hell, therefore rendering Christ's atonement effective for the elect only.
It is obvious to the reader that I am Reformed. It is an absolutely beautiful theological standpoint. It negates man out of the equation and gives the ultimate authority to God above. It makes my relationship with the risen Christ a very special one. It makes me rejoice that He has bestowed His knowledge of Himself to me. That knowledge, by grace alone, has given me unlimited hope. The thought that I am nothing, yet He has chosen me out amongst the tares, is an enlightening and liberating thought. To Christ be ALL the glory, the honor, and the praise.
Here are my views of the doctrines of TULIP.
Total Depravity: Complete Concord
Unconditional Election: Complete Concord
Limited Atonement: Paradoxical Concord
Irresistible Grace: Complete Concord
Perseverance of the Saints: Complete Concord
Here are my views of the Arminian versions of said doctrines.
Free Will: In Accordance With Our Depravity (Complete Discord)
Conditional Election: Complete Discord
Unlimited Atonement: Paradoxical Concord
Resistible Grace: Complete Discord
Losing Salvation: Complete Discord (Blatant Heresy)
On the 'L' part, I am half-way Amyraldist. The Scriptures seem to contradict themselves on that matter, but they only 'seem' to. To God, they don't. I am willing to accept the paradox that Christ died for the elect only, and yet for the whole world. It isn't the most major issue out there. I'll fix this if I feel like God is telling me to think differently.