by Jeremy Walker/
Read all the posts published to date in this 16-part series on the essential truths of the Christian faith.
HOW DO WE COME TO POSSESS THE BLESSINGS OF SALVATION? Part 3
Recently in this series we have been exploring the gospel call. Two weeks ago, we learned of the necessity and nature of the call, which is both universal and effectual. Last week, we read about the power, effect, and experience of God’s call. Today we take a moment to extol these truths and dwell briefly on their appropriate application: what fruit ought they to bear in our lives?
Because of the Call
Certainty. For believers all of this should give rise, first of all, to certainty—the certainty that all of God’s chosen people shall be brought into his kingdom. The Holy Spirit never fails to bring to salvation those sinners whom he personally calls to Jesus. The redemption that has been accomplished through the atoning blood of our Savior, the Lord Jesus, shall be definitely and effectively applied to all for whom it was accomplished.
Prayer. Furthermore, and on that basis, it should give rise to prayer for the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of those who hear the gospel. The fact that God will save does not for one moment preclude earnest and believing prayer for the Lord to save. We must pray that the Spirit would convince sinners of their sin and misery, enlighten their minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renew their wills, thereby persuading and enabling them to embrace Christ Jesus, freely offered to all men in the gospel. Do we sufficiently believe in the power and the grace of God to make this a more constant and more earnest plea?
Proclamation. It should also promote proclamation. We must make the gospel known. In the Scriptures, people trust in Jesus after they hear the word of truth, the gospel of salvation (Ephesians 1:13). “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 NKJV), which is why Paul asks,
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:14–15 NKJV)
We must send forth the universal gospel invitation, preaching without restraint or doubt, indiscriminately “gospelling” a fallen world. The church is called to declare a crucified Christ. Our privilege is to proclaim the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9 NKJV). The Holy Spirit uses means, and the primary means is the clear and unadulterated proclamation of the gospel of Christ.
Confidence. All this provides strong confidence, because the fruit of our labors as witnesses to Christ does not at all depend on the devil’s malign will. Neither does it hang upon the fallen and perverted will of the men to whom we preach. It depends on the gracious will of a saving God, who has set his sovereign love upon a people, redeemed them, and is now—in time and space, one by one, sometimes singly and sometimes several at once, here and there—calling that people to himself.
Praise. And so this should certainly give rise to praise. The more we study this, I trust we are the more persuaded that salvation is of the Lord. It has its origins in his sovereign love and free grace. It is—considered as a whole and in all its parts—a gift bestowed on the utterly undeserving, to the glory of God the Giver.
Assessment. All this also calls us to make a careful assessment. Believers are told to make their calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10). In doing this, we must be careful to ask the right questions. The starting point and foundation is this: have you, hearing the gospel, accepted God’s diagnosis of your sinful state, and so come to Christ Jesus as God’s remedy for your condition, repenting of your sin and trusting in Christ? If you have come in this way, it is because the Lord God has called you and drawn you to himself. It is the only explanation for these mercies. Faith only grows in the soil of a renewed heart.
Action. Finally, I hope, if necessary, that there may be some readers whom it will prompt to action. Perhaps you have read these things, but have you grasped them? You have perhaps listened to preachers or other friends tell you the good news of salvation, but have you ever really heard? Have you done more than simply register the facts of the gospel? Have you felt the force of truth? If you have, will you turn now from sin to Christ, trusting in him, and so have life?
Part 12 of a 16-part series drawn from Anchored in Grace: Fixed Points for Humble Faith, by Jeremy Walker.
Jeremy Walker serves as a pastor of Maidenbower Baptist Church, Crawley, England, and is married to Alissa, with whom he enjoys the blessing of three children. He has written several books and has blogged at Reformation21 and The Wanderer.