Grace: Unmerited Favor

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!

Calvinism says that God extends his common grace to all mankind, but it is not sufficient to save anyone. Only God’s irresistible grace can draw the elect to salvation and make a person willing to respond. It cannot be obstructed or resisted.

Arminianism says that through the preparatory (prevenient) grace given to all by the Holy Spirit, man is able to cooperate with God and respond in faith to salvation. Through prevenient grace, God removed the effects of Adam’s sin. Because of free will men are also able to resist God’s grace.

One of the things that bothers me the most is the need to redefine the same term and classify it. Grace no longer is just one thing, it’s common grace or irresistible grace or prevenient grace.

This teaching brings up all sorts of questions. How does Jesus’ death provide grace? Is this grace for all or only for those who will believe? Is it irresistible? Can we in our free will resist it? Did Jesus bleed too much for those who would not believe? Did he bleed for everybody, but grace only ‘works’ to save the elect?

The problem that many Calvinists have with the Arminian idea is that it allows for Pelagianism or Semipelagianism. Pelagius taught that the original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing Good over Evil – it is the idea that human beings can choose salvation by their own efforts. I think the issue is that pesky question of free will, Calvinists believe that the elect will be saved because they can’t resist God’s grace – they in and of themselves cannot chose to be saved unless and until God enables them to. From what I’ve seen, free will isn’t really free in Calvinism. Arminians would realize that Jesus paid the price for Adam’s sin and that enables their free will to choose grace and their free will to not choose grace. They choose to believe, Jesus is the one that saves them.

Looking at the Bible, Calvinists see all people as being either dead in their sins or alive in Christ. Only the elect, through grace, are capable of going from the dead state to an alive state. Arminians would believe in a grey zone where anybody who is dead in their sins is actually separated from God by sin but are capable of choosing God when grace enables them.

It sounds like it all comes down to: what grace is, what it can do, what it can’t do, and how people react to it. It’s not easy to figure out how to define it because there are so many different kinds that do so many different things. I would still agree with the assessment that trying to define these system of beliefs is trying to know the unknowable and define the undefinable.

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2 thoughts on “Grace: Unmerited Favor

  1. UNLESS THE FATHER DRAWS HIM BY STEVE FINNELL

    John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

    What is the meaning of John 6:44?

    1. Does it mean only a few, who have been selected by the Father, will be saved? No, it does not.
    2. Does it mean that men only respond to the gospel because of irresistible grace? No, it does not.

    WHO ARE THOSE THAT THE FATHER DRAWS?

    John 6:45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.

    The Father draws all who hear and learn. The Father does not force anyone to hear or learn. Men have free-will. God does not impute faith into a few so they will believe and be saved. Faith does not come by injection.

    HOW DO MEN HEAR AND LEARN?

    Romans 10:13-14 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?

    Men need to hear the gospel before they can learn and believe. The Father draws men by the gospel.

    Romans 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

    Faith comes from hearing the gospel. Faith does not come because the Father selected a chosen few, before the world began, to be saved. All who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior are the chosen and that includes whoever accepts God’s terms for pardon. Faith does not come because of irresistible grace.

    God the Father draws men to Jesus with the gospel.

    Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek,

    IT IS THE GOSPEL THAT DRAWS MEN TO JESUS!

    IRRESISTIBLE GRACE IS NOT THE METHOD THAT THE FATHER USES TO DRAW MEN TO JESUS.

    Romans 10:21 But as for Israel He says, “All the day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”

    Israel as a nation reject the gospel. How would that be possible if irresistible grace were in play? Israel turned away from God.

    Matthew 23:37 “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.

    Jerusalem was unwilling to be drawn to Jesus by believing the gospel. They had a choice.

    John 5:39-40 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.

    The Jews had the opportunity to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, but they were unwilling. There was no irresistible grace in play. The Father draws all who are willing to believe the gospel.

    John 6:40 This is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

    IF YOU ARE READING THIS BLOG YOU ARE ONE OF THE “EVERYONE” WHO HAS A CHANCE TO BE BELIEVE THE GOSPEL AND BE SAVED.

    MEN REJECT GOD.

    GOD DOES NOT REJECT MEN DUE TO NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN.

    THE FATHER DRAWS MEN TO JESUS THROUGH THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL. MEN ARE NOT DRAWN TO JESUS BECAUSE THEY WERE PRESELECTED FOR SALVATION!

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

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    • So it sounds like you’re definitely not buying Calvinism, but I’m not sure if you are saying you believe in Arminianism. As for me, I’ve decided that I’m not going to worry about the particulars of how it works and just be glad that it does work even if I can’t seem to figure out how.

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...Anyway, that's just how I feel about it ... What do you think?

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