Irresistable Grace... How trow?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by humblethinker, Dec 1, 2011.

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  1. humblethinker

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    To all cals, and also anyone else, what verses/passages seem to teach irresistable grace?

    ("trow" is not a misspelling)
     
    #1 humblethinker, Dec 1, 2011
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  2. humblethinker

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    I bellieve I have come to the conclusion that John 6 does not teach the doctrine of irresistible grace. I'd like to know what other passages cals reference when discussing irresistible grace.
     
  3. 12strings

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    John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but dthe will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of hall that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

    John 6:44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him and I will raise him up at the last day.”

    John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

    Rom. 8:30 - And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

    2 Cor. 4:6For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

    Acts 16:14 - One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods,(A) who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.
     
  4. humblethinker

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    Thank you. Can you very briefly clarify how this would teach irresistible grace? Is it that one cannot resist being born again? And extending from that, it would be impossible to resist any subsequent grace from God?
     
  5. 12strings

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    I believe the argument is this:

    1. One does not cause themselves to be born, neither can they resist being born.
    2. The wind is compared to the H.S. The agent of the New birth, as it is referred to as being "born of the spirit."
    3. The Spirit moves where it wants, and gives spiritual birth where it wants.
    4. If it were possible to resist this spiritual birth, then the spirit could not move where it wanted.
     
  6. The Archangel

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    I hope 12strings doesn't mind my jumping in with a comment.

    One thing that does not come across in English translations of this passage is the nuance of "born again." I grew up thinking Jesus was commanding Nicodemus to get himself born again (just like a revival preacher might do...).

    However, in every instance of the John 3 passage, "born again" (the verbs and the participles) are all passive. In Greek, the passive means the subject is being acted upon. By definition, the passive precludes acting upon one's self.

    So, Jesus is telling Nicodemus that something must be done to him from outside of him. In reality, God must do something to him in order to born him again.

    This is why many Calvinists, such as myself, argue that regeneration precedes salvation. The Spirit must do a work in borning a person again.

    The Archangel
     
  7. humblethinker

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    ok, thx, that's informative. I don't think a non-reformed thinker would disagree with anything you said here, but I think I know what you mean.
     
  8. zrs6v4

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    Irresistable grace is clear in John 6:35-65 as 12 strings pointed out. Other passages such as Romans 8:29-30 teach this. Indirect passages such as John 3, Romans 9:16, and Ephesians 2:8-10 show this. It is much easier to speak of the effectual work of God than the irresistable grace because passages such as John 6 or Romans 8:29-30 show God's grace being perfectly effective on the chosen ones of God. In that sense God's grace is irresistable when He is at work.

    Now, from a human standpoint that is more shallow, I see people resisting God's grace all the time (maybe its better said, people resist Jesus forgiveness by unbelief). I think the debate is more easily understood when we understand that God's grace, in a deep sense, is God reaching down mysteriously and saving someone dead in sin (Eph. 2). Yet all day long people turn their heads and resist God's offer to pour His mercy on them such as the Jews in John 6. This even is said to be people reisisting the Spirit. Part of God's special saving work is that while people resist Him because of their depraved nature, He must work within them powerfully to draw them to Himself (irresistable grace) or they will not come John (6:44). So while some see this work of the Spirit effecting all mankind (with possible resistance by man) Cals see the work of the Spirit in calling God's chosen to be a step deeper (irresistable). God saves people by working in their souls through the gospel proclamation. In my view the Spirit both works through the believer speaking the message and in the lost person. Some think it is only through the mouth of the believer preaching, while others think His work within a lost person is not effectual. I do not deny the Spirit's work in either sense but recognize the fact that when God wills to save someone it is going to be done. I cannot argue whether or whether not the Spirit works within lost people ineffectually for various purposes.
     
  9. Skandelon

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    Arminians don't really believe unbelievers are resisting birth. They are resisting God's truth. "They perish because they refuse to love the truth and so be"...born again. Being born of the Spirit is a irresistible outcome of one who humbles himself and believes in God's truth, so we too can affirm what you have stated in this first point.

    And? We agree.

    Again, we agree. Scripture says that He wants to save those who believe, so we don't have to guess, we know who the Spirit will give new life.

    That begs the question by presuming God would want to move where He wasn't believed. "Without faith it is impossible to please God." "With faith all things are possible." He moves where He wants to move and according to scripture He gives grace to the humble. He credits righteousness to those who believe. That is what HE wants. You're system presumes He must irresistibly cause what he wants so as to move, which is not biblical.
     
