Lord's Day 14

Week 13 :: Week 14 :: Week 15


The Westminster Confession subscribes the entirety of our salvation to the gracious and effective call of God, saying, “All those whom God hath predestinated unto life… he is pleased… effectually to call, by his Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ: enlightening their minds… taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them to that which is good; and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.” (Westminster Confession of Faith, 10.1) 

This succinctly describes the transforming and effectual work of the Holy Spirit. Our calling is transforming, in that when God calls us, God brings us to life, gives us a heart that is alive for Him, and assures us of His good and gracious plan for our lives (Jere 29:11). Apart from the Spirit’s call, we are lifeless and cold to the movement of God; but when made alive by the Spirit, we are awakened to the things of God. 

The Holy Spirit’s work is also effective, for when God calls, we cannot help but answer. What God determines will come to pass, and God has determined to bring about the salvation of His elect. The fact that God has chosen us for salvation does not negate our free will. It is, rather, the liberation and renewal of our will; freedom from the bondage of sin; a new outlook toward God. 

This is the heart of the gospel, that we are saved by God alone. Our salvation depends not on our efforts to generate some goodness from within, or our ability to satisfy God’s righteous requirements. Instead, our salvation rests in the fact that while we were still sinners, God has called us in Christ and has sent His Holy Spirit to bring us to life.


Almighty, gracious, and saving God, we praise you and thank you for calling us, in the grace and mercy of your Son, and for bringing us to life by the power of your Holy Spirit. Teach us to continue to rest and trust in your grace and mercy. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Question 31

Q. 31. What is effectual calling?

A. 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 doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the gospel.

Scripture Proofs

2 Tim. 1:9;

who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

2 Thess. 2:13-14;

But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 2:37;

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

Acts 26:18;

to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

Ezek. 36:26-27;

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

John 6:44-45;

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—

Phil. 2:13.

for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Question 32

Q. 32. What benefits do they that are effectually called partake of in this life?

A. They that are effectually called do in this life partake of justification, adoption, sanctification, and the several benefits which, in this life, do either accompany or flow from them.

Scripture Proofs

Rom. 8:30;

And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Eph. 1:5;

he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

1 Cor. 1:26;

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.

1 Cor. 1:30.

And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,