This excerpt on irresistible grace and perseverance of the saints is from Reformed Theology by Adrian Rogers. (Archived by Louisiana College) Read the full sermon. Read part one. Read part two. Read part three. Read part four.
Then IRRESISTIBLE GRACE…you’re going to get saved, no matter what…God’s going to catch you…God’s going to zap you, and you’re going to be saved. You cannot resist the Holy Spirit of God. Turn to Acts 7 for a moment. Here’s Stephen who is being stoned to death because of the message he preached and he says to them in verse 51: “Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears…ye do always resist the Holy Ghost, as your fathers did, so do you.” Now, tell me that the Holy Spirit can’t be resisted. Stephen said He could. “You do always resist the Holy Ghost.” Sure the Holy Spirit can be resisted.
Remember Jesus said in Matthew 23:37… “I would but ye would not…” There’s a classic passage over in Proverbs 1. Turn there with me for just a moment. This makes it about as clear as any passage. Proverbs 1:22, God is speaking: “How long ye simple ones will ye love simplicity and the scorners delight in their scorning and the fools hate knowledge. Turn ye at My reproof. Behold I will pour out My Spirit unto you. I will make known My words unto you, because I have called and ye refused. I’ve stretched My hand and no man regarded, but ye have set at naught all My counsel and would none of My reproof. I also will laugh at your calamity and I will mock when your fear cometh.” Isn’t this plain that He can be resisted? Go on down to verse 27: “When your fear cometh as desolation and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind, when distress and anguish cometh upon you, then shall they call upon Me and I will not answer. They shall seek Me early but they shall not find Me, for that they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord they would none of My counsel. They despised My reproof. Therefore shall they eat
the fruit of their own way and be filled with their own devices for the turning away of the simple shall slay them and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. For whoso hearkeneth 8 unto Me shall dwell safely and shall be quiet from fear of evil.”
Now, it’s so clear that God speaks but God gives man the right to say, “NO!” This is not irresistible grace. Suppose one of you girls has a boyfriend and he begins to pour the sugar in your ear and tell you how much he loves you. But you don’t like him. But he says, “I love you.” And then you get a little nervous. You kind of want to get rid of him, but he keeps following you. And he says, “I love you. I love you very much. I really love you.” Well, you say, “So long.” And he says, “Listen, I love you so much I’m not going to let you go. I’m going to make you love me!!” Now friend, coerced love is a contradiction in terms. There’s no such thing as forced love. The idea that God has some irresistible grace…something that when you say, “I don’t want to be saved!” and He says, “Well, you’re going to be saved! I am going to make you love me!” No, that’s ridiculous. That’s not love at all! You become a robot! God gives us the privilege of saying “no” so that we can have the delight of saying “yes.”
They call this irresistible grace. Now, if God’s Holy Spirit is irresistible, would you explain to me what the unpardonable sin is? Explain what it is! Matthew 12:22: Then was brought unto Him one possessed of the devil, blind and dumb, and He healed him insomuch as the blind and dumb both spake and saw and all the people were amazed and said, “Is this not the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard it said, “This fellow doth not cast out devils but by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils.” Jesus knew their thoughts and said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation and every city and house divided against itself shall not stand and if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then shall his kingdom stand?” What Jesus is saying is, I’m not in collusion with the devil…I’m in collision with him. “And if I, by Beelzebub, cast out devils by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore, they shall be your judges.”
The point is God was speaking. The Lord had done a miracle and the Holy Spirit was working, but then Jesus goes on to say (and I’ll fast-forward)… “Wherefore I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him, but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world nor in the world to come.”
Now, that’s the most extraneous passage of Scripture I’ve ever seen if people can’t be forgiven anyway. I mean, if they’re not part of the elect…what is the sense of that? What difference would it make if a person blasphemes the Holy Ghost or whether he didn’t if he’s not part of the elect? It makes absolutely no difference whatsoever. There’s no rhyme, no reason, no nothing to that. The so-called unpardonable sin doesn’t make any sense at all if that’s what it’s all about.
The last is PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS. I believe in the eternal security of the believer…just as I believe in election, foreordination and predestination. But I really don’t believe it’s the perseverance of the saints…I believe it’s the perseverance of the Spirit. Philippians 1:6: “He who hath begun a good work will perform it until the coming of our 9 Lord Jesus Christ.”
The hyper-Calvinist says this. He says, “If you claim to be a saint, and at the end of your life have a ‘spiritual blowout,’ you’re going to hell, because you did not persevere.” They believe only the “elect” persevere, so those who are not “elect” don’t persevere. This sounds so much like Arminianism it’s crazy. But that’s what they believe and they’ll tell you that right at the end, if you have a spiritual failure or you do this or that, then you just weren’t one of the elect. But, oh friend, if it’s the “perseverance of the Spirit” then “He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it.” And so really, I take all five points of TULIP in its extreme form and I just reject that.
(Stay tuned for the conclusion in PART SIX…)