Prevenient Grace – in the simplest understanding it is quite simply grace [God’s] that is resistible. Another term used to describe the same concept is “pre-regenerating grace”.
From a theological stand point, it is grace that enables sinners to come to God in faith, (the sinner is no longer incapable of responding to God) but it does not guarantee the sinner will respond. In essence the sinner has experienced just enough grace to now be capable of coming Christ, but not all sinners will (choose to). Therefore, this “kind” of grace in order for it to be effectual (saving) is solely dependent on the sinner’s response, not God.
While an entire book could be written on this topic, let’s cut right to the core.
Paul tells us in Philippians 1:6, that - “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ.” This single verse alone should destroy any notion that God’s saving grace is somehow ineffectual or not guaranteed – simply because it is the work of God, not the sinner.
Furthermore, prevenient grace does considerable harm to the very unity of the triune God. The supporter of prevenient grace has the Holy Spirit out in the world spreading some sort of “buffet type grace” to all of humanity, Jesus who had to have died for ALL mankind, since He is offering saving grace to all mankind, and a Father that is either incapable of saving those for whom Jesus has already paid the penalty, or He just can’t since the sinner refuses to accept His grace. In essence, prevenient grace necessitates that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are out doing their own thing in utter disunity. Nothing could be further from what the scriptures teach.
- Romans 8:30 - And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
- John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
- Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
The Biblical facts are, man does not need to be made partially better (able to respond), he needs a miraculous re-birth. Man needs to become alive (resurrected) in Christ.
Prevenient grace, therefore must be rejected as unbiblical.
12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Soli Deo Gloria!