A Helpful Way to Remember the Doctrines of Grace
T - Total Depravity
People are sinful to their core and in their extremities. We cannot, in and of ourselves, choose Christ. We are “dead in our trespasses” and need to be “made alive together with Christ—by grace” (Ephesians 2:5).
U - Unconditional Election
God chose to save certain individuals based on the condition of His will and nothing else. Not only did “He [choose] us,” He did so “in Him,” and He did so “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). In fact, this is how God shows His love “in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). And the only reason that “we love [is] because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
L - Limited Atonement
The atoning work of Jesus’ blood actually saves those whom God elected. It did not merely provide a way for all to be saved. Jesus was the “propitiation by his blood” (Romans 3:25) and actually “bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24), “and with his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
I - Irresistible Grace
In addition to the general call of salvation (that merely point people to salvation in Christ), there is an effective call to God’s elect (that does bring them to salvation in Christ). “Many are [outwardly] called, but few are [effectively] chosen” (Matthew 22:14). “All that the Father gives [to Jesus] will come,” and “whoever comes [He] will never cast out” (John 6:67). And, in fact, “no one can come to [Jesus] unless the Father … draws him” (John 6:44a).
P - Perseverance of the Saints
Those who are unconditionally elected by God the Father, atoned for by God the Son and are brought to salvation by God the Spirit are eternally saved. “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion” (Philippians 1:6) because “those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son … and those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30). If a person is drawn to Jesus, He “will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44b).