Regeneration

"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange(529 AD): Canon 6)

If you all remember the credit for this series goes to a man asking me what I thought about salvation. He was asking what I thought was the principle “thing” one must have to obtain it and his being completely taken back when I responded Grace and not faith.

Well tonight we explore the third part in our series on the Order of Salvation and we still are not to the point where Faith enters into the equation. Regeneration is still all about God’s great Grace. We will look at three main areas of the subject, what it is (define it), what others have said about it (defend it) and finally we will look at what we should do with this information (declare it).

Regeneration is a theological term used to describe rebirth. When Christ was speaking to Nicodemus in John Chapter 3 saying he must be born again. He was referring to regeneration. Christ was explaining that Nicodemus and actually all mankind that it is in dire need of a new beginning a Genesis make over if you will.

Other passages affirm this teaching. Ephesians 2:1-2 notes that unbelievers are "dead in the trespasses and sins" prior to knowing Christ. God's salvation brings them from death to life Ephesians 2:5-6. Then we come to verse 7 and behold we find: In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

It is right there in plain print. We have redemption (rebirth) through His blood according to how well we pray a sinner’s prayer, no that’s not it. According to how well we declare our faith in Christ, no not that either. No it reads according to the riches of his grace. You see it is all about God and nothing about me and you. Then Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." To me at least it cannot get much clearer than that.

But of course there will be some naysayer out there that will yell “that’s just your opinion”. No, I did not write the book; take that argument up with the author. But let’s look at what some scholars say on the subject:

A. A. Hodge (1823-1886) Writing on this matter states: The nature of regeneration is of course variously conceived by different schools, according to their various views of the nature of the soul and its relation to God, of original or habitual sin, and of divine grace.

1. Pelagians, in accordance with their view of freedom and of sin, necessarily regard regeneration as a self-determined change in the general moral course of man's life, an act of the man himself, without any gracious assistance other than that involved in instruction and favorable providential conditions This was the teaching of Pelagius in the early part of the fifth century; and although not adopted by a historical church, it has been reproduced in various combinations by Rationalists and Socinians.

2. The Semi-Pelagian doctrine taught by John Cassian (d. 440) admits that divine grace (assistentia) is necessary to enable a sinner to return unto God and live, yet holds that, from the nature of the human will, man may first spontaneously, of himself, desire and attempt to choose and obey God. They deny the necessity of prevenient but admit the necessity of co-operative grace and conceive regeneration as the product of this co-operative grace.

3. The Mediaeval and Papal doctrine, which is practically that of Thomas Aquinas, and is hence often called "Thomism," admits original sin and the necessity of prevenient grace, but places the efficacy of grace in the non-resistance of the subject.11. See the Council of Trent, sess. 6, can. 4, chs. v and vi, and sess 7, cans. 6 and 8. But this grace is supposed to be exercised only through the instrumentality of baptism, which acts as anopus operatum, ex vi actionis ipsius, effecting regeneration and the entire removal of sin, and consequently of guilt, from every infant, and from every adult who does not willfully resist (non ponentibus obicem).22. Council of Trent, sess. 7, can. 6; Bellarmin, De Sacramentis, 2,1.

4. The Arminian view of regeneration admits total depravity and consequent moral impotency, yet holds that man is not really responsible until there is redemptively bestowed upon him for Christ's sake sufficient grace to re-endow him with ability (gracious, substituted for natural) to do right, which grace becomes efficient when the sinner co-operates with it, and thus effects the end intended.

5. The Synergistic view was held by a party among the Lutherans under the leadership of Melanchthon. At the Leipzig conference (1548) Melanchthon said: "there concur three causes of a good action the word of God, the Holy Spirit, and the human will assenting, not resisting the word of God."33. Loc. Com., p. 90.

6. The Lutheran standard, the Formula Concordiae, teaches that: (l) human nature is spiritually dead; and (2) the Holy Ghost is the sole efficient agent who quickens the dead soul to life, without the least co-operation of the will of the subject; but the non-regeneration of the unbeliever is referred not to the absence nor to any deficiency of grace, but to the positive resistance of the man himself.44. Formula Concordiae, pp. 662, 666, 582, 677.

