The Arminian doctrine of “Prevenient Grace,” Taught by some Christian denominations is defined by John Wesley as “Human beings are totally incapable of responding to God without God first empowering them to have faith. This empowerment is known as “Prevenient Grace.”
Prevenient Grace doesn’t save us but, rather, comes before anything that we do, drawing us to God, making us WANT to come to God, and enabling us to have faith in God. Prevenient Grace is Universal, in as much as all humans receive it, regardless of their having heard of Jesus. It is manifested in the deep-seated desire of most humans to know God.
What is the difference between that and the scriptural doctrine of SOVEREIGN grace? I will show you. This doctrine is not an effectual grace. In other words it is a grace that is presented to a person but not bestowed as a free gift to the person. That type of grace is dependent on man’s choice or man’s initiative; therefore I make my argument that it is not the same grace as the bible teaches.
According to scriptures a person makes a decision based on the condition of his heart.
“A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.” Matthew 7:18
If as the bible says, man’s heart is desperately wicked, has no good, (Jeremiah 17:9) how then can he choose anything good? How can a desperately sinful heart desire after God ?
Scriptures tell us that the sinful heart cannot submit to God’s laws, not “will not submit” but rather CANNOT submit.
“Sin is still hostile to God and cannot submit to His law” Rom. 8:7
It is only after the heart is filled with faith which comes from hearing God’s word can a person receive Jesus Christ. The blind man cannot see unless his eyes are opened and scriptures tell us that “the god of this world has blinded people’s eyes (their understanding)
“ In whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of them who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” 2 Corinthians 4:4
Scripture tell us why some people do not believe the gospel. “You do not believe because you are not my sheep” John 10
“Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” John 8:47
The bible tells us that it is the condition of one’s heart which is the determining factor in receiving Jesus Christ as Savior. When one is given a new heart then he/she can receive the things of God but not until then. “And I will also give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give to you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My judgments and do them ” Ezek. 36:26-27
The regenerated person becomes then a NEW CREATION.
So that if anyone [is] in Christ, [he] is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new 2Co. 5:17
The old things, include the old heart, and this is removed by God. The Holy Spirit makes a person anew! (born again)
The doctrine of “prevenient grace” would make a person partly regenerate but man’s will (or nature) does the rest or completes it. This doctrine is not scriptural.
What do scriptures really teach? Scriptures teach that Man’s heart is totally depraved (corrupt) and cannot come to God by choice because of the fallen nature which is in opposition to God and all that is God. Man is blind in his dark heart (understanding and nature) and therefore a man must be given a new heart by God because he cannot save himself nor does he want to be saved.
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were BY NATURE children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Ephesians 2:1-3
The bible clearly teaches that the Father has set apart certain persons for Himself while excluding others who were not “given” to Him.
John 17: 9 , “I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.”
“And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.” Acts 13:48
“But ye believe not, BECAUSE ye are not of My sheep” John 10:26
“Therefore THEY COULD NOT BELIEVE because He hath blinded their eyes and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted…” See John 12:37-40
“According as HE HATH CHOSEN us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” Ephesians 1:4-5
“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning CHOSEN you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
In a coming day the Lord Jesus Christ will say to many false professors of the true faith: “I NEVER KNEW YOU: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:23
“I am the good shepherd, and KNOW My sheep, and am KNOWN of mine. As the Father KNOWETH Me, even so KNOW I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep…My sheep hear My voice, and I KNOW them, and they follow Me.” John 10:14, 15, 27
In conclusion, the doctrine of sovereign grace is scriptural grace while the Arminian doctrine of prevenient grace is unscriptural. Therefore I make my argument than man cannot come to Jesus Christ without the ability of God and so it is according to God’s good pleasure whom he saves. Our job is to preach the gospel and according to the bible, it is God’s job to give the increase of the harvest. SOLA SCRIPTURA!