Faith, God, Holy Spirit

Is God’s Grace Irresistible?

How is our relationship with God? Do we surrender ourselves to the Lord so that “it is no longer [we] who live, but Christ who lives in [us]” (Gal 2:20) or do we just tell God what to do? Is God’s grace irresistible or do we resist it whenever it goes against our wills? Scriptures show that some men do resist God and thwart His grace. Men who are redeemed by the blood of Christ do resist the Holy Spirit. God’s grace is offered to all, but it is not irresistible.

Jesus mentions a sin that is unforgivable in Matthew 12:30-32 and calls it blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. He says: “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters. Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come.” (Matt 12:30-32)

So it is possible for man to blaspheme or speak against the Holy Spirit. Such persons wilfully, maliciously, and obstinately oppose the Spirit of God, without whom there can be no repentance and supplication for God’s mercy and forgiveness. It is unfortunate for one to die in impenitence and unbelief for Jesus says: “Whoever rejects me before men I will reject before my Father in Heaven.” (Cf. Matt 10:33; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; 12:9)

Again in Hebrews 10:29 we find a clear statement that sometimes believers who are moved to be saved will not be saved. In Hebrews 10:28-29 St. Paul says: “For whoever violated the Law of Moses there is no mercy: he is put to death by the testimony of two to three persons. What, then, do you think it will be for the person who has despised the Son of God? How severely shall he be punished for having defiled the blood of the covenant that sanctified him and for having insulted the Spirit given to him?”

Those who “sin wilfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth” (verse 26) are ready for judgment for rejecting the truth. Notice that the sin mentioned is wilful sin and this involves a certain freedom of the will to sin or not to sin. So a wilful sinner under the Mosaic Law, at the testimony of two or three witnesses, was stoned. But then Paul warns the Hebrews: “What, then, do you think it will be for the person who has despised the Son of God? How severely shall he be punished for having defiled the blood of the covenant that sanctified him and for having insulted the Spirit given to him?” Verse 29, teaches so clearly that men who reject Christ do it deliberately and they are punished because of the wilfulness of their sin.

This Scripture plainly teaches that the blood of Jesus Christ has set apart every sinner for salvation although some do not accept the salvation that is offered. Jesus is “the Saviour of the world,” (Cf. Isa 49:6; John 3:16; 4:42) although not everyone in the world will accept Him as Lord and Saviour. Jesus is “the sacrificial victim for our sins and the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:2), although some people might not accept the blessed gift that is given. So here the Scripture is teaching that the blood of Christ has purchased people for salvation but not all will accept it. (Cf. John 3:18, 36)

The third thing this Scripture says about such a sinner who rejects Christ is that he has “insulted the Spirit given to him.” We are talking about the grace of God which is so freely offered to sinners by the Holy Spirit, and yet sinners resist and reject that grace of God and insult the Holy Spirit who pleads with them.

So every lost sinner could be saved. The death of Christ met the requirements and paid for all our sins. The precious blood is a holy thing which would pay the entire debt. The Holy Spirit of God calls in grace but sinners refuse. This Scripture does not teach “irresistible grace,” but it teaches the grace of God offered to all men so that all could be saved and all ought to be saved.

Second Peter, chapter 2, is dedicated to a discussion of false prophets. All 22 verses are on this subject and the chapter starts off with this statement: “Just as there have been false prophets in the midst of the people of Israel, so will there be false teachers among you. They will introduce harmful sects and, by denying the Master who saved them, they will bring upon themselves sudden perdition.”

These false teachers bring in damnable heresies “denying the Master who saved them.” Here is the statement that says even false teachers are bought by the blood of Jesus Christ.

This chapter goes to great detail to show that these false prophets are lost people, certain of the judgment of God. Verse 3 says of them: “But their condemnation has already begun and their destruction awaits them.” The rest of the chapter tells us how God who spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to Hell, will not spare these false teachers.

Nothing could more clearly show that these men are included in the atoning death of Christ; they are included in the grace of God which would save everyone. But they resist the grace of God, they reject the call of the Spirit, they exercise the freedom of their wills to reject Christ and be lost.

The very fact that Christians are warned by the Apostle Paul against the sin of quenching the Spirit (I Thess. 5:19) and are solemnly warned: “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God” (Eph. 4:30), shows that the grace of God is not irresistible. Man has certain moral freedom of choice. God’s grace offers salvation to all and He overlooks sins so that we have time to repent (Cf. Wisdom 11:23). Fortunate are those who accept His grace and mercy “for the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the Day of Judgment.” (2 Peter 2:9) Let us pray that we will have the faith and humility of Zacchaeus, allowing the grace of God to correct us, that we may abandon our wickedness and believe in Christ our Lord. (Cf. Luke 19:1-10; Wisdom 12:2)

Let us think of God’s love and great mercy with the song “Think about His Love” by Don Moen:

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