The Calvinist believes that salvation is wholly an act of God, initiated and worked out and completed by God. How this is achieved can be summarized in the five points, which is traditionally recalled through the acronym T.U.L.I.P. 
T- Total depravity. This is the doctrine that affirms the whole corruption of man’s nature -no one is capable of pleasing God through the efforts of his own natural disposition – all parts of our beings are corrupted by sin, and therefore there is nothing in us which can naturally commend us to God.
U- Unconditional election – in order to be saved it is necessary for God to initiate salvation – not according to each one’s own merit – those whom He will save is effectual from before the foundation of the world. The Calvinist denies the notion of free-will, as well as any idea that God and man works together in synergy in order to accomplish salvation.
L – Limited atonement. Since salvation is based solely on the desire and will of God, and not on the will of man, and since God unconditionally elects those whom He saves, while damning others, the atonement is logically therefore limited only to those whom He has elected.
I – Irresistible grace. God’s absolute sovereignty means that God’s grace cannot be resisted, and that men cannot choose or resist the efficacious grace of God.
P – Perserverance of the Saints. Those who are born of God will persevere to the end. God’s salvation is guaranteed to the end. The Calvinist rejects the doctrine that one can be saved, then fall away from grace, or lose his salvation.
Conclusion: God alone is responsible for every aspect of salvation, from beginning to end, election to glory, and man contributes nothing to it.
Teachers who affirm the five points are J.I. Packer, R.C. Sproul, Geerhardus Vos, Herman Bavinck and others.
Questions for Calvinists:
- Is faith in TULIP necessary for salvation?
- Does faith in TULIP produce salvation or does salvation produce faith in TULIP?
- Why is TULIP taught to those who will not be saved?
- Why is TULIP taught to those who are saved?
Picture from John O’Neill’s contribution to Wikimedia Commons.
 Five points of Calvinism: TULIP defined found at Essortment.