How God Calls Us to Salvation

When we talk about God’s “calling” to salvation, we are actually referring to two kinds. First, is the “general” or “gospel” call; and second, is the “specific” or “effectual/effective” call. The former pertains to the human proclamation of the gospel whether in oral or written form, such as the preaching done by a minister at the pulpit during worship services or evangelical “crusades”. The same can also be done on a one to one basis as with a friend. The latter on the other hand, pertains to God the Holy Spirit’s inner call which only the concerned person can hear. This effectual call is spiritual in nature unlike that of the gospel call which is physical in nature. Nevertheless, the effectual call almost always occurs either immediately after or at the same time as the gospel call.

However, within Christendom, there is an ongoing centuries-old debate between those who hold that God’s effectual calling is based on His unconditional election (the “Calvinists”) and those who believe that God’s effectual calling is based His election of those whom God knows will choose Him (the “Arminians”).

According to Dr. J.R. Williams, there is no predestination to death. About God he says: “He has no hidden agenda, by which He has already decided to save some and reprobate or bypass the others.” He further stated that “Christ came that people might rise rather than fall; He came as Savior and not also as Destroyer. However, His very coming precipitates a crisis in which some fall and others rise.” He then proceeds to quote Romans 9:33 where the text itself says that God lays a stumbling stone, a rock which will make men fall, in the person of Jesus. In the same verse, likewise in 1 Peter 2:6, it says that “whoever believes in Him (Jesus) shall not be put to shame.” Nowhere in these passages does it say anything about those “whoever” that will believe. He further quotes 1 Peter 2:8 to prove that the stumbling of the unsaved is due to disobedience and not to God’s predetermination. However, Dr. Williams passed over (pun intended) the part of the verse which says “as they were destined to do”. Therefore, we can conclude that albeit the stumbling of unbelievers over Jesus is due to their disobedience, this disobedience was still predestined by God by His preterition or passing over of the reprobates, thus, leaving them to their own devices.

It is understandable and natural that a lot of people resist (again, pun intended), the idea that God does not predestine anyone to damnation but we have to keep in mind that after the fall of Adam and Eve, the only thing that mankind justly deserves is punishment in hell. God is under no obligation to save any of us in the first place. Hence, God’s saving some and not all is actually already an act of mercy and grace on His part; and there is no injustice therein.

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