Irresistible grace – the I of TULIP – a sermon on John 6:44 by Rev. Ralph Adams.
Congregation of the Lord Jesus Christ, the title of my sermon this morning is ‘Irresistible Grace’… the ‘I’ of TULIP. Speaking of this, some detractors have said that we Calvinists tie salvation up into too neat and logical a bundle. Critics complain that our explanation is more pure logic rather than good theology. That’s what our opponents say.
Now, it may be true that Calvinist theology is presented in a logical system for easy understanding, but the pure substance of our Reformed view of salvation isn’t the product of the logical mind of John Calvin or of anybody else. In the first instance, it’s what God clearly reveals in His Word.
The clear word of Scripture is this: ”…we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined, he also called, and those whom he called, he also justified, and those whom he justified, he also glorified.”
The Word shows us our God— the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ— predestining and gathering to Himself a family— adopting them in His beloved Son— and leading them to praise His glorious grace. These doctrines of grace— these so-called Five Points of Calvinism— simply summarize what the clear Word of God tells us in regard to our salvation.
We’re totally unable to will ourselves to believe the gospel and so be saved (TOTAL DEPRAVITY); God determined, before the Creation of the world, to save some of mankind (UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION); Christ died to save only those whom God chose, and no others (LIMITED ATONEMENT); It follows then, that God must also ensure by some means that His ‘chosen ones’ come to salvation, which is Paul’s thrust in the passage from Romans that we just read.
This calling by God of certain individuals to receive the salvation that awaits them, is known in the scheme of TULIP, as ‘IRRESISTIBLE GRACE’. However in the working out of God’s ‘irresistible grace,’ several things usually work together to bring about God’s desired outcome. We’ll look at these things in turn.