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The Doctrines of Grace: TULIP Revisited
by Carol Berubee

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Irresistible Grace, Part I

The doctrine of irresistible grace recognizes that because man is depraved and dead in his sins, he must first be regenerated by God. Upon this regeneration, faith is then exercised and a person is saved. This action of faith is in response to God's grace. This grace is irresistible because it has been poured out on the elect who have first been called and regenerated. The doctrine of irresistible grace recognizes that because God has prepared beforehand a people chosen as His Body, He will succeed in bringing those elect to salvation.

A Scriptural Basis
Deuteronomy 32:39
"'See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.'"

Psalm 3:8
"Salvation belongs to the LORD."

These two verses create an interesting juxtaposition. God is the one who brings physical death but He also brings life, both physical and spiritual.

Psalm 115:3
"...[O]ur God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases."

Isaiah 43:21
"This people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praise."

God formed Israel for Himself that they would glorify Him. The same holds true for the Body of Christ. In either case, those who are of the elect of the Jews and those who are of the elect of the Gentiles were and are formed by God and for God.

Ephesians 2:10
"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."

Notice that we were created in Christ. Can we create ourselves? Just as we cannot be born of the womb of our own will, we cannot be born again -- or created in Christ -- of our own will. Second, we recognize that if we are God's workmanship created for good works, then God will be sure to bring us to, and through, that journey until all is complete.

Colossians 1:13
"He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love..."

The Biblical definition of darkness is that of a state of spiritual blindness and sin. A man cannot deliver himself from such a state. Only the power of God can remove man from this darkness and bring him into His kingdom of light. We have already seen in this series that God has elected those who would be saved. He then sent His Son to die for the elect. And now, He is calling those elect in His timing that they may be delivered from the power of darkness.

The Nature of Freedom
Free will says that we have the ability to make moral decisions without prior disposition, and without external coercion. But the Bible says that we are pre-disposed to sin. In our natural state, we cannot know the things of God (1 Corinthians 2:14), nor can we seek after God (Romans 3:10-11). Because the natural human will is bound in sin, we cannot choose God; therefore, God has chosen His elect and has made a way for His elect to be saved. When Christ died, He paid the penalty for the sins of the elect. In God's timing, the power of the Holy Spirit will regenerate the elect, freeing them from the bonds of sin, allowing them to truly repent, and walk with God in freedom of will.

(This does not mean that the Christian can now only choose to do the will of God. Before salvation, a person has a corrupted, sinful nature; he can only make choices within the bounds of sin. After salvation, a person has two natures: the sin nature and a new nature in Christ. The new nature cannot sin, but the old nature cannot do anything but sin. Because we have both natures, we will still sin.)

Freedom is not the ability to do whatever we want. The Bible illustrates freedom as being free from sin. A free will is a will that is free from the bonds of sin. But no man can break those bonds with his own determination or might. Jesus says that man is not free until He sets him free (John 8:36) and that anyone who sins is a slave of sin (John 8:34). The unbeliever has no true freedom; he has free agency, or the ability to make decisions within the bounds of his nature, but he is not free to choose God.

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