7. The Reformed doctrine teaches as follows: (l) As to the nature of regeneration: (a) There are in the soul, besides its several faculties, habits or dispositions, innate or acquired, which lay the foundation for the soul's exercising its faculties in a particular way. (b) These dispositions (moral) are anterior to moral action, and determine its character as good or evil. (c) In creation God made the dispositions of Adam's heart holy. (d) In regeneration God recreates the governing dispositions of the regenerated man's heart holy. Regeneration is therefore essentially the communication of a new spiritual life, and is properly called a "new birth." (2) As to its efficient cause: It is effected by divine power acting supernaturally and immediately upon the soul, quickening it to spiritual life, and implanting gracious principles of action. (3) As to man's action: Conversion (conversio actualis) instantly follows, as the change of action consequent upon the change of character, and consists in repentance, faith, holy obedience, etc.55. Thirty-nine Articles, art. 10; Canons of Synod of Dordt, ch. iii, art 3; Westminster Confession, ch. x.

Regeneration According to Tim Challises’ Visual Theology says: God secretly and sovereignly imparts spiritual life to those who have been called.

J.I. Packer widely know Canadian Theologian says: Regeneration is the spiritual change wrought in the heart of man by the Holy Spirit in which his/her inherently sinful nature is changed so that he/she can respond to God in Faith, and live in accordance with His Will (Matt. 19:28; John 3:3,5,7; Titus 3:5). It extends to the whole nature of man, altering his governing disposition, illuminating his mind, freeing his will, and renewing his nature.

R. C. Sproul, in his book Chosen by God writes: In regeneration, God changes our hearts. He gives us a new disposition, a new inclination. He plants a desire for Christ in our hearts. We can never trust Christ for our salvation unless we first desire Him. This is why we said earlier that regeneration precedes faith.

I think we have defined it well enough. Essentially, regeneration is a change in a man's condition, from being spiritually dead to being spiritually alive.

Ok so now that we have defined it let us look at defending it. By now most of you know I love the writings of a bunch of old dead guys. Most anything from the era of the Puritans, to the late 1800’s I try to read avidly. So today I have chosen to use the 1833 New Hampshire Baptist Confession, one of the earliest Baptist Confessions of Faith in America.

On one of my many internet searches for usable information I came across this confession and was pleased to see that near 200 years ago in this country stood men of sound doctrinal beliefs.

In no uncertain terms, it declares that the Baptists, who developed this Confession, believed that regeneration precedes faith and were not afraid to let everyone know it. Let me quote from section 7, “Of Grace in Regeneration”. {Please note I have chosen to use a few but not all of the original scripture verses to save time, it does not affect their message}

1. We believe that, in order to be saved, sinners must be regenerated, or born again

Jn. 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God

Jn. 6-7 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Rev. 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.

The confession makes it clear they (and I) believe scripture clearly says that only regenerated souls may enter the Kingdom of God. That in order (Ordo Salutis) to be saved one must be regenerated.

2. That regeneration consists in giving a holy disposition to the mind

Deut. 30:6 And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Ez. 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Rom. 2:28-29 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Rom 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us

It case one should wrongly think that this is come “New Testament: thing the confession includes verses from the OT too. How is man regenerated? By the LORD thy God circumcising your heart, that is giving you a new one. For the old heart of man is corrupt and completely incapable apart from God’s grace in calling upon the Lord.

3. That it is affected in a manner above our comprehension by the power of the Holy Spirit, in connection with divine truth

Jn. 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Jn. 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

Phil. 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Jam. 1:16-18 Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

How are we reborn, of God, of the Spirit, by His and for His good pleasure, it is a gift of God. It is all about God not us.

We can do nothing not even seek God; Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. We are totally unrighteous incapable of a righteous act apart from God; Psalm 143:2 - Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.

4. So as to secure our voluntary obedience to the gospel

Eph 4:20-24 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Col. 3:9-11 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

1 Pet. 1:22-25 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

1 Jn. 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

     This is a key point which we will explore it in depth next week. Suffice it to say the writers understood that conversion (repentance and faith) is not some automaton act. No those regenerated by God will desire the Gospel.

5. And that its proper evidence appears in the holy fruits of repentance, and faith, and newness of life

Matt 3:8-10 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Matt 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them

Rom 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his

1 Jn 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith

The final thought set forth in 1833 was this, that all regenerated, born again, Christians will bear fruit. They will share the hope that is in them with others. We will explore this more thoroughly when we look at sanctification. For a preview you can look back at our sermon on “Carnal Christians”.

