Calvinists are famous for being monergists. We believe that our salvation is a work of God alone. It is a work that God started before the creation of the world and that He will accomplish to the end of time. From election to foreknowledge to predestination to redemption to our calling to regeneration and the birth of faith and repentance in our hearts to our perseverance in salvation, salvation is totally and solely of God.
This is the view of salvation that I take. But that is not really the subject of this post. The subject of this post is to show four different views of monergism and synergism in salvation.
1. Pure Synergism
A pure synergist would say that salvation, from beginning to end is a work of God and man together. In other words, it is God who gives all men equally the ability to accept or reject the Gospel. A man may accept the Gospel today and be saved, and then reject the Gospel tomorrow and not be saved.
2. Synergism + Monergism
These would believe that while God has given all men equally the ability to accept or reject the Gospel, that after a man accepts the Gospel, God takes over and keeps the believer in salvation.
3. Pure Monergism
A pure monergist would believe that God has does absolutely everything in our salvation. He gives us faith, exercises that faith in us, keeps us through faith, sanctifies us by faith, and in all of this man is passive.
4. Monergism + Synergism
These believe that while God effects everything leading up to salvation (predestination, atonement, irresistible grace, regeneration, and justification), that at the moment of new birth (regeneration) our salvation becomes a synergistic work between God and man.
Number one is wrong because the Bible teaches that God initiates and completes our salvation.
Number two is wrong, again because the Bible teaches that God initiates our salvation.
Number three is wrong because the Bible teaches that man must believe in his heart and confess with his mouth that Christ is Lord.
Number four is correct because it takes into account the whole counsel of God concerning salvation.
This means that after regeneration certain aspects of our salvation are indeed synergistic. This is not to negate the assertion that is taught in Scripture that we are being kept by God and will one day by the power of God alone receive a glorified body at the resurrection. That is surely a work that God alone can perform. But while we are being kept by the Holy Spirit we have a role to play in our sanctification and perseverance. We work together with God in these areas. Man can not be passive in the work of sanctification. We must also continue in the faith that has been given us at the moment of regeneration. Regeneration is God making man alive and planting a heart of faith and repentance in him, and conversion is man placing that faith in God and repenting of his sin.
Likewise, sanctification is man, by the empowering work of the Spirit at regeneration, constantly repenting of sin as he finds it in his life and trusting God to conform him to the image of His Son.
Finally, perseverance is man continuing to believe the Gospel as a result of the initial work of the Holy Spirit in his new birth.