Irresistible Grace

Doug Ledbetter::Theology Thoughts::Reformed::Irresistible Grace

Based on various sources (the articles "Effectual Calling", p. 169 and "Rebirth", p. 171 in Essential Truths of the Christian Faith by R.C. Sproul; the video "What Is Reformed Theology?" by R.C. Sproul).

Can you resist God?

Have you ever been called to dinner by your mom? Did you resist? Have you ever been called by God?

There are two types of "calls" from God. There's the outward call of God and the inward call of God.

The outward call of God comes from the preaching of His word. Many share the gospel with others, but not all who hear the message receive it. The outward call of God can be resisted. In fact, apart from God's working in us, we will resist this call (remember total depravity?).

The inward call of God is His secret work of regeneration (rebirth, a new beginning, spiritual resurrection) done in the souls of the elect by the work of the Holy Spirit. This work of the Holy Spirit changes us. God places within us a desire for Him. Before the inward call of God, no person is inclined to come to Him. After the inward call, we respond to God with the gift of faith. The inward call of God cannot be resisted.

Ezekiel 36:26-27
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. "I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. (NKJ)

Romans 8:30
Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (NKJ)

II Thessalonians 2:13-14
But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NKJ)

2 Timothy 1:8-12
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. (NKJ)

So, what of the question, "Can we resist God?" Yes, we all, in our state of depravity, can and do resist God. But, God's grace prevails over our natural resistance for those whom he has chosen.