Irresistible Grace & Sanctification

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Monergist, Jun 15, 2005.

  1. Monergist

    Monergist
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    Irresistible Grace "...means that the Holy Spirit can overcome all resistance and make his influence irresistible." LINK TO QUOTE

    Sanctification is a work of God in us to conform us to the image of Christ; "... it is the work of the Holy Spirit bringing the whole nature more and more under the influences of the new gracious principles implanted in the soul in regeneration. In other words, sanctification is the carrying on to perfection the work begun in regeneration, and it extends to the whole man (Rom. 6:13; 2 Cor. 4:6; Col. 3:10; 1 John 4:7; 1 Cor. 6:19). It is the special office of the Holy Spirit in the plan of redemption to carry on this work (1 Cor. 6:11; 2 Thess. 2:13)." Easton's Bible Dictionary

    These two truths are closely related. Irresistible Grace, rightly understood, extends to the lifelong process of sanctifying a believer, not just to the point of bringing one to regeneration.

    I'm well aware that some Non-Calvinists deal with this problem by divorcing sanctification from justification, making sanctification optional; thus we have the "Carnal Christian" notion. This is simply denying "Irresistible Grace" altogether. But the scriptural evidence that sanctification is a work of God is overwhelming and destroys this argument; else our Lord's prayer that God would "Sanctify them (us) through thy truth" was in vain.

    My question is for those who deny the Calvinist view of Irresistible Grace and still hold to the idea that sanctification is somehow an "irresistible" work of God in the believer.

    Would you say that God's sanctifying grace becomes "irresistible" in the converted person? Does this not destroy "free-will," as non-calvinists would argue that it would in bringing about conversion? If not, how do you avoid the problem of not making sanctification optional, if it is entirely up to the 'believer' alone to 'choose' to be sanctified?

    Just some things that I'm trying to understand.
     
  2. whetstone

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    very interesting question. let's see if there is a response.
     
  3. OldRegular

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    Sanctification

    The Holy Spirit continues to sanctify those whom He has regenerated and finally prepares them fully for the service and enjoyment of life in the presence of God. Sanctification has two aspects, positional and progressive. In each case the Holy Spirit is the instrument of sanctification. Positional sanctification, being ‘set apart for God’, occurs with regeneration. Progressive sanctification occurs as the believer grows in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ [2 Peter 3:18]. Both positional sanctification and progressive sanctification are indicated in the prayer of Jesus Christ for His Church:

    John 17:15-17, KJV)
    15. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
    16. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
    17. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.


    Progressive sanctification can only occur when the believer is obedient. Just as the life of Abraham shows that obedience flows from faith so the New Testament teaches that obedience is a corollary or outgrowth of faith. We most frequently quote Ephesians 2:8,9 that deal with conversion. Unfortunately verse 10 that deals with obedience is often neglected:

    Ephesians 2:10, KJV
    10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

    The Apostle Paul defines the believers responsibility in sanctification as follows:

    Romans 12:1-2, KJV
    1. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.
    2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.


    The beloved Apostle John is very blunt concerning the believers responsibility:

    1 John 2:4, KJV
    4. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

    Finally we turn once again to the Apostle Paul, who most clearly taught justification by faith alone, as he writes to the Hebrews:

    Hebrews 5:8,9, KJV
    8. Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
    9. And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;


    Is our obedience perfect? Most definitely not! Paul again tells us in Hebrews:

    Hebrews 2:16-18, KJV
    16. For verily he took not on [him the nature of] angels; but he took on [him] the seed of Abraham.
    17. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto [his] brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things [pertaining] to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
    18. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.


    And the Apostle John reminds us in similar fashion:

    1 John 2:1, KJV
    1. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
     
  4. Wes Outwest

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    What is sanctification?

    What is the true essence of sanctification.

    What, specifically, is sanctification?

    Which definition of the term accurately fits the meaning that you hold, and want us to hold as you do?

    How does one become sanctified?

    What prevents one from being sanctified?

    How can one know that he/she is sanctified?

    What is the symptom of being sanctified?

    How can one tell if another is sanctified?
     
  5. Wes Outwest

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    IN CONTEXT, this is Jesus praying to the Father to Leave HIS APOSTLES the 11 remaining, since one of the twelver was of the devil, In the world but to protect them from Evil.

