God Calls - Irresistibly
Elder Wm. Doyal Thomas
Pastor - Philadelphia Baptist Church
Decatur , Alabama

    The term, "irresistibly", means that an action has been taken, or is to be taken that cannot be successfully resisted or opposed. It implies a power, or ability behind the action, or the contemplated action, that is sufficient to withstand any and all attempts of be successful in opposition to that action.
    God declares very plainly, and with certainty, that He will cause His chosen ones to be called, and that they will, without any possibility of loss, respond positively to that arousal and call. Hear Him as He speaks: "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." (John 6:37).
    Actually, this one verse of scripture is sufficient to establish the entire message that I now undertake to deliver to you who shall read these words. But, I must insure that I have been faithful to a degree that will be pleasing to Him who has called me, first, to His great salvation, and then secondly, to His marvelous services. I must be faithful to discharge my responsibility, and to proclaim His word to others, just as it is.
    What is the basis of the declaration that Jesus made that those given to Him WOULD come to Him? Why would He make such a statement? Was He simply making conversation with those around Him, or was He not stating that He was in the world to accomplish exactly the stipulations of the eternal covenant that He had entered into, along with the other Persons of the Eternal Godhead? Most surely, He was not making idle conversation. Rather, He was completely serious as He described the actions that He would take, and those actions that would result from His having taken the steps that the Father had assigned Him to take. He was stating that the Father had given Him a definite people, and that that people would respond to the call that would be issued, for that call was of immeasurable quality and of irresistible power.
    Again, we ask, why did Jesus make the statement that He made? It is clearly because of the unity of the purpose of God in saving sinners, and delivering them into His presence for His own honor and great glory. It was because the purpose of God, being a purpose in the singular, as shown forth in the teachings of the Bible that men have labeled, the doctrines of grace. These great and cardinal truths are, simply stated,
        the Total Depravity of all of Adam's race;
        the Unconditional Election by God of some out of the total race unto the salvation that He has provided;
        the Limited Atonement that His Son's death accomplished in the behalf of those chosen ones;
        the Irresistible Grace of God in calling those who had been chosen unto sonship;
        and the Perseverance and Preservation of those chosen ones.
    These great doctrines stand or fall together. If one of these can be in any way threatened, or overturned, then the entire purpose of God is defeated! Perish the thought! Away with such foolishness!
    Can these doctrines be overthrown? If they have no scriptural warrant, then perhaps they can be set aside. But, since they do have a most positive basis for their declaration, and that being a solid scriptural basis, then they stand. They stand! They are sure!
    We will now, for the sake of clarity of this message, state in most brief terms each of these truths. We will only discuss their meaning when viewed as a separate doctrine, and then show how they blend together into one whole, so that each of us may be assured that God deals in harmonious splendor as His eternal purpose unfolds into glorious victory.


    This is the dreadful condition of all men, in their native state, and is the direct result of Adam's sin of rebellion against his Creator and God. He willfully and openly disobeyed God, preferring to give countenance to the help-meet that God had, in kindness and loving consideration for his happiness given him. Rather than heed the clearly stated command that God had spoken to him, he preferred to remain in harmony with Eve, who by now had been deceived, and was therefore in the transgression.
    It was not for Eve's sin however that God held Adam accountable. It was for his own sin, his sin of disobedience, that God charged Adam. It was Adam's sin that plunged him, and all his offspring into utter and complete ruin. His sin resulted in the loss of all desire and ability to serve God, and placed man in a helpless and hopeless position. It left man under the wrath of a Holy and an offended God.
    In this condition, there is no possibility that Adam, or any of his posterity will be able, ever, to elevate themselves to an acceptable level with God. Except there come ability and desire from some source outside the race of man, there must eternally remain that awful condition. There must forever be this state of horrifying separation from the presence and favor of a Thrice Holy God. How devastating is this thought!


    This election, or choosing, is an action taken by God of some men out of this mass of filthy and depraved humanity to obtain salvation. This salvation, to which these chosen ones are to obtain, is through the benefits or merit of the shed blood of Jesus Christ, God's own Son. Salvation has never been, nor has it in any way been contemplated to be on any other terms. Salvation is of the Lord, and it is bestowed upon those sovereignly chosen to be it's glad recipients.
    Except God intervene in the behalf of fallen man, it becomes clear that none could, or would be saved. Total depravity of the race verifies that fact. But God does save some. This fact is proof that God did interpose the blood of His Son as a suitable and sufficient atoning element for the souls of His people. That some are saved from the wrath to come is proof that God provided the way out of this dreadful state. But all men are not saved.
    In choosing some to obtain salvation, God passed by others, and left them in that' awful state, and to their just punishment. But, we are assured that none can charge God, for He simply left them as they were. He did them no injustice. Remember, "So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy." (Romans 9:16).


