Five-point Calvinists teach that a person can only be saved if God chooses them. Here are ways of thinking that can accompany this teaching:

The Bible is clear that both God and humans have roles in the salvation process as I shall show.

The chronological stages in salvation...

Step 1 — God reveals his light to all

Because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:19-21)

We have a clear responsibility in the salvation process and must acknowledge God's existence and his deity.

Step 2 — We choose to accept or reject the light

Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:21)

God holds us accountable to respond properly to his call.

Step 3 — God gives more light to those who desire the light

Then He said to them, "Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. "For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him." (Mark 4:24-25)

Step 4 — God knows who loves him

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:28-29)

To God's elect . . . who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied. (1 Peter 1:1-2)

Step 5 — God does not choose those who reject him

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30)

Step 6 — God calls everyone, but only chooses those who choose him

The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, "Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding." But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, "The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding." So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, "Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?" And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, "Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:2-14)

A few points about this passage:

Point 1 — Some people were invited but refused to come (v 3). Verse 8 says that these people were not worthy. Verse 14 says that these people were called but not chosen.

Point 2 — One person who was invited (v 9) came but did not follow the protocol (v 11). He was cast out (v 13).

Point 3 — In conclusion, all are called but some reject God's calling. Others act like they accept God's calling but attempt to do it their own way. There are 2 requirements for a person to be chosen:

Point 4 — When a person who is called satisfies these two requirements, then they are chosen of God.

The ones who are ultimately chosen satisfy three conditions:


We have an active role in our election.

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble. (2 Peter 1:10)

Peter exhorts people to do things, to be diligent and to take an active role in their salvation. If God did all the work Himself, there would be no need for Peter to make this statement. Therefore, we have a role and God has a role in the salvation process.

Scriptural Passages

Following are the main passages that strict five-point Calvinists use to support their doctrine.

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. (Ephesians 1:4)

Does the word chose refer to:

  1. God's specific choosing (or not choosing) of each individual, or
  2. God's choosing the church as a whole (just as he chose the nation of Israel as a whole)?

And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure. (Ephesians 1:9)

In the context Paul is talking about God's establishment of the church, NOT his dealings with individual Christians.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God. (1 Peter 2:9)

Peter uses the word chosen to refer to the church — the institution which God established.

But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. (1 Corinthians 1:27)

Again, it is the church as a whole that God chooses.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will. (Ephesians 1:11)

In this verse it is Christians as a whole who are chosen in him, and it is the church that was predestined, not individual believers.