There Can Be No Resistance

Regeneration is a secret act of God in which he imparts new spiritual life to us. As the gospel comes to us, God speaks through it to summon us to himself (effective calling) and to give us new spiritual life (regeneration) so that we are enabled to respond in faith. Effective calling is thus God that Father speaking powerfully to us, and regeneration is God that Father and God the Holy Spirit working powerfully in us, to make us alive.

Sometimes the term irresistible grace is used in this connection. It refers to the fact that God effectively calls people and also gives them regeneration, and both actions guarantee that we will respond in saving faith. The term irresistible grace is subject to misunderstanding, however, since it seems to imply that people do not make a voluntary choice in responding to the gospel – a wrong idea, and a wrong understanding of the term irresistible grace. The term does preserve something valuable, however, because it indicates that God’s work reaches into our hearts to bring about a response that is absolutely certain – even tough we respond voluntarily.

Wayne Grudem from Systematic Theology (pg. 699)

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Grow in grace

The way to open our hearts to others is by receiving afresh the grace of God and appreciating what it means: seeing our own need of Christ; coming to receive His mercy; sensing how undeserved His love for us is; remembering how He has also opened His heart to those whose hearts are closed against us. Then we will see that the heart which is too narrow to receive a fellow Christian is too narrow to enthrone the Lord Jesus Christ. But the heart that is opened to receive the grace of Christ will learn to welcome all those whom Christ Himself has welcomed. 

 Sinclair B. Ferguson (Grow in Grace)

Preachers and Preaching

  1. It is wrong to put direct pressure on the will. The will should always be approached primarily through the mind, the intellect, and then through the affections. The action of the will should be determined by those influences.
  2. In the end it may produce a condition in which what has determined the response of the man who ‘comes forward’ is not so much the Truth itself as, perhaps, the personality of the evangelist, or some vague general fear, or some other kind of influence.
  3. The preaching of the Word and the call for decision should not be separated in our thinking
  4. This method surely carries in it the implication that sinners have an inherent power of decision and of self-conversion.
  5. There is an implication here that the evangelist somehow is in a position to manipulate the Holy Spirit and His work. Some organizers today even predict the results.
  6. This method tends to produce a superficial conviction of sin, if any at all. People often respond because they have the impression that by doing so they will receive certain benefits.
  7. You are encouraging people to think that their act of going forward somehow saves them.
  8. It raises the whole question of the doctrine of regeneration. This is the most serious thing of all. This work is the work of the Holy Spirit, and His work alone, no one else can do it. And as it is His work it is always a thorough work; and it is always a work that will show itself.
  9. No sinner ever really decides for Christ.

 D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones  – Preachers and Preaching, Zondervan, 1971, p. 269-279 (summary of his main points).

Found!

“A true Christian is not a sheep who has gone looking for the Good Shepherd and found a man who seems to fit the bill, but someone who has been looked for and found by God.”

Gerald Bray
God is Love (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2012), 20

“The Order of Salvation”

1. Election (God’s choice of the people to be saved)
2. The Gospel call (Proclaiming the message of the gospel)
3. Regeneration (Being born again)
4. Conversion (Faith and Repentance)
5. Justification (Right legal standing)
6. Adoption (Membership in the God’s family)
7. Sanctification (Right conduct of life)
8. Perseverance (Remaining a Christian)
9. Death (Going to be with the Lord)
10. Glorification (Receiving a ressurrection body)

Taken from: Making Sense of Salvation by Wayne Grudem

God Justifies the Ungodly

Now, God,who sees through all deceptions, knows that there is no goodness whatever in us. He says that ” there is none righteous, no not one.” He knows that ” all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags ” ; and, therefore, the Lord Jesus did not come into the world to look after goodness and righteousness among men, but to bring goodness and righteousness with him,and to bestow them upon persons who have none of them. He comes, not because we are just, but to make us so : he justifieth the ungodly.

When a counsellor comes into court, i f he is an honest man, he desires to plead the case of an innocent person and justify him before the court from the things which are falsely laid to his charge. It should be the barrister’s object to justify the innocent person, and he should not attempt to screen the guilty party. It lies not in man’s right nor in man’s power truly to justify the guilty. This is a miracle reserved for the Lord alone. God, the in finitely just Sovereign, knows that there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good and sinneth not, and therefore, in the infinite sovereignty of his divine nature and in the splendour of his ineffable love, he undertakes the task, not so much of justifying the just as of justifying the ungodly. God has devised ways and means of making the ungodly man to stand justly accepted before him : he has set up a system by which with perfect justice he can treat the guilty as if he had been all his life free from offence, yea, can treat him as if he were wholly free from sin.

He justifieth the ungodly. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. It is a very surprising thing—a thing to be marvelled at most of all by those who enjoy it. I know that it is to me even to this day the greatest wonder that I ever heard of, that God should ever justify me. I feel myself to be a lump of unworthiness, a mass of corruption, and a heap of sin, apart from his almighty love. I know by a full assurance that I am justified by faith which is in Christ Jesus, and treated as if I had been perfectly just, and made an heir of God and a joint-heir with Christ; and yet by nature I must take my place among the most sinful. I , who am altogether undeserving, am treated as if I had been deserving. I am loved with as much love as i f I had always beets godly, whereas aforetime I was ungodly.

