Calvinists argue, “If a person becomes humble enough to submit to God it is because the Holy Spirit has given that person a new, humble nature…” <link>
In other words, Calvinists believe that humility is an effectual result of regeneration. Therefore, one has to be regenerate in order to even recognize and admit their need for regeneration.
But, is humility the result of an effectual work of God?
It may surprise some to hear that I do believe God effectually humbles some people. I just do not believe those people will be saved.
Consider what Jesus taught in Matthew 23:12, “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”
Let’s consider the first phrase of Christ’s teaching, “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled…”
This is “effectual humility!” God will effectually humble those who exalt themselves and notice that these “effectually humbled” people will be eternally separated from God. God does not effectually humble everyone! He only effectually humbles those who refuse to humble themselves.
As Christ goes on to say, “whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”
In other words, you must humble yourself OR God will do it for you in judgment. Yet, Calvinists teach God effectually humbles everyone:
1) On Calvinism God effectually humbles the elect unto salvation.
2) On Calvinism God effectually humbles the non-elect unto damnation.
You must ask yourself if this was Christ’s intent in this passage or any other? Is God responsible for whether or not you humbly confess your sin or is that your responsibility?
What does the Bible say?
Psalm 18:27: You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
1 Peter 5:5-6: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
Isaiah 66:2: “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.
James 4:10: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
2 Kings 22:19: “Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people—that they would become a curse and be laid waste—and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the Lord.”
2 Chronicles 12:7: When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, this word of the Lord came to Shemaiah: “Since they have humbled themselves, I will not destroy them but will soon give them deliverance. My wrath will not be poured out on Jerusalem through Shishak.
2 Chronicles 12:12: Because Rehoboam humbled himself, the Lord’s anger turned from him, and he was not totally destroyed.
Psalm 25:9: He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.
Psalm 147:6: The Lord sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground.
Proverbs 3:34: He mocks proud mockers but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.
Zephaniah 2:3: Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.
Matthew 18:4: Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:3: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 23:12: For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Luke 1:52: He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
Luke 14:11: For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Luke 18:14: “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
James 4:6: But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
The only time the scriptures teach us that God effectually humbles man is in judgment. Every other time it clearly places that responsibility on us.
NOTE: Some Calvinists argue that our view is a works (or merit) based salvation, but that is simply false. Humbly confessing your sin in faith, whether by effectual means or enabling means, is not sufficient to cancel our debt and earn our salvation. If it were, there would be no need for the cross. For more on this point please read THIS.