In studying the order of salvation we find that grace runs through all the order like a golden thread. That grace, which produces and guarantees each step of the order, is irresistible.
This must be emphasized. We must not think that the first part of the order is all of grace but that the last part of the order salvation is of works. Regeneration is not God's work and sanctification our work.
Nor is it true that the first part of the order is of grace alone and the last part of grace and works together. While it is true that we become active in faith, conversion, and sanctification, our faith, conversion and sanctification do not depend on us or merit anything with God. They, too, are all of God and all of grace (Romans 9:16).
Nor should we think that only part of the order is by irresistible grace. Our activity in conversion and sanctification does not imply that the work of the Spirit and the grace by which we are converted and sanctified can be resisted. ALL of our salvation is by IRRESISTIBLE grace.
Grace is irresistible in the very nature of the case, because it is GOD'S grace. Since He is almighty, His grace also is almighty. Not only in providence but also in salvation "none can stay His hand or say to Him, What doest thou?" (Dan. 4:35).
Many ignore and set aside this great truth today. The doctrine of common grace, i.e., that there is a certain grace shown to all men, really teaches that there is a kind of grace that is resistible. So does the doctrine of the well-meant offer of the gospel. It teaches that God graciously offers salvation to all who hear the gospel, but grace is nevertheless rejected and resisted by many. In defense of the precious doctrine of irresistible grace, we reject both these teachings.
Irresistible grace does not mean, however, that God brings people to heaven kicking and struggling and resisting all the way. Irresistible grace does not compel but impels, that is, by it God changes us in heart and mind and will so that we love Him, seek Him, obey Him and persevere in obedience, even to the end.
The Canons of Dort (the original Five Points of Calvinism) say that this grace of God "does not treat men as senseless stocks and blocks, nor takes away their will and its properties, neither does violence thereto; but spiritually quickens, heals, corrects, and at the same time sweetly and powerfully bends it; that where carnal rebellion and resistance formerly prevailed, a ready and sincere spiritual obedience begins to reign" (V,16). That is a beautiful description of irresistible grace.
Only irresistible grace can overcome our natural depravity. Only it can guarantee that we are "kept...through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time. Only irresistible grace, therefore, can gi ve us good hope in believing and the comfort of knowing that NOTHING can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Irresistible grace is assuring grace.
- Volume: 5
- Issue: 17
Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)
Ordained: November 1979
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/
Address317 North Park St.
State or ProvinceWA