Friday, August 12, 2011

Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling

The Westminster Confession of Faith in Plain Language
1. When the time is right, God calls those he has chosen for eternal life in a way that guarantees they will answer his call.[1] No one else receives this effectual call. Using the Word and the Holy Spirit, he calls them out of their sinful and dead condition and into the grace and salvation of Jesus Christ. He opens up their minds in a spiritual and saving way, so that they can finally understand things about God.[2] He takes away their heard-heartedness so that they are spiritually responsive to him. With his almighty power, he changes their desire to do evil into a desire to do good. In this way, he guarantees they will answer his call to come to Jesus Christ. Since God has graciously changed their heart’s desires, they willingly come to him without being forced.

2. No one deserves the call that guarantees salvation. God does not look ahead in time to see whether or not certain people are worthy. They can do nothing to bring it about. They cannot even answer his call and grab hold of what he freely gives them until the Holy Spirit resurrects their dead souls and changes their hearts.

3. Chosen infants are saved by Christ alone and have their hearts changed by the Holy Spirit even when they die young.[3] The Holy Spirit has the right, the power and the authority to change hearts at any age. The same is true for anyone else who has been chosen by God and who lacks the mental ability to understand his Word.

4. Those who are not chosen will never come to Christ, even though they sometimes look like they do. They appear to respond to the preaching of the Word, and they may even get some of the benefits the Holy Spirit shares with a lot of people.[4] But in the end, they cannot be saved.

If these people cannot be saved, it stands to reason that no other religion can save them either. People may live their lives the best they know how, or follow the principles of their religion perfectly, but there is no way to be saved apart from Jesus Christ. To believe and teach differently is extremely dangerous and should be rejected in no uncertain terms.

[1] Irresistible grace; effectual call; inward call
[2] Regeneration
[3] Elect Infants
[4] Outward Call

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