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.

 

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