Note: I continued our Doctrines of Grace series in Lynchburg on Sunday evening with a message on the "I' in TULIP: Irresistible Grace. Below is the opening to the message including a definition of this doctrine:
Irresistible grace is the doctrine that God graciously applies the redemption purchased by Christ to the saved in such a way that their hearts are utterly and gladly taken captive to Christ. The redeemed are drawn by God’s Spirit to trust completely in Christ for their salvation. God lovingly overcomes any stubborn resistance to him and makes the redeemed his glad and willing servants.
We have already discussed man’s state in sin and his total inability to seek God (T); God’s plan to save mankind and his sovereign election of those who would be saved (U); and God’s accomplishment of redemption through Christ’s death on the cross (L). We now come to the application of that redemption to the hearts of sinful men so that through faith in Christ they are saved (the I of TULIP). This is where the doctrines of grace demonstrate a robust trinitarian thelogy: the Father elects; the Son redeems; the Spirit applies redemption.
Imagine the following scenario: Two people hear the gospel preached. One is converted and becomes a solid believer. The other is left cold by the gospel and remains in his unbelief. What made the difference in the response of the two men? The Arminian says the difference is merely that the first man chose God and the second man did not. The Arminian implies that there was some special quality within or some work performed by the first man that distinguished him in the eyes of God from the second man. The doctrines of grace say that the first man was saved by a sovereign act of God’s free grace alone. The first man would have been just as indifferent to the gospel as the second man if the Spirit of God had not graciously drawn him to Christ.
No matter how often I hear these wonderful truths, they still leave me in a grateful wonder, as Watts so aptly puts it, "Why was I made to hear Thy voice, and enter while there's room?" These are truly the Doctrines of GRACE!
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