Calvinism: Irresistible Grace – Part 2

Today I want to conclude looking at the fourth letter letter in the acronym T.U.L.I.P. and the doctrine of Irresistible Grace, also known as Effectual Calling. In Part 1 we defined Irresistible Grace is and looked at 2 common misconceptions and objections. So now let’s look at what the bible says about Irresistible Grace?

#1- John 6:36-40,

“36 But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. 37 However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. 38 For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. 39 And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. 40 For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”

Jesus makes it clear that those he’s speaking to do not have a faith unto salvation. But he immediately tells them, that the one whom the Father’s given Him will come to Him and Christ will never reject them (36-37). Some of you will say “Well the Father gave him every person in the world.” According to the text this is impossible. Since it says “that those whom the Father has given him will be raised on the last day.” So this rules out all unbelievers. This is indisputable that those whom God elects he effectually calls unto salvation. Why is it indisputable? Because Jesus will “raise them up at the last day.”

#2- John 10:25-29

“25 I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

Jesus confronting more people who do not believe. He flat out tells them the reason they do not believe is not because they don’t have enough information, it’s because they are not His sheep. This is where Irresistible grace and Unconditional Election converge. He says in verse 27, that those who are elect before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1) or as Jesus calls them, “My sheep,” when they hear the voice of Jesus, what do they do? They follow Him. You have to do some serious exegetical gymnastics to make this say anything, except that Jesus effectually calls and saves the elect. Because when they hear the voice of the shepherd they follow Him.

“But Irresistible Grace Can’t Be True Because We Can Resist!”

Calvinists absolutely believe you can resist God, but it’s clear from the Scriptures that there comes a point that when God freely chooses to overcome the sinner’s resistance. God proclaims, “No Longer!” and God triumphs in the heart of the rebellious sinner. It’s all God! We weren’t the ones who overcame our spiritual deadness. We didn’t overcome our rebellion. We didn’t overcome our spiritual blindness. No it was God that overcame it all! If you are a follower of Jesus today, praise God that the Holy Spirit drew you to Himself by making Christ and the gospel so compelling to you, that your resistance was destroyed, and you freely came to Him, received Him and placed your faith in Him. The Father took away our spiritual deafness so that we would hear the voice of the Shepherd and follow Him.

#3- John 6:43-44

“43 But Jesus replied, ‘Stop complaining about what I said. 44 For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up.‘” In John 6 the people don’t like hearing this and the start complaining, and what does Jesus say to them? He tells them knock it off and quit complaining and he proclaims to them the same thing again with more detail. Jesus tells them that no one will be saved unless the Father draws them and shows them the beauty of Jesus. Only if this happens will Christ raise them up on the last day.

We learn 3 truths from Jesus’ conversation in John 6.

#1– You will not come to Christ, without the Father drawing you to Him. 

#2– This implies that everyone who has came to Christ did so because of the Father’s drawing them.

#3– All glory for your salvation, belongs to God because He began it in eternity past, and He at point in your past effectually called you to His Son and one day, the work He began in you, He will complete (Phil. 1:6). Soli Deo Gloria!

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Calvinism: Irresistible Grace – Part 1

Today I want to begin looking at the fourth letter letter in the acronym T.U.L.I.P. and the doctrine of Irresistible Grace, also known as Effectual Calling. I first want to define what Irresistible Grace actually is and also look at some common objections to this doctrine. Then in Part 2 I’ll end with a look at what the Scriptures say about it.

Contrary to many opponents of the doctrines of grace, Irresistible Grace or Effectual Calling, does not teach that God will drag you to heaven kicking and screaming if He has to. A biblical understanding of Irresistible Grace could be defined in this way: “God effectually calls His elect by bringing them from spiritual death to spiritual life; God is truly overcoming the sinner’s rebellious heart and giving them a new heart, where they respond effectually to the calling of the Spirit.”

Now I want to address two misconceptions and wrong conclusion opponents of Irresistible Grace tend to run to when looking at this issue.

Misconception #1 – Irresistible Grace Means Man Has No Free Will

I won’t go into much detail at all on this one since we’ve already addressed this in detail in our series, in the post entitled, Does Man Have a Free Will? This misconception is wrapped up in the idea that this means God drags sinners kicking and screaming into heaven. No Calvinist would ever affirm that mentality whatsoever. I will say this, Irresistible Grace does nothing to negate free will, but as we dealt with in the previous post, it all depends on what you mean by free will.

Misconception #2 – Irresistible Grace Makes Evangelism Pointless

We’ve also dealt with this one in detail previously as well in Since God is Sovereign, Should We Evangelize the Lost? This misconception centers around “Well, if God does the drawing of men to Himself what’s the point of us preaching the gospel to sinners after all He’s going to save them anyway?” With all due respect to any reading this that struggle with this doctrine and have this objection jump to your mind, this shows a complete lack of overall biblical theology. I dealt with the motivations for Calvinists to evangelize in the previous post, which I think are more freeing and more God-glorifying than a non-Calvinist approach to evangelism. However, one point that that my non-Calvinist brothers & sisters tend to ignore is the fact that the most important words Christ gave to His church is the Great Commission. Regardless of the motivations for evangelism, there is no question that Christ’s words to make disciples of all nations was no mere suggestion, but a command from our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. So regardless of where you stand on this doctrine, if you are a follower of Jesus, He’s commanding you to spread the good news of the gospel and call men to repentance and faith in Him. Brothers & sisters, let us all be found faithful in our calling.