In closing I would like to go back to our scriptures from the Council of Orange who quoting the Apostle Paul said:

1 Cor 4:7 (AMP) For who separates you from the others [as a faction leader]? [Who makes you superior and sets you apart from another, giving you the preeminence?] What have you that was not given to you? If then you received it [from someone], why do you boast as if you had not received [but had gained it by your own efforts]?

1 Cor 15:10 But by the grace (the unmerited favor and blessing) of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not [found to be] for nothing (fruitless and without effect). In fact, I worked harder than all of them [the apostles], though it was not really I, but the grace (the unmerited favor and blessing) of God which was with me.

I hope you can see it, the writer’s at the Council of Orange and of the New Hampshire Baptist Confession some 1300 years apart recognized that it is was and always will be all about God. Regeneration the new birth is needed by all and it is solely a gift of God. Man has no part in this; I / we are what we are, of God and by God for His good pleasure and Glory alone. That my friend is the unfeigned truth the message we should be declaring to all.

Next week we will look at Conversion. Until then May God greatly bless you and yours.

In HIS Service

Effectual Calling

… to them who are the called according to HIS purpose. Romans 8:28b

     How many of you can tell me the first half of Romans 8:28? If I was a wagering man I’d recon most of you could. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God. This is an often quoted verse in Christianity today. The problem is most folks leave off the second (key) part.

     Last week we began a series on Ordo Salutis or the Order of Salvation with the Doctrine of Election. Today we will look at the second step in the process known as Effectual Calling.

     Faith or Regeneration (made alive spiritually), which happens first in the process of salvation? Far too many evangelical Christians today would claim faith comes first. It is only then after God sees how good and gracious we are by having faith in Him, He gives us a new birth. Really have you see mankind act this way regular like? This is emphatically unbiblical. The bible teaches God through HIS GRACE regenerates us and we in turn express our joy by crying out to Him in faith.

     Tim Challises in his Visual Theology, Ordo Salutis from which the inspiration for this series comes says: Calling God summons people to himself through the human proclamation of the gospel so they respond in saving faith.

     From Trinity Baptist Church Burlington Ontario, Canada comes the following:

The historical definition of effectual calling is given in the Westminster Shorter Catechism 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."

Effectual Calling, the Rev. Thomas White, LL.B. writes: What is this calling?  It is the real separation of the soul unto God; and a clothing it with such gracious abilities, whereby it may be enabled to repent of its sins, and to believe in his Son. It is our translation from the state of nature—which is a state of sin, wrath, death, and damnation—to a state of grace, which is a state of holiness, life, peace, and eternal salvation.

     The great preacher Charles H. Spurgeon’s fine illustration of this subject uses Luke 19:5 as its key verse:

when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zaccheus, make haste and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy house."—

     Spurgeon goes on to say there are eight significant facts in this one verse. They are:

1. effectual calling is a very gracious truth. You may guess this from the fact that Zaccheus was a character whom we should suppose the last to be saved. He belonged to a bad city—Jericho—a city which had been cursed, and no one would suspect that anyone would come out of Jericho to be saved.

     God’s effectual calling is agreeable to all whom He calls. There is nothing robotic or distasteful about it. Through the power of the Holy Spirit those called see this great and gracious truth and desire it.

2. it was a personal call. There were boys in the tree as well as Zaccheus but there was no mistake about the person who was called. It was, "Zaccheus, make haste and come down." There are other calls mentioned in Scripture. It is said, especially, "Many are called, but few are chosen." Now that is not the effectual call which is intended by the apostle, when he said, "Whom he called, them he also justified." That is a general call which many men, yea, all men reject, unless there come after it the personal, particular call, which makes us Christians.

     God’s calls individuals to repentance. This is not some mass media broadcast it is deeply personal to each one. Acts 2:37 is a great example of this: When they heard this, they came under deep conviction and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: "Brothers, what must we do?"" (HCSB) Listen you do not come under deep conviction unless your own deep dark (evil sinful) secrets are exposed to the light.

3. it is a hastening call. "Zaccheus, make haste." The sinner, when he is called by the ordinary ministry, replies, "To-morrow." He hears a telling sermon, and he said, "I will turn to God by-and-bye." The tears roll down his cheek, but they are wiped away. Some goodness appears, but like the cloud of the morning it is dissipated by the sun of temptation. He says, "I solemnly vow from this time to be a reformed man. After I have once more indulged in my darling sin, I will renounce my lusts, and decide for God." Ah! That is only a minister's call, and is good for nothing.

