The Effectual Call of God
Have you responded to the effectual call of God to salvation?
In his effort to encourage suffering Christians, the apostle Paul
wrote, For whom He [God] foreknew, He also predestinated to become conformed to the
image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren; and whom He
predestinated, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom
He justified, these He also glorified (Romans 8:29-30).
This beautiful golden five-link chain of salvation demonstrates the
awesome love and grace of God reaching down to poor, lost, depraved sinners and gives the
assurance of eternal life.
The effectual call of God in salvation brings about regeneration, or
spiritual birth in the person who is called. The effectual or specific call to salvation
comes through the general call by means of the preaching of the good news in Jesus Christ
to a lost world. It is through the preaching of the gospel that God calls sinners. As the
Word of God is preached some seed falls on stony, shallow ground, and some on good soil.
God prepares the soil and gives life. The seed that sprouts and takes up root in the good
soil results in a spiritual harvest and people are saved.
God calls the individual to salvation by a specific
and effectual call that produces spiritual life in the one who hears the
call. The individual who hears the effectual call of God will responds
by faith. The effectual call enables the person to respond to the
Gospel. The Holy Spirit produces the new spiritual life in the person
who is effectually called. The evidence of that new life is repentance
and faith in Christ Jesus. When referring to faith and repentance
Spurgeon said don't make two old friends fight.
The effectual "calling" in the New Testament is
consistently used for the call that ushers men into a state of salvation
and is therefore effectual.
Jesus said, No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me
draw him (John 6:44).
How do you know whether you are of the elect of God? The best answer
is found in another question. Have you responded to the call of God? The Bible says,
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved (Acts 16:31). Have
you? If you have believed then know that God has set His love upon you to save you.
Moreover, He will continue to love you and keep you throughout eternity.
Left to ourselves no depraved sinner will respond positively to the
general call of the gospel. People hear the gospel message, a general call of God to
salvation, and turn their hearts away. There is also the effectual call of God to
salvation that provides the willingness to respond positively to the message of salvation
by grace through faith. It is God bringing spiritual life to the individual who hears and
comes to life spiritually.
Donald Grey Barnhouse helps with the distinction between the general
call of the gospel and the effectual call to salvation. If men heed no more than the outward call, they become members
of the visible church. If the inward call is heard in our hearts, we become members of the
invisible church. The first call unites us merely to a group of professing members; but
the inward call unites us to Christ Himself, and to all that have been born again.
The outward call may bring with it a certain intellectual
knowledge of the truth; the inward call brings us the faith of the heart, the hope which
anchors us forever to Christ and the love which must ever draw us back to Him who first
loved us. The one can end in formalism, the other in true life. The outward call may curb
the tendencies of the old nature and keep a soul in outward morality; the inward call will
cure the plague that is in us and bring us on to triumph in Christ (Gods
Heirs: Exposition of Bible Doctrines . . . , vol. 7, pp. 171, 172).
As fast as the called one comes, God justifies that person. Have you
responded to His free grace and love and believed on Him for salvation?
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
Click for printer friendly page
CLICK to E-mail SELAH! to a friend.