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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” (God’s 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





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Unless otherwise noted "Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE" © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.

Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.


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