Calvinism – also known as the doctrines of grace – is really nothing more than affirming the sovereign rule and power of God over the most significant area of His work, the salvation of a people for His own possession. Most believers are like I was in my years just after college. I never gave much thought to the inconsistency over the absolute sovereign power of God that I professed in all other areas of reality and the limits I assumed for Him here. Once I was challenged to look at the Biblical record I came to same convictions on this matter that most of Christianity has shared for most of the 20 centuries of Christian truth – namely that the all powerful and all wise God of scripture is Lord of this area also. It is true that not all believers have held to these doctrines, but it is true that in the eras when Christianity was healthiest, when men were most careful to be Biblical and when their concern was faithfulness to God’s word — as opposed to the dictates of the surrounding culture — the doctrines of grace known by the label Calvinism were the view they adhered to.
The doctrines of grace are rooted in two solid truths that are central themes in the Old and New Testaments: 1) Because men are fallen and by nature sinful they are unable and unwilling to save themselves or to do anything to merit God’s favor. 2) God alone is able to save lost people and the only way anyone is ever saved is by God doing every bit of the work required.
These are commonly set forth under the acrostic TULIP
|TOTAL DEPRAVITY All men are guilty and are by nature and choice sinners and therefore God’s just judgment is toward over all men. Men are dead in sin and in themselves have no inclination and no ability to come to God for justification. Every area – mind, emotions, will and body – is affected by the taint of sin (Romans 3:9-18; Romans 3:23; John 3:18,19; Eph 2:1-3 )|
|UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION Out of the race of fallen men, all of whom are under judgement and are lost, God chooses SOME to be His covenant people. This choice is not based on anything intrinsic to us (no conditions we are able to perceive) but based only on God’s sovereign choice to rest His covenant affection and love on His elect. (John 15:16, John 17:9, Acts 13:48, Ephesians 1:4,)|
|LIMITED ATONEMENT This atonement is limited (or particular) in it’s intent, but not in it’s power or efficacy. Those that are chosen by the Father’s electing love and grace (and those only) are ransomed and redeemed by the substitutionary death of Christ. He does not merely make all men redeemable but fully redeems sach of those who are His own. (John 10:11, Luke 19:10, Romans 5:10, Galatians 1:4)|
|IRRESISTABLE GRACE Those elected by the Father and purchased by Jesus Christ in His finished work on the cross are called by the Holy Spirit with a call which will be heeded This call is regeneration (being born again). It gives life to those who were dead and gives sight to those who were blind and makes them both able and willing to believe. (John 6:37-40, I Cor. 1:23&24, Titus 3:5)|
|PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS All of those truly elected by the Father, redeemed by the Son and effectually called by the Holy Spirit will persevere to the end because of God’s grace which never fails. We may doubt and be discouraged and fall into sin at times, but we will be kept and be finally saved. (John 10:27-29, Romans 8:1, Philippians 1:6, I John 5:11-13)|
Listed below are explanations about these truths that I have found helpful with the hope that you also will benefit.
CALVINISM: THE FIVE POINTS
This system of theology was reaffirmed by the Synod of Dordt in 1619 as the doctrine of salvation contained in the Holy Scriptures. The system was at that time formulated into “five points” in answer to the unscriptural five points submitted by the Arminians to the Church of Holland in 1610.
According to Calvinism:
Salvation is accomplished by the almighty power of the triune God. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy Spirit makes Christ’s death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the Gospel. The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.
The above material was obtained from http://reformed.org/calvinism/index.html.
You may read further here.