C.H. Spurgeon on Irresistible Grace

“If you are willing to be saved, He gave you that will.”

C.H. Spurgeon preached the doctrine of irresistible grace, which teaches that all who are called by God to come to faith in Jesus will ultimately do so.

This is the fifth article in the series “C.H. Spurgeon on the Doctrines of Grace,” which discusses Spurgeon‘s views on Calvinism as seen in his preaching and writing.

Before we explore Spurgeon’s view on this doctrine, it is important to state that it does not teach that all who are hear a Gospel message or receive an invitation to trust Christ will believe. These examples of a ‘general call’ can be ignored and resisted. We are instead referring to the work of the Holy Spirit in calling an individual to repent and believe the Gospel.

We see in Scripture that no one is able to come to Christ unless he is first drawn by God to do so. John 6:44 states, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” Being totally depraved, we will not and cannot choose God on our own. So it is clear that those who come to Christ are first drawn by Him.

C.H. Spurgeon

Spurgeon summarized this truth by saying, “You cannot look to Christ before he has looked to you. If you are willing to be saved, He gave you that will.[1]

While this is an important aspect of irresistible grace, it is not the entire scope of the doctrine. Irresistible grace further teaches that while some may resist this calling of God for a time, His will in saving those whom He calls cannot be thwarted (John 6:37; Romans 8:30). Spurgeon emphatically made this point:

You yourselves say, “we won’t come;” God says, “You shall come.” Yes! There are some here who are laughing at salvation, who can scoff at Christ, and mock at the gospel; but I tell you some of you shall come yet. “What!” you say, “can God make me become a Christian?” I tell you yes, for herein rests the power of the gospel. It does not ask your consent; but it gets it. It does not say, will you have it? But it makes you willing in the day of God’s power. [2]

This doctrine does not speak of merely overriding man’s will, but of changing it supernaturally. Says Spurgeon:

A man is not saved against his will, but he is made willing by the operation of the Holy Ghost. A mighty grace which he does not wish to resist enters into the man, disarms him, makes a new creature of him, and he is saved. [3]

When God calls sinners to come to Him, they will come; “And nought in heaven, nor on earth, nor in hell, can stop them from coming.” [4]

God’s will in electing sinners unto salvation cannot be thwarted, though His calling may be resisted for a season. Those whom He calls will ultimately be saved.

Articles exploring Spurgeon’s words regarding each of the Doctrines of Grace:

For a more detailed look at Irresistible Grace, please see The Five Points of Calvinism – Defining the Doctrines of Grace


[1] Steven Lawson, The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon, (Reformation Trust Publishing), 54.
C.H. Spurgeon, “Effectual Calling,” (March 30, 1856), accessed January 28, 2015.   http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0073.htm.
[3] The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon, 52-53.
[4] Ibid., 55.

1 comment
  1. I just visited Spurgeon’s sermon “Effectual Calling”. The following is his signature style of making a point very clear: ” But grace knows no distinction here. The rich Zaccheus is called from the tree; down he comes, and he is saved. I have thought it one of the greatest instances of God’s condescension that he can look down on man; but I will tell you there was a greater condescension than that, when Christ looked up to see Zaccheus. For God to look down on his creatures—that is mercy; but for Christ so to humble himself that he has to look up to one of his own creatures, that becomes mercy indeed. Ah! many of you have climbed up the tree of your own good works, and perched yourselves in the branches of your holy actions, and are trusting in the free will of the poor creature, or resting in some worldly maxim; nevertheless, Christ looks up even to proud sinners, and calls them down. “

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