T.U.L.I.P. - Lesson 2

Assumptions and Irresistable Grace

Dr. Piper explains his assumptions about the authority of scripture, the importance of understanding and applying what it teaches and the role of the Holy Spirit in making it possible. The five points of Calvinism were first articulated in response to five objections that Arminians had to Calvin's theology in the 1600's.

John Piper
Lesson 2
Watching Now
Assumptions and Irresistable Grace

I. Assumptions

A. The Bible is the Word of God and has supreme authority in matters of faith and practice

B. Being faithful to scripture is more important than being faithful to Calvinism or Arminianism

C. Right thinking about what the Bible teaches about God and man and salvation really matters

D. The work of the Holy Spirit, and the pursuit of his work in prayer, is essential for grasping the truth of Scripture

E. Thinking is essential for grasping Biblical truth

F. God ordains that there be teachers in the church to help the body grasp and apply the truth of Scripture

G. Like all fallen finite human people, you and I see in a mirror dimly. We do not claim to be perfect in what we know, or claim to know all that can be known. We can know some things confidently because of God's revelation. Saying that noone can know anything makes you god.

H. There remain things that God has not chosen to reveal to us, and we must sometimes be content with mystery

II. Historical Background

III. Summary of the Differences Between Calvinism and Arminianism


  • Romans 8:28-30 focuses on the idea that God works everything together for the good of those who are called according to his purpose. The Bible holds up Romans 8:28 with foreknowledge, predestination, calling, justification and glorification. The essence of idolatry is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of him. We imagine things about God and act as if they are true. Verses like Ephesians 1:4 and Revelation 13:8 refer to God's plans that were in place before the foundation of the world.
  • Dr. Piper explains his assumptions about the authority of scripture, the importance of understanding and applying what it teaches and the role of the Holy Spirit in making it possible. The five points of Calvinism were first articulated in response to five objections that Arminians had to Calvin's theology in the 1600's.
  • Irresistable grace means we are brought to the place where grace gives us faith. Conditional talk from God to us should not be taken to mean he is dependent on us to meet the condition or that we should consider ourselves self-reliant in meeting the condition he has laid out. He intends to enable us to meet the condition so he can act. If grace were not irresistable, we would not incline to God because of our condition of total depravity. In summary, total depravity means that apart from any enabling grace from God, our hardness and rebellion against God is total. Everything we do in this rebellion is sin, our inability to submit to God or reform ourselves is total, and we are therefore totally deserving of eternal punishment.
  • "Total" depravity doesn't mean you are as bad as you can be. The point of unconditional election is that there are no conditions we must meet to be among the elect. God chooses individuals he will bring to faith. The Arminian position is that God chooses a corporate entity, so that it is not that individuals are in the church because they are elect, but that they are elect because they are in the church. We don't belong to God because we come to Jesus, we come to Jesus because we belong to God.
  • We are unable to believe in Christ but we are accountable for doing so. In election, God had a design in mind when he chose the foolish, the weak and the low to populate his church so that no human could boast in his presence and so we would praise and exalt God.
  • Is God's election based on his foreknowledge of your faith, or is faith the effect of your election? (see Romans 8:28-30) Faith is the effect because all the called, believe. Romans 9:1-23 is an argument for the justice of unconditional election. The heart of the righteousness of God is his unswerving allegiance to always uphold his glory.
  • God's aim was the revelation of the riches of his glory for the vessels of mercy prepared beforehand for glory. The apex of that glory is the glory of grace. The supreme demonstration of that grace was the death of Jesus. The atonement is the work of God in Christ, by his obedience and death, by which he cancelled the debt of our sin, appeased his holy wrath against us, and won for us all the benefits of salvation.
  • Even though believers are accepted in His Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit, and slavery to sin is broken, sinful desires progressively weakened by the power of a superior satisfaction in the glory of Christ, yet there remain remnants of corruption in every heart that give rise to irreconcilable war and call for vigilance in the lifelong fight of faith. All who are justified will win this fight.
  • It's important to determine theological truths by basing your ideas on scriptural texts, not just logic. These scriptural truths can encourage us to live our lives in relationship to God, worship him, tell others about him and look forward to his kingdom being realized on earth.

God is sovereign and has planned everything about our salvation from before the foundation of the world. Romans 8:28-30 focuses on the idea that God works everything together for the good of those who are called according to his purpose.

We are thankful for John Piper's willingness to share these lectures with us. Copyright 2014 by Desiring God Ministries. Used with Permission. For more information, please visit www.DesiringGod.org.

