Monday, May 24, 2010

Arminius on the Grace of God

I have had a few discussions recently regarding the grace of God and again the ignorance of what so many of us in the body of Christ hold to regarding grace swallowed up any edification that might have come from the discussions. By the end of the discussion I was accused of denying the sovereignty of God and exalting men high above the LORD. Here is my apology from the writings of Arminius regarding grace. He stated it as clear as any man and I cannot improve upon his words.


In reference to Divine Grace, I believe,

1. It is a gratuitous affection by which God is kindly affected towards a miserable sinner, and according to which he, in the first place, gives his Son, "that whosoever believes in him might have eternal life," and, afterwards, he justifies him in Christ Jesus and for his sake, and adopts him into the right of sons, unto salvation.

2. It is an infusion (both into the human understanding and into the will and affections,) of all those gifts of the Holy Spirit which appertain to the regeneration and renewing of man — such as faith, hope, charity, etc.; for, without these gracious gifts, man is not sufficient to think, will, or do anything that is good.

3. It is that perpetual assistance and continued aid of the Holy Spirit, according to which He acts upon and excites to good the man who has been already renewed, by infusing into him salutary cogitations, and by inspiring him with good desires, that he may thus actually will whatever is good; and according to which God may then will and work together with man, that man may perform whatever he wills.

In this manner, I ascribe to grace the commencement, the continuance and the consummation of all good, and to such an extent do I carry its influence, that a man, though already regenerate, can neither conceive, will, nor do any good at all, nor resist any evil temptation, without this preventing 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.


SLW said...

Sometimes I think grace is treated as either an impersonal, powerful force or as the fourth member of the Godhead. Grace, however, is the joyful kindness in the heart of God, it is part of his character. It is evidenced in the actions of God, the Son, and its effects arise via the action of God, the Spirit. To get a handle on the nature of any phenomenon, we do well to trace it back to its source. Arminius seems to have had a good grip on grace.

A.M. Mallett said...

SLW, I view Grace as the work and person of the Holy Spirit in this world and we know from scripture that men both resist and do not resist the work of the Holy Spirit. I find Arminius' view to be closest to my own in that regard.

SLW said...

That is a very practical view, relevant to life in here and now because applicable. Besides, I'm always happy when the Holy Spirit gets the credit for what he does!