     When you hear the call do not delay. In fact a true effectual call will always result in an immediate response.

4. it is a humbling call. "Zaccheus, make haste and come down." Many a time hath a minister called men to repentance with a call which has made them proud, exalted them in their own esteem, and led them to say, "I can turn to God when I like; I can do so without the influence of the Holy Ghost." They have been called to go up and not to come down. God always humbles a sinner. Can I not remember when Gold told me to come down? One of the first steps I had to take was to go right down from my good works; and oh! what a fall was that! I have pulled you down from your good works, and now I will pull you down from your self-sufficiency." Well, I had another fall, and I felt sure I had gained the bottom, but Christ said "Come down!" and he made me come down till I fell on some point at which I felt I was yet salvable. "Down, sir! come down, yet." And down I came until I had to let go every bough of the tree of my hopes in despair: and then I said, "I can do nothing; I am ruined." The waters were wrapped round my head, and I was shut out from the light of day, and thought myself a stranger from the commonwealth of Israel. "Come down lower yet, sir! thou hast too much pride to be saved. Then I was brought down to see my corruption, my wickedness, my filthiness. "Come down," says God, when he means to save. Now, proud sinners, it is of no use for to stick yourselves up in the trees; Christ will have you down. Oh, thou that dwellest with the eagle on the craggy rock, thou shalt come down from thy elevation; thou shalt fall by grace, or thou shalt fall with a vengeance one day.

5. it is an affectionate call. "To-day I must abide in thy house." You can easily conceive how the faces of the multitude change! They thought Christ to be the holiest and best of men, and were ready to make him a king. But he says, "To-day I must abide in thy house." There was one poor Jew who had been inside Zaccheus's house; he had "been on the carpet," as they say in country villages when they are taken before the justice, and he recollected what sort of house it was; he remembered how he was taken in there, and his conceptions of it were something like what a fly would have of a spider's den after he had once escaped. There was another who had been distrained of nearly all his property; and the idea he had of walking in there was like walking into the den of lions. "What!" said they, "Is this holy man going into such a den as that, where we poor wretches have been robbed and ill-treated. It was bad enough for Christ to speak to him up in the tree, but the idea of going into his house!" They all murmured at his going to be "a guest with a man who was a sinner." Well, I know what some of his disciples thought: they thought it very imprudent; it might injure his character, and he might offend the people. They thought he might have gone to see this man night, like Nicodemus, and give him an audience when nobody saw him; but publicly to acknowledge such a man was the most imprudent act he could commit. But why did Christ do as he did? Because he would give Zaccheus anaffectionate call. "I will not come and stand at thy threshold, or look in at thy window, but I will come into thine house—the same house where the cries of widows have come into thine ears, and thou hast disregarded them; I will come into thy parlour, where the weeping of the orphan have never moved thy compassion; I will come there, where thou, like a ravenous lion hast devoured thy prey; I will come there, where thou hast blackened thine house, and made it infamous; I will come into the place where cries have risen to high heaven, wrung from the lips of those whom thou hast oppressed; I will come into thy house and give thee a blessing." Oh! what affection there was in that!

     Hear this; God’s effectual call is a loving call. Only a loving God would; chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty (1 Cor 1:27)

     Do you see it? It has to be an affectionate call why else would God chose a sinner such as I?

6. it was {and is} an abiding call. "To-day I must abide at thy house." A common call is like this: "To-day I shall walk in at thy house at one door, and out at the other." The common call which is given by the gospel to all men is a call which operates upon them for a time, and then it is all over; but the saving call is an abiding call. When Christ speaks, he does not say, "Make haste, Zaccheus, and come down, for I am just coming to look in;" but "I must abide in thy house; I am coming to sit down to eat and drink with thee; I am coming to have a meal with thee; to-day I must abide in thy house." "Ah!" says one, "you cannot tell how many times I have been impressed, sir, I have often had a series of solemn convictions, and I thought I really was saved, but it all died away; like a dream, when one awaketh, all hath vanished that he dreamed, so was it with me." Ah! but poor soul, do not despair. Dost thou feel the strivings of Almighty grace within thine heart bidding thee repent to-day? If thou dost, it will be an abiding call. If it is Jesus at work in thy soul, he will come and tarry in thine heart, and consecrate thee for his own forever. He says, "I will come and dwell with thee, and that forever.

