Christian Universe

Home | Christian Resources | Christian Links | Links | Site Map

Online Bibles

Scriptural FAQ's




Topical Studies

Electronic Greetings

God's Earth




Calvinism's TULIP: Irresistible Grace

 May 29, 2011

John Calvin's followers developed an acronym called TULIP to explain their five basic tenets. It uses the first letters from Total Depravity (also known as Original Sin), Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, (also known as Particular Atonement), Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints (also known as Once Saved, Always Saved). I have already addressed other points in the TULIP list. This lesson looks at the erroneous doctrine of Irresistible Grace.

Bernie Parsons 

To The Sermons Page


Calvinism’s TULIP: Irresistible Grace

By Bernie Parsons


Presented to Globe church of Christ on 05-29-2011

Presented to Load  church of Christ on 06-05-2011



We have talked about the Calvinist doctrines of Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, and Limited Atonement, and today we take a look at Irresistible Grace. The Calvinists say that the gospel is an external call that goes out to everyone, but God issues an internal call to the elected, or pre-selected, that cannot be resisted by those individuals.


They refer to verses like Romans 9:16, Philippians 2:12-13, John 6:28-29, Acts 13:48, and John 1:12-13. We have already discussed Romans 9:16, which was not speaking of how God saves, but rather whom He saves – see verse 24.  As to Philippians 2:13, we see that verse 12 negates any allusion to “irresistible grace” because it speaks of obedience and working out one’s own salvation, while Calvinists teach that man has nothing to do with his own salvation – hence the need for this “irresistible internal call by the Holy Spirit” as envisioned by Calvinists.


John 6:28-29 is taken out of context to say that believing on Jesus is God’s work, as if man has nothing to do with it. Yet, belief itself is an act on behalf of a person, as is also reinforced in verse 40.  Verse 45 tells that a person must first hear and learn of God, which is done by hearing the gospel as we have seen previously. What John chapter 6 does teach, in context, is that God calls by the preaching of the gospel, and that those who hear and believe the message will be saved, while those who refuse to hear, or hear and disbelieve, shall not be saved. That places salvation in the hands and hearts of the hearers and doers of God’s word.


Acts 13:48 is offered up as further proof that God calls inwardly and the pre-elected man cannot resist. Again, Calvinists lift a single verse out of context. Look at verse 26, which shows that the intended recipient of the word of God is he who fears God. The one fearful of God wishes to hear what God has to say, and so listens, believes, and moves in obedience. In this way, God speaks to the God-fearing – not through an irresistible call to the already-saved. Verses 38 through 40 show the role of preaching and believing in salvation, while the non-hearers or non-believers are said to “despisers”.


John 1:12 "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."


They use the above to say that people only become sons of God when God puts that power into them, because it is up to God, and according to His will. However, look at the beginning of verse 12 “But as many as received him…” indicates what we have seen all the way through our studies on the errors of Calvinism, and that is that salvation is granted to those who first receive Him, and as our studies have shown, they receive Him after that they have heard the gospel preached.

Look back to verses 10 and 11 to see the context.


John 1:10 "He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."


The majority of the Israelites rejected Jesus as the Messiah. That is, they refused to receive Him as to whom He said that He was. But of the few who did receive Him, God gave them the power to become His sons. They were born of God to become His sons. How were they born? Not much later, in John 3, Jesus explained to Nicodemus that a man must be born again of the water and of the Spirit. To whom would this rebirth and salvation come? To those who would believe on Him! We discussed this in previous lessons on Calvinism. In chapter four, we see that Jesus had His disciples baptizing the believers in water.


Acts 18:27 "And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:

28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ."


Romans 1:4 “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:”


Romans 5:1 "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."


Galatians 1:6 "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:"


Colossians 1:5 "For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;

6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:"


While the grace of God provides the way to be saved, it is the action of our belief, after hearing the gospel, which leads us to obey the gospel. Faith makes the grace of God available to us.


2 Timothy 1:8 "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:"


In the above verses, we see that God’s “purpose and grace” were give to us in the person of Christ Jesus before the world began! Again we see that it is not that God pre-selected individuals to salvation, and then put His grace in them, but rather that He put the grace in His son, Jesus. That truth is revealed to us through the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. As we have seen in the other lessons on Calvinism, that grace affords salvation to “all men”, or everyone.


Hebrews 2:9 "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."


Titus 2:11 "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."


The writer of Hebrews informs us that it is possible to fail of the grace of God, therefore it is not irresistible.


Hebrews 12:14 "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;"


The following scripture should be definitive in proving the doctrine of irresistible grace to be wrong. If one can fall from grace, then pre-selected salvation with an internal call of irresistible grace is a blatantly false doctrine.


Galatians 5:3 "For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."


Back to the Top

saucerbl.gif (1636 bytes)

  Hit Counter  


Untitled 1