The Effectual Call
Romans 8:28-30 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Matthew Henry’s commentary says about the call of God to the saints, “It is an effectual call, from self and earth to God, and Christ, and heaven, as our end; from sin and vanity to grace and holiness, as our way. This is the gospel call. The love of God, ruling in the hearts of those who once were enemies to him, proves that they have been called according to his purpose.
It is amazing that we sat close the the brink of a destruction of our own making. Then comes “the call.” Left to our own we would not give a thought to the call to repentance…yet we hear a different call, a purpose. It is God that brings this call to us. We do nothing on our own.
John 6: 43-44 Jesus said, “Don’t bicker among yourselves over me. You’re not in charge here. The Father who sent me is in charge. He draws people to me—that’s the only way you’ll ever come. Only then do I do my work, putting people together, setting them on their feet, ready for the End. (The Message)
I love this translation! He draws people to me—that’s the only way you’ll ever come.
One of the most difficult things to face is that we on our own can do nothing to achieve the Holiness that is required to come near to God. We can not even get close. Add to this that, we on our own we would be happy to just sit and perhaps even mock God.
The Westminster Shorter Catechism defines the “Effectual calling” as follows:
“Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit whereby convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ and renewing our wills, He persuades and enables us to embrace Jesus Christ freely offered to us in the gospel.”
God has purposed His call to us. Humbling, but at the same time liberating. We do nothing. God convicts. God works. God changes.
Romans 9:11 What God did in this case made it perfectly plain that his purpose is not a hit-or-miss thing dependent on what we do or don’t do, but a sure thing determined by his decision, flowing steadily from his initiative.
God keeps. God chooses. God has a purpose that is beyond our minds, beyond our control. Romans 9:11 calls that purpose “a sure thing.”
How awesome is our God. The mystery of God’s grace as one grows in its knowledge continues to deepen and it is a wonderful thing… “a sure thing!”
II Timothy1:9-10 We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. We had nothing to do with it. It was all his idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it. But we know it now. Since the appearance of our Savior, nothing could be plainer: death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus.