Explaning My TULIP

Yellow Tulip Mask FramedOf course I love tulips! Each spring, I look forward to meandering through the tulip beds in Boston’s Public Garden, admiring all the different colors as they joyously herald an end to another harsh (and very long) New England winter. I also love seeing them, mixed in with white lilies, adorning the pulpit area on Resurrection Sunday as we celebrate Christ’s victory over sin and death. Tulips, in both cases, represent new life.

But the acronym TULIP has an even deeper meaning. Each letter stands for one of the five points in Calvinism, or Reformed theology.

Total depravity

Unconditional election

Limited atonement

Irresistible grace

Perseverance of the saints

What on earth, you probably wonder, do those terms mean? Rather than taking the time to explain each point myself, I’d like to quote from What Is Reformed Theology on the GotQuestons.org website:

T – total depravity. Man is completely helpless in his sinful state, is under the wrath of God, and can in no way please God. Total depravity also means that man will not naturally seek to know God, until God graciously prompts him to do so (Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:10-18).

U – unconditional election. God, from eternity past, has chosen to save a great multitude of sinners, which no man can number (Romans 8:29-30; 9:11; Ephesians 1:4-6,11-12).

L – limited atonement. Also called a “particular redemption.” Christ took the judgment for the sin of the elect upon Himself and thereby paid for their lives with His death. In other words, He did not simply make salvation “possible,” He actually obtained it for those whom He had chosen (Matthew 1:21; John 10:11; 17:9; Acts 20:28; Romans 8:32; Ephesians 5:25).

I – irresistible grace. In his fallen state, man resists God’s love, but the grace of God working in his heart makes him desire what he had previously resisted. That is, God’s grace will not fail to accomplish its saving work in the elect (John 6:37,44; 10:16).

P – perseverance of the saints. God protects His saints from falling away; thus, salvation is eternal (John 10:27-29; Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:3-14).

I firmly believe that, while Reformed theology encompasses a lot more essential doctrines, these five main points draw attention to the basic Gospel message. Furthermore, I believe that, although the vast majority of people will reject the Lord in favor of their own selfish desires and man-made philosophies, Christians have an obligation to proclaim the Gospel as clearly and as frequently as possible. The TULIP  acronym helps me remember why I need to constantly return to the Gospel.

I do love the tulips that usher in springtime. But more than their cheerful colors that contrast winter’s bleakness, I take delight in how they call my attention back to the Lord Jesus Christ. Quite simply, I love tulips because I love Him.

Author: DebbieLynne

Most importantly I belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. Secondarily, I'm married to my wonderful husband, John. We've both used wheelchairs since childhood (he from Polio and me from Cerebral Palsy). I type with a headstick because I can't control my hands. I enjoy reading, creating digital art, and exploring Boston with John.

2 thoughts on “Explaning My TULIP”

  1. I love tulips, my favorite flower, unfortunately their blooms fade too quickly! Reminds me of what Jesus said about the “lilies of the field” how quickly they fade, and how He cares more for us who are quickly fading away than He cares for those beautiful flowers…this life is so fleeting!

    About the acronym, it is interesting how many will balk at “limited atonement” and yet have to admit not everyone gets saved…the emphasis is where they mess up; if they think their choice trumps Jesus choice they are of course mistaken. 🙂 great post! Love the new format!

    Susan (at Flutterbys and Bible Treasures.) Will consider changes to my blogs, not moving, but making them more streamlined…

    Like

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