The Applicator of the Call
(Acts 2:39) “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”
In the previous devotion in this series, it was presented to the reader that Christ Alone is Eternal Life, and He Alone is the Giver of Eternal Life to the spiritually dead sinner. The sinner is dead in trespasses and sins until he is quickened by the Spoken Command of Christ to give life to the dead sinner. Upon this action of Christ, the spiritually dead sinner is quickened (or is made alive; or raised from his spiritual grave, as God revealed this truth in the raising of Lazarus in John 11:41-44). This action of Christ to the spiritually dead sinner is The Effectual Call by Jesus Christ to give the dead sinner life, even Eternal Life (Who is Christ Himself). This call by Christ is by Him Alone, without any thing performed by the dead sinner. Therefore, Christ is The Person (The Agent) of the Effectual Call of the spiritually dead sinner to spiritual life.
In this devotion more explanation is given of what happens in the process of The Call by the Agent of the Call, Jesus Christ. The next revelation in the Call is that the called is: not only is the spiritually dead sinner given spiritual life, but also he receives the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The truth of receiving the Gift of the Holy Spirit, once again, is performed by Christ and by Him Alone; without the aid of any effort on the dead sinner’s part.
This action of Christ is Part 2 of “What is the Calling?” The receiving of the Holy Spirit by the sinner is performed by Christ; and according to:
(Joh 14:16-18) “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (17) Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (18) I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”
Christ said that He Himself would come to the believer, and Christ would live in them (so Christ said He and the Holy Spirit are the same one). Therefore, the Agent (Christ) of the Call is also the Applicator (Holy Spirit) of the Call; not two Gods, only one God.
This process begins in the quickening of the spiritually dead sinner by the spoken command of Christ to give him spiritual life (Eph. 2:1; Jn. 6:63; Jn.1:13); granting of repentance; application of the law to reveal to the quickened sinner that he is a sinner, and stands in need of the Savior (Rom. 7:4-14). He then is drawn by God and taught by God (Jn. 6:44-45) that Salvation rests in Christ and His Atonement for the sinner’s sin debt, which was accomplished by Christ on the Cross as the sinner’s Sacrifice (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:24-25), Substitute, and Savior. Then, the quickened sinner is brought to confess Christ as his Savior before men by word and by obedience to the commands of Christ (Rom. 10:9-10).
The revelation in this second devotion is the fact that “the Called” (the spiritually dead sinner) is called by Christ; he also becomes the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit (Who is Christ Himself) in the called. The Apostle Paul said in (1Co 3:16) “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” This is a great truth; to know that not only are you quickened by Christ (the Holy Spirit); but you (the called) are indwelt by the Holy Spirit; that is you (the quickened) become the dwelling place of God on the earth. This truth is taught very plainly in the book of Acts.
Acts 2:39 makes it plain that “the Called” are receivers of the Holy Spirit. No one is a receiver of the Holy Spirit unless the receiver is called by God. It is not up to the sinner to give himself the gift of the Holy Spirit; but entirely up to the Sovereign Grace of God. The giving of the Holy Spirit is not based on the merits of man; but upon the Eternal Purpose of God in Christ Jesus as the sinner’s Sacrifice, Substitute and Savior. (Acts 2:39) “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” The sinner cannot call himself to come forth from his being spiritually dead in trespasses and sins; only God can call the sinner to spiritual life (Jn. 6:63).
What is “the promise” of Acts 2:39? The answer is in Acts 2:33, “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, (this plainly states that the Promise of the Father is the Holy Ghost; and that He would come, and would be given to the Called) he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” This is speaking of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, for the coming of the Holy Spirit is the Promise of the Father. The Holy Ghost came to the 120 (the church praying in the upper room waiting for the Promise of the Father; Lk. 24:49; Acts 1:8; Jn. 14:18) on the Day of Pentecost, as directed by God’s time table and by God’s plan and purpose.
Also, Acts 2:38 reveals the effect on the sinner that has been called (or quickened; or made alive), “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, (or because of the remission of sins; for water baptism does not remit sins; for remittance of sin is in the Atonement of Jesus Christ on the Cross) and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (which is given to all the called of God). This is a promise; not if you do this or that; but, the Promise is to those whom God Calls; which has nothing to do with the sinner taking the initial step toward God. This giving of the Holy Spirit is also at the discretion of God, and not of man. Someone may say, ‘I am confused: verse 39 plainly states that the promise is to those who God calls, no matter who it is. But, verse 38 appears to place conditions on who will receive the Holy Spirit.’
However, there is no problem when one understands that God’s Call of the dead sinner, who is dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1), is the starting point of spiritual awareness to the sinner. God’s initial call to the sinner dead in trespasses in sins is the quickening of the sinner (or being made alive, by the spoken command of God, to give life to the dead sinner; Jn. 6:63). The sinner, having been made alive (or quickened by the Holy Spirit), has the ability to hear and see spiritual things. He was spiritually dead; but now, after quickening or being made alive, he can see and hear spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:10-16); because now the Holy Spirit dwells in the quickened sinner. Repentance is granted to the quickened sinner. And as the law is applied to his heart (Rom. 7:7-14), then he comes to see he is a sinner, guilty before the Holy God, and in need of a Savior. The Gospel is the Good News to the quickened sinner (Rom. 1:16-17); for if a person cannot see, or perceive, or hear spiritual things, then the Gospel means nothing to that person; for it is in the Gospel the “righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith” to the quickened sinner. It is in the Gospel that the quickened sinner comes to see and admit that he is a guilty sinner under the curse of the law; that Jesus Christ is his Savior. Jn. 6:44-45 reveals that the quickened sinner is drawn by God to a place of confession that he is a sinner, and that now Christ is his Savior.
