WHAT’S SO IRRESISTIBLE ABOUT GRACE?

salvation 2

Dear Readers,

I’m so sorry to let so much time go by without posting, let alone right in the middle of a series on the five points of the doctrines of grace. I never wanted to be “that blogger” that let so much time slip away, yet here I am, several months later with no excuse. Life gets in the way, and unfortunately, I let it! It’s ironic that I stopped right between “Limited Atonement” (point 3) and never persevered to get to the “Perseverance of the Saints” (point 5)!

Hey, maybe completing this series on my part may serve as an analogy of that biblical principle – no matter what, falling away or otherwise, God’s elect will eventually persevere. (lol)

So onwards and upwards.

If you look backwards to the last few posts, you will notice that they build upon each other. The Depravity of Man, Unconditional Election, and Limited Atonement all construct into the solid doctrine of God’s salvation:

  • If men are unable to save themselves due to their fallen nature (The Depravity of Man – Eph. 2:1), and
  • If God has purposed to save the elect through no merit of their own (Unconditional Election – Romans 9), and
  • If Christ has accomplished the salvation of the elect, (Limited, or Particular Atonement – John 6:37-38)…

Then it is logical that God must also provide the means for calling them into the salvation He has already given them:

After all, why would He leave any work undone? Remember Philippians 1:6: “…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”, and also Romans 8:30, “And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified”.

This brings us to the fourth point of the points of grace: Irresistible Grace.

Why does the term “Irresistible Grace” mean, especially since many don’t respond to God’s gift of salvation, but instead reject it?

We begin by explaining that there are two calls: An outward call, and an inward call.

The outward call is the one that is audibly heard. It is the words uttered to the masses. It can and may do a number of things. It can inspire, perhaps bring reflection or respect, but one thing it cannot do is save. It is simply the general message that summons the hearer.

For the Gospel to bring about salvation, the outward call must be accompanied by the inward call of the Holy Spirit, for (as the Bible states), He is the one that draws them to Himself. (John 6:44). This refers not to a moral or intellectual change, but to a heart change. It is a true-to-the-core spiritual transformation, the spiritual difference between life and death. Note Jesus’s words to Nicodemus when he described this rebirth:

“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit” (John 3:6)

When God stirs a heart to Himself, that call is said to be irresistible. That is, it cannot be frustrated or thwarted.  While some may argue that it is possible to resist God’s (inward) call, to say “no” to a true stirring by the Holy Spirit and walk away, I must ask: have you ever heard of a baby that has successfully resisted its own live birth and stayed in the womb? You see, spiritual birth is as real as physical birth. We can no more resist our own spiritual rebirth than a baby can stop himself from being born.

It is also interesting to point out that it is precisely because of our stubborn nature that God MUST have an influence that is greater than man’s resistance.

Note this scripture: “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God”. (1 Corin. 2:14)

If we cannot, in our natural state,  say “yes” to the Holy Spirit, how is it that anybody has said “yes” at all?

Comments welcome!

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15 thoughts on “WHAT’S SO IRRESISTIBLE ABOUT GRACE?

  1. The word “draw”, used in John 6:44, is taken from the Greek word “helkuo”, which means literally, “to drag.” The very same word is used in Acts 16:19, where it is translated “dragged” in the NKJV, Amplified Version, NASB, and the NIV. When the Holy Spirit draws sinners, He literally drags them.

  2. “If we cannot, in our natural state, say “yes” to the Holy Spirit, how is it that anybody has said “yes” at all?”

    1) “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; ” ( Philippians 1:29 )

    Those that say, “yes” were given the privilege to believe by God.

    2) ” And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” ( Acts 13:48 )

    Those that were ordained to eternal life, believe.

    3) ” Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” ( John 6:29 )

    Those that God works through in the power of His Spirit, believe.

    4) ” All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” ( John 6:37-39 )

    ” And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” ( John 6:65 )

    Those that were given to Christ by the Father will come to Him.

    5) ” But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” ( John 10:26 )

    Christ’s sheep will believe…the rest will not.

    6) ” Blessed [is the man whom] thou choosest, and causest to approach [unto thee, that] he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.” ( Psalm 65:4 )

    Those that God causes to approach Him will believe.

    May God bless you greatly, my sister, and may your faith in Him grow with each passing day.

    Dave G.

    • Thank you, Dave, for a great reply to the question of HOW anyone has any hope to come to saving faith. You provided a continuation of this post with scriptures that answer that question. All point to God’s appointment of His own, by His Spirit alone, giving them the eyes to see. It is all of Him by Him.

