The Whole Controversy: Arminius on the Nature of God’s Grace in Salvation

The representations of grace that the scriptures contain, are such as describe it capable of “being resisted,” (Acts 7:51) and “received in vain” (2 Cor 6:1), and that it is possible for man to avoid yielding his assent to it and refuse all cooperation with it (Heb 12:15, Matt 23:37, Luke 7:30).  While, on the contrary, this [Calvinist] Predestination affirms that grace is a certain irresistible force and operation.

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In this manner, I ascribe to grace the commencement, the continuance and the consummation of all good.  To such an extent do I carry its influence that a man, though already regenerate, can neither conceive, will, or do any good at all, nor resist any evil temptation , without this preventing [i.e. preceding] and exciting, this following and co-operating grace.

From this statement it will clearly appear, that I by no means do injustice to grace, by attributing, as it is reported of me, too much to man’s free will.  For the whole controversy reduces itself to the solution of this question, “Is the grace of God a certain irresistible force?’  That is, the controversy does not relate to those actions or operations which may be ascribed to grace (for I acknowledge and inculcate as many of these actions or operations as any man ever did), but it relates solely to the mode of operation, whether it be irresistible or not.  With respect to which, I believe, according to the scriptures, that many persons resist the Holy Spirit and reject the grace that is offered. (From Arminius Speaks: Essential Writings on Predestination, Free Will and the Nature of God, ed. John Wagner, pp. 45, 69)

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4 Responses

  1. Grace is something a child of GOD is born again with.This birth produces,faith,fruits of the spirit,etc.The Lord begins this work of grace in his people.Who has resisted his will?

  2. @Lewis, What will? The Matthew 23:37 will?

  3. God will’s a choice. He asks for a choice all through scripture. Romans 9:17 is an argument Paul uses from an unbeliever’s perspective. When it comes to God’s overal plan nothing can stop it. It is the idea illustrated in the OT of, “Go ahead and resist God, he will still accomplish is plan.” One should not confuse the two by pitting God’s will against itself, like, “Adam, don’t eat from the tree”, said God, when in reality, God planned for Adam to eat, and that Adam never had a choice to do otherwise. God is not bipolar.

  4. Lewis,

    Your comment is a little puzzling to me. Are you suggesting that one must be filled with the Holy Spirit, have the Holy Spirit dwelling within, before that person can put faith in Christ? If that is what you are suggesting, you need to know that such a notion is clearly contrary to Scripture (Gal. 3:2, 5, 14). Hopefully, I have misunderstood what you are trying to communicate here. Feel free to clarify.

    God Bless,
    Ben

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