    YES, the Eleven were sanctified in Christ. But how? What is it that Sanctified them?
     
  6. OldRegular

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    Wes Outwest

    Would you tell us which part of the Bible is not limited to the eleven Apostles so we will know what to discuss. I hope that John 3:16 was not limited to the eleven. You have already asserted that Ephesians 1:3-6 and Ephesians 2:1-10 and Romans 8:29, 30 are restricted to the eleven. Perhaps the eleven are the only ones who can be saved and we are all just wasting our time and headed to perdition.
     
  7. OldRegular

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    IN CONTEXT, this is Jesus praying to the Father to Leave HIS APOSTLES the 11 remaining, since one of the twelver was of the devil, In the world but to protect them from Evil.

    YES, the Eleven were sanctified in Christ. But how? What is it that Sanctified them?
    </font>[/QUOTE]Wes, Wes, Wes Outwest what does the Scripture say? Who is Jesus Christ addressing in prayer?

    John 17:15-17, KJV)
    15. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
    16. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
    17. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

    Read verse 17 over and over and over again until it sinks in and you will have the answer to your question.
     
  8. BobRyan

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    Seems like some interesting quackery -- it would be like says "Wonderful God means that God CAN give everyone 3 arms if He wants to".

    How many people believe in "wonderful God"??

    Should be everyone.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  9. BrotherJoe

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    Brother Monergist:

    If one is to approach scripture in the correct manner we must rightly divide. With the doctrine of sancitification it is no different.

    Scripture makes it clear there are actually two different types of sancitications. For illustration, examine the following 2 verses:

    1) Hebrews 10:10 " 10By the which will WE ARE SANCTIFIED through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.:

    2)1 Thes 5:23 "23And the very God of peace SANCTIFY YOU wholly"

    The first passage says "we are sanctified" (past tense), but in the other Paul states he desires God to "sanctify" (this would be in the future.) Is there a contradiction? No. The first verse is referring to what is known as "positional or eternal sancitifcation." The second is referred to as "practical sanctification."

    The difference? "Eternal or positional sanctification" is what Christ's sacrifice wrought for the elect and will be most surly applied to his elect during regeneration. It is definitive, sure, instantaneous, total, absolute and independent of external factors. "Practical sanctification" on the other hand is the process of discipleship. It is tenative and uncertain in God's children, obtained over time, is partial, conditional, and depends on a variety of external factors.

    1 Cor 1:2 is great because it simutaneously catches both types of sanctifications in one verse. "2Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints..." Notice this verse tells us these brothers are eternally sanctified (present tense), yet also states they are "called to be saints" (future tense, indicating this has not yet taken place.) The latter part of the verse "called to be saints" is referring to "practical sanctification."

    "Practical sanctification" is obtained by persevering and being a disciple of God's word. This is what Jesus is referring to inJohn 17:17,"17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." On the other hand, eternal sanctification scripture tells us WAS obtained on calvary, "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but YE ARE SANCTIFIED, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and BY THE SPIRIT OF OUR GOD" (1 Cor 6:11). Remember this last verse was written by Paul to the most carnal of the New Testament churches he wrote to, yet he tells them "they are sanctified." Obviously he must be referring to "eternal sanctification" since in other places in the same epistles he says they are yet "carnal" and "babes in Christ."

    It is important to recognize that not all of God's children will obtain "practical sanctification" here on earth as many Calvinists would have us to believe. This is evident by examing the life of such Old Testament saints as King Saul, King Solomon,Samson, and Lot (whom last we read of in scripture is in a state of drunken stupor and incestreous relations.) N.T. examples would include those that Paul states the church must " deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord" (1 Cor 5:5),the man who God says his earthly " work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire" (1 Cor 3:15), and those that the Lord said "hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away" (Luke 8:13).

    Yes all God's children will have "fruit", but some may have very ,very little. Remember that some fig trees never fully grow and are burned by men, while others fully mature here on earth. And also, it only takes ONLY ONE VISIBLE FRUIT to know that a tree is indeed a fruit tree.

    God bless,

    Brother Joe
     
  10. BobRyan

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    Excellent point.