Dr. John Piper
Assumptions and Irresistable Grace
Lesson Transcript


The following message is by Pastor John Piper. More information from Desiring God is available at www.DesiringGod.org. I love to be around people that I can smell, have a heart to submit to. The Bible can tell, You can tell. Are they suspicious of it? Do you read it? And they say. But, but, but. But. Their first response is not. Oh. But. But. But. But. But some people are are just deeply under the Bible as their authority and others, they play with the Bible. They they are governed by what they have inherited and not by the Scriptures. Now, that doesn't settle what the Bible teaches, doesn't make it any easier. In fact, it makes it harder because you want desperately to submit to what's really there and not just make up your own ideas. But I'll I am what I am about these matters because I see them in the Bible. If I see 10,000 brilliant PhDs saying one thing in the Bible, say another thing. The Bible gets my vote. That's the way I'm going to be. And there's a simple way of saying the reason for it, namely, the Bible has lasted for 2000 years plus and has stood against attack after attack after attack and has made it from generation to generation so that its vote is superior to 10,000 brilliant people who will be here today and gone tomorrow. And one of the great things about being 62 as me is that you've seen a lot of things come and go, Dr. Harrison Fuller used to say, and it was so wise I didn't realize I was at the time. He said, Don't fret too much about liberal views because liberalism has a way of correcting itself.

[00:02:27] By its very definition, it must move beyond conserving the old. So if a liberal view says such and such is true about the Bible, which isn't in this generation, a generation later the young fellows writing PhDs as liberals have to disagree with that. Otherwise they're conservatives. And so there is an amazingly self-correcting power within liberalism. That means we don't have to invest most of our energy. Some people should invest significant energies. We don't have to invest most of our energies in quickly responding to every new thing that comes along. It's going to get responded to even from inside its own school. Number two, being faithful to Scripture is vastly more important than being faithful to Calvinism or Armenian ism. I want you to feel that flavor here. I don't want you to go away. Oh, they're doing this seminar, Bethlehem, to. To make sure everybody believes Calvin or make sure that this system gets pushed on people. It's just not the flavor. It's not the flavor at all. I want you to be radically critical of ideas that are not in the Bible. I want you to either see it in the Scriptures or don't. Don't embrace it. You missed three, right? Thinking about what the Bible teaches about God and man and salvation really matters. Bad theology dishonors God and hurts people. Churches that sever the root of truth may flourish for a season, but will wither eventually, or turn and turn it into something besides a Christian church. Turn into something besides a Christian church. Not everybody believes that. It's one of my assumptions, right? Doctrine honors God and blesses people. Wrong doctrine dishonors God and hurt people. Sometimes people play off love against theology, doing doctrine and say, don't spend time defending the gospel or arguing for true doctrine because it's not loving.

[00:05:09] What people need is relationships and loving. And in my. Answer to that is is indeed they do. And they're not mutually exclusive. But if these things go wrong, the foundations for these relationships collapse. So it hurts people when we think wrongly about God in the end. Number for the work of the Holy Spirit and the pursuit of His work in prayer is essential for grasping the truth of Scripture. I'm not assuming that unaided human reason can come to this book and figure it out. I'm assuming that we need the Holy Spirit who inspired it to cause our minds to be submissive to it. And we need to ask him through prayer that he would do that for us. We impart this in words not taught by human wisdom, Paul says, but taught by the spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the spirit. The UN scriptural, the UN spiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God. So if you're un spiritual, you don't have the spirit holding sway in your life. You won't receive what God has to give you. Their family will be folly to Him. And he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man judges all things or assesses all things, but is himself to be judged by no one for who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him. But we have the mind of Christ, and without the mind of Christ being given by the Spirit, we simply will reject the things that come to us in the Bible from God. Number five, thinking is essential for grasping biblical truth. So I've just said unaided reason without the Holy Spirit and without prayer aren't going to make any headway in truly grasping what the Bible means.

