This is what Paul taught in Romans 9:14-18, which caused his opponent to say, "Why then does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" To which Paul answers: "Who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, 'Why have you made me thus?' Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?" (Romans 9:20f).
More specifically irresistible grace refers to the sovereign work of God to overcome the rebellion of our heart and bring us to faith in Christ so that we can be saved. If our doctrine of total depravity is true, there can be no salvation without the reality of irresistible grace. If we are dead in our sins, totally unable to submit to God, then we will never believe in Christ unless God overcomes our rebellion.
Someone may say, "Yes, the Holy Spirit must draw us to God, but we can use our freedom to resist or accept that drawing." Our answer is: except for the continual exertion of saving grace, we will always use our freedom to resist God. That is what it means to be "unable to submit to God." If a person becomes humble enough to submit to God it is because God has given that person a new, humble nature. If a person remains too hard hearted and proud to submit to God, it is because that person has not been given such a willing spirit.
"Ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life." John 5:40.
That is one of the saddest utterances that our Saviour ever spoke. I wish I could reproduce His tender tones and His loving look when He uttered the words. I believe it would break your heart. He came down from Heaven with its glory to earth with its shame, to bring life to men. He went up and down among men proclaiming that life could be obtained by simply coming to Him, but men would not come. And at last He turned round upon the men who had not come to Him, and with a heart aching with disappointment, and with tones full of yearning pity He said: "Ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life."
I. WHY ANY MAN IS LOST.
Those words contain the explanation why any man is lost. If any man is lost it will be because he will not come to Christ. If any man or woman goes out of this hall to-night unsaved, that will be the reason. Jesus Christ offers life to every man and woman here on the simple condition that you come to Him, and if you go out of this hall to-night without it, it is simply because you would not come to Him.
1. No man is lost because he needs to be lost. No man needs to be lost. God has provided salvation for everybody. The atonement of Jesus Christ covers the sins of every man. He tasted death -as we are told in the Word of God- for every man, and the offer of salvation is made to every man. If any man does not take it, it is because he will not come and get it. No man is lost because of any purpose or decree of God. It is the will of God, we are told expressly in His word, that all men should be saved, and He "is not willing" -as we read in 2 Peter iii. 9 "that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." And if any man is lost, it is solely because He will not come.
2. No man is lost because he has gone down so deeply into sin. Indeed it is true that all of us have gone down into sin so deeply that we deserve to be lost. But "this is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" -even the chief. He can do it. He is doing it every day. Christ did save the chief of sinners -Saul of Tarsus- and He has power to-night to save any man or woman in London. No man or woman is lost because they have gone down so deeply into sin, but simply because they will not come to that only Saviour who has power to save them from their sins.
3. No man is lost because he is too weak to lead the Christian life. It is true that every one of us is too weak to lead a true Christian life in our own strength; but, thank God, we have a Saviour who "is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy." If any man is lost, it is solely because he will not come to Christ. If any man or woman or person goes out of this hall to-night unsaved it is no one's fault but your own, and the whole reason will be that you will not come to Christ and obtain life.