Drinking Deeply

Saturday, December 09, 2006 at 2:24 PM

TULIP (8) - Effectual Call

Romans 8 is quite possibly one of my favorite chapters of the entire Bible, simply because it's filled with such hope and joy in Christ.

The golden chain of salvation located in Romans 8 is one of the clearest presentations of irresistible grace out there. I would like to point specifically to the usage of the word "call" in verse 30 for my defense of "irresistible grace".

Now, as a point of clarification, it's necessary to remark that the term "called" can often mean different things. There is a general call to repentance which is for everyone (Matthew 22:14), but there's also a special calling, one where God irresistibly draws us to Him. That's the call I'm talking about here, and that's the call Romans 8 is talking about as well.

Romans 8
29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
To restate things:

29a) Those God foreknew he predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son
29b) This was done so that his Son might be the firstborn among many brothers

30a) Those God predestined he called
30b) Those he called he justified
30c) Those he justified he also glorified.

Verses 29 and 30 amount to a logical argument

A person who was foreknown was predestined
A person who was predestined was called
A person who was called was justified
A person who was justified was glorified

Notice that foreknown => predestined => called => justified =>glorified.

A person who goes through the first step will also go through the rest.

Now, what I am calling irresistible grace is simply the "called was justified" statement. Every single person who is called, was justified. I think it's fair to argue the future sense as well (that every single person who will be called will be justified), as Paul is not only looking back in Romans 8, but to the future as well. We cannot read this "call" as a general call for all people, since that would mean that every single person in the entire history of the world would have been called, justified, and glorified, something not attested to in Scripture. Instead we see "call" as a specific call, one which leads to justification and glorification. The call is preceded by foreknowing and predestination. (I've already dealt with foreknowledge here, but am planning on doing a more complete post dealing with the question "is our election based on foreknown faith?")

So what do we find? We find that there is a calling that invariably leads to justification and glorification. This calling is thus properly termed "effectual" or "irresistible." Being called leads to salvation.

Still to come: John 6 and foreknowledge


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