    This great doctrine is sometimes spoken of as "particular redemption", and that description is apt, for He who is the only Redeemer, came expressly to give His live for the sheep. It is clearly set forth in the scriptures that teach redemption, that Christ died for some in particular, and that He knew who they were. John 10:11 declares, "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." And John 10:27-28 declares, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."
    Now, if it can be scripturally proven that all men are not now, nor shall finally be saved, then honesty demands that the doctrine of limited atonement be taught by all those who claim to be servants of God. If men are in hell, then the atonement was not universal, and was never intended to save all men. Otherwise, there is shame brought upon Christ, for He did not do what He was directed to do. But doesn't the Bible teach us that, "I do always those things that please the Father." (John 8:29)?
    And where was the rich man when he cried out and said, "Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame." (Luke 16:24)? Luke 16:23 answers this question, in terms that are not debatable, nor are they mere conjecture upon my part, nor upon the part of anyone who reads them, including those who ridicule the teaching of limited atonement. Listen to these words. Read them, those of you who would dispute with God's word. "And IN HELL he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom."
    Is there hope that this man, who is seen as being in hell, will one day be reprieved or pardoned from that place of torment? Read on and find out. Luke 16:26 settles this issue. It is most unnerving to read, but it is settled. "And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come hence." Universal, or general atonement advocates are without warrant for their position, for God's word will nowhere, or in any manner support such an erroneous position.


    We will defer our work on this teaching, or doctrine, for the moment. Since this is the subject of this article, we will briefly state the doctrine of the Perseverance and the Preservation of the Saints of God, and then return to the Irresistible Grace of God in Calling the elect.


    This is the doctrine that Baptist have always believed, and honest Baptists among them have openly and joyously proclaimed. Those who deviate from this position are generally, of recent origin, and are those who have departed from the historic position of God's people who have taught the truth of the matter since Christ Himself walked and taught men while He was upon this earth. And His followers have taught the same things that He taught, for He has given them of His Spirit that they could, and would so teach.
    The two oldest Baptist Confessions of Faith in America have stated this position clearly, and we will simply quote from them to establish what we believe on the subject. These confessions do square with the teaching of the Bible, and are acceptable to us on that basis. We quote from them, and are in accord with them.
    New Hampshire Declaration of Faith (1833): "We believe that such only are real believers as endure to the end; that their persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark that distinguishes them from superficial professors; that a special Providence watches over their welfare; and that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation."
    Philadelphia Confession of Faith (1742): "Those whom God hath accepted in the Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit, and given the precious faith of His elect, can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace ... but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved."
    Both these confessions clearly teach preservation and perseverance. We believe these statements to be correct in that they express this point in total harmony with God's recorded word, the Bible. Any statement that is in agreement with the Holy Writ is true, Any statement that is in disagreement with the Holy Writ is false.
    Regardless of what various confessions, or declarations may say on any subject, the final authority is what God Himself said. Therefore, we conclude our remarks on this point by quoting the words of our dear Lord, as He Himself spoke in the the text that we cited to begin this message. Hear again John 6:37. "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
    The last phrase of verse 37 makes it clear that he who cometh to Christ will not be cast out. Under no circumstances. Now, would Christ have made such a statement if He were unwilling or unable to carry out His stated purpose? How foolish even to pose such a query! Nay God forgive me.
    And now, back to the stated subject of this message: GOD CALLS IRRESISTIBLY. We deferred our study on this point in order that we might be able to maintain such sequential order to the systematic study of the doctrines of grace as would lend itself to good order.
    Irresistible Grace of God in Calling is the work of God, the Holy Spirit. To imagine that He fails in His agreed to work is to imagine that there could be imperfection and failure on the part of the other Persons of the Godhead. How absurd is such an assumption, and how dishonoring it is.
    We ask you now to open your Bibles and read with us from the Gospel according to John. Look at chapter 6, and read verses 44 and 45. These two verses will serve as the beginning point as we seek to search out "thus saith God" in the matter before us. We have implied that those chosen, or elected by God to obtain eternal salvation are the very same ones whom He does effectually and irresistibly call. We state now that it is not just an implication, but a declared and asserted position that we hold, and present to you.
    "No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." (John 6:44-45).
    It is immediately apparent that Jesus speaks of the natural inability of depraved man to come to Him. In language that cannot be misunderstood, He declares this inability on man's part. He says, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him." NO MAN CAN COME TO ME EXCEPT .... There is no mistake. No man has the ability to come to Jesus that he may have life given to him, EXCEPT that ability be also given to him that he might come.
    In the face of this clear announcement by Jesus Christ Himself, depraved, fallen, and yet incurably religious man has the audacity to lift up his voice and say, "but any man can come to Jesus Christ any time he chooses to do so." What a shame that a puny, created worm of the dust would even dare to say that Jesus lied. And that is just what men do. They say that Jesus lied about this matter, and then they insist upon it by repeating again and again that man CAN come to Jesus to receive the benefits of atonement.
