Effectual What?

Effectual calling. We don’t talk about this doctrine in church as much as we should.

Maybe because it’s a bit unpopular.

John Murray noted, “We may not like this doctrine. But, if so, it is because we are averse to the grace of God and wish to arrogate to ourselves the prerogative that belongs to God. And we know where that disposition had its origin.”

So what is this teaching, this doctrine that arouses our ire?

Simply put, when theologians speak of effectual calling, they are describing the work of the Holy Spirit, who calls each elect person into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. The Spirit’s call contains the power to come and is “efficacious unto salvation.”

Why does that matter? Usually, the Spirit’s call comes through the outward call of the Gospel. When a minister rises to preach or a Bible study opens the Word, an outward call resounds to all who hear: Repent and believe in Jesus! Often the Holy Spirit accompanies that outward call with His inward, effective power.

That means that if you have ears to hear, the Holy Spirit gave them to you. If you, by faith, have come to Christ, it is because the Spirit first effectually called you.

So, thank God for His power in drawing you to Christ. And continue proclaiming the Gospel, outwardly calling people everywhere to repent and trust in Jesus.

The Holy Spirit uses that outward call inwardly and effectively to bring men and women to faith in Jesus Christ.

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