Adrian Rogers explains: “Spiritual blindness makes beggars of us all. ... The blind need more than light in order to see. ... I used to think, as a young preacher, that what you had to do to get people saved is just to tell them how to be saved. Just turn on the light. But it doesn’t matter how much light there is, or the person is blind because he cannot see it. It takes more than light, it takes sight. And a person who is blind cannot see the light, no matter how strong the light is or how pure the light is. It takes more than preaching to get people saved. That’s the reason I frequently say to you, I can preach truth, but only the Holy Spirit can impart truth. That is the reason why we must be a praying church. That’s the reason you must be a spirit filled soul winner. That is the reason that we must have the anointing, because we are dependent upon God to open blinded eyes to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It takes more than light, it takes takes sight. We need to understand that nobody can be argued into the kingdom of heaven. Nobody can be educated into the kingdom of heaven. I’m not against letting the light shine. You must let the let shine. You must preach. But remember, there is another dimension.” (Jesus is God’s Answer to Man’s Darkness: John 20:30, emphasis mine)
Fallen man is spiritually blind, and therefore he needs sight. No one seeks God, so God must seek man, and Jesus does this very thing when He seeks (Luke 19:10), draws (John 12:32) and knocks upon the heart's door of the lost. (Revelation 3:20) Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit convicts the heart (John 16:8), pricks the heart (Acts 26:14), pierces the heart (Acts 2:37) and even opens the heart to respond to the Gospel. (Acts 16:14) This is Illumination of Prevenient Grace, but that is not to be confused with Regeneration. Illumination deals with the old heart. Regeneration deals with the new heart. John 1:9 states: “There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.” The Gospel is the Light through which the Holy Spirit gives Sight. (Romans 10:17) A man is illuminated in order to receive the Gospel. A man is regenerated after he has been sealed in Christ. (Ephesians 1:13) Regeneration is when we are washed and renewed by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5), in having become a "new creature" in Christ (2nd Corinthians 5:17), born again with a "new heart" and a "new spirit." (Ezekiel 36:26) Calvinism, in contrast, overrides Ephesians 1:13 by erroneously teaching that men are preemptively placed in Christ in order to gain access to the "new heart" in regeneration, in order that the decision of the elect be made irresistible, as in Irresistible Grace. Hence, you have the clear difference between the Prevenient Grace of Arminianism and the Irresistible Grace of Calvinism.
I would like to discuss this point with you on the Blog entitled "Sealed in Christ."
1) If Prevenient Grace is irresistible, then how was Saul of Tarsus able to kick against the goads? (See Acts 26:14)
2) Calvinism teaches that irresistible grace is the result of preemptive Regenerative Grace, which regeneration, is reserved in Christ. Hence, Calvinism teaches that one must be preemptively placed in Christ, prior to the sealing of Eph 1:13, in order to gain access to the new heart and the new spirit that is alone received in the new birth in Christ. So is it possible to become in Christ, prior to being sealed in Christ? To the Arminian, Eph 1:13 is clear: You hear the Gospel, which produces faith (Rom 10:17), and when you believe in the Gospel, you are sealed in Christ with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. So the Arminian wants to know how you can be in Christ, before you are sealed in Christ.
My point is that the question of whether Prevenient Grace is irresistible, is irrelevant, and that the real question is whether Calvinism can successfully defend the notion that a person can be in Christ, prior to being sealed in Christ. The Arminian says, absolutely not, on the grounds that in Christ, there is redemption, as per Rom 8:1, while unbelievers have condemnation, as per John 3:18. Thus, you cannot be preemptively in Christ as a condemned unbeliever. Only believers can be in Christ. Hence, Eph 1:13 teaches that believers are sealed in Christ.
If you can prove that you can be in Christ, prior to being sealed in Christ, then you have a basis for which to begin a defense of Irresistible Grace.
I've always had a hard time of irresistible grace because of Felix & Agrippa in Acts 24 & 26, respectively.
Acts 24:25, in the KJV says that Felix TREMBLED under conviction of the Holy Spirit. The ESV (which the Calvinist uses) says that Felix was alarmed. Either way, Paul had preached the Gospel to him (Acts 24:24) had spoken of judgment (Acts 24:25) and the Holy Spirit fell on Felix and caused him to realize his sin, and he trembled at the coming judgment.
When he said, "Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee," (Acts 25:25) Paul didn't answer with, "When you have a CONVENIENT season? God has sovereignly chosen you to be His disciple. You WILL believe!" You would think that if he answered in such a way, that Paul would rebuke him.
The exact same thing with Agrippa. Paul spoke the Gospel to Agrippa (Acts 26:22-23) and asked Agrippa if he believed this, as Agrippa had somewhere along the way learned of these things (I am ashamed to say I don't know the history of Agrippa to know of his learning)
Here's where it gets tricky. The KJV says in Acts 26:28, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian." Which, at first glance you'd think that Agrippa was close...he wasn't a heathen like Festus, but wasn't a Christian like Paul. He was in between them both, knowing what was truth, but still not willing to give up his sin.
The ESV says, "In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?" tacking on a question mark to make you read it as, "Do you really think that I'm going to commit to Christ after your two minute speech? Come on!"
But again, Paul didn't answer in reprimand. He answered in a sincere plea for Agrippa to repent & believe. But not only him, but all within earshot of him that day.
It seems to me that Paul would say, "Persuade?! Are you kidding me? You WILL believe because God has elected you before the foundation of the world, or you will NOT believe because God has reprobated you before the foundation of the world."
Maybe I'm not making much sense & I realize this comment is exactly three years late, but I just wanted to add that in.
Thanks! This was very well reasoned, and I will incorporate it into my verse by verse write-ups on the main site. Thanks, I really appreciate the feedback. I will follow-up once I've made the revision here.
2 Corinthians 5:11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences
Onlt thing we can do is reason with the sinner,If I could Holy head lock them into heaven I would do it.But that doesnt work The Holy Spirit does, we preach and let the Holy Spirit do his work.He was as Hebrews ch.6 says he was enlightened almost still sends you to an eternal Hell.He had tasted that the Lord was good but said no.
Like many do today he loved his sin more than the Saviour
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