[00:07:28] But now I'm saying the other side. Thinking is essential for grasping biblical truth. I've just prepared my message for this weekend on first John, and I don't think I've had to think so hard as I had today for quite a long time. John The first epistle of John is just mind boggling. There are things in it that are so provocatively contrary to each other, and you know, they're not contradictory. They're right there next to each other in the same verse, verse one and two of chapter two. And so you have to think and think. And I, I felt very deeply helped by the Lord in these last couple of days as I've worked on this issue for for this weekend. Thinking is essential. Brethren, do not be children in your thinking, in evil, be infants, but in your thinking be mature or sick intimacy. To think over what I say for the Lord will grant you understanding. Think, Timothy. Think over what I say. The Lord will grant you. So you think. And he gives. That's the paradox. The horse is made ready for the day of battle. But victory belongs to the Lord. Brains are engaged in trying to understand the Bible, but understanding comes from the Lord. It's both. And it's not either or. Number six, assumption. Number six. God ordains that there be teachers in the church to help the body grasp and apply the truths of Scripture. So I just put that there so that you know why I'm standing here. Like, why don't I just trust you to not come and see everything you need to see? Why are there pastors? Why are there elders? Why are there teachers? Why are there colleges and seminaries? And why are there small groups with leaders and not and no leaders? And what what's the deal with all this hierarchy of not of authority, but of influence and teaching? And the answer is right here.

[00:10:18] He gave some as apostles, some as prophets and some as elders and some as pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints to do the work of service to the building up of the body of Christ. So. God ordains that there should be teachers and that we should learn from each other. I lean on teachers every day. Most of them are books because I'm sort of the main teacher here. But I lean on other teachers every day. I'm leaning on John Stott and first John pretty regularly to see how John sees this. I want to see how he saw it. And how did Law see it? Hebrews 13 seven. Remember those who led you, who spoke the Word of God to you, and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith. So I'm not God and I'm not the Bible. I am. I think a God called instructor, pastor, teacher, shepherd, elder overseer at Bethlehem. And my responsibility is to feed the flock so that when the master comes, he will find me so doing. I love that parable. And Peter said to tell this parable for us or for everybody. And Jesus simply says, Blessed is that servant who the master finds so doing when it comes. I shouldn't be found doing what I'm doing. And I'm not the Bible and I'm not God. I'm a pointer to texts and an explainer of texts, and I'm praying that the Holy Spirit would include those texts so that you would see for yourself what's really there. Number seven, like all fallen, finite human people you and I see in a mirror dimly. We do not claim to be perfect in what we know. We do not claim to know all that can be known.

[00:12:49] Nor do we claim to see what we know more clearly than others. They see it. But we do say with Paul, since we have the same spirit of faith according to what was been has been written, I believed. And so I spoke. We also believe and so we speak, though we do not know everything there is to know. And though we do not know anything perfectly yet, we do know many things truly and confidently because of God's revelation in His spirit. Before I give you a couple of examples, I'm reacting here today to the postmodern skepticism of the ability to know anything and the accusation that if you presume to say, you know something, you're arrogant. Let me give you a take on that arrogance piece. I think the opposite is the case. That is a person who says, I believe there is objective reality here, propositional truth that two minds looking at it can see and understand and decide to submit to or not. I think that's what's here. If you say I think that's arrogant to presume that you can see what's here, claim that you see it, and then tell another person they're wrong because they're not seeing it as he gets arrogant, contemplate the alternative. The alternative would be that this either doesn't offer objective, concrete, propositional reality or you can't really know it and have access to it. Then what's left for you to do? What's left for you to do is what you jolly well, please. That's not humble. That's a subtle warranting of doing your own thing. And it's couched in the language of great humility. I don't know what the Bible says, and I don't think the Bible says anything that we can all see and then put ourselves under and say, this is true and that's not true.

[00:15:22] All of that sounds like such humble talk. It's not humble talk. It's arrogant talk. Because basically when you close the Bible and then turn around and go home to your television and your video games and your family, how do you make your choices? You do what you feel like doing. You don't submit yourself to anything outside yourself because you don't think it's there to be submitted to. You become increasingly God in a postmodern, relativistic, non propositional world. The person who says it's here, I will find it by God's help and I will get myself under it and submit to it. And I will make myself vulnerable to other people who say, You missed it. That's not what it says. So that you can change your mind and submit to the truth. All that is a humble framework toward life that keeps you underneath the Bible instead of putting you over the Bible where you just do your own thing. So it's not surprising then, that we find things like this in the New Testament. We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again. We know that for those who love God, all things work together for good. We know that while we are at home in the body, we are away from the Lord. We know that a person is not justified by the works of the law. We know that when a person, when he appears, we shall be like him because we will see him as he is. We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, etc. and that's a very short list. All I did was enter, we know in a concordance and there they were. Finally, number eight. Nevertheless, there remain things that God has not chosen to reveal to us, and we must sometimes be content with mystery to be 2929.

