“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake” Philippians 1:29, ESV
Andrew Rappaport’s debate with RA Fuentes on Apologetics Live should be an eye opener to many as to what biblical Calvinism/T.U.L.I.P is. Simply put, it is the gospel. In the debate, Rappaport defined Calvinism according to the biblical doctrines it is derived from and showed Mr. RA Fuentes, of RA Fuentes apologetics, that he actually accepted the Doctrines of Grace and was, in fact, an inconsistent Calvinist. Andrew proved one has to accept the Doctrines of Grace in order to become saved, even if one does not know they are Calvinistic doctrines, the soteriological doctrines drawn from the Reformed faith.
One of the most convincing passages Mr. RA Fuentes did not recognize is Philippians 1:29, quoted above. Mr. RA Fuentes claimed he did not see where it says God gives faith even though the above verse says, “it has been granted … you should … believe” (Philippians 1: 29, ESV). Even though it seems clear the author is teaching that God grants faith and suffering, let’s look deeper into the passage to know with certainty this is what it means.
It appears that this verse says God grants faith, but the surrounding context determines if this is actually the case.
“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.” (Philippians 1: 27 – 30, ESV).
It is clear Paul wants the Philippian church to act with a life that matches the “gospel of Christ” whether he is there or not, to be unified in the faith in the gospel, and to not be afraid of their “opponents” (vv. 27- 28b.). Those who oppose them show their opposition is a witness or “sign” of their destruction (v. 28c).
The next clause is very interesting in that it says God is the agent of their salvation. This answers who the agent is in granting or giving faith and suffering to the believers. Paul’s intended usage here shows God grants the sign of destruction of the unbelievers in their opposition to the gospel and God grants salvation, faith, and suffering to the believers in Philippi.
The last clause shows the believers have been granted suffering to show they have been saved and are “engaged in the same conflict” as Paul. This shows the believers in Philippi can be sure they are in this together with the rest of the suffering church. They are secure in their salvation and their struggle for the faith.
This interpretation also fits the broader context of the book of Philippians. The passage resides after the thanksgiving passage of introduction to the letter. Paul had just told them about the spread of and suffering for the gospel (vv. 3 – 26). He used this passage to springboard into the message of unity in the gospel of Christ, the power of the gospel, and the worth of the gospel (2: 1 – 11, 3, 4: 10 – 20). God grants faith and suffering to save the believer, to unify the believer with each other in Christ, to demonstrate the uselessness of the things of this world, to be content, and to be ready for eternity.
Does this interpretation contradict the rest of Scripture? No, there are plenty of passages which support God grants faith and repentance.
- Acts 5: 31: “God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins” (ESV).
- Acts 11: 18: “When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, ‘Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life’” (ESV).
- Romans 2: 24: “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?”
- 2 Timothy 2: 25: “correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth” (ESV).
- 1 Peter 1: 1 – 2: “To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood” (ESV).
- 1 Peter 1: 3 – 5: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (ESV).
This is sufficient evidence God grants believers salvation and faith. This passage shows God gives believers salvation and faith. It fits within the theological context of scripture. It shows God alone gets the glory in salvation. For the rest of the debate check out the link below to see how biblical Calvinism is the gospel.
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