In addition to the outward general call to salvation (which is made to everyone who hears the Gospel), the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation. The external call (which is made to all without distinction) can be -- and often is -- rejected; whereas the internal call (which is made only to the elect) cannot be rejected; it always results in conversion. By means of this special call, the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man's will, nor is He dependent upon man's cooperation for success. The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ. God's grace, therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended. This describes in a nutshell the doctrine of Irresistible Grace, or the Efficacious Call.
God's call to salvation
is unlimited but His redemption is limited to those who believe. (Matthew
22:14) The Holy Spirit's conviction and drawing is what drags us to
God. We do not come by our own will, which is utterly depraved and
naturally hostile toward God. In The word "draw", used in John 6:44,
is taken from the Greek word "helkuo", which means literally,
"to drag." The very same word is used in Acts 16:19, where it is translated
"dragged" in the NKJV, Amplified Version, NASB, and the NIV. When
the Holy Spirit draws sinners, He literally drags them. Before salvation
sinners are dead in trespasses and sins. A dead person is lifeless
and not able to do anything. If you wish to move a dead person without
any assistance, from one end of a place to another you must drag him.
That is exactly what the Holy Spirit has to do to sinners to bring
them to salvation. The Holy Spirit regenerates the unregenerate by
turning a spiritually dead will that is in rebellion against God to
one that is spiritually alive and willingly accepts Jesus as Savior
Grace is unmerited favor. We obtain God's approval and favor by His grace through Jesus Christ, which is our unmerited pardon, reprieve, and total forgiveness. He has mercy on us. He forgives us even though we do not deserve it. God imputes the blood Christ in our stead.
On death row, who is in control of the sentence? The convict or the governor? The governor can issue the pardon, but the convict cannot pardon himself. The same is true of salvation. God can pardon us, but we cannot pardon ourselves. Even as a governor elects the convict to a pardon, God elects us to redemption. Ephesians 2:8-9 bolsters this point: "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast." Salvation is all of God and none of man.
At salvation God forgives our sins, but it's a continuous forgiveness. (1 John 1:5-2:1) Verse 9 in the Amplified Version says, "If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises] and will forgive our sins (dismiss our lawlessness) and continuously cleanse us from all unrighteousness -- everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action." Even after we are saved we sometimes will slip into sin, but we cannot remain there. God will continually forgive us when we confess and repent. We do not lose our salvation, but we do lose the joy of our salvation and fall out of fellowship with God when we sin. Even as grace is irresistible in salvation, grace is irresistible after salvation. God will drag us back to Himself when we stray. He will not allow us to stay in sin and enjoy it. He will chastise us. (Proverbs 3:11-12; Job 5:17; Hebrews 12:5-8, 12) God will chasten us and not allow us to remain in sin. His grace in forgiving our sins after salvation is just as irresistible.
In John 6:44 Jesus said, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day." Clearly those who do come, come because they have been enabled to do so. Furthermore, Jesus continues in this verse to affirm that, He "will raise him up on the last day." There is no room in this passage to allow for the possibility that all who are enabled will make a decision to refuse the offer. Jesus has made that clear with His pronouncement in the second half of this verse. Moreover, to suggest that at this point those who are enabled to come can decide not to, is to destroy the natural reading of this verse. No, all those who come, are indeed only those who have been enabled to do so. And all those who are enabled to do so, are saved. That is grace with power to save; grace that is irresistible!
The Apostle John speaks of those for whom some would make the claim were drawn and yet refused this offer of grace. He says of them in 1 John 2:19, "They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us." As this passage indicates, one can appear to be a Christian, to be "of us," and not actually be as he seems. What is the one thing we learn from this passage? It is that genuinely born again people, drawn to Christ by the Father, never fall away. They remain. But those who refuse God's grace by turning from Him, no matter how authentic they may have appeared, prove that they were never truly born again to begin with.
Total Depravity |
Unconditional Election |
Limited Atonement |
Irresistible Grace |
Perseverance of the Saints