Irresistible Grace

1 Corinthians 1:26-29 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things– and the things that are not–to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

But if God is only providing a way of salvation, trying to win everyone, and taking whoever will come, how can we say “God chose the weak”? The reply might be that God foresaw that for the most part, the weak would repent, and then God chose them, but is there a real alternative in that case? No, God is making a real choice here, with a purpose “to shame the strong.”

Acts 7:51 “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!

But then God is not simply inviting, he is actively seeking to bring them to repentance.

Isaiah 43:13 Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?”

These people can, and all who resist God’s call to repentance?

Daniel 4:35 All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”

And what he has done is formed some vessels for mercy, and some as vessels of wrath, and the word “made” is active (Rom. 9:26), and the analogy (as in every analogy of salvation, it seems: birth, resurrection, creation, seed in the ground) describe this critical aspect of how we are involved as passive on our part.

Therefore God’s saving grace would be irresistible.

JN 6:65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”

Can it be that “no one” here is referring only to the disciples? Jesus did make a statement similar to this, which he may have had in mind:

JN 6:37 “All that the Father gives me will come to me.”

This is a similar thought, stated positively, speaking not to his disciples, but to those who thought he should be king and feed them bread each day. There is also an indication that Jesus is speaking universally, in the verse just after the one in question:

JN 6:45 It is written in the Prophets: “They will all be taught by God.”

Surely this doesn’t refer only to the disciples alive then.

JN 6:46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.

And that is definitely a universal statement, which doesn’t mean just the disciples.

JN 6:47 I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.

Here eternal life is even mentioned, I think these verses may all be taken together, “drawn,” “taught by God,” “has everlasting life.” And again, from this very verse, we have a statement that clearly applies to all believers:

JN 6:44 “… and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Not just the true disciples alive at that time will be raised up, all believers will indeed be raised up. Also “him” here references either “comes to me” or “draws”, and implies success, “I will raise him up,” not “I may raise him up.” If it refers to “comes to me,” then we may refer back to verse 37, and see that all that the Father gives Jesus will come to him, thus we have irresistible grace here, even if “draw” does not bring everyone drawn. If “I will raise him up” refers to “draw,” then we also have irresistibility as well.

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