Chapter 4IRRESISTIBLE GRACE
Man's wordsCanons of Dordt - Third and Fourth Heads of Doctrine
But when God accomplishes His good pleasure in the elect, or works in them true conversion. He not only causes the gospel to be externally preached to them, and powerfully illuminates their minds by His Holy Spirit, that they may rightly understand and discern the things of the Spirit of God; but by the efficacy of the same regenerating Spirit He pervades the inmost recesses of man; He opens the closed and softens the hardened heart, and circumcises that which was uncircumcised; infuses new qualities into the will, which, though heretofore dead, He quickens; from being evil, disobedient, and refractory, He renders it good, obedient, and pliable; actuates and strengthens it, that like a good tree, it may bring forth the fruits of good actions.Article 12
And this is that regeneration so highly extolled in Scripture, that renewal, new creation, resurrection from the dead, making alive, which God works in us without our aid. But this is in no wise effected merely by the external preaching of the gospel, by moral suasion, or such a mode of operation that, after God has performed His part, it still remains in the power of man to be regenerated or not, to be converted or to continue unconverted; but it is evidently a supernatural work, most powerful, and at the same time most delightful, astonishing, mysterious, and ineffable; not inferior in efficacy to creation or the resurrection from the dead, as the Scriptures inspired by the Author of this work declares; so that all in whose heart God works in this marvelous manner are certainly, infallibly, and effectually regenerated, and do actually believe. Whereupon the will thus renewed is not only actuated and influenced by God, but in consequence of this influence becomes itself active. Wherefore also man himself is rightly said to believe and repent by virtue of that grace received.
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"We believe that, to attain the true knowledge of this great mystery, the Holy Spirit kindles in our hearts an upright faith, which embraces Jesus Christ with all His merits, appropriates Him, and seeks nothing more besides Him." (The Belgic Confession, Article XXII)
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"But they do not consider, that when the apostle makes hearing the source of faith, he only describes the ordinary economy and dispensation of the Lord, which he generally observes in the calling of his people; but does not prescribe a perpetual rule for him, precluding his employment of any other method; which he has certainly employed in the calling of many, to whom he has given the true knowledge of himself in an internal manner, by the illumination of his Spirit, without the intervention of any preaching." (Calvin's Institutes, the Westminster Press, Vol. II, page 622)
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"The Calvinist, on the other hand, says that in the last instance the difference lies with God and not with man. In the one man the Spirit is not working in a saving way, and because the man is spiritually dead, he cannot believe, even though he hears the external preaching of the Word and perhaps reads it for himself many times. In another man, however, the Holy Spirit works irresistibly, regenerating him so that he understands fully that he is a sinner and needs God, and therefore, wants to be saved and to believe." (The Five Points of Calvinism, Edwin H. Palmer, Th.D., page 48)
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"Thus the once dead sinner is drawn to Christ by the inward supernatural call of the Spirit who through regeneration makes him alive and creates within him faith and repentance.
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 it 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!" (The Five Points of Calvinism, Steele and Thomas, page 49)* * *
Q. Is Calvinism's "Irresistible Grace" true, OR does GOD'S WORD teach that faith comes only by hearing the Word of God?
"So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." Rom. 10:17
"Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name." John 20:30-31
"Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word." John 17:20
"But many of them that heard the word believed." Acts 4:4
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." Rom. 1:16
"Send to Joppa, and fetch Simon, whose surname is Peter; who shall speak unto thee words, whereby thou shalt be saved, thou and all thy house." Acts 11:13b-14
"And he (Paul) reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded Jews and Greeks....and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized." Acts 18:4, 8b
"Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures....receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls." James 1:18, 21b
"...I (Paul) begat you through the gospel." I Cor. 4:15c
"Now I make known unto you, brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, ... by which also ye are saved" 1 Cor. 15:1-2
The sower went forth to sow his seed....Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God....And that in the good ground, these are such as in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, hold it fast, and bring forth fruit with patience. Luke 8:5, 11, 15* * *
Q. Where does GOD'S WORD teach that the Holy Spirit directly, miraculously, and irresistibly opens the hearts of unbelieving, unrepentant sinners, and regenerates them?
Q. According to GOD'S WORD, did God open Lydia's heart by the direct irresistible operation of the Holy Spirit, OR did God open Lydia's heart by the gospel preached by Paul and by Lydia hearing this gospel preached?
"And when he (Paul) had seen the vision, straightway we sought to go forth into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them ... And on the sabbath day we went forth without the gate by a river side, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down, and spake unto the women that were come together. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple of the city of Thyatira, one that worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened to give heed unto the things which were spoken by Paul." Acts 16:10, 13-14
"No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him: and I will raise him up in the last day." John 6:44
Q. Does John 6:44 teach Calvinism's "Irresistible Grace"?
Q. According to GOD'S WORD, in the verse following John 6:44, how does the Father draw men to Christ?
"It is written in the prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. Every one that hath heard from the Father, and hath learned, cometh unto me." John 6:45
"Good and upright is Jehovah: Therefore will he instruct sinners in the way." Psalm 25:8
"...God our Saviour; who would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth." I Tim. 2:3-4
"Jesus answered and said ... Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; ... and ye shall find rest unto your souls." Matt. 11:25, 28-29
"...it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe." I Cor. 1:21
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; ... For therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith:" Rom. 1:16-17
"So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." Rom. 10:17
Q. Does GOD'S WORD teach that the saints at Ephesus had at one time been dead in trespasses and sins?
"To the saints that are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus:" Eph. 1:1
"And you ... when ye were dead through your trespasses and sins, wherein ye once walked according to the course of this world,..." Eph. 2:1-2
Q. Does GOD'S WORD teach that these spiritually dead Ephesian sinners, first heard the WORD, then believed and obeyed the WORD, and were then sealed by and given the Holy Spirit?
"...Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise." Eph. 1:12-13 AV
"Paul having passed through the upper country came to Ephesus, and found certain disciples ... they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus." Acts 19:1, 5
Q. Where does GOD'S WORD teach that the Ephesians or any others, were ever miraculously regenerated by the Holy Spirit before they heard, believed, and obeyed the gospel of Jesus?
Q. Is Calvinism's "Irresistible Grace" true, OR does GOD'S WORD teach that God gives His Holy Spirit only to those who hear, believe, and obey the gospel of His Son?
"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive; for it beholdeth him not, neither knoweth him: ye know him; for he abideth with you, and shall be in you." John 14:16-17
"He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believed on him were to receive: for the Spirit was not yet given; because Jesus was not yet glorified." John 7:38-39
"And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38
"And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given to them that obey him." Acts 5:32
"And because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father." Gal. 4:6
"To the saints that are at Ephesus ... Christ: in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, -- in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." Eph. 1:1, 12-13
"This only would I learn from you. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" Gal. 3:2
"That upon the Gentiles might come the blessing of Abraham in Christ Jesus; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." Gal. 3:14
Q. Is Calvinism's "Irresistible Grace" true, OR does GOD'S WORD teach that man can resist the truth and in this way can resist, grieve, and quench the Spirit?
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I (Jesus) have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" Matt. 23:37
"Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth...." II Tim. 3:8 AV
"Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye." Acts 7:51
"Yet many years didst thou bear with them, and testifiedst against them by thy Spirit through thy prophets: yet would they not give ear: therefore gavest thou them into the hand of the peoples of the lands." Neh. 9:30
"But they rebelled, and grieved his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them." Isa. 63:10
"Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God" Eph. 4:30
"Quench not the Spirit." I Thess. 5:19
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