Reformed Theology: God's Grace

JeffLogan's picture

This discussion will be limited to the discussion of God's grace as it pertains to Reformed Theology.

Barry writes,

I would like to suggest that we explore the topic of "God's Grace " as it relates specifically to the process of one's coming to salvation. I personally am particularly interested in the doctrine of "Prevenient Grace", however, at ElderDad's suggestion which points out our primary forum theme, addressing the RT position termed "Irresistible Grace" first is the more appropriate approach.

So, if this approach is acceptable, I would invite someone to begin this thread by first defining the term, then giving a brief re-cap of the history of "TULIP", and concluding with Scriptural references supporting the concept. That should get us rolling.

Barring objections, I would encourage someone in the Reformed camp to please begin.

Grace and peace to all.

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Suggested Structure: (Best if viewing options set: Threaded Collapsed | Oldest First | 200/page |)

(The first 3 headings are reserved for Reformed Theology Adherents ONLY)

Defining the terms (No opposing views here)
     Irresistible Grace
     Prevenient Grace
     etc...
Brief re-cap of the history of "TULIP" (No opposing views here)
     Early History
     Later History
     Unfolding History/Current Understanding
Scriptural references supporting the concept (No opposing views here)
     Irresistible Grace
     Prevenient Grace
     etc...
1st Discussion: Irresistible Grace
2nd Discussion: Prevenient Grace
3rd Discussion: etc...

JeffLogan's picture

A reply to: Barry

A reply to:

Barry writes,

...So tell me if this scenario is logical and, if so, please point out where is it is both logical but inconsistent with Scripture.

Man is born in a condition of spiritual deadness. This produces the following: Spiritual things are foolishness to him. He and all others in their natural state are at enmity with God and never seek after Him.

Jeff writes,

Ok. 1 Cor. 1, Romans 8, and Romans 3.

Barry writes,

Only God can bring such a man to spiritual life so that spiritual things no longer appear foolish to him and he then has at that point, at very least, an open curiosity to seek God. God, in His mercy and by His grace, sovereignly brings regeneration (spiritual life) to certain individuals termed His "elect". Once regenerated he is then free to embrace God, the things of God, see his sins for the terrible offense they are to God and seek forgiveness and redemption in Christ. He then is truly free to exercise his choice to choose to ask for God's forgiveness and redemption and to receive them on faith; a faith that is truly his and yet a free gift from God.

Jeff writes,

I would agree with everything here except I don't know that regeneration happens alike for everyone. Certainly a man doesn't even seek forgiveness until God has acted upon him in some redemptive way. I would argue that some who now consider themselves among the "Elect" are yet unregenerated. They are still in the courtship phase but haven't yet made a full commitment to Christ such that they have no other lovers.

Barry writes,

Here we have the basis for the Reformed belief that "regeneration must precede faith" for without regeneration it is not possible for one to exercise saving faith...

Jeff writes,

Certainly some degree of change must take place before a person would even consider faith in Christ. I would not call that the New Birth, though. The New Birth, if that is what you are referring to when you say "regeneration", is the result of a complete death to self and a resurrection to new life in Christ. I believe that I have experienced this New Birth because of the radical change in my life. But I don't sit on my laurels contemplating how good I have become. I am ever aware that my natural man is totally depraved and that keeps me focused on Christ as my only hope.

What do you mean by "saving faith?" The Bible does speak of a grace that brings salvation but I know of no place where the Bible speaks of faith having saving qualities or any merit. The Bible teaches that we are saved by grace THROUGH faith, but not BY faith. I see that faith is essential but it cannot produce anything. However, it's been said that prayer is the key in the hand of faith which unlock heaven's storehouse. Jesus said that if we ask believing we receive we shall receive what we ask for. So faith plays a part because it encourages us, if not enables us, to ask believing we will receive. So it would seem that faith appropriates what has already been promised.

Barry writes,

...Now, I ask you is this not a very logical progression that is consistent with Scripture? Can you not logically see that faith cannot produce regeneration (being born again) thus it cannot precede it?

Jeff writes,

Yes, I can see that faith cannot produce regeneration. But I can also see that without faith regeneration cannot happen. But the fact that faith cannot produce regeneration in no way proves that it cannot, nor does not, precede it.

Barry writes,

God is the only One who can regenerated thus the initiative and completion must be 100% from God as man is not able to participate whatsoever in his own rebirth because he is "dead". That is one of the foundational points that Reformed Theology tries to get across.

Jeff writes,

I agree with this with a small qualification. Only God can do it and man cannot. However, rebirth isn't required for a man to understand he needs to make changes in his life. People enroll in drug rehab and Alcoholics Anonymous all the time who have no interest in seeking God. They simply understand that they need to make a change and cannot do it themselves. You may think it robbery to God's Sovereignty to suggest that God abides by the same rules. I do not. I believe that whenever men seeks to do anything good it is God's grace working on them. You must agree also since it is evident atheists are capable of good works and we all agree that that is impossible given their total depravity. So it must be God's spirit working on their hearts when they do good. Yet, they are not regenerated. Why, some of them act more Christian than many professing Christians. Maybe these we call atheists are the blind, crippled, and maimed who will heed the call to come to the King's banquet while those who consider themselves among the elect will actually decline because they are too busy. Why might they decline? Because they have taken it for granted for so long that the estimation of its value has declined to nil. And, why might the atheist accept? Because it's new and fresh to them and they are experiencing their first love as they hear for the first time the good news of eternal salvation. The good news being that God has elected them to come to the feast in place of the scheduled guests. They are the poor in spirit. The poor in spirit are those who are aware of their total depravity, and rather than speaking as the Pharisee with prideful words that they are thankful they are better than their human counterparts, they speak as the publican not even raising their eyes to heaven pleading for God's mercy.

God's grace is present with all men seeking to convince them of a better way. It may begin as a small flicker of light but at the end of that tunnel is the cross with its promise of eternal life. Man has always sought after the Fountain of Youth at great expense. Why would their interest not be piqued when they find the treasure map?


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“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."




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