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Irresistible Call in Zechariah

This excerpt has, I suppose, something to annoy almost everyone: the Arminian, with its denial of autonomous free will, and the Replacement theologian, with its affirmation of God’s faithfulness to ethnic Israel. What it should provide is great comfort to every Christian, and greater faith in the God who keeps his promises and unfailingly draws his people to himself.


Saving grace is always irresistible grace. It is a work of God that inevitably triumphs in the lives of the elect. Zechariah taught that within the nation of Israel, a remnant would be called to faith in Christ and would surely be converted:

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” —Zechariah 12:10

Zechariah looked ahead to a time when God would pour out His Spirit upon Israel. In that day, Israel would be brought to deep conviction of its sin, especially the sin of crucifying Christ, Zechariah said. At that time, which is still in the future, there will be a great turning to the Lord. God will do a work of sovereign grace in the hearts of many Jews, with the result that “all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:26)—a reference to the vast majority in Israel. God will pour out His Spirit on the house of David, bringing conviction of sin and granting true repentance, so that many will call upon His name with saving faith. In other words, God Himself will overcome the natural inclination of the uncoverted heart, which is not able to seek God in and of itself.

Recognizing the absolute certainty of this fulfillment, MacArthur writes, “God, in His own perfect time and by His own power, will sovereignly act to save Israel.” Boice adds that Israel’s understanding of Christ’s crucifixion “will come about by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, for it is only as God pours out ‘a spirit of grace and supplication’ that the repentance and turning depicted in these verses occurs. It is only by the power of God’s Holy Spirit that they occur anywhere or to anyone.” It is God’s Spirit who causes unconverted sinners to look to the Savior they have long rejected. This is the basis of every true conversion.

—Steve Lawson, Foundations of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2006), 235.

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Posted  in: Foundations of Grace · James Montgomery Boice · John MacArthur · Old Testament Gospel · Steve Lawson · Zechariah
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