[00:17:39] The secret things belong to the Lord, our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever. That we may do all the words of this law. The secret things belong to the Lord, our God. There are secret things that simply are not ours to know. Now, how do you know when you're dealing with one of those? You give it your best shot and you read those who are smarter than you and gave it their best shot. And if you realize they haven't found it, then we can rest and say, well, perhaps it's not meant to be found. God hasn't given it to us. So we'll see if we run into any of those. Yes, there are. I have two or three that are very foundational that I do not have answers for, and I simply live with the mystery of what I don't know. So that's the end of assumptions. And now we're on historical background. This is very brief historical background. I just want to give you the flavor of an overview of of where this talk of Calvinism came from. John Calvin, the great reformer of Geneva and author of The Institutes of the Christian Religion, died in 1564, the Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius. So these are the two origin. These are the two guys. Calvinism is named Estrogenic Calvin. Shamanism is named after Arminius, and these are the two alternative systems that are usually contrasted. The Dutch theologian Jacob Arminius was born in 1560 and died in 1609. He came to disagree with the key tenets of Calvinist doctrine. In the early 1600s, a controversy arose, especially in Holland, between the Armenians and Calvinists, the groups who bore the name of the person who most powerfully expressed their understanding of Scripture.

[00:19:56] In 1610, the Armenians presented five doctrinal positions called the remonstrance to the state authorities in Holland. These expressed the key areas where they disagreed with the Calvinists. From November 13, 16, 18 to May nine of 1619, the Calvinists came together in the Synod of Dort to answer these five disputed points, and their answers came to be called the Canons of Dort. These are the original expression of the five points of Calvinism. Thus, the five points were not asserted by Calvinists as a summary of their doctrine. Four didn't start with Calvin saying, We have Tulip, we have five points, and that's what we believe. It didn't start that way at all. It started with a huge, big, rich, complete body of of church doctrine. And parts of it were disputed with by the remonstrance. And in answering those disputes, they addressed those five things. And that's how it got going. They were the Calvinist response to the Armenian remonstrance who chose these five points with which to disagree. Seven. Nevertheless, these five points are at the very heart of how we understand God and sin and grace and atonement and salvation and all the things that are touched by these great realities. In short, the five points are vital to understand and have a bearing on all of life in ministry. Then last. Somewhere along the way, when I don't know the history of this well enough to assign a location somewhere along the way, the Calvinist view of five points came to be summarized under the acronym Tulip T Total Depravity U Unconditional Action L Limited Atonement I Irresistible Grace and P Perseverance of the Saints, which is what we're going to turn to the rest of our time and deal with those five things.

[00:22:34] Just a note here. A person may embrace these five points because they are biblical while not embracing other things that John Calvin and the Dutch Reformed Church endorsed. For example, one may embrace believers baptism and renounce the idea of a state church. So that to be two differences that would distinguish us, say, from the Calvinists of Calvin's day. Now a summary of the differences between these two theologies. So the first point is total depravity. What's the difference between Calvinism and Armenians? So we have to lay out the differences here and then we're going to step back and go to the Scriptures in the next while and see the foundations for both of them. Calvinism people are so depraved and rebellious that they are unable to trust God without his special work of grace to change their hearts so that they necessarily and willingly believe. I'll read the Armenian ISM difference and then come back and comment on those two words and why they're so important. So we're so depraved. Total depravity means we're so depraved and rebellious that we're unable to trust God without his special work. We don't like God. We resist God. We rebel against God. And in this rebellion, we cannot bring ourselves to submit to him, trust him, love him. Armenian ism says people are depraved and corrupt, but are able to provide the decisive impulse to trust God with the general divine assistance that He gives to all people. Now, let me explain. Armenian ism is not Palladian ism. Palladian ism was the view that you don't need any divine assistance for your will to produce a right response to God. Just will it, and you can do it. And that was condemned as heresy from early on and has always been.

[00:25:19] This would be a modified version of that because virtually all Armenians, Wesley Arminius, have said nobody can respond properly to God without grace, without the assistance of grace Prevenir Grace, Grace coming before. But here's the difference. I mean, that's what Calvinists believe also. Here's the difference. Calvinists believe that we're so depraved that when that grace and assistance comes, it won't make us or bring us to faith. Nobody will come to faith unless there is a decisive impulse. People are depraved and corrupt, but are able to provide those people are able to provide the decisive, the decisive impulse. So out of your own free will, you can, once you've been given divine enablement, you provide the decisive key word. You make the final, ultimate decisive difference, not God, in whether or not you use the grace that you have been given in order to trust Christ. Whereas Calvinism says people are so depraved and rebellious that they're unable to trust God without a special work of grace to change their hearts so that they necessarily and willingly believe. In other words, if this grace doesn't compel them, which is why we're going to get to irresistible grace, compel them to believe they will believe there's a difference. It's very nuanced. I don't want to I don't want to put any straw men here. I don't want to paint our minimalism in a worse light than it should be. And so there is a nuanced difference here. Armenians do not say you can make your way to God without grace, but they do say that grace helps everybody. And then what makes the difference in who comes to Christ and who doesn't is ultimately and decisively you and not God. That's that's the difference. Whereas Kels would say Grace comes and it helps.

