“The doctrines of grace… direct us away from ourselves and solely to God’s grace and mercy. They destroy pride, instill humility, and exalt God. And that’s why so many invest so much time in the vain attempt to undermine their truth.” ~ James White
A common objection to Calvinism (i.e. the doctrines of grace) is that it gives man reason to boast. “How arrogant,” the argument runs, “to claim that God would save you but not someone else!”
But such a charge is untrue. One of the most beautiful aspects of Calvinism is that it leaves no room for human arrogance. In the words of C.H. Spurgeon, it causes us to “humbly prostrate ourselves at the foot of the throne of the august majesty, and acknowledge that if saved He alone hath saved us, and unto Him be the glory.”
How can I be prideful when I consider that God chose me – wretched, fallen, undeserving me – to be numbered among His children? How can I boast when I know that my salvation is “of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9) and that I did nothing to bring it about? What arrogance can possibly reside in my heart when I remember that I should have remained dead in my sins but for His sovereign, unmerited grace?
He who would dare to claim that Calvinism exalts man to pride does not truly understand the doctrines of grace at all.
From chapter twelve of A.W. Pink’s The Sovereignty of God:
This doctrine of the absolute Sovereignty of God is a great battering-ram against human pride, and in this it is in sharp contrast from the ‘doctrines of men.’ The spirit of our age is essentially that of boasting and glorying in the flesh. The achievements of man, his development and progress, his greatness and self-sufficiency, are the shrine at which the world worships today. But the truth of God’s Sovereignty, with all its corollaries, removes every ground for human boasting and instils the spirit of humility in its stead. It declares that salvation is of the Lord – of the Lord in its origination, in its operation, and in its consummation. It insists that the Lord has to apply as well as supply, that He has to complete as well as begin His saving work in our souls, that He has not only to reclaim but to maintain and sustain us to the end. It teaches that salvation is by grace through faith, and that all our works (before conversion), good as well as evil, count for nothing toward salvation. It tells us we are “born, not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13). And all this is most humbling to the heart of man who wants to contribute something to the price of his redemption and do that which will afford ground for boasting and self-satisfaction.
But if this doctrine humbles us it results in praise to God. If, in the light of God’s Sovereignty, we have seen our own worthlessness and helplessness we shall indeed cry with the Psalmist “All my springs are in Thee” (Psa. 87:7). If by nature we were “children of wrath,” and by practice rebels against the Divine government and justly exposed to the “curse” of the Law, and if God was under no obligation to rescue us from the fiery indignation and yet, notwithstanding, He delivered up His well-beloved Son for us all; then how such grace and love will melt our hearts, how the apprehension of it will cause us to say in adoring gratitude “Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy, and for Thy truth’s sake” (Psa. 115:1). How readily shall each of us acknowledge “By the grace of God I am what I am!”