(This was actually written about a year ago, in May ’06, before I began these notes. It was previously posted here )
I have been pondering Calvin’s idea of “irresistible grace” (the I in the TULIP mnemonic), in light of the obvious truth that if I am dead in my sin, I do not become “spontaneously regenerate”, by my own choice, any more than did I become “spontaneously generate” , by my own choice, the first time. And also of the commissioning of the apostles and of us to spread the gospel, of the v. in John about “…as many as received Him, to them He gave power to become children of God.” (I assume the orig. refers to an active reception, rather than passive?)
I have also been thinking in the light of what I understand of God’s ultimate purpose for this creation, limited as that understanding is. That purpose, that God desired to create a being which could give and receive total love, in total submission, and total freedom. As is modeled in the Holy Trinity.
In the original creation, Adam gained life not of his own choice, clay having no power to choose. He was given freedom, and the ability to respond to the love of God by obedience, by the gift of the prohibition. By choosing wrongly, he lost his freedom, we became bound in sin, and dead in our trespass. In once again quickening us by His irresistible grace, does it seem consistent that He would take us from being bound in sin, to being bound in grace, without passing through the stage where the first Adam fell? If “the free gift of God is eternal life” is not one of His gifts to me the ability to make a “free gift to God” of my response to Him?
Admittedly, by choosing to respond “Yes” to God, we are giving Him a gift only because He has empowered us to give it. I was powerless before His calling. I was powerless even to say no. When my daughter was 5, she could buy me a gift only by asking me for the money. But I was more touched so, not less. And “all things come of Thee oh Lord, and of Thine own have we given Thee”
The ability to respond affirmatively, in freedom, to God (which carries with it the possibility of responding negatively) would seem to be very close to the first gift bestowed irresistibly upon us by His grace.