A better way to approach the TULIP acrostic is to ground it in the concept of regeneration:
Totally unwilling - we are unwilling (lacking the moral, not physical ability) to repent of our sins unless we're first awakened by God. (2 Tim 2:25, Acts 16:14, Phil 1:29). This is because we have a heart inclined to evil, or as God says, a heart of stone. It does not mean that we are incapable of repenting or believing, only that we are totally unwilling.
Unconditional regeneration - There was nothing inherently good within us that caused Him to fix our hearts, no foreseen good works that caused Him to operate on us, it was only because of His goodness. As it is written "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy" and again "The wind blows where it wills."
Limited Atonement - God does not regenerate all men; He chooses some to receive new eyes (John 3:3), new hearts (Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26), new understanding (John 6:65, Matt 16:17, Mark 4:7). He does not give this gift to all men equally, since "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
Irresistible Grace - If God tinkers with the heart of a man without asking permission first then what power does man have to resist His love? None, which is why regeneration is irresistible.
Perserverance of the Saints - If regeneration is a one time permanent change then it stands to reason the patient will continue to love Him always. After all, "the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable."
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