[00:27:57] And what makes the ultimate decisive difference between whether or not you believe is God and not you. That's number one, depravity. Number two, election Calvinism says God has chosen unconditionally whom he. He will bring two faith and salvation or meaning is some says God has chosen to bring to salvation all whose faith he foresaw but did not decisively bring about. So enormously is an election is based on the foreknowledge of self wrought faith that is decisively self wrought. Not that there's no grace working, but that the decisive impulse is from you. And so God doesn't, before the foundation of the world, choose who will believe He rather foresees, who will believe on the basis of their own decisive free will, and then says those are the chosen ones. That's the difference at the point of election. Third, the atonement. This is a little bit tricky in the in the death of Christ, God provided a sufficient atonement for all just Calvinism, sufficient atonement for all, all human beings, but designed, intended, purposed that it be effective for the elect, meaning that it purchased for them. The New Covenant promises that God would work in His people. The grace of faith and perseverance. So the Calvinists believe that in the atonement God purchased for the elect their own faith. So the cross contains in it a definite work that brings about the salvation of the elect. Armenians, on the other hand. Would say this In the death of Christ, God provided a sufficient atonement for all agreed and designed that it become effective by virtue of faith. In other words, it doesn't effect faith. Faith makes it effective, meaning that the faith itself is not a gift purchased by the cross, but the human means of obtaining the gift of purchased forgiveness.

[00:31:11] That's complicated, and probably there's no point in lingering over it now until we deal with it next week in some great detail on the basis of texts, rather than just trying to explain it in abstract here. But the gist of it is the I'll put it like this the way I find it very helpful to talk about the atonement between a Calvinist and Armenian is that almost any Armenian I've ever talked to who wants to explain in a positive way what they understanding Christ achieved. They'll say Christ died for all men such that whoever believes his death covers their sins. To that, I totally agree. Christ died for all men such that whoever believes their sins are covered. No argument. The difference arises here. That's as much as the Armenian wants to say about the design of the Atonement. Whereas the Calvinist says more happened in the Atonement. Now less than that, but more namely that God not only designed to make forgiveness available for all who would believe, but He designed in the cross to achieve faith for the elect. He he not only designed that whosoever will may come through the cross, but he had a bride and he paid for his bride a kind of dowry, you might say. More on that later. Number four, Irresistible Grace or the new birth. Calvinism says the new birth or grace is God's work of renewal in our hearts, which necessarily brings about the act of saving faith. And Urbanism says the new birth is God's work of renewal in our hearts in response to our act of saving faith. So prevention grace is not the new birth that makes all people able, if they would, to believe it, takes you so far that it stops.

[00:33:36] And now God waits and watches. And you, by your decisive power of free will believe. And if you believe, then you are born again. And I've been arguing for 13 weeks in our series on the New Birth at Bethlehem that the opposite is the case, namely that the new birth is precisely what causes faith. First John five one. Everyone who has been born of God believes or everyone who believes has been born of God. Finally, number five Perseverance. Calvinism says God works infallibly to preserve in faith all who are truly born again so that none is ever lost. And our unionism says God works to preserve his people but does not always prevent some who are born again from falling away to destruction. If people ask me, Where does your assurance lie that you will last to the end and be saved, that you'll be a believer for the rest of your life? My answer is not my will. I mean, just ask yourself the question Why should you wake up believing in the morning? Most of you right now are believing of somebody forced you to choose. You'd say, Christ is my Lord, my Savior. I trust him. I stake my life on him. Why should it be that way tomorrow morning? Why shouldn't you get up tomorrow morning and realize I don't believe that anymore at all? I don't want to yield him as Lord. I don't want to submit to him. I don't want embrace him as my savior. What? Why? If you say that, the ultimate answer to that is your sovereign free will. You're standing on very shaky ground. The ultimate answer to that question is God is faithful. Then he would begin a good work and you will complete it under the day of Christ.

