So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,
- 2 Timothy 1:8-9
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,
- Ephesians 1:18-20
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
- Titus 3:4-5
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
- Ephesians 2:4-10
When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
- Acts 2:37
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
- 2 Corinthians 5:20
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.
- John 6:44-45
But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
- Acts 26:18
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
- Ezekiel 11:19
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
- Ezekiel 36:26-27
for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
- Philippians 2:13
The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live.
- Deuteronomy 30:6
“Q. 30. What is effectual calling?
“A. Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit (2 Tim. 1:9) whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery (Acts 2:37), enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ (Acts 26:18), and renewing our wills (Ezek. 36:26), he does persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ freely offered to us in the gospel (John 6:44-45).”
- Charles H. Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Catechism (Scripture proofs in bold above)
“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.”
- The Shorter Catechism (Westminster Assembly)
“Q. 67. What is effectual calling?
“A. Effectual calling is the work of God’s almighty power and grace, whereby (out of his free and especial love to his elect, and from nothing in them moving him thereunto) he doth in his accepted time invite and draw them to Jesus Christ, by his Word and Spirit; savingly enlightening their minds, renewing and powerfully determining their wills, so as they (although in themselves dead in sin) are hereby made willing and able, freely to answer his call, and to accept and embrace the grace offered and conveyed therein.”
- The Larger Catechism (Westminster Assembly)
I remember the year in which I was effectually called. It was horrible torment. They say that you have free will, but the more I resisted God’s call, the more I was confronted by my sin and the tremendous need to have Jesus in my life. As I once told a dear friend, if I had not finally surrendered my will to God, I would have gone insane. When the same thing happened to our younger son, he was on the verge of committing suicide, but he was pulled from the edge.
Reading this question and answer, at least for me, brought all those feelings back as if it were yesterday.
Effectual is the key word. The Holy Spirit may let others know that they are sinners. Romans 1 says there is none with an excuse. But to be effectual when the Holy Spirit is working with someone as stubborn as I am, it had to be relentless, and it took over a year. I said the “salvation prayer” every day and sometimes several times in a day. But then, I simply surrendered. And at that moment, it was as if I was hearing the angels singing.
Persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus… Indeed!
And now let us sing.
The following song, He Touched Me is sung by the Gaither Vocal Band (David Phelps, Guy Penrod, Russ Taff, Bill Gaither) with Mark Lowry. This song was written in 1963. Several people had recorded it before I accepted Jesus, but the first time that I heard it, a college student returned home with the sheet music and sang it as a solo at church. I think it must have been just after I had accepted Jesus. The song rocked me to my knees. It seemed to say it all. Then, a couple of years later, Elvis recorded it, and I was hearing it often on the radio as I drove back and forth to college.
As Gloria Gaither said in an interview, it was the thought that Almighty God reached down and did something intimate with us, He touched us. And it made all the difference in the world. He made me whole.
“Shackled by a heavy burden
‘Neath a load of guilt and shame
Then the hand of Jesus touched me
And now I am no longer the same
He touched me, oh, He touched me
And oh, the joy that floods my soul
Something happened, and now I know
He touched me, and made me whole
Since I’ve met this blessed Savior
Since He’s cleansed and made me whole
Oh, I will never cease to praise Him (to praise Him)
I’ll shout it while eternity rolls
Oh, He touched me, oh He touched me, He touched me
And oh, the joy that floods my soul
Something happened and now I know
He touched me and made me whole”
- Bill and Gloria Gaither, He Touched Me
We need You. We need Your touch. Holy Spirit, effectually call those whom I call loved ones, family members, the members of the Sunday school class, my friends at church, those that I have worked with in the past, including the mean bosses, and those that read this post. Help them to see the Joy in my heart, if they do not already see it in theirs. If it is Your will, have them feel Your touch.
In thy Name we pray.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.