Week 3 - Chosen by God

The Canons of Dordt

The Canons of Dordt are the third of the three Confessions Sunnyside Christian Reformed Church subscribes to.  We call these three confessions the Three Forms of Unity.  Remember, a confession is a document that summarizes the Bible.  In other words, most churches say that they believe in the Bible, but confessional churches can say that not only do we believe in the Bible, but here's what we believe the Bible says.

The Canons of Dordt are sometimes called the doctrines of grace.  They are commonly referred to by either the acronym TULIP or FAITH.  The Canons deal with the difficult topic of God's sovereignty in our salvation.


This week we will cover the first four points.  

1) God chooses who will be saved, and who will not (Unconditional Election / Adopted by God)

1. God would be just to leave all men in their sin and condemn all men.

2. God shows His sovereign love in the sending of Jesus Christ.

3. In mercy, God sends ministers to preach the Gospel to all men.

4. Unbelievers perish in their sins while believers of the Gospel are saved.

5. God is not guilty for man’s sin; God is the Author, not of sin, but of faith and salvation.

6. God eternally decreed before the foundation of the world who is elected (chosen) for salvation and who shall perish in their sin.

7. Election is defined as a gracious, sovereign act of God by which He chooses a certain number of persons to redemption in Christ.

8. God’s election is one—both in the Old and New Testaments.

9. Election is not founded on any good conditions which man may later demonstrate and which God is able to foresee.
10. Election is by the good pleasure of God’s perfect will.
11. God’s election is unalterable.
12. The fruits of faith eventually give assurance of one’s election.
13. Assurance of election does not make believers careless or callous, but humble and faithful in their service of love and thanksgiving.

14. The doctrine of election was preached in both the Old and New Testaments and should be taught in the Church of God today.

15. Those not elected by God are passed by in God’s eternal decree (the decree of Reprobation), and are left to continue in their sin unto condemnation.

16. Those who continue in using the means of grace, yet do not have an assured confidence of soul should not be alarmed nor doubt their election nor fear that they might be reprobate. Those who persevere in the faith prove their election, while those who cast off the faith prove their reprobation.

17. Believers ought not to doubt the election and salvation of their children, who are members of the Covenant of Grace.

18. The Scriptures teach us that it is dishonoring to God to doubt that He has the right to show grace to the elect and condemn the reprobate.

Answer both questions.  
  1. How does the knowledge that God chose you, but left others in their sin, change your world view? (see #13)
  2. How can you be certain of your election? (See #12)
2) Christ's death atoned for your sins (Limited Atonement / Intentional Atonement)
  1. God’s justice requires that all sin, since it is against His high majesty, must be punished with everlasting punishment of body and soul.

  2. Since we could not satisfy God’s perfect justice by ourselves, He sent His Son to make full satisfaction in man’s place.

  3. Christ’s death is the only satisfaction for sin—sufficient to cleanse the whole world of sin, but efficient for the elect.

  4. Christ’s death was perfect because He was truly God and man.

  5. The Gospel of Christ must be preached to all men.

  6. Those who reject the Gospel do so because of their sin and not because the work of Christ was insufficient.

  7. Believers have faith solely by the grace of God given to them from eternity—not by their own merit.

  8. God’s purpose in Jesus Christ is to make the death of Christ efficient (effectual) in the saving of His elect only.

  9. This purpose of God continues to be accomplished, regardless of all opposition, for the gathering of the Church which will Reformed will always exist.

  1. Why do our sins need to be ‘atoned’ for, and why are we unable to make this atonement ourselves?  What’s another word for atonement? (See 1, 2)
3 & 4) The corruption of man, and how we are converted to God (Total Depravity & Irresistible Grace) - Part 1

  1. Man was created perfectly in the image of God, but the fall into sin totally involved him in all that is contrary to perfection.

  2. All of Adam’s posterity are corrupt by nature, Christ excepted.

  3. All men are conceived and born in sin and without the Holy Spirit are neither willing nor able to return to God.

  4. Man still has a knowledge of God in natural things, but it cannot bring him to a saving knowledge of God and he cannot use it properly even in things natural and civil. In the end, this “light” proclaims man guilty and leaves him inexcusable before God.

  5. The law reveals man’s sin, but cannot save him.

  6. Nature and the law do not save, but God saves in the Old and New Testaments by the operation of the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Gospel.

  7. By the sovereign good pleasure of God, salvation is revealed to many who are to respond with humble and grateful hearts.

  8. The Gospel is to be preached to all men sincerely.

  9. Because of sin within man, they reject the Gospel or allow other cares and pleasures to choke it out. This is not the fault of the Gospel.

  10. Those who believe the Gospel do so, not by their fallen free wills, but by the effectual call of God.

  11. The Holy Spirit effectually regenerates the heart, gives new qualities to the will, brings the dead heart to life, and gives the gift of faith to God’s elect.

  12. Repentance and faith is a supernatural work of God the Holy Spirit in man whereby the will of man is activated and able to repent and believe.


  1. What is regeneration? Why is it necessary to be regenerated before you accept the good news? (11, 12)

3 & 4) The corruption of man, and how we are converted to God (Total Depravity & Irresistible Grace) - Part 2

  1. The is working of God in man is a wondrous mystery, yet man believes it by the grace of God.

  2. Faith is the gift of God—infused, inbreathed into man. God produces both the will to believe and the act of believing.

  3. God owes salvation to nobody. The believer, therefore, owes eternal gratitude to God and must pray to God for others who remain in unbelief.

  4. Regeneration by the Holy Spirit does not take away the will of man so that he becomes just a “senseless stock and block”, but it renews the will of man, enabling him to make a responsible confession of faith.

  5. The gift of faith from God does not exclude, but includes the continued use of the means of grace—the admonitions of the Gospel, the influence (preaching and study) of the Word, the sacraments, and church discipline. God uses these means to bring us to faith, and we must continue in them.

Answer all both questions. 
  1. Why does God get all of the credit for your faith? (2, 3)
  2. What are the 'means of grace,' and how are you using them in your life? (5)

Sunnyside Christian Reformed Church

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