[00:36:09] God's faithfulness is the only hope that tomorrow morning I'm going to be a believer like I was this morning. It's a very comforting thought. It's a very fragile thought. That is, I know that I am not in charge. And I'm so glad I'm not in charge because I know my will is so fickle. You know, you get a little sick and all kinds of things happen to your emotions. Relationship starts to have trouble and your emotions go up and down and and things shift around and, oh, my goodness, our hearts are fickle. So that's a summary of Calvinism and amen in this six Arguments for Irresistible Grace. I'll tell you why. I start with I instead of tea. I think that's where most people start in life. You got you All who are believers got saved. Somewhere along the way, something happened. And my guess is that most of you would feel extremely uncomfortable no matter what your theology is. You'd feel extremely uncomfortable saying, Yeah, I did that. I was the decisive cause of my conversion. So you stand before God in heaven and he asks you, So now why are you here? And you say, Because I have believed in your son and I have thrown myself on him for mercy, and I have counted on his death for my forgiveness and his life for my righteousness. That's my only hope. And the father will smile and say, that's exactly the right answer. And he might say, And why did you do that? And not your cousin that I strove with for so long in so many ways. And at that point, I don't think you're going to want to say I'm smarter or I'm more spiritual or I was wiser, or you just you're going to put your hand over your mouth and you're going to say grace.

[00:38:57] Grace. Inexplicable grace. Why you humbled me, broke me, brought me down, shut my mouth, knocked me off my horse up. Most people start here, they get confronted by God and he changes them, and then they spend the rest of their lives trying to figure out what happened. And that's where we are tonight, where we're trying to figure out what happened to us, because we want to give him all the proper credit and glory when understand our conversion. You didn't you didn't understand how depraved you were before you got saved. He had a little inkling, little inkling that you were a sinner, needed a savior. And then God opened your eyes and then you embraced Christ as your Lord and savior and treasure. And now you're devoting time to trying to know who you are and what he's done for you. And so I'm starting where where I started. Preliminary. Before I give you the arguments, I got to respond and argue. I mean, opposition. Objection. Grace can be resisted. I mean, the first thing people have said to me over the years is if you really an irresistible grace, I said, Yes, well, how can you believe in irresistible grace? Of course it can be resisted. Then they point to these verses, right? You men who are stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears have always been resisting the Holy Spirit, doing just as your fathers did. So how can you even talk in terms of irresistible grace when the Bible says right there that it's resisted, The Holy Spirit can be resisted, or Ephesians 430 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed so you can grieve, the Holy Spirit can resist Him, you can grieve him or first disowns.

[00:41:10] 519 Do not quench the spirit. You can quench the spirit. Romans 1021 But as for Israel, he says, all day long he have stretched out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people. So here's God stretching out his hands to a disobedient. And and I've said people. That doesn't sound irresistible, does it? So what do we mean by calling Grace irresistible? We don't mean it can't be resisted. We mean that as soon as God chooses, He can overcome your resistance. That's all we mean. I mean, the only reason everybody's not a Christian is because they can resist God. And the only reason anybody is a Christian is because he overcame that resistance when he chose. He can suffer you to resist him, but he's God. As soon as he wants, bang, He can overcome that resistance. So don't let anybody, you know, boggle you by saying, oh, there's no point in believing in irresistible grace because the Bible says you can resist. Of course you can resist. You just can't resist any longer than he wants you to. And then he overcomes your resistance. And that's why we're saved. That's what irresistible grace teaches. And here, here's the biblical foundations for it. Argument number one. Faith and repentance are a gift of God. Faith and repentance are a gift of God. So these are different arguments for why I believe in grace, being able to triumph over my resistance and thus become irresistible for by grace. You even say through faith that in all of your cells it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. God is very eager to strip of some boasting. So salvation and faith here are called the gift of God. Romans 1203 Through the grace that is, through the grace given to me, I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think so as to have sound judgment as God has allotted to each the measure of faith.

[00:43:58] Or second. Timothy 224. This one had a huge effect on me when I saw it years ago because it combined what we usually separate, namely human effort to change somebody and divine decisive effort to change them. The Lord's bond servants could be any of you wanting very much to bring somebody out of their bondage to sell the Lord's bond servant must not be quarrelsome and kind to all able to teach. So you're teaching and you're kind and you're not quarreling. Patient one Wronged. Patient one wrong, gentleness correcting. You are being bold enough to correct those who are in opposition. Here's the change. Here's the shift. If perhaps God may grant them, here's the gift, may grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. So we do our part. That's our part right there. And then perhaps, perhaps God may grant them repentance, leading to a knowledge of the truth. So I believe and I believe in irresistible grace, because this verse teaches that when I've done all that I can do, whether somebody repents depends on whether God grants them repentance. Repentance is a gift. We'll skip those next texts and go to three. Take go to argument number two. We cannot come to Christ unless God draws us. John 644 No one can come to me unless the father who sent me draws him and I will raise him up at the last day. A member showing that to a student at Bethel about 30 years ago when I was a teacher there and he he quoted me chapter 12 and said, If I be lifted up, I will draw all to myself.

