Column: The Doctrine of Salvation: The Gospel Call—Part 3

Published 11:03 am Monday, July 8, 2024

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By Hank Walker | Pastor at Peach City Fellowship

In our last article, we considered the EXTERNAL, UNIVERSAL call of the Gospel. We saw how it addresses GOD—the Creator, King, and Judge; MAN—the rebel; CHRIST—the solution for man’s plight; and, the RESPONSE—repentance and faith—without which, man cannot be saved.

This time, we will examine the INTERNAL, PARTICULAR, EFFECTUAL call of the Gospel. In examining the differences between these “two calls,” it is no small irony that those who HEAR and respond in faith, and those who DO NOT HEAR, have listened to the exact, same message.

1 Corinthians 1:18 helps make the distinction between the two “kinds” of HEARERS. Of the external kind of hearer, the passage declares, “For the preaching of the cross is FOOLISHNESS to those who are perishing,” but, of the internal kind of hearer, it says, “but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” So, you might be asking, “WHAT is the difference?” Quite simply, the difference is not a “what” (such as a really well-developed, winsome, passionate, and persuasive offer of the gospel), it is a WHO: The Holy Spirit of God.

Isn’t it interesting that when Jesus told Nicodemus that “unless one is born again (literally, “born from above”) he cannot see the kingdom of God,” He did not follow with instructions on “making a decision” or “praying a sinner’s prayer.” No, Jesus explained to Nicodemus that the new birth was an invisible and inexplicable act wrought by the Holy Spirit. Consider Jesus’ words: “The WIND (pneuma—the same Greek word as “Spirit”) blows where it (He) wishes, and you hear its (His) sound, but you do not know where it (He) comes from or where it (He) goes. So, it is with EVERYONE who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). If that is the case, then, WHO does the Holy Spirit “blow” upon? God’s ELECT (i.e., chosen ones)!

Lydia’s conversion is a good example of what this looks like, “The LORD OPENED her heart to RESPOND to the things spoken by Paul” (Acts 16:14). Or, consider the Pisidian Gentiles who heard Paul at the synagogue, “…ALL who HAD BEEN APPOINTED to eternal life BELIEVED” (Acts 13:48).

Finally, we need not understand HOW God does this—we must only believe that He does.

Grace and peace, y’all. Soli Deo Gloria