Convicted Sinners Can Reject Christ
By Dr. John R. Rice
The Scriptures show that enlightened, convicted men do resist God, do thwart the grace of God. Men who could be saved, who are set apart by the blood of Christ, men who are bought, resist the Holy Spirit. God's grace is offered all, but is not irresistible, as Calvin taught.
One of the five points of this man-made philosophy of extreme Calvinism is the doctrine of "irresistible grace." By this term Calvin meant, and hyper-Calvinists today mean, that God intended for only a limited number of people to be saved, that the atonement of Christ paid for the sins of only this limited few (the doctrine of "limited atonement," as extreme Calvinists call it); that those who are predestined to be saved cannot resist the grace of God, cannot reject the Saviour but are certain to be saved. For this reason extreme Calvinists are not generally burdened about soul winning since they say, the grace of God is "irresistible."
So if we can show that the Bible teaches that men do resist the grace of God, do resist the moving and conviction of the Holy Spirit, we have proved that extreme Calvinism is simply not true, that it is unscriptural, a man-made philosophy contrary to the Bible. But the Bible and human experience alike prove that men do resist the Spirit of God, do thwart divine grace. Therefore some could be saved who are not saved, and the atonement is for all.
In the seventh chapter of Acts we find Deacon Stephen, a Spirit-filled man of God, speaking before the Sanhedrin and Jewish elders. And Spirit-filled Stephen said, "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers" (Acts 7:51,52).