  10. Skandelon

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    I'd be interested to hear one of the Calvinists who have posted here so far explain what you think the non-Calvinistic perspective of John 6 actually is. I've noticed that few seem to understand the 'Arminian' perspective of this passage and I'm just curious if you all have fully vetted your opponents views. How do you think non-Calvinistic scholars interpret John 6?
     
  11. Tom Butler

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    I'll jump in with a stab at Skandelon's question in Post #10.
    Non-Cals will point to John 12:32 "If I be lifted up I will draw all men..."

    So non-Cals can agree with John 6, that one must be drawn, and cite John 12:32 as evidence that all are drawn.

    Did I get it right?
     
  12. mandym

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    Can I ask what does "How trow" mean?
     
  13. zrs6v4

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    Stab 2.0

    I can't speak for all as everyone has their own interpretation from both camps so I will speak in general terms.

    Tom is correct that many use John 12:32 to override or re-examine John 6 while Cals use John 6 to override or re-examine John 12. What do you know we all try to force our views :). But who is correct?

    I spent a great deal discussing John 6 with you all about a week or 10 days ago. Most Cals and non-Cals uphold the idea that John 6 is speaking primarily to the fact that people must believe in Christ. That is evident in the passage and in the context of John's purpose for writing it.

    Non cals also affirm the fact that 6:44 shows that men need God to draw them. The difference is that the drawing work is either shallow, through the gospel message itself that comes later after it is realized (a skandalike view). By shallow I don't mean that as an attack but rather to describe a more surface level and general drawing through words. I do not know how Skandelon or others view the work of the Holy Spirit or the nature of drawing quite yet. I assume that it is a general drawing through the gospel, but I am not sure if you believe that the Spirit also works secretly through both the mouths of preachers and also in the hearts of men simultaneously. If you do believe its both it isn't effectually (which is consistent with all non- Cals). As I said before some affirm that He (the Spirit) works in the hearts of men and through the hearts of preachers (their mouths) to all men of all times (John 12:32) but that doesn't seal the believers fate, the believer does by correctl responding to this ineffectual work of the preacher and the Spirit.

    In John 6:35-63 many see the unbelief of the Jews or the hardening of God on them as the restrictive factor rather than total depravity (a huge sin issue). I will not that hardeneing and sin relate in their view, but not all are hardened like this so John 6:35-40 doesn't apply to all people of all times. Some appeal to the fact that they (the Jews in Jesus' day or John 6 specifically) didn't believe already while others that they were hardened. The Jews are the recpients of Jesus message in the context of John 6 and were hard hearted, no doubt (I affirm this).

    Some non-Cals differentiate the language of God choosing his sheep between Jews and Gentiles therefore the Jews are the "only sheep" in context of John 6. As a result, John 6 only applies to Jews. Some also assert that God "giving people to His Son" to be saved is different from the drawing work. In some more simple understandings God gives and draws based on a type of omniscience rather than predetermined will that effects who does and does not "come" or "believe" (John 6:35-40).

    I do not know how some contextual seeking interpretations, such as how Skandelons, try to describe the language to the immediate crowd in John 6. The drawing work Jesus mentioned did not appear to be future tense but was present tense therefore the interpretation that the gospel message is the drawing tool is inconsistent (John 5:25 "now is"). Some even attempt to disconnect the ones given to the Son to save (6:37 and 6:39) from all people groups and only apply it to the immediate Jewish audience as said above. That is erred because of John 10:16 where we see the sheep now come from other groups than Jews (see also 10:25-30 in comparison to John 6:35-40). Even if the sheep was interpreted as Jews only then we must uphold a Calvnistic view of the drawing work to the Jews in John 6:35-65. So that only holds so much water in itself.

    Some disconnect John 6:37 and 39 from 6:44-45 and 6:63-65. This cant be if you pay close attention, namely at how 6:65 connects both 6:44 and 6:37-39. So we see that 6:37 where God is giving people to the Son to save (a guarantee based on God's choice) is the same as God's drawing because 6:65 connects the two and explains that God's giving/drawing is the igniter to believing (see also John 10:26- "you do not believe because you are not my sheep). So if this is teaching that God's drawing is indeed effectual, and it is, the our examination below of John 12:32 must be carefully considered.

