Preached at Cornerstone Church in Cascade, IA on October 26, 2014
Turn in your Bibles to 2 Corinthians 4:1-8. Today we are examining the doctrine of Irresistible Grace. Irresistible Grace is one of the five points of the Doctrines of Grace, otherwise known as Calvinism. As I stated last week, the five points are Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints. An easy way to remember these five points is the acronym TULIP. Last week we took a long hard look at total depravity, and it was not a pretty sight. We read text like Genesis 6:5.
Paul then says in verse 5, “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.” So Paul says that we, meaning Christians, believers, go around and proclaim, or tell, unbelievers about Jesus. Specifically that he is the Christ, the Messiah, the one the world has been waiting for, their Lord. SO Paul is saying, he goes around and shares the gospel with the blind, the ones who are under Satan's power, the ones who are dead in their trespasses and sins. It is like Paul is walking amongst the tombs talking to himself. Then what happens?
Verse 6, “For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Where has God said let light shine out of darkness? What is Paul referring to here? Creation. Paul is drawing you attention back to God's work in the beginning.
Why couldn't he see the Kingdom? He wasn't born again. You must first be born before you can see. In that order. Born first, then see the Kingdom. If you haven't been born, you can't see, your blind to it. So how is one born again? Verse 5, “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The catalyst of being born is not your flesh. It is not inside of you that causes you to be born. It is God who causes you to be born. Listen to what John says in chapter 1.
The bottom line is that apart from grace, we are dead, unresponsive sinners. We are completely unable to repent and believe in Christ. It is impossible for us to get into Heaven apart from a miracle. And it is God who performs this miracle, not man.
I think it is so interesting, that as our country as slowly decayed spiritually over the years that what has increased more and more is the belief that your faith comes from somewhere inside your cold dead heart of stone. We love to say we are saved by faith and all for God’s glory, and just like Adam and Eve in the garden we look at faith and see that it is good and pleasing to the eye and was say, “MINE!” It is my faith, I get the glory!”
Was that the heart of the Apostle Paul glory? No, it was gratitude. He praised God for the miracle that God performed in his life that caused him to see the surpassing value of knowing Jesus. I can just hear Paul saying, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
Isn’t God good? Every single one of us deserves Hell. We fully and utterly rebel against our Creator, yet he mercifully, lovingly, graciously breaks the chains of our sin and showers us with irresistible and glorious grace. The gospel is such good news, it is such a treasure this gift of God’s Grace through Christ. With this in mind, let us come full circle and close with Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4:7.