GRACE FOR TODAY Radio Message #534 - 535
ARE YOU ONE OF THE CALLED ONES? Romans 8:28
Pastor Don Fortner
Grace Baptist Church of Danville
2734 Old Stanford Road
Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
There are several titles given to God’s saints which appear to be specifically designed to display the fact that they are the objects and beneficiaries of God’s peculiar, distinguishing, discriminating, sovereign grace and love in Christ. In the Word of God believers are called - The Elect, The Redeemed of the Lord, and The Called.
Those who are regenerated, those who are born of God, those who believe on and trust the Lord Jesus Christ are given this peculiar, distinct title, “The Called”, to distinguish us from those who are not called.
Obviously, (At least it is obvious to anyone whose brain has not been pickled by the vinegar of free will religion.), the call spoken of here is not the outward, external, general call of the gospel, but the internal, effectual, irresistible call of God the Holy Spirit, by which we have been separated and distinguished from all other people.
Those who are the called are called according to the sovereign will and purpose of God. Sinners are not called to life and faith in Christ because of their wills, but because of God’s will. We were not given life and faith in Christ because of what we did, or what we might do, but by what God did for us in eternity and in us in time. That which distinguishes God’s elect from other people is the distinguishing grace and purpose of God. What could dead sinners ever do to attract God’s attention and get him to call them?
Do you see how utterly absurd free will religion is? It is the religion of spiritual insanity. It was not our choice of God that caused him to call us, but his choice of us! Read at Romans 8:28 and 9:16-18. Salvation is not man’s work. Salvation is not partially man’s work and partially God’s work. Salvation is not a cooperative effort between God and men. Salvation is God’s work alone. “Salvation is of the Lord!” God almighty has, in his eternal purpose, determined the particular people whom he will call by his grace. He determined from eternity the time when he will call them; for as there is a time for every purpose, so there is a time for the calling of God’s elect. It is called the time of life and of love. Moreover, our great God determined from eternity the very place where his chosen ones shall be called. And he fixed from eternity the very means and circumstances of their calling, all according to his divine purpose. Every aspect of our calling shows clearly that the whole thing is the result of the sovereign will and pleasure of God, who does all things after the counsel of his own will. Our wills had nothing to do with it. Our works contributed nothing to it.
Those who are the called are called by the sovereign, irresistible grace of God. The great, impulsive, moving cause of the effectual call is the grace of God. The Apostle Paul describes the call of God as a call of grace, free, sovereign, undeserved, distinguishing grace (1 Cor. 15:10; Gal.1:15).
God, as the God of all grace, calls his elect to grace and glory by Christ. The infinite, superabundance of his grace in Christ was displayed to us in this call Indeed, the first open display of his grace, the first discovery of his love was made to us in this call of grace. Then, seeing something of the infinite grace and love of God in Christ, by the revelation of the Holy Spirit, we were drawn with loving kindness to Christ as the fruit and evidence of God’s everlasting love for us. Therefore the time of calling, is called a time of love (Jer. 31:3; Ezek. 16:8; Zech. 12:10).
The fact that this call is given to some and not to others demonstrates it is the effect of God’s sovereign, distinguishing grace, and of his good will. The fact that this call, as spoken of and illustrated in Holy Scripture always results in the one called having eternal life and faith in Christ, demonstrates the efficacy and irresistibility of it
Those who are the called are the called of Jesus Christ. This is what we are told in Romans 1:6 and 2 Timothy 1:9-10. Believers are described as “the called of Jesus Christ” because the Holy Spirit calls those who were redeemed by Christ, to whom he is sent by Christ. And this calling is ours only “in Christ”, in whom are hid all the treasures of God and by whom alone we receive all the blessings of his grace.
Let us never fail to observe the fact that the triune God has arranged everything in the whole scheme of salvation and grace to give all the glory to Christ, our Mediator and Savior. Even the calling of grace was “given us in him before the world began”. All grace is in Christ, comes to us from Christ, and gives all glory to Christ (Psa. 115:1).
Who are the called? We are never left to guess about such things as this. These things are plainly revealed in the Word of God. Let’s see what the Book of God says. Let the Word of God stand alone. It needs no defense from me! Hear what the Book of God says and rejoice in it. Those who are “the called” are those who were chosen and predestinated unto salvation in Christ before the world began (Rom. 8:28-31; 9:23-24). The objects of election and effectual calling are the same. Those who were chosen in eternity are called in time. And those who are called in time were chosen in eternity. “The called” are those who are in Christ (Jude 1) - In His Hands as our Surety - In His Care as our Shepherd - In His Loins as our Representative - In His Heart as our Husband. “The called” are those who were redeemed and purchased by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary. Throughout the Word of God, election, redemption, and effectual calling are works of grace performed for the same people. We were chosen because God loved us, redeemed because God the Father chose us, and called by the Holy Spirit because the Father chose us and the Son redeemed us. Is this, or is it not the teaching of Holy Scripture? Read Isaiah 43:1 and Zechariah 10:8 and you will see the obvious answer to that question. “The called” are those who appear the most unlikely to be called (Matt. 11:25; 1 Cor. 1:26; James 2:5). Publicans and harlots go into the kingdom of God, being called of God, while scribes and Pharisees sit around and debate about who is holiest, which church is the true church, where heaven is, when the Lord is going to come again, whether Adam had a navel, or where Cain got his wife! Sinners, real sinners, guilty, helpless, doomed, damned, ungodly, abominable, filthy sinners, are interested in just one thing - MERCY! The folks who need mercy, publicans and harlots, not good, religious people, are those who are “THE CALLED”. Those who are “the called” are those who ultimately are glorified with Christ (Rom. 8:30). They are infallibly kept by the grace of God and shall be eternally glorified with Christ. “The called” are you who believe on Christ (John 15:16; Col. 2:12; Phil. 1:29). If you call on Christ in faith, it is because he has called you by the effectual, irresistible power of his Holy Spirit.