23 October, 2016

Acts 7:51—“… Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye”

Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. (Acts 7:42 KJV).

This text is quoted in favour of a common, gracious, inward restraint of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of the unregenerate, and also interpreted to mean an gracious attempt by the Spirit to try and save an individual, but ultimately is thwarted by the resistance of that individual.

Others use this passage to support the notion that grace is not “irresistible” after all.


British Reformed Journal

[Source: Issue 9 (January - March 1995), p. 9]

[The Calvinist] interpretation of such verses as Acts 7:51 [is that] the resistance made by these persons was not to a direct working of the Spirit in them, but rather to the working of the Spirit in His ministersnot any operation of grace, but the external call of the Word. Furthermore, as Zech. 7:11-12 and other verses clearly show, to refuse the Spirit of God is to reject the words spoken by His ministers. This resistance is not a refusal to accept the offer, but simply a refusal to hear the preaching of the Word of God. And it is this external and objective proclamation of truth that the Holy Spirit uses in addressing and, by irresistible grace, drawing His elect.



Rev. Martyn McGeown

[Source: Protestant Reformed Theological Journal, vol. 41, no. 1 (Nov. 2007), p. 66.]

The sense in which the reprobate “resist the Holy Ghost” needs to be clarified. They resist Him as they resist the preaching (Acts 7:51). They resist Him by opposing preaching and persecuting preachers, but the inward gracious works of the Spirit in the heart are irresistible and particular to the elect. The inward works of the Spirit in the heart of the reprobate are not gracious. They harden the wicked in their sins.



More to come! (DV)

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