Salvation Part One

Posted: January 8, 2009 in Uncategorized

Okay, boys and girls, we now return to blogging through Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology.  We now come to a series of short chapters on salvation.  The first is entitled “The Gospel Call and Effective Calling.”

Here is how the Grud dude breaks it down, “effective calling is an act of God the Father, speaking through human proclamation of the Gospel, in which he summons people to himself in such a way that they respond in saving faith.”

Dr. Grudem is working from Romans 8:30 which reads, “And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.” Notice who is doing the work here?  It is God who before the foundation of the world predestined some for salvation, then called them, them justified (or reconciled to himself or “made right in his sight”), and then glorified them! 

As Professor Grudem notes, human calling is powerless yet “this calling is rather a kind of ‘summons’ from the King of the universe and it has such power that it brings about the response that it asks for in people’s hearts.”  Thus, the term effective calling“distinguishing it from the general gospel invitation that goes to all people and which some people reject.”  I would correct Dr. Grudem’s last statement in that most not just some have rejected it…but then again I have lived in Washington D.C. and Hollywood, so I’ve seen more of one end of the spectrum then the other!

Yet, God initiates this calling through human proclamation.  What must someone proclaim? Grudem lists 3 essential points:

1. All people have sinned (Rom. 3:23).

2. The penalty for our sin is death (Rom. 6:23).

3. Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for our sins (Rom. 5:8).

Yet, just saying, “Okay, I believe that” won’t do the trick.  Neither will voting Republican, wearing outlet khakis, eating at Chic-Fil-A, watching lots Pax TV and driving an SUV while listening to K-Love…although this seems to standard operating procedure at most Evangelical churches.  Sorry, I digress.

No, it is, paradoxically, a conscious decision to also trust in- and be loyal to- Jesus, i.e., faith and repentance.

Even a hardcore Calvinist (not that that’s a bad thing!) should downplay the importance of issuing the gospel call for “…how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” (Rom. 10:14b). 

Tomorrow we hit “Regeneration.”  Until then, grace and peace.

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