Sovereignty, Free Will, and Salvation - God's sovereignty over salvation part 4


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This presentation discusses the concept of effectual grace and the call of God, which He uses to bring people to salvation

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Sovereignty, Free Will, and Salvation - God's sovereignty over salvation part 4

  1. 1. Sovereignty Free Will & Salvation
  2. 2. God’s Sovereignty and Salvation Part 4
  3. 3. Review from Last time• If God desires all to be saved, why aren‟t all saved?• Paul shows us in Romans 9 that God elects some to salvation based on His mercy.• Isn‟t that unfair?• No, some receive grace and some receive righteous justice• How do the unsaved come to salvation if no person seeks God?• The two most plausible possibilities are prevenient and effectual grace.
  4. 4. Much of the issues of God‟s sovereignty,humanity‟s free will, and salvation comes down to thequestion of whether God gives grace to everyone so all have the chance to make a free-will decision to choose God.
  5. 5. Two Possible Answers1. Prevenient Grace2. Irresistible or Effectual Grace
  6. 6. A Look at John 1:9 “There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.” (John 1:9) The word “enlighten” is photizo, which refers to light being shed upon an object. Therefore, it does not refer to an inner illumination, but rather an external „objection revelation‟ thatcomes through Christ. The Light, in essence, reveals where people are in their relationship to God. Humanity has enough light to be responsible before God, but it chooses darkness. “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light,and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” (John 3:19–21)
  7. 7. A Look at John 12:32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” (John 12:32)The phrase “all men” refers to all kinds of people and does not mean all people receive prevenient grace. The context of the chapter shows that non-Jews had come to the disciples and asked to see Jesus:“Now there were some Greeks among those who were going up to worship at the feast; these then cameto Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip came and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip came and told Jesus. ” (John 12:20–22). “All men”means that non-Jews are included in God‟s plan of salvation as the book of Revelation says: “And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. ” (Revelation 5:9). “All” – „everything belonging, in kind, to the class designated by the noun, every kind of, all sorts of‟ – Greek Lexicon
  8. 8. Prevenient vs. Effectual Grace Wesley believed prevenient grace wasirresistible, but once a person‟s eyes were enlightened, they could then resist Godand not be saved. Prevenient grace had to be irresistible because no fallen person willingly seeks for or receives any part of God.The Reformed position says that God‟sgrace is also irresistible, but it is effectual, in that God always accomplishes His purpose and does not fail to save those He chooses. In the same way no corpseresisted Jesus‟ command to live again, no fallen person resists God‟s command to be saved.
  9. 9. How Not to Think about Effectual GraceOpponents of Reformed theology says that irresistible or effectual gracemeans that God drags unbelievers kicking and screaming into His kingdom. This is completely untrue. Instead, irresistible grace changes the heart of the unbeliever so they cease their rebellion against God, see His beauty, and willingly choose God from their new heart.
  10. 10. How to Think about Effectual Grace Irresistible or effectual grace is not the external call to salvation made, butrather the inward, effectual call of God that quickens the spiritual dead soul of an unbeliever to life. It is called irresistible or effectual because it accomplishes its purpose – it brings the unbeliever back to life. Remember both Wesley‟s prevenient grace and the Reformed effectual grace are both irresistible; they differ in terms of the accomplished task.
  11. 11. What Does the Bible say? "among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;" (Romans 1:6) "and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified." (Romans 8:30)“God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. ” (1 Corinthians 1:9)“who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (2 Timothy 1:9)"There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling;" (Ephesians 4:4) "seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence." (2 Peter 1:3)
  12. 12. Jesus on the Call of God “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” (John 6:37) “Jesus answered and said to them, “Do not grumble amongyourselves. “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. “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. ” (John 6:43–45)
  13. 13. “What is the meaning of „Ever man who has heard and learned from the Father comes unto me‟ except that there is none who hears from theFather, and learns, who comes not to me? For if everyone who has heard from the Father, and has learned, comes, certainly everyone who does not come has not heard from theFather or learned; for if he had heard, he would come.” - Augustine
  14. 14. A Sobering Truth Regeneration precedes Faith How else could an unbeliever,trapped in their total depravity, ever believe in God unlessGod grants to them the ability (faith) to believe?