    You can't dismiss John 6:44 with John 12:32. From a Cal perspective of John 6 which I explained above, John 6 describes a select few. So if my interpretation of the passage is correct then 12:32 would teach universalism because of 6:67 and 39 showing all who are given to Jesus will come (believe) and be raised on the last day. If all people of all times are given then all people of all times will be come to Him and be raised on the last day. Nobody here believe that, but most don't take it that far.

    Other options for John 12:32 from a Cal perspective would have to be that "all men" describes the sheep only to remain consistent with John 6:37, 6:39, 6:44, and 6:65. If 12:32 means all people of all times, then a non cal will need to re-examine John 6 which is how it usually works. Cals must twist John 12 and non- Cals must twist John 6, right :). Someone is right here because both can't be right.

    Skandelon, I'm sure I misrepresented your view in some ways trying to fit everyone in some sense, can you explain what John 6:37, 6:39, 6:44, and 6:65 mean in relation to each other and your view of the context?
     
    #13 zrs6v4, Dec 1, 2011
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  14. MB

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    Humblethinker;
    I don't believe God's grace is irresistible and I'm a non reformer. Before I was saved I resisted. It did take the Holy Spirit to convince me and convict me. I did not save myself. The change of a mans heart is always through conviction. Not regeneration. We are not saved before we even know what to believe in. The opening of the heart is not regeneration. It is infact being convinced of something or understanding something. Many understand and resist anyway. Many are convicted and resist. There is no such thing as irresistible grace. Everytime you sin your are resisting God's grace. God does not favor men who live there lives in sin because sin is resistance or in other words rebellion. Being in God's grace is being in God's favor.
    MB
     
  15. zrs6v4

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    While I understand your point. I want to make sure everyone is open to possibilities and realizes that there are small variations in positions.

    I personally am a 5-pointer if you will. I do not totally adhere to the idea of regeneration preceding faith. It is rather complicated how I view it, but the idea the regeneration preceding faith is not a must to explain effectual calling or irresistable grace. I also do not view inability of the depraved being the same as most do. You are correct that nobody is saved before we know what we believe in, that is an misrepresentation of a Calvinist's view even if you see that as the logical end of of the view. I as a Calvinist do not believe that we are saved prior to faith nor do we get saved then understand later. All of that is misunderstanding.


    Something I want to point out is that just because a particular aspect of Calvinism seems incorrect does not mean that is the only way. For example some reject and close their ears because of a view like regeneration preceding faith. That of course should not elliminate the idea of effectual calling or irresistable grace. Regeneration preceding faith is a view to explain how that works. I find that that Calvinistic idea is rather unclear in Scripture.

    You said, "Many understand and resist anyway." I hope you don't shut your ears based on this either as I agree with you. People do comprehend the gospel and reject it, but that is not what a Calvinist would deny. So I refute your 5th jab :)

    Since John 6 is the main passage of the night thus far why not deal with it by itself and see what comes out of it? Reply to some posts about it thus far.
     
  16. Winman

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    Excellent point MB. Faith must precede regeneration. If a man is regenerated before he understands and believes the gospel, then you have a born again, spiritually alive unbeliever who is still dead in sins! It is impossible for this to be true.

    Yet we have some here who say they were born of the Spirit LONG before they heard the gospel and believed. We had a poster here who said that several times in another thread last week. Absolutely unscriptural!

    You cannot be spiritually alive while you are still dead in sin, and you cannot be justified until AFTER you believe. Therefore you cannot be spritually alive until AFTER you believe.
     
    #16 Winman, Dec 1, 2011
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  17. zrs6v4

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    Winman, i hope you read my post to mb above for the sake of this thread. Regeration is relative but another topic that does not dismiss the idea of effectual calling. I tend to agree with Millard Erickson in his writing on this issue. Again regeneration preceding faith is a way to describe how God causes one to come to Himself. I do not necessarily agree or disagree on this teaching because it is rather unclear "how" God effectually calls although its very similar to how a Calvinist would see regeneration. The statement is true that the Spirit gives life and brings about Gods purposes effectually.

    Again I encourage we deal with one passage at a time rather than resorting to philosophical arguments. The passages that have been mentioned is John 6 and 12. I even mentioned romans 8:29-30 pointing to irresistable grace (or effectual calling).
     