[00:46:40] In other words, this surprised everybody. I'm wonder how you would respond to that. No one can come to me unless the father who sent me draws him and. If I be lifted up, I will draw all to myself. Here's the problem. This is verse 44. If you drop down, just keep reading. You encounter this. It is the spirit who gives life. The flesh profits. Nothing. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe, for Jesus knew from the beginning who they were, who did not believe, and who it was, who would betray him he knew was who would betray him. And he was saying, for this reason, I have said to you, no one can come to me unless it was granted to him from the father. For this reason, he knew who it was who would betray him. And for this reason he said, nobody can come. This is not everybody. Judas did not come because he was not given to come. His rebellion and his deep seated opposition to Jesus was not overcome and had to be overcome. That's the meaning of verse 65. Argument number three. God's effectual calling overcomes resistance to the Gospel. God's effectual calling overcomes resistance to the Gospel. Indeed, Jews ask for signs in Greek search for wisdom. But we preach Christ crucified to Jews, a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness. But to those who are called those Jews in Greeks. Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God. Now, think about that with me for just a moment. A call is going out to everybody, Jews and Greeks. Paul is saying, Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye. Christ came into the world to die for sinners.

[00:49:40] Whosoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life. That's a general call from Billy Graham or Paul or me or anybody or you. And you shared a small group. The call goes out to everybody whosoever will come. And among those who hear, there are those who call what you just said, a stumbling block. And there are those who call what you just said foolishness. They're not coming. They're not believing. They think it's stupid. But there's another group and they're made up of both Jews and Greeks, and they come because for them, Christ becomes the power of God and the wisdom of God. So he's not foolish, He's wisdom. He's no stumbling block is power. And what made the difference? And the answer is those who are called. Well, I thought everybody was called. Well, they were in the general sense. But this text clearly teaches there is a calling that makes all the difference in the world as to whether we regard Christ as foolish or regard Christ as wisdom. If you're called, you live the calling. Here is the calling of Lazarus out of the tomb. Lazarus come forth. So here you are. And on Monday, I was just watching the video of of the conversion of C.S. Lewis. Made me remember that story. It was very progressive, moving from atheism to theism to kind of vague Christianity. But Jesus thought of God dying for the world, believing it. Pictured him. I thought he was on a bus. I remember reading a reading Surprise by Joy, and then he got on a bus going to a zoo, and he says he got on the bus, an unbeliever, and he got off the bus believing. But this video showed him in a sidecar of a motorcycle.

[00:52:09] I said, this bus means something different in Britain. But the point there is Lewis could not explain what happened. His his resistance totally collapsed. He was looking at Christ and it was just foolish. It was mythological. It was what all the myths said, dying and rising, God and all that stuff. He just no way. And a half an hour later he gets off the bus or out of the sidecar and he realizes, I believe him. I believe it. I believe it now. Well, what happened to him was that God called him to those who are called it is the power of God. God said somewhere along that road he said, Lazarus live, Lewis, See? And and in here, the eyes of his heart, as of his heart embraced the truth. That's argument number three. Argument number four. The new birth enables us to receive Christ. These are all arguments for why Grace is irresistible. He were talking from the new birth and we've already mentioned this, so I'll just pass over quickly with version five one. Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. Whoever believes literally perfect hands has been born of God. I just think that's crystal clear that the reason you believe is because you have been born again, not the other way around. Argument number five. The New Covenant Promises, promises, grace that will triumph over our resistance. We were working on this one in preaching class yesterday. Deuteronomy 529 Oh, that they had such a mind is always as this, always to fear me. It's literally who will give them such a heart to fear me and to keep all my commandments that it might go well with them and with their descendants forever. The text guys who were in that class yesterday and I was fumbling around trying to find the other text.

