A friend of mine in college told me that he couldn't buy into all of the Doctrines of Grace for two reasons. I said, "Ok -- what are these two reasons?" My friend simply said, "L and I." I understood; he was referring to the acronym T.U.L.I.P. that people use to remember the five points of Calvinism or what is known as the Doctrines of Grace. Here the I is a reference to Irresistible Grace, which simply means "the biblical truth that whatever God decrees to happen will inevitably come to pass, even in the salvation of individuals" [GotQuestions.org]. In the Scriptures, we read it this way in John 6:37-40: "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out, for I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." Indeed, the doctrine of Irresistible Grace, when understood correctly, is the teaching of Scripture. However, unfortunately, many continue to deny it because God would never violate humanity's free will (so they say). I can see how the word "irresistible" carries the connotation of one trying to resist the pull of the Holy Spirit to salvation but are unable no matter how hard they try. Of course, this isn't the picture that we see in John 6:37-40. In this text, we see, on one side, that all that the Father gives Jesus will come to him. On the other side, we see that all who come to Jesus will never be cast out. The picture in John is a beautiful picture of Grace.
In the Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan illustrates this glorious truth almost as beautifully when Christian arrives at the Wicket Gate and meets Goodwill. Christian knocks on the gate, and no one answers, so he continues to knock, and a man, Goodwill, asks in a deep voice, "Who's there, where did you come from, and what do you want?" To this, Christian explains that he is a poor and burdened sinner from the City of Destruction who wants to go to Mount Zion to be safe from the coming wrath of God. After Christian expresses his desire to enter the narrow gate, Goodwill opens it. We read this, "Just as Christian was stepping in, [Goodwill] took hold of his arm and gave him a quick pull." In the story, Goodwill pulled him in because Christian was not aware of a castle not far from the gate from which Beelzebub and his men would shoot arrows at those entering the Wicket gate.
I love that Bunyan illustrates both Christian's need and desire to be saved - to enter the wicket gate but at the same time doesn't leave out the biblical picture of the irresistible grace of God. In Colossians 1:13, we read, "He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son." I believe Bunyan is trying to help us see that God transfers us from the domain of darkness to the Kingdom of God. It is God who takes the poor, burdened sinner and gives them life in His name. Like Christian in the story, we are in desperate need of God's grace toward undeserving sinners.
Quotes from The Pilgrim's Progress are from this version.
Is Calvinism Biblical - Costi Hinn
Coalt Robinson was raised in a Christian family in a small community in eastern Montana and came to know Jesus at a young age. Coalt attended Montana Bible College (Bozeman), The Baptist College of Florida (Graceville), and Sioux Falls Seminary (Sioux Falls) and went on to teach Bible classes at James Valley Christian School (Huron, SD). For the past several years Coalt has served as the teaching pastor at Bethel Church in Yale, South Dakota. Coalt is married to Desirae and together they have four boys (Will, Silas, CJ, and Gage).