I believe that one can be saved -by just understanding the following:
1. Jesus is both God and Man
2. You are a sinner-and you cannot save yourself.
3. You must trust Jesus and His work in the Cross-only and alone for your salvation.
So simple. but when we become conscious and grows up in this Christian life- And we do have to grow up-and this will affect our motivation-for good or ill-we need to know from where this impulse to trust comes from.
From my experience-I cannot trust myself-my heart is deceitful and that there are secrets of my heart that is not evident even to me until the Holy Spirit shows it.
I also know that being faithful and continually trusting Him for everything is not an easy thing to do. So eternal security/perseverance is really a confession of faith-and not an inherent ability. SO that takes care of T and P of TULIP.
My conversion experience can be easily explained by irresistible grace-for I did not enter His kingdom-in a gentle manner. I am like a pig that kicks and resist while entering it. If I did not have a Dengue fever then with 40+ degrees Centigrade fever- I will not trust and submit to the Lord.
Definite or Limited atonement-well, also during my conversion I realized that Jesus had to suffer because of my sins-and that He had to die to make sure of it-I am not that concerned how many are saved-but I know that I am one of the causes on why He suffered so much in a criminal’s/sinner’s punishment.
Election is a great mystery-and I cannot explained it-through my experience or even my understanding. But if you try to make a collage of those 4 pictures of grace-TLIP-somewhere in the middle you will find a stitched picture of individual election.
Is it important? If being more conscious of your salvation, sanctification-of your motives and limits-then TULIP is important. If you can explained your salvation in a more adequate way without going to a Pelagian route-then you don’t need it. I will embrace you as a brother in Christ as long as qualify regarding the three criteria I enumerated above. But we can talk longer if you can understand and accept the TULIP.
But can a 5-pointer Calvinist be lost? Yes -if he does not trust the Lord for his salvation and relies only on his accumulated knowledge. Faith is important. And faith and faith alone is the instrument that can grasp that offer of salvation from God. It is true that the Holy Spirit quickens us but the immediate fruit of it is faith-we trust the Lord Jesus for our salvation.