Calvinism For Dummies: Grace Resistible
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False: "Although the general outward call of the gospel can be, and often is, rejected, the special inward call of the Spirit never fails to result in the conversion of those to whom it is made. This special call is not made to all sinners but is issued to the elect only' The Spirit is in no way dependent upon their help or cooperation for success in His work of bringing them to Christ. It is for this reason that Calvinists speak of the Spirit's call and of God's grace in saving sinners as being 'efficacious,' 'invincible,' or 'irresistible.' For the grace which the Holy Spirit extends to the elect cannot be thwarted or refused, it never fails to bring them to true faith in Christ." (David N. Steele, Curtis C. Thomas, The Five Points of Calvinism, Defined, Defended, Documented: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1975, p.49)
I. Alleged Support for Irresistible Grace
Acts 16:14 Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. Cf Rm 10:14-17 Jn 5:40 `
Rm 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. (cf context)
Jn 6:40 this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 "It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.
Jn 12:32 "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all to Myself." 33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.
II. God’s Grace is Resisted and His Desire Frustrated (cf calls to discipleship Lk 9:23)
Pr 1:23 Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. 24 Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, 25 Because you disdained all my counsel, And would have none of my rebuke, 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes,
Mt 23:37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 "See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 "for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, `Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' "
Acts 7:51 You stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. 52 "Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, 53 who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it."
Eze 33:11 As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die…? 1Tim 2:4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2Pt 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise but is longsuffering…not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Acts 17:24-31 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him…30 these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 appointed a day…will judge the world in righteousness by (Christ)
Acts 16:30 "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" 31 So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…
Re 22:17… let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. (cf 1Jn 2:2 propitiation…whole world)
III. Understanding Grace (see Praising Grace Eph 1:6)
God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense? Unmerited Favor? Sought and Earned Reward? Desire and Power to do God’s will?
Grace enables business to be transacted in the spiritual realm with visible effects on earth (coin of the realm of heaven)
2Cor 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions…
A. Justifying Grace Titus 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
B. Sanctifying Grace Phil 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
Heb 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
C. Glorifying Grace 1Pe 1:10 Of this salvation...prophesied of the grace[that should come to you: 13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace (praise honor glory v7) that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ
Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:
1. Do all Christians obediently and loyally follow Christ in self-sacrificial discipleship? Is that God’s will? Is grace available? What’s wrong?
2. If God’s grace is more than abundant and sufficient, 2Cor 9:8 why is sin (or stewardship –context of 2Cor 9) a problem?
3. If a person is held responsible for their choices, does that necessarily imply that they have a free will to make those choices?
4. Is free will operative both before and after a person is justified and born again? What causes us to choose one thing over another?
5. What choices did you make week that had unprofitable consequences? How will you choose differently this week?