And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Today we meditate on the third of the glorious links in the golden chain of salvation in which Christians find themselves. Each link emphasises what God does, so there is security and happiness for believers, whatever struggles we may be going through now or in the future. Today we consider the significance of being ‘called’.
God’s sovereign, predestinating purpose is not merely a doctrine, though it is that; it is a plan operating in history throughout the ages in the lives of individuals and nations.
What does this mean? When the gospel is preached or a Christian shares the gospel message with another person, God calls people to trust in Christ and repent. This is referred to as the ‘general call‘ of the gospel. And the Lord wants everyone to hear the gospel call and embrace his love. Sadly, many people ignore and reject this call which God extends to them. This can be discouraging for us when we long to see people saved.
But wait a moment! This general call is also made effective in the lives of many people which is referred to as the ‘effectual call‘. That is what happened to Lydia when she heard the apostle Paul preaching alongside the river in Philippi. As Paul preached, ‘the Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul’(Acts 16:14). This effectual call is achieved only by God’s power; it is irresistible, saving, imparting inward, spiritual life to those dead in sin, breaking the power of sin in their lives as they are brought into intimate union with Christ.
There are challenges for us here:
- there can often be a time-lapse between the general and effectual call of the gospel. Don’t despair in praying for individuals to be saved.
- inviting and urging unbelievers to hear the preaching of the gospel is extremely important. We must also share the gospel personally with relatives, friends, neighbours and strangers so that the Lord can make that witness effective.
- pray for more of the Lord’s love in our hearts constraining us to share the gospel with unbelievers.
The testimony of Neil Jones reported in the Evangelical Magazine of Wales (July-August 2021) illustrates the above challenges. His parents and brother were Christians. In fact his parents had prayed for his conversion for over forty years. Then it became necessary to drive his parents to church on Sundays so he decided to stay in the service and slowly as he heard the Bible explained after many weeks, he was converted. Neil writes: ‘My parents never gave up and were rewarded after many years of faithful endurance…Keep on praying; my story shows that it is never too late’.
Dr Eryl Davies (Heath Church Cardiff)