    Just reform your habits, is often to advice that men give to other men. Just clean up your conduct, they say. Just turn over a new leaf, they say. Just cry, and be sorry that you were found out, they say. But what did Jesus say? He said, "No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him:" It is clear then that the ability to come does not rest in sinful man. God's word has said so. It is not my word, it is God's word. God said, "No man can come ..." Don't take issue with me about this matter. It is God who has made the announcement. Take it up with Him, if you are not agreeable to the marvelously precise declaration contained here.
This statement by our dear Lord has again verified the doctrine of Total Hereditary Depravity. The fact that man is depraved, sinful, dead in trespasses and in sins is borne out by his complete loss of ability. He cannot respond in his dead state, for he is dead.
    But Jesus did not leave the matter after reaffirming that man has no ability to come to Him. He immediately dealt with the matter by saying also, "... except the Father which hath sent me draw him:" This "except" clearly teaches that the Father will intercede and will indeed draw him.
    Please notice also in the last phrase of verse 44 that Jesus makes a promise to "raise him up at the last day." Does our Lord, at any time, make idle conversation, or empty promises that He has no intention of keeping? Does He speak such words of assurance if He has no ability to carry them out? Give very careful and serious consideration to what I am about to say now on this point. It is very important, and I urge you to hear me plainly, and make no mistake in understanding.
    First of all, please understand that Jesus did make a plain and clearly stated promise to raise up at the last day, "someone". Who is that someone who is to be raised up at the last day? Listen carefully. The someone is the same as the ones drawn by the Father. The same ones who "come to me" in the first phrase of this verse.
    The promise of resurrection is based upon coming to Jesus in this life, and coming to Jesus in this life is based upon the drawing power of God, the Holy Spirit. And our dear Lord has never made a promise to raise up all men in the last day in the sense of their being raised up to be eternally in His presence. He has promised that His people will be raised up to this end, and that none of His people will ever perish, nor shall any man pluck them out of His hand. Oh security! Oh joy of knowing that His people are forever safe in His care and keeping.
    To declare, and openly advocate a position that many men new hold is terrible. To declare that a single one of those chosen by the Father, and given to the Son in the eternal covenant of grace shall one day fall, or fail to come when called, is to accuse God. Hear this clearly. It is to accuse God! In order for a single one of God's elect to be lost, then there must be some failure on God's part. If God promised to raise up every one that He draws, as He most certainly did promise in verse 44, and then fails to do so, it would prove Him either to be lacking in DESIRE to do so, or, to be lacking in ABILITY to do so. Which horn of this dilemma do you who deny the effectual call of God choose ?
    If you say, God decided not to raise one, it accuses Him of changing, or of being mutable, as is man. The Scriptures plainly teach that "God changes not." (Malachi  3:6); that with Him "there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1:17).
    If you say, God could not raise up one, then you accuse Him of being limited in power, or ability to do so. This is an open attack' upon God's omnipotence. He is all powerful, and the only Saviour, as is stated in Isaiah 43:11.
    I repeat: If God does not raise up every one of His own, it is either because He would not, or, He could not. God forbid that man would make such charge against the Almighty God. Have you ever, at any time, questioned God on this matter? Have you ever imagined that God is trying His very best to save some dead, alienated sinner, and that the dead sinner just will not let God save him? Beloved friend, God is not trying to do anything! He does as He will, now and always.
    Proverbs 21:1 - "The kings heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will."
    Daniel 4:35 - "And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as no thing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto hin, What doest thou?"
    Isaiah 46:9-10 - "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure."
    Verse 45 of the text also reveals some precious truth on this subject. It is declared here, "Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." The last phrase, "... cometh unto me" is a continued promise that someone will come to Jesus. Who is this "someone"? Is it every man of Adam's race? Who is it?
    First, it cannot refer to every man of Adam's race. How do I know that to be so? Because if every man of Adam's race comes to
Jesus, then they all, without exception, will be raised up at the last day, as verse 44 has just said. Is this the case? Certainly not, for in that case, Luke 16:23 would not be true. Remember the rich man "in hell"? Is he to be raised up at the last day? What an absurdity!
    Then, those that come to Jesus must be someone in particular. Who are they? Verse 45 says they are "they that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father". These are the ones that will come, and none besides them will ever come, because all that come are all that are drawn by the Father. Furthermore, those that come will have heard, and will have learned of the Father.
    But have not all men heard and learned of the Father? Romans 10:18 asks this question - "Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world." But to hear the sounds of the gospel, or to hear with the natural ear does not mean that one has heard, or that one has learned of the Father.
