The Calling of God is Effectual: We need to examine the details of what it means to be effectually called by God in order to apply this to our own lives and walk with Christ. There first has to be an understanding of the difference between the external call and the internal call.
- External Call: This is the proclamation of the gospel done by humans that people might hear it and believe.
- Matthew 22: 14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
- Acts 16:14 “One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.” God had to open Lydia’s heart to pay attention to what Paul was saying and the rest of the passage tells of her conversion and baptism.
- Internal Call: Several great definitions exist for this. Each of them appropriately link the external call of the gospel to the internal call of the Holy Spirit upon the heart.
- John Piper: “God calls a person to Christ by bringing them into contact with the gospel of Jesus Christ (external call) and then making their dead hearts alive so that they hear the gospel as irresistibly true and beautiful (internal call).”
- Wayne Grudem: “The act of God the Father, speaking through the human proclamation of the gospel (external call), in which he summons people to himself in such a way that they respond in saving faith (internal call).
- Thomas Watson: “The gracious work of the Spirit, whereby he causes us (internal call) to embrace Christ freely, as he is offered to us (external call) in the gospel.”
- 1 Peter 2:9-10 You are a chosen race called out of darkness to light. Ephesians 2:1-2, 4-5 You were dead, God made you alive. This is effectual, not potential. One clear illustration is Lazarus, in John 9. Jesus calls him to come out. He doesn’t say, “Lazarus, you can come out if you wan.” Dead men don’t respond to invitations. Dead men whom God makes alive again respond to God’s calling and so we were! Thanks be to God for new life!