[00:54:49] It's it's this one here to Rory, 29 to 2 for Moses some and all Israel. And said to them, You have seen all the Lord dead before your eyes in the land of Egypt. Taffaro and all his servants and all his land, the great trials which your eyes have seen, those great signs and wonders. Yet to this day, the Lord has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear. So when you says who? Who will give you such a heart? The answer is it's going to be the Lord. And here it hasn't happened yet in Deuteronomy 22 and 24. The Lord has not given you a heart to know or eyes to see. He hasn't overcome your resistance. And how will that ever be changed? This new covenant promise. Moreover, the Lord, your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants to love the Lord your God. How are you ever going to come to love the Lord Your God? He's going to circumcise your heart. He's going to change your heart. He's going to make it possible for you to love God for. Let's go to this one. I will make this to Jeremiah 3240. I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them to do them good. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts. That's the same as circumcising their hearts. So they loved me. I'll put the fear of me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from me now. That's a great text for perseverance. But that's not the doctor we're on right now. We're on irresistible grace. I will put the fear of me in their hearts.

[00:56:54] Or Ezekiel 1118. I will give them one heart and put a new spirit within them. I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh that they may walk in my statutes and keep my ordinances and do them. And then they will be my people and I will be their God. So there's coming a New covenant day. Ezekiel and Jeremiah say in which God will act decisively so that we stop rebelling against him. Last argument Number six who then can resist his will? This is a long passage from Romans nine. It might be helpful just to drop down and deal with verse 18 following. So then he has mercy on whom he desires and he hardens whom he desires. You will say to me, then why does he still find fault for who can resist his will? In other words, the perception of this listener is that such a statement removes personal accountability. Why does he still find fault? Because you just said nobody can resist his will. Back up Diverse 16. So then it does not depend on man who wills or man who runs, but on God who has mercy. Verse 20. On the contrary. Who are you? A man who answers back to God. The thing Molden will not say to the molder. Why did you make me like this? Will it or does not the potter have a right over the clay to make from the same lamb? One vessel for honorable use and another vessel of common use? What if God, that's not there. Why? It's crossed out. Some versions have, though. What if God willing to demonstrate his wrath and to make his power known? Endured with much patience, the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction.

[00:59:22] And he did so to make known the riches of his glory upon the vessels of his mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory. So that's one of the strong I when when I was coming to the end of my time at Bethel in the fall of 1979. I know. No, that's not quite right. I had been struggling for six years in class after class with these things. I would. It didn't matter what course I was teaching. Students always raised their hand and said, Well, how can that be or how can that be? Because this issue of the sovereignty of God comes up everywhere, just everywhere in the Bible. So every class, it became an issue. And I would generally wound up my argument at this passage of Scripture because it's the one who consumed me when I was in seminary. Romans nine is like a tiger going around eating freewheelers like me. I wrote in the Blue Book, and this was the section that consumed me. I couldn't I couldn't I had to say either I'm giving up on the Bible or I'm embracing the God of this passage. And they would always say, Oh, that doesn't mean there that's not referring to individuals. That's corporate. They had all kinds of argues that they learn in other classes. And I would say, Well, that's not the way I see it. And it came to a point where I said, I just can't settle this for myself and I've got to have something I can put in people's hands. And so I asked for a sabbatical after six years at Belfour. And Dr. Bruce Schreiber, who was then the dean, he's been the president for all these years, mercifully granted me a sabbatical. And so from, oh, I forget the exact timing, most of 1979 I was on sabbatical and all I did was study Romans nine, and I wrote the book The Justification of God, which is the book of Romans nine, and settled it for myself.

[01:01:35] What does this passage really mean? And I do believe it means what it seems to say, namely, that individuals are intended here and that God is absolutely sovereign over them. And so I wrote it. But the amazing thing is that I'm standing here because during those months, the Lord kept saying out of Romans nine, Oh, I will not just be analyzed, I will not just be explained, I will be proclaimed. And I want you to be a preacher, not a teacher. And so I resigned. I mean, the result of Romans nine and the result of the sabbatical was that I handed in my resignation in in December of 79 and went to the Baptist General Conference and said, I want to I want to preach, would you help me find a church? And then they called Marvin Anderson, the chairman of the committee down at Bethlehem, and in Bethlehem called me. And that was that. And I've been there ever since. So Romans nine has a huge history for me. Has a huge history from 96, 68 and has a huge history from 1979 in bringing me to the key points of my my life. So all of those are six arguments for why I believe that when God pleases, he overcomes our resistance and that's the only reason anybody gets saved. So let's pray. Father in Heaven, I thank you for your great power over our lives. Where would we be if you didn't save us from our sea? And if you didn't open our eyes when we were blind? And if you didn't overcome all of our depravity and rebellion and didn't do it every day. And so I praise you and bless you, I pray that we would be faithful to your word now that you gave us good, restful healing. Sleep tonight and bring us back together tomorrow morning. In Jesus name, Amen. /p