Central to Paul’s notion of being ‘in Christ’ is the fact of faith. It is the indispensable condition for salvation, a placing of one’s trust in the God revealed in Jesus Christ. This faith is the basis for intimate union with Christ, since it is the self-abandonment of the redeemed to the Redeemer. Faith-union thus finds its focal point in the death and resurrection of Christ.
The Particular Baptists, as Calvinists historically seem to do, slipped the other direction into so called “hyper-Calvinism.” What that means, essentially, is an overemphasis on the sovereignty of God to the point of the loss of human freedom, and an eventual loss of any missionary motivation.
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it. . .”
I don’t think I would have enjoyed being around John Calvin. I think I’d probably feel that, behind his polite smile and bulging eyeballs, he was sniffing the scent of free-thinking upon me. In a democratic society that would be fine, of course, but in a Calvinocracy like Geneva, that would mean trouble for me.