Jesus was a Calvinist

As Christians, more than anything, we should want to be like our Savior and Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. His words should be our words, His thoughts our thoughts, His theology our theology and based on His words, thoughts and theology – Jesus was a Calvinist! Although the system itself and the man it was named after did not come into existence until almost 1,600 years after Jesus’ death, the truths taught both by John Calvin and the system bearing his name, are as old as the Bible itself. The Bible teaches Calvinism, which means that Calvinism is good biblical theology. It is the sound doctrine of Jesus and the Scriptures. We can clearly demonstrate this thought by considering what are commonly known as the “Five Points of Calvinism” and a few of the biblical texts that record Jesus’ teaching on each of those points.

There is a host of biblical data that could be used to make the point that Jesus was a Calvinist, but for purposes of brevity, we will confine our study to only the words of Christ as they appear in the Gospel of John:

Total Depravity

Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man. – John 2:23-25

Unconditional Election

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. – John 1:12-13

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”- John 3:3-8

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day… It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) – John 6:44, 63-64

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. – John 15:16

Limited Atonement 

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. – John 6:38-39

I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. – John 10:14-15

But you do not believe, because you are not among My sheep. – John 10:26

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. – John 17:1, 2

I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. – John 17:9

Irresistible Grace 

Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent… All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out…No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.” – John 6:29, 37, 44-45

Perseverance of the Saints 

And this is the will of him who sent me that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. – John 6:39

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me,is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” – John 10:25-29

While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. – John 17:12-15

Remember, in order to live like Jesus, we must think like Jesus. Before we can act like Jesus our theology must be the theology of Jesus, and as we have just seen, Jesus’ theology was congruent with the theology supporting Calvinism. We are called to “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). If you are one who continues to resist biblical doctrine on this matter, we call on you to conform your thoughts and beliefs to the mind of Christ. Or, if you are one who is convinced of the biblical teaching regarding Calvinism, the next time someone asks you why you hold to the doctrine of election, just say: because Jesus was a Calvinist!