Volume. XXXVI, No. 16
Sunday, 17 October 2021

What is the Reformed Faith? (Part 1)

By “Reformed,” we refer to the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation and the rediscovery of scriptural truths as best expressed in the comprehensive confessions that have been summarized systematically in the Westminster Standards and the "Three Forms of Unity," i.e. the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the Canons of Dort.


By "faith," we refer to the body of truth set forth in Scripture itself. We speak of the Reformed Faith not as though it is some sort of substitute for Scriptural faith. We do not accept John Calvin and other Puritans' teaching instead of the Bible. However, we believe their teaching is closer to what the Bible teaches than anybody else's. Only the Bible is infallible and authoritative; we just believe their teaching about it is superior and accurate compared to other competing teachings of men. We believe the "Reformed" faith to be the faith of Scripture.


Let me share some of the fundamentals of the Reformed Faith.

  1. The Sovereignty of God: The sovereignty of God is the focal point of this Reformed system of doctrine, which views the whole world from a God-centred outlook rather than being man centred (Arminian). God is Almighty and Sovereign in all His works, and He is the supreme ruler, governor, sustainer and controller of all things. He has created all things out of nothing in six literal days and continues to sustain His entire universe. God is also sovereign in salvation. God, based on His good pleasure and wisdom, chose us rather than we chose God: only those chosen by God will come to Him, and those who come to Him He will not cast out. As Jonah states, “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). Therefore, if any sinner is to be saved, God must take the initiative, seek us and actually rescue us.

  2. The Covenant of Grace: The Reformed Faith believes that God has one unified plan to save sinners in both the Old Testament and the New Testament through the Redeemer, Jesus Christ. When Adam failed to keep his part of the covenant of works, God extended His love to His chosen through the covenant of grace. Old covenant believers looked forward to the Christ of promise and expressed their faith by obeying the revealed will. New covenant believers look back to Christ’s finished work and trust Him alone for salvation.

  3. The Five Points of Calvinism - also called The Five Doctrines of Grace: Calvinism, in short, is the system of theology hoping to explain systematically the nature of salvation and the role of God and man in the saving process as put forth by the Scriptures. Let’s start with the fascinating historical background behind this debate. His followers formulated the teachings of Jacob Arminius, a Dutch theologian, into five main points of doctrine after his death in 1610. They staged a great protest against the common Belgic and Heidelberg confessions which the Church of Holland used. In response to this protest, a national synod consisting of 84 members and 18 secular commissioners was called in Dort to examine the five points of Arminianism in the light of the Scriptures.  After 154 sessions of debate over seven months, the Synod of Dort rejected the five points of Arminianism and proceeded to outline the “five points of Calvinism.” 

    1. Total Depravity of man: As a result of the fall, man is completely incapable within himself to reach out towards God. Man is totally at enmity with God (Rom 3:10-23). No man can please God by his actions (Isa. 64:6). No man understands the things of God (1 Cor. 2:14). Man's will is not exactly free - it is in bondage to his evil nature as he is dead in sins, follows Satan and cannot please God. Man is totally unable to choose any good from the spiritual realm.

    2. Unconditional Election: There is absolutely no condition in any person for which God would save him. But God graciously elected to draw some to Himself through the Holy Spirit. God chose or predestined some to everlasting life. God chose all before the foundation of the earth based on His sovereign will. He did this out of His mere good pleasure. (Eph. 1:4, 5). God's choice of the sinner, not the sinner's choice of Christ, is the cause of salvation.

    3. Limited Atonement. God, in His infinite mercy accomplished the planned redemption by sending His own Son, Jesus Christ, to die as a substitute for the sins of a specific number of people (Rom 8:29-30). Christ's death was sufficient for all but only efficient for the elect. The atonement is sufficient to pay for the sins of everyone in the world, but it is efficient only to those who accept Christ. Christ died to secure the salvation of God's elect. Christ died for those whom he elected in sovereign knowledge and secured their salvation.

    4. Irresistible Grace of God. When God does something the result is certain and none can resist. When the Holy Spirit inwardly calls a person to believe, that person comes to Christ. His grace is of such power that the will of His elect is made obedient to His will. This is the effectual work of the Holy Spirit moving upon a particular person whom He has called, applying the work of redemption (John 3:5-6). The outward call to salvation is given to all who hear the gospel but the special inward call by the Holy Spirit only extends to the elect. Man cannot resist this call, and that brings them to salvation.

    5. Perseverance of the Saints. Those whom the Holy Spirit regenerates and brings to faith in Christ will be kept by Christ (Jude 1; 1Jn 5:18) with the result that they will continue in the true faith and grow in Christ. They will not fall away and be lost. They have eternal life now and forever. Even though the process of sanctification is not complete in this life, from God's perspective, it is as good as accomplished. (Rom 8:30, 38, 39, and Phil 1:6.) Those whom God elected, He has redeemed by Christ. He has given them the faith to believe in Him by the Holy Spirit, and they are eternally secured.  In short, Salvation can never be lost.

Calvinism actually is only one point: the point that God saves the sinner. This God-centred, Reformed outlook on the Bible’s plan of salvation must humble us as we are not able to accomplish or even contribute to our salvation and must fill us with a heart of thankfulness and praise to our God of salvation.  When we look at salvation from the Calvinistic understanding, we can give our God all thanks, worship, and glory.  

To be continued…

Rev Mathews Abraham

More Lively Hope



  • Women of Hope meeting in the Sanctuary after Service today. Sis Ratchanee Abraham will be speaking on “Christian Sufferings.”
  • Tithes & offerings - please see Lively Hope for bank details.


Praise & Thanksgiving

  • Current COVID-19 situation in South Australia.
  • Journey mercies – those who have travelled.



  • Healing: all who are unwell.
  • Comfort & peace for friends & family interstate & overseas affected by COVID-19.




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