Friday, September 19, 2014

Once Saved Always Saved Part III A - Called


Last time we looked at Total Depravity and realized that if it's true eternal life and man are natural enemies, then salvation must belong totally to the Lord (Jonah 2:9) and it's entirely his His business to save. Thus we backed into Once Saved Always Saved.

Now we'll build on the consequences of man's fallenness and point out the necessity of being born again--a doctrine also known, as regeneration, or the effectual call. This provides a similar, but even stronger argument for Once Saved Always Saved because while Total Depravity argues that since man cannot even put his hand to the plow salvation must be external to him, the effectual call adds that if have tasted of salvation it means God has begun a work in us He will certainly finish. Total Depravity argues, 
"No one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit."
But the Effectual Call says, 
"Lazarus, come forth!"
Since this is a big topic I'll discuss the immutability and God's faithfulness of the call in this post, then prove the immutability by it's timelessness in the next.

Defined

Effectual calling is the work of God's Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, He persuades and enables us to embrace Jesus Christ as offered to us in the gospel. He gives us new hearts (Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26-27) teaching us, (John 6:44-45) enabling us, (Phil 2:13) and making us alive (Eph 2:5). In other words the effectual call is when God makes us both willing and able to overcome our Total Depravity and put our faith in Jesus. This is elsewhere spoken of as God granting repentance (2 Tim 2:25, Acts 11:18, 16:14).

From This, Once Saved Always Saved Argued 

The effectual call is the necessary first step in salvation that only God can do. Quite obviously, if God intends to save someone He will need to call them, and if He calls them, then He intends to save them.
We also know that God does not change His mind (Num 23:19, 1 Sam 15:29, Is 46:10-11, James 1:17).
Therefore all of those He effectually calls go on to eternal life. Once they are saved, they are always saved. 


Romans 11:29 

"The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable."
Not much needs to be said about this verse. Our faith is generated because of our new heart, and so as long as we have that new heart we have new life. Fortunately for us the effect of the effectual call is permanent, and will not be taken back. The gift of a new heart is not going to be recalled, and those who receive a mind that leads them to faith will not have that mind removed. Therefore our faith will not fail and our hope is secure.

Philippians 1:6 

"I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."
This also needs little explanation. If God has begun the work of eternal life in us then He will be sure to carry it on until the day of completion. There is actually no other way to understand this verse other than to declare that the God who began a good work will continue working until we are safely with Him.

1 Peter 5:10 

"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you."
The effectual call always results in faith; that's why it's named the effectual call. But what about faith itself which is the result of the call, can that be broken, or lost, or tampered with? Let's jump to the worst case: suffering and persecution. If anything can do it, that can. But can suffering destroy out faith? Peter says "No!" If God has already called you to His eternal glory in Christ then why would He not see you through to the end? Even in your worst difficulties He will not fail to strengthen and establish you, for why would He quit part way through? No matter how difficult things get, even in the worst circumstances, take comfort that your salvation is securely beyond you.

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 

"Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it."
God's purpose for the saints in Thessalonia is that they be holy, blameless, and pure from sin until the coming of the Lord. Given this, and the fact that it is God who must sanctify them from sin completely for them to be saved, it's fair to ask, will He? Given our sinfulness that's a tall order. But look at the confidence Paul has knowing that God is faithful, and if He calls someone to eternal life, He will surely do whatever else is required to save. Paul is absolutely certain that God is faithful and will surely save them, body, soul and spirit.


Next: The immutability of Election Part B   



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