Calvinism Destroyed (Irresistible Grace)

Irresistible Grace is the fourth petal on Calvin’s TULIP.  It is a core belief of a Calvinist about the sovereignty of God.  While parts of the TULIP are collateral damage such as Limited Atonement and Perseverance of the Saints, Irresistible Grace is foundational because it defines the power of God for a Calvinist.

Definition of Irresistible Grace

  • It is the mechanical operation of God whereby the soul that has been hand picked by God to be saved is forced to accept God’s demand of grace.
  • It assumes that God’s will is always done.  Beza said, “Nothing falls outside of the divine willing, even when certain events are clearly contrary to God’s will.”  The Calvinist must embrace the contradictory god whose will is done even when it’s not done.
  • Isaiah 14:24 is a verse a Calvinist would use to say God’s will is always done.  Before dismantling Irresistible Grace, let’s learn to read the Bible.
    • Isaiah 14:24 is not a broad brush about the will of God dictating every movement and decision of mankind.  What does it actually say and what is the context of the verse?
    • Read verse 25-27 to define the event that the Lord is talking about.
  • Effectual calling is another way it is described.  That all who are called are saved using Romans 8:30.  They take Romans 8:30 as the order of salvation.  Problem here is this is not a chronological order of anything.  While all those statements about a child of God are true, this is not given as an order of anything (1 Thessalonians 2:13, and 2 Thessalonians 2:13).

God’s will is not always done

  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3 – Has a Christian ever committed fornication?  Yes.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Has a Christian ever been ungrateful?  Yes.
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:19 – Can God’s Holy Spirit be quenched?  Yes.
  • Can God’s grace be resisted?  Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
  • Doing the will of God is not automatic.  The Calvinist will be offended that you’d ever impose on the will of God with your goat like attitude and dare say that people can be disobedient.
  • Calvinists will call 1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9 Arminian proof texts.  But they cannot explain what they actually mean in the Calvinist system.
  • The will of God in the Bible needs to be:
    • Understood (Ephesians 5:17)
    • Obeyed from the heart (Ephesians 6:6)
    • Proved (Romans 12:2)
    • Submitted to (2 Timothy 1:1)
    • A Christian’s fulfillment (Colossians 1:9)
    • Resting place (Colossians 4:12)

God’s sovereignty and man’s will are not contradictions

  • A Calvinist’s problem is that he thinks man’s choices contradict God’s sovereignty.
  • God’s will is not the same thing as God’s sovereignty.
    • God sees their works.  That’s part of his sovereignty.  Everything gets recorded.  Reminds me of Revelation when the Lord says, I know thy works
    • God’s revelation affects behavior, they turned from their evil way.  It is grace that God gives to man His words.  The purpose of God giving man His words is that man might have life.  Wonderful Words of Life, The entrance of thy words giveth light.  Nineveh responds to the light they are given
    • God responds.  This is what the Lord wanted to do the entire time.  Jonah seems to be the center of the story, but this is not about Jonah.  The Lord wanted an opportunity to show mercy.  Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?  God would rather crucify His Son than send a sinner to hell.
    • God responds to man.  Answered prayer: Exodus 32:14 – Moses prays and the Lord chooses mercy, 2 Samuel 24:16 – David’s prayer and the Lord chooses mercy, Jeremiah 26:19 – Hezekiah prayed for mercy and the Lord listened, Amos 7:3, 6 – Amos prays and the Lord responds in mercy
    • Even a king on this earth is called a sovereign, but that has nothing to do with the will of the people he has oversight of.
    • As sovereign that king has to deal with problems, entertain requests, reward folks, fellowship with people, oversee budget, military use, etc.  As king, his word is final, but his word does not do away with the choices of the people he oversees.  And to take it a step further, that king’s policy is often a response to the decisions of his people.
    • Here is a Bible example, Jonah 3:10.
    • The Lord continually conditions His actions on man’s response to His words.
    • God repents in the Bible more than man does.  So the question is not whether God repents, but whether man ever repents.
  • God is not in control of everything, but He is the Judge of all things.  Genesis 18:15 That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
    • There are things you control.
    • Proverbs 25:28 – Rule your own spirit.  How you act is your decision.
    • Proverbs 3:5 – Who you trust is your decision.
    • Ephesians 5:18 – What you’re filled with is your decision.
    • We could go on and on about things that are strictly in YOUR control.
  • God’s not the great Computer Programmer in the sky.
    • Alpha and Omega, beginning and ending doesn’t mean He controls everything but it does mean that He’s there when you start and He’s there when you finish.  He’s the Creator and He’s the Judge.
    • What does God’s sovereignty mean?  It means He is the Judge and overseer or all things.
    • It means you do what you want to and every decision you’ve ever made will pass under the judgment of God.