Saturday, February 19, 2011

What Is Reformed Theology?: Effectual Grace or Effectual Calling

     "Those whom God hath predestinated unto life, He is pleased in His appointed, and accepted time, effectually to call, by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills , and by His almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace."  Chapter 10:1 of the 1689 London Baptist Confession.
(Romans 8:30; Romans 11:7; Ephesians 1:10-11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; Ephesians 2:1-6; Acts 26:18; Ephesians 1:17-18; Ezekiel 36:26; Deuteronomy 30:6; Ezekiel 36:27; Ephesians 1:19; Psalm 110:3; Song of Solomon 1:4)

     "This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, nor from any power or agency in the creature, being wholly passive therein, being dead in sins and trespasses, until being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit; he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it, and that by no less power than that which raised up Christ from the dead."  Chapter 10:2 of the 1689 London Baptist Confession.
(2 Timothy 1:9; Ephesians 2:8; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:5; John 5:25; Ephesians 1:19-20)

     From now on our study in Reformed Theology will not be referred to as TULIP or Calvinism because I'm realizing more and more how the convenient acronym and the reference to Calvin can be a bit misleading and may turn away people from the truth of the doctrines themselves.  As with all Christian doctrine, the key is the truth of the Scriptures and not mere labels per se.  This spirit is embodied in the Reformed Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon who once said, I believe nothing merely because Calvin taught it, but because I have found his teaching in the Word of God."  So from now on, I will refer to the 5 biblical points as The Doctrines of Grace and they are as follows:
  • Radical Corruption and Moral Inability 
  • Sovereign Election 
  • Definite or Particular Redemption 
  • Effectual Grace or Effectual Calling 
  • Preservation of the Saints 
     In today's video lesson, R. C. will begin to explain how the redemption of Christ is applied to His church!  If you recall, the key to the doctrines of grace is the 1st doctrine of radical corruption and total inability.  What did man become after the fall?  Did he retain a sliver of inherent righteousness that God would accept?  Did he still have the ability to obey the law of God perfectly (God's requirement) in his sinful condition or respond to God apart from grace?  We have seen that the Bible teaches that post-fall man is neither willing nor able to come to God on His terms without divine enablement.  Words like "dead in trespasses," "blind," "hostile to God," "alienated from God," "without hope in the world," etc. etc. etc., come quickly to mind from the Word to describe man in his post-fall, natural condition. 
     In saving His people, God must act alone to save us from sin and thankfully, He does just that through the redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ!  Interestingly, 3 main concepts in the New Testament are used to describe the application of redemption:  birth, creation, and resurrection (3 things man cannot do or add to).  The sovereign, powerful act of God saving sinners is called monergism (mono=one) because God alone overcomes our natural resistance to Him through the powerful regeneration by the Holy Spirit accompanied with the gifts of repentance and faith.  In our natural state in Adam, we are unable and unwilling to come to Christ and bound in sin, but in effectual grace God calls us into new life in Christ and we willingly run to Him in faith!  The biblical gospel leaves no room for boasting . . . except in the Lord of course!   

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