Charles Spurgeon – God’s Sovereign Grace

HT: The Old Guy

I suppose there are some persons whose minds naturally incline towards the doctrine of free-will. I can only say that mine inclines as naturally towards the doctrines of sovereign grace. Sometimes, when I see some of the worst characters in the street, I feel as if my heart must burst forth in tears of gratitude that if God had left me alone and had not touched me by His grace, what a great sinner I should have been! I should have run to the utmost lengths of sin, dived into the very depths of evil, nor should I have stopped at any vice or folly, if God had not restrained me. I feel that I should have been a very king of sinners, if God had let me alone.

I cannot understand the reason why I am saved, except upon the ground that God would have it so. I cannot, if I look ever so earnestly, discover any kind of reason in myself why I should be a partaker of Diving grace. If I am not at this moment without Christ, it is only because Christ Jesus would have His will with me, and that will was that I should be with Him where He is, and should share His glory. I can put the crown nowhere but upon the head of Him whose mighty grace has saved me from going down into the pit. It was He who turned my heart, and brought me down on my knees before Him.

~Charles Spurgeon~

 

Pastor Says God Chooses Who Will be Saved (Amazing Grace)

 A Southern Baptist pastor told a California audience June 26 that the notion that God foreknew which believers would freely choose to accept Christ is false. Steve Lawson, pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church, Mobile, Ala., said it is, theologically speaking, “grossly ignorant” to believe that “God looked down the proverbial tunnel of time to see who would choose his Son” and then “in a reflexive manner” chose them for election. “God has never looked down the tunnel of time and learned anything,” Lawson said during a four-day Resolved Conference sponsored by Grace Community Church in Pasadena, Calif. “God knows everything immediately, eternally, perfectly, completely,” he said. “God has never received a report from anything that is going on on the earth. God’s knowledge is infinite. It is perfect. So God has never looked down the tunnel of time to see anything, and whatever God does foreknow, it is only because he has already foreordained it.”

 Lawson said mankind has a “moral inability to believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ.” He quoted John 6:44, where Jesus said “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them.” “Can is a word of ability,” Lawson said. “May is a word of permission. Jesus did not say no one may come to me.” Lawson said that God the Father “drew a circle around our names in eternity past and passed over other names and left them to their just condemnation.” Continuing, he said, “God could have chosen none and we would have all gone to hell and God would have been just and perfect in his holiness, for the wages of sin is death.” Yet, Lawson said, God has chosen “a vast multitude of sinners” for salvation. He said in eternity past God made a “determinative, discriminative” choice to set his love on a “peculiar people” described in Ephesians 1:11 as “having been predestined according to his purpose who works all things after the counsel of his will.” “The word predestined means the destination is determined before the journey begins,” Lawson said. “Predestination means that God has marked out on the horizon of time the destination by which he is bringing all of human history to an appointed end, and God has predetermined and pre-scripted everything that would come to pass.”

 Lawson said there is “nothing harsh or offensive” about the doctrine of predestination, but it is rather “God exalting,” “joy producing” and “humbling.” “If salvation begins with me, if it is initiated by me, if it is within myself to be able to believe unaided by God, then I should pat myself on the back and share some of the praise with God and take some for myself,” he said. “But if I understand that it is all of God — that before time began God chose me and set his heart upon me and put into motion by his Son and by his Spirit all that would be necessary to bring me to himself and bring me to glory — then all praise and all glory goes to God.” Lawson said God offers not only “saving grace that washes away our sins” but also “believing grace that has enabled us to believe upon his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.” “Why do some believe and others do not believe?” he asked. “Why is it that you have believed and others in your family have not believed? Why is it that you have believed and others who are friends or classmates have not believed? Is it because you are smarter? Is it because you have a higher IQ? Is it that you were more spiritual when you were lost? Is it that you are wiser? Do you have greater insight? The answer to all of these is no. The reason that you have belief is because of the grace of our God and the saving work of the Holy Spirit of God.”

Lawson also said that Jesus’ death atoned only for sins of the elect. “He did not die for an anonymous, nameless group of people, but specifically he died for you and me who were chosen in him from the foundation of the world,” Lawson said. “It was a very particular death. It was a very specific death. Not one drop of his blood was shed in vain. Upon the cross, Jesus accomplished all that he came to do. Upon that cross Jesus did not merely make us save-able, Jesus actually saved us.”

Lawson said that “every molecule in this universe was pre-scripted by God in this eternal, sovereign will.” That includes details such as “the means by which we would come to hear the gospel and come to a saving faith in Christ” and “when we would be born in history and who our parents would be and where we would grow up, what our gender would be, who would live next door us, who we would go to school with.” “There are no accidents in our life,” Lawson said. “There is no such thing as blind fate. There is no such thing as good luck or bad luck. Those are all pagan myths.” Lawson says since humans cannot know which people are predestined, they have a responsibility to preach the gospel to all people. He closed the sermon with an invitation to anyone in the audience under conviction to accept Christ. “You may say I don’t know if I was chosen, I don’t know if I was predestined,” he said. “You may know that you are chosen and you may know that you are predestined if you will believe upon his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Bob Allen is managing editor of Associated Baptist Press.

Steve Lawson is the senior pastor of Christ Fellowship Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama. Dr. Lawson serves on the board of directors of The Master’s College and on the ministerial board for Reformed Theological Seminary, and teaches with Dr. John MacArthur at the Expositor’s Institute.

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