  15. 15. “The problem is this: If grace isnecessary but not effectual, whatmakes it work? Obviously it is the positive response of the sinner,who is still in the flesh. Why doesone sinner respond to the offer of grace positively and the other negatively? Is the difference in response found in the power of the human will or in some addedmeasure of grace? If God merely offers to change my heart, whatwill that accomplish for me as long as my heart remains opposed to Him?” - R. C. Sproul
  16. 16. From Spiritual Death to Life “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of thepower of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great lovewith which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised usup with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have beensaved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. ” (Ephesians 2:1–10)
  17. 17. From Spiritual Death to Life In the same way that Lazarus did not and could not resist Jesus‟ call to life, those chosen by God today do not and cannot resist the call to new spiritual life. Like Lazarus, we aren‟t sick; we are dead and unable to respond on our own. It takes God‟s effectual call to bring us back to life.
  18. 18. What Does the Bible say?“and these whom He predestined, He also called;and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified." (Romans 8:30) Notice all the verbs are in the past tense. The verbs are in theaorist tense and indicative mood – it is a snapshot event that took place in the past and is not something that is in doubt of having occurred. God performed all of these actions upon his saints from before time began.
  19. 19. Westminster Confession of Faith “All those whom God has predestined unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart offlesh; renewing their wills, and, by His almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ: yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.”
  20. 20. What Does the Bible say? “but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews astumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews andGreeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." (1 Corinthians 1:23-24) The call cannot be something universal in nature according to his verse – there are Jews and Gentiles who have not heard the call and there are Jews and Gentiles who have been called.
  21. 21. “To Those who are the Called…” “Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ: ” (Jude 1) ChurchThe church, the redeemed, believers are chosen . . . eklektos from the verb kaleo and the preposition out, to call out, the called out ones.
  22. 22. The Call in Action“And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to a riverside, where we were supposing that there would be a place of prayer; and we sat down and began speaking to the women who had assembled. A woman named Lydia,from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, waslistening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. ” (Acts 16:13–14) Lydia responded freely and willingly after her heart was opened by God.
  23. 23. “the Called, Chosen, and Faithful…” “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14) This verse encompasses both the general and efficacious call of God. The “many are called” represent the general call to repentance and the “few are chosen” represent those who received the efficacious call and are “the called” of God. Many called; few respond. "These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcomethem, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful." (Revelation 17:14)
  24. 24. How can the Unwise Choose God? “For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, thethings that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.” ” (1 Corinthians 1:26–31) Beyond God needing to call unbelievers because of their state of radical depravity, why the effectual call of God? So no one can boast and say “I did it! I was smart enough to choose God!” God alone gets the glory and credit.
  25. 25. The End Result of God’s Call“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward medid not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10)
  26. 26. Doesn‟t the Bible say that people resist God‟s will?
  27. 27. 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 ahen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.” (Matthew 23:37)The context of this verse is that it comes on the tail end ofJesus‟ rebuke to the Pharisees. Who is “Jerusalem”? The ones who stoned the prophets were not the people butthe religious rulers. Who are the “children”? That refers tothe people under the religious rulers‟ reign. They were not unwilling, but the religious rulers were. They stoppedpeople from coming to Jesus and would put anyone out of the synagogue who followed Jesus (Jn. 12:42). Jesusrebuked the same group of leaders earlier in 23:13 – “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for youdo not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.”
  28. 28. Acts 7:51 “You men who are stiff-necked anduncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. ” (Acts 7:51) The word “resist” is better translated “oppose”, which is a better fit for the context.Stephen is telling the Jewish leaders (who are the ones Jesus condemned in Matt. 23) that they and their predecessors always opposedGod‟s prophets and His message, which weresent by the Holy Spirit. This is a statement of the total inability of fallen people who arenaturally hostile to the message of God. They have unclean hearts and ears.
