The Call of God
“Them he also called” -- Romans 8:30
There is a general call that goes forth to all who hear the gospel preached, by which sinners are earnestly called to repentance and faith in Christ (Matt. 20:16; 22:14). It is a call issued with such authority that it is as though God himself were doing the preaching (II Cor. 5:20). And all who hear this general call are responsible to obey it (II Cor. 5:20-6:2; Pro. 1:22-33). But this general call alone will never produce life and faith in spiritually dead sinners. That takes the almighty power of God the Holy Spirit.
In Romans 8:29, Paul is talking about that call of God which is irresistible and effectual, that call which always produces life and faith in Christ. The general call comes to the ear. The effectual call comes to the heart. The general call sometimes stirs the emotions. The effectual call produces faith. “All that God from eternity did predestinate to grace and glory he does, in the fullness of time, effectually call” (Matthew Henry). Sinners come to Christ when the Spirit of God calls them to Christ. He convinces the heart. He bows the will. He enlightens the mind. He makes all the chosen, all the redeemed, willing in the day of his power, persuading and enabling them to trust Christ (I Thess. 1:4-5; Psa. 110:3).
The word translated “called” in Romans 8:30 was a legal term in the Greek world of Paul’s day. It means “summoned,” as when a person is called to appear in court. When you get a summons, there are no options. You must come. Gospel preachers invite sinners to come to Christ. The Holy Spirit compels them to come. His call is much more than an invitation. It is a divine summons. It is always effectual. During the days when our country had a military draft, all men were invited to join the army. Some were drafted. They had to join. So it is with the call of the Spirit. The only difference is this - When he compels a sinner to come to Christ, he makes the sinner willing to do so.
There are many examples of this effectual call in the Scriptures (II Thess. 2:13-14; I Cor. 1:23-29; James 1:18; I Pet. 1:23-25). If you want to see the effectual call exemplified, study the call of The Aborted Infant (Ezek. 37:1-14), the calls of Zachaeus (Lk. 19:1-10) and Lazarus (John 11:43-44), the conversion of Saul (Acts 9:3-6), and the opening of Lydia’s heart (Acts 16:14). The seeing eye, the hearing ear, and the believing heart are all gifts of grace, resulting from this blessed call.
We preach the gospel to all men because it is God’s ordained means of grace, without which none can be saved (Rom. 10:13-17). But our preaching will never reach the hearts of lost, dead sinners without the call of the Spirit. Yet, when God the Holy Spirit speaks to dead sinners through the gospel, all who are called come to Christ (John 5:25; 6:63; Psa. 65:4; 110:3).
The determining factor in salvation is not the will of man, as many so vainly imagine, but the call of God the Holy Spirit. “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profitteth nothing “ (John 6:63).
Grace Baptist Church of Danville - Grace For Today Radio Message #746
2734 Old Stanford Road - Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
Donald S. Fortner, Pastor -Telephone 606-236-8235 - Email firstname.lastname@example.org