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Posts Tagged ‘irresistible grace’

Grace is Irresistibly Good

Posted by heyrandy on October 8, 2008

Irresistible Grace is the fourth letter in the TULIP acrostic.  It means that those on whom God has bestowed his eternal love will respond to that love by believing in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  The elect cannot do otherwise.  They do not want to do otherwise.

It may seem that this doctrine is a violation of man’s freedom of choice.  It is not.  Man is free to chose according to his nature.  In the natural, unregenerate state, man always chooses to not believe.  It is man’s natural desire to flee from God.  Man, until changed by divine grace, cannot do otherwise.  It is as if one jumped from an airplane: falling is an inevitable effect.

This why there must be a heart of flesh place into man before man can believe the gospel.  The heart of stone can do nothing other than reject the truth.  The heart of flesh can do nothing other than believe the truth.  It is the nature of the hearts that determines their action.

Irresistible grace is sometimes called effectual calling.  This is a good synonym because it emphasizes the effectiveness of the divine command upon the new heart.  The purposes of God are not thwarted by unregenerate man.  The new heart of man is designed to obey the divine command to believe.  The new heart always does what it is designed to do.

It is this calling, this application of grace, that enables man to respond.  Without such grace, man will give his natural response: rejection.  We see this in the account of the encounter of Nicodemus with Jesus in John 3.  Jesus explains how the new birth is necessary.

The effects of the new heart are given to us in Ezekiel 11:19-21:  “And I will give then one heart, and put a new spirit within them.  And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them.  Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.  But as for those whose hearts go after their detestable things and abominations, I will bring their conduct down on their heads,” declares the Lord God.

Here the effects of the new birth are evident: walking after the ways of God.  Also evident are the effects of not having a new birth: their “hearts go after their detestable things and abominations.”  It is a matter of will; it is just that nature determines will.  It can be no other way.  Will is not neutral.  It is determined by one’s nature.  This is why grace must be applied to the heart before the proper response to the gospel can be made.  With out this calling, this irresistible application of grace,  we would always go after “detestable things and abominations.”

The doctrine of irresistible grace follows from the doctrine of total depravity.  Since man is in a state of total helplessness, man cannot extricate himself.  Man requires what only God can give.  Let us be thankful that God does give it to those He loves!

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