All of these things are revealed to the quickened sinner by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. There is no revelation given to men by men; but Jesus told Peter in (Mat 16:15-17) “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? (16) And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. (17) And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” This same truth is revealed in 1 Cor. 2:10-16.
Then the converted believer submits to water baptism, not to get the Holy Spirit (note: the Holy Spirit fell upon the hearers of Peter’s sermon of Jesus Christ before the hearers ever said a word, and before water baptism in Acts 10:44-48 at Cornelius’ house); but as a public profession of his death, burial and resurrection in Christ. (See Acts 8:36-37.) It is an outward profession (by word, or by mouth) of an inward possession of the work of grace by God in the quickened sinner (Rom. 10:9-10).
Therefore, the believing (or trusting) and confession are the Results of God’s Call and not the Requirement to get God to give them the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Requirement is God calling the dead sinner in trespasses and sins in time by the Holy Spirit; and this is done on the foundation of God’s Eternal Purpose before the world began (Eph. 1:4-11; Jn. 17:2; Rom. 8:29-30). The gift of repentance, and the drawing power of the sinner to God, are solely upon God – and not the sinner (Jn. 6:44-45). Because of God’s movement to the sinner and in the sinner; then the result in the sinner will be true repentance, and true confession of his sins and of his trust in the Atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross as the sinner’s Sacrifice, Substitute, and Savior.
So the sinner is reacting to God, and not God reacting to the sinner. The Cause is God; and the sinner believing (or trusting) is the effect of God’s plan and purpose for the sinner in Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:4-11; Jn. 6:37, 29). This is performed by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit in the regenerating process from quickening (calling), to repentance, to being drawn to Christ, and to confessing Jesus as Savior (Rom. 10:9-10).
The truth to be noted that from quickening to conversion of the sinner is brought about by the revealing power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The entire regeneration process is carried out by the indwelling Holy Spirit, from the initial quickening from spiritual death to spiritual life (Eph. 2:1; Jn. 6:63); to the revelation of the law to the quickened sinner that he is a sinner, guilty before the Holy God, and worthy of eternal separation from God (Rom. 7:4-14); to granting repentance, wherein the quickened sinner comes to hate his sin and his rebellion to God, and is ready to give up his own way to go God’s way; to the drawing to God, and being taught by God (Jn. 6:44-45); to coming to the end of himself and coming to depend upon the mercy of Christ in the Atoning Sacrifice for his sin debt; confessing that Jesus is God in the flesh; his Sacrifice, his Substitute, and his Savior (Rom. 3:24-25;10:9-10).
Therefore, it is revealed that (1) Christ is the Author of The Effectual Call of the spiritually dead sinner, dead in trespasses and sins, wherein the dead sinner is raised from spiritual death to spiritual life. This action is by Christ and by Him Alone; and without this action the dead sinner will stay spiritual dead. Being spiritually dead, there is no way for him to come to Christ to confess Him as Savior. Therefore, Christ is the Cause and the spiritually dead sinner receiving spiritual life is the effect (or the result) of Christ’s action and not the action of the dead sinner. Coming to this truth brings great peace to the sinner to know: (a) that his Salvation is based on God’s Eternal Purpose in Christ, and on Christ’s Atoning work on the Cross to Redeem, Reconcile, and Justify him for his own sin debt to God; and not on his own decision to choose Christ based on his faulty works; (b) his security of maintaining Eternal Life is placed on God, the Perfect and Sinless Sacrifice, which satisfied God; and not on the whims of sinful and ever-changing man, who is not perfect, nor could ever be the perfect sacrifice, for he is born in sin and is a sinner. The only way that God could be propitiated (satisfied, or appeased) for the offense of the sinner against Him for breaking His Law in Adam in the Garden, is to be presented a Substitute for the guilty sinner that is a Perfect Sacrifice; which only Christ is that Perfect, Sinless Lamb of God (Isa. 53:1-12).
(2) In this action by Christ of giving the spiritually dead sinner spiritual life; the quickened sinner becomes the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit; that is, he becomes a temple of God. This is a great mystery that has been revealed:
(Col 1:26-27) “Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: (27) To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you (the same as the Holy Spirit), the hope of glory:”
Therefore, the Apostle Paul proves in Col. 1:26-27 that the mystery of the past ages, but now revealed to the children of God by the Apostles being given this revelation by God; that is, Christ (or the Holy Spirit) not only is The Agent (or the Person) of quickening, but also lives in the converted quickened sinner; and as such, is The Applicator (or the Power) of the Call. That is, the believer is a temple of God, “which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Christ is the Comforter; the Teacher; the Security; the Sustainer; the Sufficiency; and the Hope of Glory. This devotion’s primary focus is not on the ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit in the believer; but to note the fact that the quickened sinner is also not only a possessor of spiritual life, but he is also a temple of the Holy Spirit for his remaining physical life. This is a glorious truth for the believer.
Eternal Life in the believer is maintained and sustained by the Applicator (The Holy Spirit). Hallelujah! The Power of God lives in the believer; therefore, he is an overcomer, through the Power of God living in him. It is in Him and through Him that the believer has the Victory (1 Jn. 5:4). Thank God, the giving, the keeping, and the securing of eternal life is not left up to the believer; but up to the Power of God, the Applicator Himself, the Holy Spirit.