- Those whom God has predestinated [chosen before] to life, he is pleased (in his appointed and accepted time) effectually to call by his Word and Spirit out of their natural state of sin and death1 to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ.2 He enlightens their minds to understand the things of God in a spiritual and saving way.3 He takes away their heart of stone and gives to them a heart of flesh.4 He renews their wills, and by his almighty power determines [directs] them to what is good,5 effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ. He does this in such a way that they come entirely freely,6 being made willing by his grace.
1 Rom 8.30; Rom 11.7; Eph 1.10-11; 2Thes 2.13-14 2 Eph 2.1-6 3 Acts 26.18; Eph 1.17-18 4 Ez 36.26 5 Dt 30 6; Ez 36.27; Eph 1.19 6 Ps 110.3; Sg 1.4
- This effectual call is of God’s free and special grace alone. It does not come from anything at all foreseen in man,7 nor from any power or action in the creature working together with God’s special grace. Rather, the creature is completely passive in the matter, being dead in sins and trespasses until – having been made alive and renewed by the Holy Spirit8 – he is enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it. This is accomplished by nothing less than the power which raised up Christ from the dead.9
7 2Tim 1.9; Eph 2.8 8 1Cor 2.14; Eph 2.5; Jn 525 9 Eph 1.19-20
- Elect infants dying in infancy are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit,10 who works when and where and how he pleases.11 This is also true of all other elect people who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.
10 Jn 3.3, 5-6 11 Jn 3.8
- Others who are not elected – who (although they may be called by the ministry of the Word and may experience some common [shared by all men] operations of the Spirit12) are not effectually drawn by the Father – neither will nor can truly come to Christ. Therefore they cannot be saved.13 Much less can men who do not accept the Christian religion be saved, however diligently they order their lives according to the light of nature and the teachings and requirements of whatever religion they profess.14
12 Mt 22.14; Mt 13.20-21; Heb 6.4-5 13 Jn 6.44-45, 65; 1Jn 2.24-25 14 Acts 4.12; Jn 4.22; Jn 17.3