Irresistible Grace - compiled by Dr. C. Matthew McMahonT.U.L.I.P. - The Doctrines of Grace
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A grace that cannot be resisted and always works in the manner in which God desires.
Since grace is by definition undeserved by any person, Irresistible Grace teaches that when the Spirit of God is sent to change a person’s heart (John 3:3ff), that person cannot resist the change. This is when the Spirit of God applies the work of Christ to the soul. This does not mean that the person is unwilling to be changed because the Spirit of God is “fighting against them”, rather the Spirit changes the heart of stone to beat as a heart of flesh. The change opens the eyes of the spiritually blind to the work of Christ. It is that which the Spirit of God does on his own, previous to any act of man. The Spirit of God will accomplish what He is sent out to do and will not be frustrated in His work of changing the sinner’s heart. There are two types of calling upon people, external and internal. The external calling is the preaching of the Word to men’s physical ears. The internal is the Spirit of God changing the heart to respond inwardly to the Gospel message. This is the means by which the blood of Christ is applied to the heart and conversion takes place. Here is where the Spirit of God alone draws men to Christ. The Spirit of God then causes the heart of the sinner to be willing to repent of his sins, believe on the Lord Jesus and come to Christ.
In John 3 Jesus explains exactly this point. He says, “That which is born of flesh is flesh and that which is born of Spirit is spirit.” Flesh only gives birth to flesh. Flesh does not give birth to spirit. Only the Holy Spirit, big “S,” gives birth to man’s spirit, little “s”. Flesh, or human nature, does not have the capacity to give birth to spiritual things (cf. Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:10ff; 1 Cor. 2:1). Only the Holy Spirit of God can “born someone again.” The action in which the Spirit of God enters into a union with man is through regeneration (2 Cor. 5:17; John 3:3; Col. 1:12; 1 Cor. 6:10-11; Titus 3:5.), or a new-making, by which, man who is sinful and corrupt, is made holy, and according to the image of his Maker, (John 3:1-9). An excellent work on the subject of Regeneration is Peter Van Mastricht’s work, “The Doctrine of Regeneration.”
Here are a few verses on Irresistible Grace:
John 6:37, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;”
John 5:21, “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.”
John 10:16, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”
Romans 8:29-30, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
John 3:3, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (See tract on Regeneration.)
Acts 13:48, “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.”
Ephesians 1:19-20, “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,”
1 Corinthians 4:7, “For who maketh thee to differ from another?”.
A Few Puritan Quotations on Irresistible Grace:
“So that, you see, the Spirit of God, where it works in men, though they live in different places, yet they shall all believe the same truth and all receive the same faith.” Christopher Love
“The internal call is when the Spirit of God accompanies the outward administration of the Word to call a man from ignorance to knowledge, and a state of nature to a state of grace.” Christopher Love
“Calling is the gathering of men together in Christ so they may be united with Him.” William Ames
“The passive receiving of Christ is the process by which a spiritual principle of grace is generated in the will of man.” William Ames
“The inward offer is a kind of spiritual enlightenment, whereby the promises are presented to the hearts of men, as it were, by an inward word.” William Ames
“That there is such a thing as a spiritual and divine light immediately imparted to the soul by God, of a different nature from any that is obtained by natural means.” Jonathan Edwards
“As the prejudices that are in the heart, against the truth of divine things,
are hereby removed; so that the mind becomes susceptive of the due force of rational arguments for their truth. The mind of man is naturally full of prejudices against the truth of divine things: it is full of enmity against the doctrines of the gospel; which is a disadvantage to those arguments that prove their truth, and causes them to lose their force upon the mind. But when a person has discovered to him the divine excellency of Christian doctrines, this destroys the enmity, removes those prejudices, and sanctifies the reason, and causes it to lie open to the force of arguments for their truth.” Jonathan Edwards
“This calling is an act of the grace of God in Christ by which he calls men dead in sin and lost in Adam through the preaching of the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit, to union with Christ and to salvation obtained in him.” Francis Turretin
“Adoption gives us the privilege of sons, regeneration the nature of sons.” Stephen Charnock
“In the first creation, God made man after His own Image. So in the second creation or regeneration, God doth create men after His own image, in knowledge, righteousness, true holiness, and love.”
“Repentance is a change of the mind, and regeneration is a change of the man.” Thomas Adams
“There may be several things which may help to make the life fair in the eyes of men; but nothing will make it amiable in the eyes of God, unless the heart be changed and renewed. All the medicines which can be applied, without the sanctifying work of the Spirit, though they may cover, they can never cure the corruption and diseases of the soul.”