  29. 29. “Grace proves irresistiblejust because it destroys the disposition to resist.” J. I. Packer
  30. 30. What about “Whosoever will may come”?
  31. 31. What Does the Bible Actually Say? “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say,“Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. ” (Revelation 22:17)It says that the one who “wishes” can take the water of life. As we haveseen in our study, the natural person does not wish for God and will not come to take the water being offered. God must restore that desire to them.
  32. 32. What about John 3:16?
  33. 33. What Does the Bible Actually Say? “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did notsend the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be savedthrough Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into theworld, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” (John 3:16–21)
  34. 34. If God chooses people for salvation, then why evangelize? Why pray for people?
  35. 35. God Ordains the Means & the Ends “How then will they call on Him in whom theyhave not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14) “For since in the wisdom of God the worldthrough its wisdom did not come to know God,God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. ” (1 Corinthians 1:21) The questioner confuses the concepts of agent and mechanism. God is the agent/efficient cause of salvation and preaching is the mechanism/instrumental cause.
  36. 36. God Ordains the Means & the Ends “God has ordained that the means by which men believe on Jesus is through the preaching of men. It is simply naive to say that if no one spread the gospel all those predestined to be sons of God(Ephesians 1:5) would be converted anyway. Thereason this is naive is because it overlooks the fact that the preaching of the gospel is just as predestined as is the believing of the gospel: Paul was set apart for his preaching ministry before he was born (Galatians 1:15), as was Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5). Therefore, to ask, "If we dont evangelize, will the elect be saved?" is like asking, "If there is no predestination, will the predestined be saved?" God knows those who are his and he will raise up messengers to win them.” - John Piper
  37. 37. Why Pray for People? “Now I would like to turn the question back to my questioner: If you insistthat this man must have the power of ultimate self-determination, what is thepoint of praying for him? What do you want God to do for Him? You cant ask that God overcome the mans rebellion, for rebellion is precisely whatthe man is now choosing, so that would mean God overcame his choice andtook away his power of self-determination. But how can God save this man unless he act so as to change the mans heart from hard hostility to tender trust?Will you pray that God enlighten his mind so that he truly see the beauty ofChrist and believe? If you pray this, you are in effect asking God no longerto leave the determination of the mans will in his own power. You are asking God to do something within the mans mind (or heart) so that he will surelysee and believe. That is, you are conceding that the ultimate determination of the mans decision to trust Christ is Gods, not merely his…”
  38. 38. Why Pray for People?“What I am saying is that it is not the doctrine of Gods sovereignty which thwarts prayer for the conversion of sinners. On the contrary, it is the unbiblical notion of self-determination which would consistently put an end to all prayers for the lost. Prayer is a request that God do something. But the only thing God can do tosave a lost sinner is to overcome his resistance to God. If you insist that he retain his self- determination, then you are insisting that he remain without Christ. For "no one can come to Christ unless it is given him from the Father" (John 6:65,44). Only the person who rejects human self-determination can consistently pray for God to save the lost. My prayer forunbelievers is that God will do for them what He did for Lydia: He opened her heart so that she gave heed to what Paul said (Acts 16:14).” - John Piper
  39. 39. Summary• How do those separated from God come to faith?• God‟s effectual call quickens them and brings them willingly to Him.• Does everyone receive God‟s effectual call?• No, only those God has chosen receive the call.• If God chooses who He will save and only calls some, why evangelize and pray for people?• Because God ordains the ends as well as the means.
  40. 40. “Those who have receivedsalvation are to attribute it tosovereign grace alone, and to give all the praise to Him, who makes them to differ from others.” Jonathan Edwards
  41. 41. “How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You” (Psalm 65:4)
  42. 42. God’s Sovereignty and Salvation