Does Irresistible Grace Make Men into Robots? | Monergism


Does Irresistible Grace Make Men into Robots? | Monergism. The argument that irresistible grace makes men into robots is made by people who think that they must have the final say, that they must be the final arbiters of their own salvation, that they must be able to veto God. These people believe themselves to be sovereign, though they would deny this despite their words and actions that prove they believe themselves to be sovereign. They insist that they have “free will” (the right to choose what they want) and that God must beg them for permission to save them. (Though they might not actually use the word “beg,” that is sometimes how they communicate their belief, i.e. that God cannot save anyone unless they give Him permission to do so).

 

These people insist that in order to love God, they must be free not to love God. To be free, of course, means to have rights. This isn’t about mere capacity, despite their protestations to the contrary. This is about people who have set themselves up as sovereigns, as people who have the final veto over any desire God might have to save them. Thus, God is impotent to save without their imprimatur.

 

Grace is irresistible and it is wonderfully so! What I mean by that is that when God regenerates one of His elect, they find Him and the gospel so wonderfully irresistible that they don’t want anything else. Men have described the experience of finding the women they later married as being “irresistible.” Since they clearly love their wives, why are these men not robots? Why are they not love-slaves to their wives that they found irresistible? Why is it that the robot argument only comes up when it comes to God’s grace being irresistible? Is it because those who use the argument really object to the idea of not being the final arbiters of their own salvation, of not having that veto power over God?

3 thoughts on “Does Irresistible Grace Make Men into Robots? | Monergism

  1. “Worse, you’re suggesting that no matter how much God might want to save you, He can’t without your cooperation, which does make man sovereign over God since it makes man the final arbiter of his own salvation.”

    No, I’m not saying he can’t. Of course, He can do whatever he wants. I’m saying He won’t force anyone to come to them against their will. That’s the gospel. And a God who allows free will and still works everything for good according to His purpose is more powerful, more sovereign then a God who must arbitrarily pick His people and damn all the rest, because apparently He doesn’t have to power to use even bad decisions to bring about good results.
    What I’ve found is that when Calvinists use the word sovereign they define it in such a narrow way as to limit God so He can fit into the finite human mind.

    Plus, you have to ignore the weight of scripture, which, when read plainly, is full of situations where God gives people choices. Where He states “If you do this, then this will be the result”
    “Submit to God and the devil will flee from you.” The trouble is, we too often choose not to submit.

  2. Wildswanderer,

    Jesus said that those whom the Father had given to Him WILL come to Him (see John 6:37). That sounds like irresistible grace – God has given some humans to Christ (these are the elect). All of these people are going to be saved and it is God who will bring about their salvation, first by regenerating them (which is what was meant by the need to be “born again” in John 3″3-5), then by giving them the faith necessary to believe (see Ephesians 2:8-9).

    Spiritually dead humans are incapable of faith. They only want what their sinful nature tells them they want: sin. They are incapable of doing anything that pleases God. They do not seek after God. Their righteousnesses, the best that they are morally capable of without God, are as a used tampon pad (the modern equivalent of Isaiah’s “filthy rags”). They are incapable of coming to God on their own. God must draw them (see John 6:44, where the verb translated “draw” actually means “to drag;” thus God must drag people to Christ, much like one person dragging a dead body from one place to another).

    Jesus said about salvation that this is impossible for humans (see Matthew 19:26). In other words, humans can’t do anything to accomplish their own salvation. Human inability doesn’t negate what God has commanded. For example, God commands moral perfection (see Leviticus 19:2; 1 Peter 1:15-16). Paul tells us throughout much of Romans that the Law cannot save us because we can’t keep the Law. Peter reminded the Apostles and elders gathered at the Jerusalem Council that even they, as Jews, were incapable of keeping the Law (see Acts 15:10). This not only explains why the cross was necessary, but also explains why God must do all of the work of bringing about a person’s salvation – from bringing dead spirits back to life (regeneration) to giving the faith necessary to believe to causing a person not only to want to repent, but to actually take the next step and repent (this is where irresistible grace comes into play). The result is that God justifies us, causes us to be in right standing with Him as He imputes Christ’s righteousness to us (see Romans 5).

    The common refrain is “Whosoever will may come” (which is not a direct quote from any scripture any more than “God casts our sins into the sea of forgetfulness and remembers them no more” is). The problem is that unless God first regenerates them, brings their dead spirits to life, no one “will.” However, once God regenerates them, “will” is all they want because they find God’s grace so wonderfully irresistible.

    What you’re essentially saying is that salvation is dependent on you and that you alone get to decide whether God will save you. You are saying that it’s up to you to give your soul to God and that you have to consciously do it every day. You’re implying that there’s nothing God can do for you unless you let Him. You’re suggesting that you have no assurance of salvation and that it will ultimately depend on what you do or don’t do. Worse, you’re suggesting that no matter how much God might want to save you, He can’t without your cooperation, which does make man sovereign over God since it makes man the final arbiter of his own salvation. You might not think that’s what you’re saying, but it is.

    I recommend that you read the original article that I linked (I didn’t write it, just the comments that appear after the link on my blog).

    Also worth reading: http://www.gospeloutreach.net/irresistible_grace.html
    http://www.reformedalberta.ca/Doctrine/Saved_by_Grace/Saved_by_Grace05.html
    http://www.reformedalberta.ca/Doctrine/Whosoever_Will/Whosoever_Will01.html

  3. Me thinks you are missing the whole reason that people make the statement. The only way that I find the concept of irresistible grace in my Bible is if I view scripture through the lenses of a man’s doctrine. When I just read it plainly, what I find is a lot of talk about the necessity of faith, of trust, of submission on my part in order to maintain a relationship with God. It doesn’t just happen without my participation. I find I have to consciously give my soul to God almost daily. I have to ask him to forgive, to heal the broken places in me. Is this works? No, it’s faith. Active, breathing faith. God has never forced his grace on me. He only responds to my asking. Does that make me think I’m sovereign over him? No, just the opposite. It only makes me more dependent on grace.
    Of course the real question behind this is why Jesus would have to die at all if God was just going to force his grace on whoever he chose and send the rest to hell.

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