The Assurance of the Call
(Romans 8:29-31) “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
In the first 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 the second devotion, more explanation was given of what happens in the process of The Call by the Agent of the Call, Jesus Christ. The next revelation in the Call was: not only is the spiritually dead sinner given spiritual life; but also he receives the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Call. 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 truth however, is contrary to many religious people today who believe that God did set conditions on the dead sinner that must be completed, before the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But the Bible reveals there is no condition set for the dead sinner to complete before the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The only condition is the Sovereign Action of Christ toward the dead sinner; in Eternity past, and at the cross in time, and the effectual call by Christ to the spiritually dead sinner in time. This action of Christ is Part 2 of “What is the Calling?” That is, 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 (meaning Christ) will not leave you comfortless: I (Christ) 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); the granting of repentance; the 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 is then 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 the 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). 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.
This third devotion relates the Foundation (or the Platform) of The Effectual Call of the spiritually dead sinner to becoming a spiritually alive, converted sinner; who is (now) a new creature in Christ; and in whom there is now no condemnation, being in Christ. This Foundation is God’s Eternal Purpose in Christ, revealing God in the Father role; revealing God in the Son role; and revealing God in the Spirit’s role (Rom. 8:29-39) in the Plan of Redemption of His people.
There is no salvation in the sinner’s actions; for Jonah 2:9 says, “salvation is of the Lord”; therefore, Salvation is in the Plan and Purpose of God in Christ Jesus. Salvation by God must be viewed in three ways:
(1) Eternal Justification (Eph. 1:4-11; 1 Peter 1:18-20; Rev. 13:8b; Rom. 8:29-30). Salvation was decreed before the foundation of the world in Jesus Christ; in Whom (Christ) the Father chose “us” in Christ “before” the foundation of the world (or before time ever was). Christ is the Lamb of God “slain before the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8b). This proves that God had a Plan and Purpose in Eternity Past of revealing Himself in the God/man, Jesus Christ, as the Perfect Sacrifice to become the Sin Offering that would atone for the sin debt of those chosen in Christ.
(2) Judicial Justification: (Rom. 3:24-25; Eph. 1:7; 1 Peter 2:24); that is, Christ’s Atoning Work on the Cross for His people (2 Cor. 5:21). The Cross is where the Covenant of Redemption was ratified; Christ, God in the flesh, became the Sacrifice, and the Substitute, and the Savior for His chosen people (Mt. 1:21; Eph. 1:4-7), as He atoned for their sin debt (2 Cor. 5:21) on the Cross. This is where His people were Redeemed, Reconciled, and Justified in time; as He was manifest in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16), and went to the Cross to reveal the Love of God in His Atoning work (Rom. 3:24-25). It was in His sinless flesh that He suffered the punishment for the sins of His people; gave His life for theirs (2 Cor. 5:21); died and was buried; and was raised from the dead after three days and three nights in the tomb, proving that He is victorious over sin, hell and the grave (Rom. 1:4).
And finally (3) Experiential Justification (Rom. 8:14-16; Gal. 4:5-7); that is: (a) when the Holy Spirit comes to the spiritual dead sinner (dead in trespasses and sins) and quickens (or calls) the dead sinner to spiritual life; and (b) the Holy Spirit brings the quickened sinner to see and admit he is a sinner before God, and to admit and confess that his Hope is in The Savior Jesus Christ and in no one else; and (c) when, by the witness of the indwelling Holy Spirit that he is a child of God, he cries, Abba Father” (Rom. 8:16); and (d) when the Holy Spirit gives the quickened sinner “an understanding” of Christ being the Son of God, and that He has come in the flesh; and to give the experiential knowledge that they “know” Him that is true, and the knowledge that they are “in Christ,” and that Christ is “Eternal Life”: (1Jn 5:20) “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” (See 1 Jn. 3:10-24; 4:10-21; 5:10-20.) This “understanding” is then the reason of his public confession of his knowledge that Jesus Christ is his Sacrifice, Substitute, and Savior (Rom. 10:9-10).
Yes, the quickened sinner does respond to the movement of God in him; yes, he does come to repent and believe (or trust) the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as the truth of his salvation; and this is manifested in his public confession (both in spoken word and in deed), and in his following submission to obey the commandments of God. But the Apostle Paul said in (Phil. 2:13) “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” The bottom line is: God is the Cause, and the believing by the sinner is the effect. All of this is founded in and upon the Eternal Purpose of God and not in the ability of the spiritually dead sinner.
In conclusion, to answer to the title question, “What is the Calling?”: (1) It is the effectual call of God, by the Person (the Agent), Jesus Christ, in the regenerating process in the dead sinner (dead in trespasses and sins) from quickening to conversion (or to confession; and believing or trusting Christ as Savior). (2) Without which no person will receive the experience or the knowledge of the indwelling of the Gift of the Holy Spirit. This is based and founded in the Eternal Purpose of God in Christ Jesus, without asking man what he thinks. But all actions toward the sinner are from God and from Him alone. This is the Assurance of the Call; for the Platform on which the believer’s security stands is God and Who He Is. The Apostle made this very plain in:
(2Ti 1:9) “Who hath saved us (Judicial Justification), and called us with an holy calling (this is Experiential Justification), not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began (Eternal Justification).”
The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is the Applicator of the process of regeneration of the spiritual dead sinner, dead in trespasses and sins from quickening to conversion.
The knowledge of these facts in the converted sinner is the Foundation, or Platform, of his Assurance of his Salvation in Christ, because these facts are based on The Word of God and not on the merits of the sinner:
(Rom 8:29-33) “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (30) Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (This is the Chain of Grace of God and not the chain of man’s merits; this reveals God’s Eternal Plan and Purpose for His people in Christ; and this and this alone, is the Assurance of the Believer) (31) What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? (32) He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (This is not a maybe by God; but a statement of fact; it will be done for all those whom were chosen in Christ before the world began; Eph. 1:4-11. God purposed it; and God cannot lie; what God has purposed will come about; Isa. 46:8-11.) (33) Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth (or it is God that has declared us righteous in His Atonement for our sin on the cross; not man; but God).”