"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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  • « Are We Saved by Free Grace or Free Will? | Main | "Circumcise the foreskin of your heart" »

    "You Always Resist the Holy Spirit"

    One of the main arguments against the biblical doctrine of irresistible grace is an appeal to Acts 7:51 which declares “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you."

    But it seems odd to me that the very text here cited by some to demonstrate that grace is resistible contains they very language that makes a decisive argument against their own position. Indeed it is true that these persons resist the Holy Spirit, but look closely... the Text declares that their heart and ears are "uncircumcised". In the Old Testament this is the main language used for regeneration (See Deut 29:4, 30:6 & Ezek 36:26) so being unregenerate, to resist every outward working of the Spirit, is simply acting in accordance with their nature.

    People always resist the outward call of the gospel.. ALWAYS, untill God opens their eyes, ears and heart to the gospel. That is called circumcision of heart, the new birth or regeneration. The work of the Spirit is manifold, regeneration being only one aspect ... The Bible declares that He may convict the unregenerate of certain sin and do many things short of regenerating grace. Anything short of regeneration CAN be resisted.

    Posted by John on November 27, 2013 06:55 PM



    Thanks for the quick word. Very good point brother


    Its always good to read your comments on such important topics, I used to be a blind arminian but the LORD used our brother Art Azurdia to teach me I was very wrong. Thank you for everything you and your team at monergism. The LORD bless the monergism team.

    I too was an arminium until I discovered this site and realized that the Grace I believed in up till then was really cheap grace ...not the real deal.

    I too was an arminian until I discovered this site and realized that the Grace I believed in up till then was really cheap grace ...not the real deal.

    Hello John!

    Your post has helped me understand better the reformed interpretation of this passage. However, I still have a couple of questions: 1) Do you believe that regeneration occurs when God saves a person, or when He starts opening their hearts to the light of the Gospel? 2) Why would Stephen indict the people for resisting the Holy Spirit if they couldn’t help but do so? Do you believe that they could have stopped resisting the Holy Spirit? Thanks!


    Thank you for your comment/inquiry. I saw it just today, so please forgive my non-response.

    It is important to recognize why man is in the condition he is in. We all fell in Adam ... as a result we are dead in sin (Eph 2:1, 5) meaning we do not have the Holy Spirit to give us understanding of spiritual truth (1 Cor 2:14) God does not change his holy standard for us after the fall. By nature God is holy so He cannot become less than holy and still remain God. So even in our fallen state through the entire Bible, God gives us commands which are impossible to fulfill. He calls us to love him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, an impossible supposition for fallen man - yet this does not stop God from commanding us to do so. Paul says the purpose of the Law is not to reveal our moral ability but our inability. (Rom 3:19, 20) "Through the law comes knowledge of sin." It's like squandering a huge amount of money we borrow from the bank in a week of wild living -- our inability to repay the bank does not alleviate us of the responsibility to do so.

    Likewise Stephen can clearly indict the people for disobeying God and the gospel even if they are unable to repent. The summons to believe the gospel is given to all, but no one will believe unless God, in his mercy, grants it (John 6:65)

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