|Sec. 7: The Spirit's Work In SalvationPDF Print VersionQ28. How are God’s elect made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ?A28. God’s elect are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the effectual application of it to them1 by His Holy Spirit2. Notes: By replacing “we” with “God’s elect” in the question, the answer has been adjusted accordingly.John 1:12, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.Titus 3:5-6, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.Comments:1. In salvation, all three Persons of the Holy Trinity are involved: the Father chose certain individuals to be saved, the Son came to redeem them from their sins, and the Holy Spirit applies the finished work of Christ to the elect. The doctrine of Invincible Grace teaches that the work of the Spirit in saving the elect will always be successful. The word “invincible” means “unconquerable”. It is better than the commonly used word “irresistable”, since this word easily conveys the wrong idea that man is incapable of resisting the work of the Spirit in his life (cf. Acts 7:5).
2. The expression “effectual application” means to apply so that it accomplishes the intended purpose. Since Christ’s death was to redeem the elect, the Holy Spirit applies the finished work of Christ to the elect in such a way that they are truly saved. Truth often becomes error by the process of addition, subtraction, or distortion. The Roman Catholics errs by addition, teaching that God cannot save without man’s co-operation, by the use of the sacraments of the mass, confession of sins to the priest, baptism, etc. The Modernists errs by subtraction, teaching that man can be saved by his own power, without the need of the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. The Arminians errs by distortion, teaching that the Holy Spirit works in man only if he first repents and believe.Q29. How does the Spirit apply to God’s elect the redemption purchased by Christ?A29. The Spirit applies to God’s elect the redemption purchased by Christ by working repentance and faith in them1,2, and by uniting them to Christ in their effectual calling3.
Notes: Apart from changing “us” to “God’s elect” in the question, we have added “repentance” to the answer. This makes the answer correspond to the responsibility of man to repent and believe, as found in Q84, later. The last Bible reference has been changed from Eph. 3:17 to Phil. 1:29.Acts 11:18, When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”Eph. 2:8, For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.Phil. 1:29, For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.Comments:1. It is the responsibility of man to repent and believe (more of that in Q84). Man, being “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1), is unable of himself to repent and believe. God has to give him faith and repentance, and unite him to Christ. The Spirit does not save by forcing the person against his will, but by changing his nature so that he willingly comes to Christ despite initial difficulties.
2. Why are there people who hear the gospel but are not saved? The reason is not in the gospel itself, nor in the preacher himself, nor in the hearer himself. Of course, the gospel must be preached clearly and correctly, the preacher must preach in faith and in the power of the Spirit, and the hearer must not resist the Holy Spirit but respond to the call of the gospel. Ultimately, the Holy Spirit must call the sinner effectually before he can be saved. This is illustrated in the raising of Lazarus to life, for it was by the hearing of Christ’s word and the work of the Spirit that he was raised (John 11:43-44; 1 Thess. 2:13).Q30. What is effectual calling?A30. Effectual calling is the work of God's Spirit1 whereby, enlightening the minds of the elect in the knowledge of God2, 3, convincing them of their sin and misery4, and renewing their wills5, He does persuade and enable them to embrace Jesus Christ freely preached to all in the gospel6.Notes: The order of “mind, affection, and will” is followed instead of the original answer, and Jesus Christ is “freely preached to all” instead of “freely offered to us”. Furthermore, it is not just the knowledge of Christ, but of God, that the original reference, viz. Acts 26:18, speaks of. The first reference, viz. 2 Tim. 1:9, has been replaced by John 16:18, since we are dealing with the work of the Spirit, not that of the Father, in salvation.1. John 16:8, And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.
2. Acts 17:23, For as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you.
3. Acts 26:18, To open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.
4. Acts 2:37, Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
5. Ezek. 36:26, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
6. John 6:44-45, No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me.
Comments:1. Among those who hear the gospel, only the effectually called are saved. According to the Parable of the Sower (Luke 8:4-15), those who are not saved either: (i) do not respond to the gospel; (ii) respond by having temporary faith; or (iii) respond by having fruitless faith. Only those who respond with a fruitful faith are saved. This comes about by the threefold work of the Spirit: (i) in enlightening their minds so that they know the true God; (ii) in convicting them of their sin against God and the misery of their lives; and (iii) in renewing their wills so that they can respond to the call of the gospel. By this three-fold work, the Holy Spirit persuades and enables them to trust in Christ alone for salvation.
2. The gospel may be summarized as the message of “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). Jesus Christ must be shown to be the only Saviour of sinners, and His death must be shown to be the only way by which sinners are to be saved. The gospel must be preached to all alike, for we are not given to know who are elect until they are saved. There are Christians who believe that Jesus Christ being “freely preached to all” is different from “freely offered to all” because the latter implies insincerity on the part of God, who never intended salvation for the non-elect. However, it is not for us to judge God but to offer Christ freely to all as commanded in the Great Commission. In order not to stumble such brethren, we have replace the word “offered” with “preach”, believing that the important thing is to preach “freely to all”, without discriminating between the hearers.
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