Lesson 25 – Irresistible Grace
Having considered the subjects Man Dead in Sins, Unconditional Election, and Particular Redemption, we now come to study the subject of Irresistible Grace.
Long before we reached this point, we parted ways with the Arminians. They deny that man is totally dead in trespasses and in sins and thereby totally unable to help save himself. They deny that before the world began God chose His people in Christ entirely unconditionally of works or merit or acts of the will on their part. They deny that Christ died for the elect and for them alone.
We also part ways with the Arminians on this doctrine. They teach that the grace of God that brings salvation can be successfully resisted by the sinner. We deny this. We teach that God’s grace comes with irresistible power to those whom God saves.
But here we must note another point of departure. Some sovereign grace believers agree with us on the other points thus far studied. They agree with us on Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, and Particular Redemption. They also agree that God’s grace is irresistible. But they teach that this irresistible grace comes to the sinner through the preaching of the gospel.
We deny this!
We believe that God brings His grace of salvation which was purchased by Jesus Christ to His elect people exclusively by the Holy Spirit–apart from the preaching of the gospel.
Regeneration, or the new birth is accomplished in the heart of the elect by a direct and immediate act of the Holy Spirit. This does not mean that God cannot save the sinner while he is hearing the gospel. But the gospel is not what brought spiritual life to him.
As far as I know, this truth is taught only by the Primitive Baptists, the Protestant Reformed Churches, and a few isolated others. In following study sheets, we will show what we believe the purpose of the gospel to be. But, once again, we state that it is NOT to bring spiritual life to the sinner.
The Work Of The Trinity In Salvation
To better understand the work of salvation, and to set the work of irresistible grace in proper perspective, let us consider the following illustration:
Before a house is built, an architect is employed to plan out all the details. In salvation God the Father was the architect. The plan of salvation was perfectly conceived in the mind of God in minute detail before the world began (Ephesians 1:4; II Timothy 1:9; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8). This was the work of Election and Predestination.
After the plan has been drawn, someone has to take that plan and build according to it. In salvation God the Son was the contractor. He took the Father’s plan and executed it perfectly. There was not a detail omitted. Jesus Christ did this in His Person and Work while on the earth in a body of flesh. His work culminated in His sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary as He offered Himself to the Father on the behalf of His people (John 17:4; John 19:30; John 6:38-39; Hebrews 1:3). This was the work of Redemption.
After the house has been built, people must be placed into it if it is to do them any good. In salvation God the Holy Spirit does this work. He takes the elect sinner and places him in the house of salvation which was planned by the Father and built by the Son. He does this for each of the elect sometime from their first moment of life on earth (conception) till their death. This work of irresistible grace is sometimes called being born again or regeneration (John 3:3; Titus 3:5).
Irresistible grace, then, is how the elect become partakers of the wonderful benefits of unconditional election and particular redemption. It is the way the benefits of redemption are applied to them.
The Effectual Call
The doctrine of Irresistible Grace is also referred to as the doctrine of the Effectual Call. This means that when God calls a sinner to salvation by the Holy Spirit, the sinner always responds. This is in great contrast to most preaching today which represents God as calling, begging, and pleading with sinners to accept His offer of salvation. According to this false teaching, the sinner is free to either accept or reject the offer.
The Nature Of Irresistible Grace
Irresistible Grace is not some sort of blind force which simply drags the struggling, rebellious sinner into heaven against his will–as a policeman might drag a rebellious prisoner to jail. The grace of God is not such a power that compels those to enter into heaven who would rather not go.
When God’s grace enters a sinner’s heart, that heart is changed. The will is changed. The sinner who hated the Holy God now loves Him, and longs for holiness (Matthew 5:6).
The sinner is now willing to follow God and to please Him. As the psalmist said, “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power…” (Psalm 110:3).
As God said by Paul, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13).
1. Where do Primitive Baptists differ with other sovereign Grace believers on the matter of irresistible grace?
2. Can God save a sinner while he is under the sound of the gospel?
3. What means are used by God in the regeneration of sinners?
4. Who did the work of election and predestination?
5. Who did the work of redemption?
6. Who applies salvation to the hearts of the elect?
7. When does the work of salvation take place in the hearts of the elect?
8. What is another term used to designate the work of irresistible grace?
9. Is anyone saved against his will? Why or why not?
Let us memorize Psalm 110:3.