    In fact Heb 12 makes that future/ongoing sanctification even more obvious.

    That chapter is filled with the need for training, discipline, endurance, "resisting unto blood" in our "striving against sin".

    AND - the command/warning NOT to refuse God!!

    An amazing chapter!

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  11. Monergist

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    Joe,

    Thanks for your honest and well thought out response.

    Regarding "Practical sanctification" you state that it is "uncertain." If I understand you correctly it is because "Practical sanctification" is obtained by (us?) persevering and being a disciple of God's word." italics mine

    But who really does this sanctifying? Jesus prays to the Father "(You) Sanctify them through thy truth." He has prepared us for good works & prepared the good works FOR us. There's no UNCERTAINTY about sanctification (though you are correct that it is never complete). As Bob points out; without sanctification no one will see the Lord.

    So the dilemna remains. God works in us to sanctify us-- if we indeed belong to him-- by irresistible grace. How does this not violate our so-called free-will?
     
  12. BrotherJoe

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    Brother Monergist,

    Hello.

    YOU ASKED: "Regarding "Practical sanctification" you state that it is "uncertain." If I understand you correctly it is because "Practical sanctification" is obtained by (us?) persevering and being a disciple of God's word.""


    MY REPLY: This is a quote from elder Michael Gowens article that I think clearly explains my position and also answers your question,

    " It is critical to proper Biblical interpretation to recognize the
    difference between monergism and synergism. Salvation for heaven is clearly monergistic— i.e. the work of One. It is a work of free and
    sovereign grace from start to finish. Man is the passive beneficiary, not the active participant, of God’s gift of life. The Christian life, however, is clearly synergistic— i.e. the work of more than one. “We are laborers
    together with God” says the apostle. He exhorts the Philippians to “work
    out [their] own salvation… for it is God that worketh in you… ” (Phi.
    2:12-13). Christian discipleship is a partnership— a team effort in which
    God works and man works. Eternal salvation, on the contrary, is a solo
    flight in which God alone is active."

    Here is the link to the entire essay which I highly recommend http://www.sovgrace.net/TimeSalvation.pdf


    YOU As Bob points out; without sanctification no one will see the Lord.

    ME: I agree with you brother, however as I previously pointed out scripture speaks of two different types of sanctification. Eternal sanctification which was obtained by God on calvary for his elect children and is applied to them during regeneration. Practical saanctification is conditional and not all of his children obtain it. Examples of those who didnt would be King Solomon, Samson, etc. I would refer you also to 1 Cor 3:15, 1 Cor 5:5, Luke 8:13, and Hebrews for further proof of this.

    God bless,

    Brother Joe
     
  13. Wes Outwest

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    Because you will not accept the truth of what grace really is, you are held captive to a dogma.

    There is no such thing as God's sanctifying grace!
    Since man has no power or influence over God, there is no such thing is irresistible grace! There is only God's grace by which we are saved through FAITH!

    Grace is a behavioral trait of the one possessing it. Grace, in itself, is powerless to do anything.

    The power of the Holy Spirit is not grace, however the Holy Spirit's persuasive power is exercised while we are under grace. So long as God behaves according to his grace, the Holy Spirit's power is free to work on us, and it continues to do so until it is completely and totally rejected. Those who do blaspheme the Holy Spirit!

    We are sanctified by our faith! It is faith in God that sets believers apart from unbelievers and the setting apart is sanctification! Sanctification is NEVER optional! It is indeed the Key to salvation! God does not save those lacking faith!

    We are Justified by Jesus Christ, the object of our faith! He died in our stead, so that we who believe in him, have everlasting life. We are justified by his death, and not our own. He is our advocate with the Father, and if we acknowledge him before man, he will acknowledge us (justify us) before the father. His death justifies all mankind, however it is only those possessing faith that are saved, separated as the sheep from the goats by our faith. Those who are not sanctified cannot be justified before the Judgment Throne of God.

    Grace is God's behavior toward mankind. Persuasion is what the Holy Spirit does, and those who become persuaded to believe in Jesus, while God is in His Grace receive the promise of Everlasting life. Yes it is just a promise because we do not know until we die whether or not we indeed have it. That is why we must have faith! Faith without anything else is what man must have to be saved.