7. There is one thing, however, I cannot forget, and that is that it was {and is} a necessary call. Just read it over again. "Zaccheus, make haste, and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy house." It was not a thing that he might do, or might not do; but it was a necessary call. The salvation of a sinner is as much a matter of necessity with God as the fulfilment of his covenant that the rain shall no more drown the world. The salvation of every blood-bought child of God is a necessary thing for three reasons; it is necessary because it is God's purpose; it is necessary because it is Christ's purchase; it is necessary because it is God's promise. It is necessary that the child of God should be saved.

8. And now, lastly, this call was {and is} an effectual one, for we see the fruits it brought forth. Open was Zaccheus's door; spread was his table; generous was his heart; washed were his hands; unburdened was his conscience; joyful was his soul. "Here, Lord," says he, "the half of my goods I give to the poor; I dare say I have robbed them of half my property—and now I restore it." "And if I have taken anything from any one by false accusation, I will restore it to him fourfold."—away goes another portion of his property. Ah! Zaccheus, you will go to be to-night a great deal poorer than when you got up this morning—but infinitely richer, too—poor, very poor, in this world's goods, compared with what thou wert when thou first didst climb that sycamore tree; but richer-infinitely richer—in heavenly treasure.

Sinner, we shall know whether God calls you by this: if he calls, it will be an effectual call—not a call which you hear and then forget but one which produces good works. If God hath called thee this morning, down will go that drunken cup, up will go thy prayers; if God hath called thee this morning, there will not be one shutter up to-day in your shop, but all, and you will have a notice stuck up, "This house is closed on the Sabbath day, and will not again on that day, be opened." …. We do not believe a man to be converted unless he doth renounce the error of his ways; unless, practically, he is brought to know that Christ himself is master of his conscience, and his law is his delight. "Zaccheus, make haste and come down, I must abide at thy house." And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. "And Zaccheus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."

Rev. Thomas White, LL.B writes: There is a call of the gospel that is not effectual: of this our Saviour speaketh, when he saith, "Many are called, but few chosen." (Matt. 20:16.) How many of the poor ministers of the gospel may complain of multitudes in this generation, saying, with the children that sat in the market-place "We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not lamented!"(Luke 7:32.) "Neither the delightful airs of mercy, nor the doleful ditties of judgment, have moved you." But the election will certainly obtain; and the call that is "according to God's purpose," reacheth not ears only, but hearts also: "The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God." (John 5:25.)

     The general call and the effectual call Scripture distinguishes between what has been termed the "general" or "universal" call of the gospel and the "effectual" (or individual) call.

The general call of the gospel can be rejected and indeed is rejected by men and women because of their sinful state. This call is seen in verses such as Isaiah 45:22; Matthew 11:28; Isaiah 55:1. This call is genuine and real and is to be issued by God's servants to all mankind. However, the response to this call is illustrated in the parable of Matthew 22:1-6.

But there is in Scripture an effectual call: that is a call which not only invites and summons but which also carries with it the power to ensure the desired response. The effectual call not only invites sinners to salvation but actually brings them to it. In this call the Holy Spirit makes the general call effectual; it comes through the gospel message to the elect of God in the power of the Holy Spirit. Compare 1 Thessalonians 1:4,5.

It is the effectual call to which the Bible refers most often when it speaks of "call", "called", and "calling". Compare Romans 8:28-30 (our main text); 1 Corinthians 1:23-27; Hebrews 9:15.

     The need for God’s effectual calling should be apparent to call. If you will allow me I will try to not beat a dead horse here as it were. We have expounded many times on just how corrupt the un-regenerated heart of man is. It is totally incapable of real faith in God. Verse Eph 2:5 should provide adequate proof tonight: When did God save us (quicken us); when we were dead in sins. Why, because of your grace? No because of His grace through Christ; together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

     Natural or un-regenerated man has no desire to even attempt a journey on Salvation’s road. All “Christians”, whether they acknowledge the truth or not must be called or summoned to repentance and salvation. We cannot and will not do it on our own.

     Next time we will look at regeneration or being made alive spiritually.