    How is it that two may sit side by side and hear the gospel preached, and one of them hear the "good news", and the other hear only the uncertain sounds of human words? How is it? Have you ever thought on this situation? You may say, "one of them wanted to hear and the other one did not." That sounds good, doesn't it? Is seems to satisfy most people. In fact, it satisfies all those who believe that man saves himself by his own works, or has a part to play in saving himself. But, it just isn't true.
    Consider this. When Jesus was crucified on Calvary's barren hillside, there were two thieves crucified along side Him. One on either side of Him, that the scripture might be fulfilled that had declared, "I was numbered with the transgressors."
    These two were guilty of murder and sedition. Truly, they did most assuredly deserve the punishment they were receiving. One of them admitted that they were getting their just dues. Now, as these two were facing death, certain death - does it make sense that only one of them wanted to hear? What ever was said that one heard, the other heard also. Whatever was seen by one of these, was also seen by the other. But only one of them said, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." Why? Why not both of them? Why even one of them?
    One of these guilty malefactors was effectually worked upon in regeneration by the irresistible grace of Almighty God, the Holy
Spirit. He was awakened, made alive, given ears to hear and eyes to see. He was enabled to see Jesus, who He was. He acknowledged Him as Lord. In repentance and faith (which are fruits of the Spirit), he turned to Jesus and said, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." (Luke 23:42).
    Listen now to the gracious Lord, as He assures this guilty and yet repentant sinner, whom He has just saved. "Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43). Today! Today, to be in paradise with the Lord! O marvelous prospect!
    This one heard, and learned of the Father, as the Spirit did His work effectually and efficiently. The result is, the repentant sinner came. In repentance and faith, which were given him, he came to Jesus. Why? Because it was given unto him to believe. (Philippians 1:29).
    But why not the other? Because unto him it was not given. There were no works performed that day either. Not by either of these two. There was no act of baptism, or any other outward demonstration of works on the part of either. Simply put, to one of them it was a gift of God, and to the other, there was no gift.
    Why do two sit side by side often times and hear the same exact message of grace as it comes to them in human words, and one of them believes it and the other continues to reject it? For the same reason. To one it is given. To the other it is not given. "For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" (I Corinthians 4:7).
    We will now present numerous scriptures that will, without any doubt, substantiate the position that we have offered. Please read and study these very carefully. Please do not read over them hurriedly and move on. Meditate upon what the say. Consider what they affirm.
    ACTS 2:39 - "For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."
    ROMANS 1:6 - "Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ."
    ROMANS 8:28-30 - "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethern. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified."
    ROMANS 9:11 - "(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth.)"
    Romans 9:24 - "Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles."
    GALATIANS 1:15 - "But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace."
    COLOSSIANS 3:15 - "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful."
    I THESSALONIANS. 5:24 - "Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it."
    II THESSALONIANS 2:14 - "Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."
    II TIMOTHY 1:9 - "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."
    HEBREWS 9:15 - "And for this cause he is the meditator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance."
    I PETER 2:9 - "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people: that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light."
    I PETER 5:10 - "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."
    II PETER 1:3 - "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue."
    The call of God, the Holy Spirit is:
    A DIRECT CALL: As shown in Acts 16:14, in that the heart of Lydia was "opened" so that she attended to the things of God. She was caused to hear and to receive the gospel when it was preached to her. The Holy Spirit applied the word to her heart in regenerating her, and passing her from death unto life. It is by this effectual work of God that any are ever able to receive the things of the Spirit of God.
    A PARTICULAR CALL: As shown by the declarations of Romans 8:30. Also, please note the call that came to Saul of Tarsus, as is told us in Acts 9:3-6. Later, those men who journeyed with Saul agreed that they had seen a light, and a noise was heard, but they did not receive a call. The Lord spoke to Saul. He called him by name. He was not communicating with the others who were there.
    AN EFFECTIVE CALL: As shown again in Romans 8:30, and in I Corinthians 1:24, which declares, "But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God."
    In the book of II Samuel, chapter 9, we are presented with a most remarkable and wonderful account of God as He uses His wise and holy counsel to announce in type the way of salvation. We are told plainly the whole matter of God dealing with His chosen, and coventanted people in their deliverance from bondage, and all the many and great benefits that accrue to them as the result of His gracious dealing with them.
    Here we see the king as he takes the initiative in seeking out the one who stands to benefit from his covenant keeping faithfulness. Mephibosheth is not aware that a covenant exists. He is in a most helpless and hopeless circumstance. He cannot deliver himself out of his awful predicament, nor has he anyone to assist him in the great need that he has.
    But king David sends to where Mephibosheth is held captive and fetches him away from that danger, and brings him into his presence, to be treated as one of the king's sons, and to eat from his table. The king fetches him. He calls him, and the call in every way is harmonious with God's way of calling sinners unto Himself. He is always effective. The King sends. The King fetches out.
    Remember the statement of John 6:44-45? "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me."
    God does call. And that call is IRRESISTIBLE!
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