  18. Iconoclast

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    Doctrines of Grace - Effectual Call William Payne

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    This doctrine has to do with the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation. While the salvation of God's elect had been secured and purchased by the blood of Christ it was necessary for this salvation to be applied to them, so that they might come into personal possession of that salvation. Bringing the elect to a reception of those blessings in Christ is the work of the Holy Spirit.

    Definition

    The historical definition of effectual calling is given in the Westminster Shorter Catechism as follows:

    "Effectual calling is the work of God's Spirit whereby convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ and renewing our wills, He persuades and enables us to embrace Jesus Christ freely offered to us in the gospel."
    The general call and the effectual call

    Scripture distinguishes between what has been termed the "general" or "universal" call of the gospel and the "effectual" call.

    The general call of the gospel can be rejected and indeed is rejected by men and women because of their sinful state. This call is seen in verses such as Isaiah 45:22; Matthew 11:28; Isaiah 55:1. This call is genuine and real and is to be issued by God's servants to all mankind. However, the response to this call is illustrated in the parable of Matthew 22:1-6.

    But there is in Scripture an effectual call: that is a call which not only invites and summons but which also carries with it the power to ensure the desired response. The effectual call not only invites sinners to salvation but actually brings them to it. In this call the Holy Spirit makes the general call effectual; it comes through the gospel message to the elect of God in the power of the Holy Spirit. Compare 1 Thessalonians 1:4,5.

    It is the effectual call to which the Bible refers most often when it speaks of "call", "called", and "calling". Compare Romans 8:28-30; 1 Corinthians 1:23-27; Hebrews 9:15.

    The Bible uses the word "called" to describe Christians. Compare Romans 1:6,7; 1 Corinthians 1:9, Jude 1.

    The effectual call is the result of God's purpose. The "purpose" of Romans 8:28 is obviously God's purpose of election referred to in Romans 9:11. The Bible says that God's purposes will most certainly come to pass. Compare Daniel 4:35; Isaiah 46:10,11; Job 23:13,14.

    To speak of God "trying" to convert people; the Holy Spirit vainly struggling to achieve a goal he longs for but being frustrated and defeated by the unwillingness of men is to present a pathetic and pitiable God unknown in the Bible.

    The Bible clearly teaches that all those given to Christ in the will and purpose of the Father will be brought to Him in salvation. Compare John 6:37,39; 17:2; Hebrews 2:13. The Holy Spirit works in accordance with the purpose of the Father and the purchase of the son in applying salvation to His people.

    The faith by which the sinner is joined to Christ and justified before God,
    is God's gift to the sinner and is inwrought by the grace of the Spirit.
    Ephesians 2:8,9; Acts 18:27; Philippians 1:29.
    Note that the same thing is also said about repentance - Acts 11:18; 5:31; 2 Timothy 2:25. This does not mean that God repents and believes for the sinner. The sinner is the one who must repent and believe; but it simply explains to us that the sinner does this "through grace". The Spirit of God operating within that sinner enables him and gives him the ability to repent and believe (He persuades and enables us...see definition). This is part of the work of effectual calling.

    In effectual calling the Holy Spirit reverses the terrible effects of the Fall.

    1. He enlightens the mind 2 Corinthians 4:6
    2. He re-orders the affections Deuteronomy 30:6
    3. He liberates the will Psalms 110:3


    In doing these things and giving the grace of repentance and faith, the Holy Spirit brings the sinner to a willing and joyful acceptance of Christ. The Holy Spirit does not deal with sinners as robots but as human beings. His work in them is always in harmony with their human "make up". He does not force and coerce; He causes them to be willing. This calling of the Spirit is a holy calling (2 Timothy 1:9) 1. It is a calling unto holiness 1 Thessalonians 4:7
    2. It is a calling out of darkness into light 1 Peter 2:9
    3. It is a calling to be saints Romans 1:7
    4. It is a calling into the fellowship of Christ 1 Corinthians 1:9
    5. It is a calling to follow Christ's example 1 Peter 1:21

    .............................................
     
  19. zrs6v4

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    Amen, good post ^
     
  20. Tom Butler

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    It goes further than just "called." Romans 8:28 refers to believers as "the called."

    This is the same group referred to in 8:30. They are the ones predestinated. The predestinated are not just called; they are THE called. The called are the justified. Always.

    This suggest the validity of Iconoclast's post about the "effectual call" and the "general call" in post 18.
     
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