Sunday, February 11, 2007

Theology 101 - Effectual Calling

In my LAST "Theology 101" post I listed some facets of soteriology and told you how I'd like to devote some time to each of those in future posts. Today, we'll look at the "effectual call".

Earlier, when I presented Biblical anthropology I highlighted what scripture says about our condition prior to God saving us--we were hopeless and spiritually dead (completely dead, not just "a little dead"). Like you, I can recall hearing the gospel numerous times before I ever considered responding to the call to repent and follow X. So, what made the difference from all those previous times and the one time when I truly "heard" the gospel? J. I. Packer explains it this way:

Original sin renders all human beings naturally dead (unresponsive) to God, but in effectual calling God quickens the dead. As the outward call of God to faith in Christ is communicated through the reading, preaching, and explaining of the contents of the Bible, the Holy Spirit enlightens and renews the heart of elect sinners so that they understand the gospel and embrace it as truth from God, and God in Christ becomes to them an object of desire and affection. Being now regenerate and able by the use of their freed will to choose God and the good, they turn away from their former pattern of living to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and to start a new life with him.

This is a facet of our salvation that is often not taught and/or ignored--thus falsely giving many a "reason to boast" in a salvation that they suppose they themselves "received" or "obtained" by some act of their own will.

At the human level we see or recall an action or response (prayer, repentance, sorrow, etc.) and assume that we have done something to acquire our salvation or at least "cooperate" in some way. When the Bible tells us that our salvation is completely of God and we merely respond to what God has already accomplished in us--called us out of darkness and freed us from our bondage to sin.

All Xians should agree, our boast is in the Lord--He called me, He quickened me, and He saved me--to Him ALONE be the glory!

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