      God bless as you grow in a greater passion for His word
      Margo

  3. Margo,

    Good connection of irresistible grace with regeneration and analogy of human physical birth.

    But I wonder that this doctrine is an overkill. For of course the elect and the elect alone will be regenerated, for they and they are are JUSTIFIED by the death (and life) of Christ. Thus, they also are the only ones who will be SAVED (I am highlighting the differences between justification and salvation). But then the doctrines of grace are meant to flow logically so that to accept one is to accept all.

    Pat

    • Hi Pat!

      Yes, the logical flow of the Doctrines of Grace was one of the main aspects I wanted to highlight in this series. It is beautiful that God’s intent and work is perfect and seamless in the sinner’s life. What He wills, He will also provide every means to seal and complete. And although the Doctrines of Grace are logical, they are not just logical; they are grounded in scripture.

      Thank you for your comment. Hope you are doing well!

      • Margo,

        I think you miss my point. Yes, Irresistible Grace is clearly grounded in Scripture (Regeneration, after all is work totally of God apart from anything we do). But regeneration and faith doesn’t justify us, or at least isn’t the cause/basis of our justification. We are justified solely by the work of Christ, which in the mind of God is eternally true. Thus, it seems to me we act as if God is electing persons when they are regenerated, rather than that persons are regenerated and saved at a particular point in their life at God’s choosing because they are an elect, chosen from the foundation of the earth.

        • I think I know what you mean, correct me if I’m wrong: We are already justified as God’s elect from the foundation of time, based on Christ’s work on the cross. Salvation and faith then follow at a particular point in someone’s life to complete God’s plan for His elect.

          • Margo,
            I think I understand where lawyertheologian is coming from…

            For years I believed that my belief of Christ as Saviour was what “triggered” God to save me…then I was put on to the doctrine of election through a friend some 14 years ago giving me 3 passages of Scripture:
            1) Romans 8:29-30
            2) Ephesians 1:4-5
            3) 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14

            Since then, and through much study of His word, I have come to believe ( and I won’t get into the passages here ) that Scripture clearly shows that God’s children were such before the foundation of the world…that one must first BE one of Christ’s sheep in order to believe on Him ( John 10:26 ).

            What my former church teaches is that salvation occurs the moment one “places their faith and trust in Jesus Christ”, while what I now see the Bible teaching, is that one believes BECAUSE they ARE a child of God…not to BECOME one; And salvation occurs in eternity past, while CONVERSION ( the change of heart and the sealing / indwelling of the Holy Ghost ) occurs when we believe on Him through the preaching of His word. You make this statement:

            ” Salvation and faith then follow at a particular point in someone’s life to complete God’s plan for His elect.”

            I mostly agree with you, but to clarify, I now see the Bible teaching that it is not *salvation* that follows with faith at a particular point in someone’s life, but calling and conversion…salvation is a sure thing, a GIFT given to God’s elect prior to Him ever calling us through the Gospel into the fellowship of the saints in this lifetime.

            Simply put, God’s elect give EVIDENCE of their unmerited gift by believing and confessing Him at a particular point in their lives.

            His blessings to you,

            Dave.

          • Thank you for the insight and correction. Salvation is already sure! Calling and conversion follow faith. I read the three scriptures you cited. Yes, salvation is of the Lord, and not our own doing or our initiative.

            God Bless!

  4. Very well written, as usual! In my opinion, many hear the “outward call,” and think that’s all they need. It’s the stubborn nature to which you referred, which makes folks ignore, or push aside the “inward call.” Possible reasons may be that it takes too much work, or it’s a commitment, or maybe just a lack of understanding.
    Thank you for your blog and the studying you put into writing it 🙂

    • Hello my friend,

      Our natural condition is so apart from God that He must overcome our stubborn nature. In His mercy and to His glory alone, He chooses to save His own.

      Thank you for stopping by, may God bless you richly

  5. The most profound and veritable part of this
    post is the comment below:

    “It is also interesting to point out that it is
    precisely because of our stubborn nature
    that God MUST have an influence that is
    greater than man’s resistance.”

    Since man in his natural condition apart from
    God is dead in trespasses and sins, then it
    follows biblically that man needs strong,
    overcoming power and strength from the
    Holy Spirit in order to experience new life
    in Christ and true affections for God through
    the Spirit.

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