    Regeneration comes when man submits to the persuasion of the Holy Spirit because it is then that man becomes willing to submit wholly to God. It is when man is willing to die to self that man becomes regenerated in Christ!

    Salvation is not "entirely up to the believer", Salvation is entirely up to God, who extends his gracious behavior so that man through FAITH in Jesus can be saved. God does not "capture" those that he wants while rejecting those he doesn't want. God has made man's salvation a matter of the faith of the man! That is the only part that man plays in his own salvation, and FAITH is not a work! It is the spirit condition of the man!
     
  14. Wes Outwest

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    IN CONTEXT, this is Jesus praying to the Father to Leave HIS APOSTLES the 11 remaining, since one of the twelver was of the devil, In the world but to protect them from Evil.

    YES, the Eleven were sanctified in Christ. But how? What is it that Sanctified them?
    </font>[/QUOTE]Wes, Wes, Wes Outwest what does the Scripture say? Who is Jesus Christ addressing in prayer?

    John 17:15-17, KJV)
    15. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
    16. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
    17. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

    Read verse 17 over and over and over again until it sinks in and you will have the answer to your question.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Read it for yourself, IN CONTEXT! Jesus in his prayer is praying for the Apostles, up to verse 20 where he then includes US...those of us who through the apostle's teachings come to have faith in Jesus!
     
  15. Wes Outwest

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    IN CONTEXT, this is Jesus praying to the Father to Leave HIS APOSTLES the 11 remaining, since one of the twelver was of the devil, In the world but to protect them from Evil.

    YES, the Eleven were sanctified in Christ. But how? What is it that Sanctified them?
    </font>[/QUOTE]Wes, Wes, Wes Outwest what does the Scripture say? Who is Jesus Christ addressing in prayer?

    John 17:15-17, KJV)
    15. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
    16. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
    17. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

    Read verse 17 over and over and over again until it sinks in and you will have the answer to your question.
    </font>[/QUOTE]And what does one get when they "hear the Word of God?" I knew you could figure it out....IT IS FAITH! So what is it that Sanctifies? FAITH!

    You're so smart!
     
  16. Monergist

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    Grace is a girl's name.

    Q: What is unique about that sentence?

    A: It's the only sentence found here using the word "Grace" that makes a lick of sense.

    I'm sorry Wes, but I've read this post something like a dozen times & I can't for the life of me figure out what you're talking about. :confused:
     
  17. Wes Outwest

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    Then you haven't got a clue about grace! You do not understand what grace is, what its very essence is, nor how it works. Recommend, you study the word grace so that you can gain a good rudimentary understanding of the word, then we can continue this discussion. You are wanting to assign God's powers and other attributes to the name of Grace, and that simply doesn't fly!

    You have grace, God gave it to you the same that he gives it to all mankind. You have grace as one of your attributes. Put it to the test and try to save someone or something using only your grace, no reaching out and touching, no calling up 10,000 angels to do it for you. That is the parameter you levy on God when you say we are saved by God's grace is it not? By the way, whatever you accomplish with your grace must be provable and repeatable, in the manner that you attribute to God's grace.

    So, Monergist, If you can save someone or something using only your grace, then you win the argument. If you cannot, then why do you insist that God does? Grace is grace is it not?

    Put your religious beliefs to the test, if you cannot save someone or something using your grace, then perhaps you have a misunderstanding of Grace, and need to rethink the whole concept!

    Am I saying that God's grace does not save? You bet I am! God is the one who saves, and he only saves those who have faith in Him gained through hearing his word. Don't make it more complex than it needs to be!
     
  18. Monergist

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    Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
    That saved a wretch like me!
    I once was lost, but now am found;
    Was blind, but now I see.

    ’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
    And grace my fears relieved;
    How precious did that grace appear
    The hour I first believed.

    Through many dangers, toils and snares,
    I have already come;
    ’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
    And grace will lead me home.
     
  19. Monergist

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    Are you saying that he gives the same amount to all mankind?
     
  20. OCC

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    Are you saying that he gives the same amount to all mankind? </font>[/QUOTE]Monergist, are you saying He DOESN'T?

    By the way, Amazing Grace is a nice song but it isn't absolute truth. Jesus Christ saves us, not grace. [​IMG]
     

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