14 November 2007

Westminster Wednesday

Let's press on now to question #31 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. I've included some additional resource links at the end of this post.

Q. 31. What is effectual calling? A. Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby convincing us 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.

Q. 1. What makes the difference between effectual and ineffectual culling? A. Ineffectual calling is, when men have nothing but the external sound of the gospel; Matthew 20:16. For many be called, but few chosen. Effectual is, when the Spirit works in conjunction with the word; John 6:45. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God; every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
Q. 2. What is the first act of the Spirit in effectual calling? A. Conviction of sin; John 16:8. And when he is come, lie will reprove the world of sin.
Q. 3. Do the called of God hear any voice from heaven? A. Ordinarily it is a call without sound, yet as efficacious as an audible voice from heaven.
Q. 4. What is the second act of the Spirit in our effectual calling? A. The illumination of the mind in the knowledge of Christ; Acts 26:18. To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.
Q. 5. In what things doth it enlighten them? A. In this; That Christ is their only remedy; Acts 4:12. Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. And their all-sufficient remedy; Hebrews 7:25. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him.
Q. 6. What is the third act? A. His renewing of the sinner’s will, and making it flexible; Psalm 110:3. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power. Ezekiel 36:26. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and 1 will give you an heart of flesh.
Q. 7. Can no man come to Christ till thus enabled? A. No; it is not in the power of man’s nature or will, till thus renewed and enabled; Ephesians 1:19-20. And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward, who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, ‘which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him on his own right-hand in the heavenly places. John 6:44. No man can come to me except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him.
Q. 8. What sort of men are most ordinarily called? A. The poor and mean ones in the world; 1 Cor. 1:26. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called; but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God bath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.
Q. 9. What is the first instruction from it? A. Souls effectually called are never lost; Romans 11:29. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
Q. 10. What is the second instruction? A. All things co-operate to their good; Romans 8:28. For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.
Q. 11. What is the third instruction? A. It is dangerous to refuse God’s call; Proverbs 1:24. Because I have called, and ye have refused, I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded.
Q. 12. What is the last instruction? A. That Christians are obliged to walk suitably to their heavenly calling; 1 Thessalonians 2:12. That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you into his kingdom and glory.
- James Fisher

Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 10

CHAP. X. - Of Effectual Calling.
1. All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed and accepted time, 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 spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, 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.
2. This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from any thing at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.
3. Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit, who worketh when, and where, and how He pleaseth: so also are all other elect persons who are uncapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.
4. Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the Word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet they never truly come unto Christ, and therefore cannot be saved: much less can men, not professing the Christian religion, be saved in any other way whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, and the laws of that religion they do profess. And to assert and maintain that they may, is very pernicious, and to be detested.

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