Class Notes: 11/15/2015
Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; The doctrine of witnessing part 30
In our study of the doctrine of witnessing Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; we are examining the doctrines that undergird the gospel so that we can understand how and why it is God alone who made it possible for our so great salvation exclusively by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. Eph 2:8-9;
Last time we noted that God's calling that occurs after the Holy Spirit's ministry of common grace and leads the unbeliever into having faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. We also saw that in Rom 1:6-7, the invitation or calling is described as coming from both God the Father and God the Son.
God's calling is found in these and many other NT passages including: Rom 1:1, 6-7; Rom 8:28,30; Rom 9:11,24,29; 1Cor 1:1-2,9,24,26, 1Cor 7:15,18,20; Eph 4:1, 4; Col 3:15; 1Thes 2:12; 1Thes 4:17; 2Thes 2:14; 1Tim 6:12; 2Tim 1:9; Heb 3:1; Heb 9:15; 1Pet 1:15; 1Pet 2:9,21;1Pet 3:9; 1Pet 5:10; 2Pet 1:3;
God's calling is defined as the invitation from God to the spiritually dead person to believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life. God's calling follows common grace and precedes efficacious grace. It therefore links common grace where one understands that the only issue for salvation is Jesus Christ and efficacious grace that saves everyone who believes in Jesus Christ.
God's call invites the spiritually dead person to believe in Jesus Christ for eternal salvation. This call or divine invitation clarifies the issue in salvation, and limits it to faith and faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.
This divine invitation to the spiritually dead person excludes any system of works that are falsely thought to help faith. Examples of this would be water baptism or making Jesus Lord. Adding to faith is like getting out on the wing of a flying airplane and pushing it in an attempt to make it go faster.
God's Word explicitly states that nothing can be added to faith for salvation. The direct statement of Jesus' last word on the cross supports this. John 19:30; "Therefore, when Jesus had received the wine, He said, `It is finished "tetelestai!'" and He bowed his Head and gave up His spirit.
"Tetelestai" is the intensive perfect active indicative of the Greek word "teleo" means to stand finished forever with the result that salvation was completed on the cross while our Lord was still alive. It tells us that nothing can be added to Jesus' work on the cross.
We also have the ministry of the Holy Spirit in efficacious grace that only makes faith in Christ efficacious for salvation. Common grace emphasizes the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. The Common Grace of God the Holy Spirit does not combine with any system of human works.
God's calling or the divine invitation that follows common grace is the invitation for the spiritually dead unbeliever to believe in Jesus Christ, but it does not invite the spiritually dead person to Lordship salvation, commitment salvation, salvation by morality or salvation by keeping the Law, salvation through ritual or water baptism, salvation through emotion, or salvation through inviting Christ into their life or their heart.
All these are systems of works that are excluded. When anything is added to faith in Christ, the efficacy of faith is cancelled because works cancel faith. The addition of human empiricism or human rationalism or both cancels or voids faith.
In efficacious grace, the Holy Spirit only makes faith in Jesus Christ effective for salvation. No works are added to faith. Efficacious grace follows the invitation. We respond to the invitation by simply believing in Jesus Christ. Nothing else.
Faith is non-meritorious so the faith of the spiritually dead person that is completely helpless in itself to provide eternal life must be picked up by God the Holy Spirit for it to be made effective.
In spiritual death we are under total depravity, with our old sin nature in control of our soul. It means we are totally separated from God, and totally helpless to do anything about it. There is no system of works we can do that will cause us to be accepted by God. Because of our inability God has to do it all for us. That is grace.
Condemnation at birth demonstrates God's incredible wisdom. Condemnation must precede salvation so that anyone who dies before reaching the age of accountability is saved.
Faith is totally non-meritorious because all of the merit in faith resides in the object. Faith in Jesus Christ comes from a person who is spiritually dead in the status of spiritual brain death having only a body and a soul.
However, under common grace, the Holy Spirit makes the Gospel clear and understandable and that the Son (Jesus Christ) not sin is the issue. Then when you believe in Christ, you're still spiritually dead because your non-meritorious faith has no ability to unilaterally procure salvation but at that point under efficacious grace, God the Holy Spirit picks up that weak faith and makes it effective for salvation. Eph 2:8;
The Greek word "keleo" is generally used for the call of God. It is generally accompanied by one of three Greek prepositional phrases.
"Dia" plus the genitive means "through." We are "called through" the Gospel, as in 2Thes 2:14; The Gospel has been understood in common grace, and we respond to that call by faith in Christ.
"En" plus the locative of sphere is also used with "kaleo". We are called in the sphere of grace, Gal 1:6; We are called in the sphere of hope, Eph 4:4; We are called in the sphere of peace, 1Cor 7:15; We are called in the sphere of holiness, 1Thes 4:7. NET, KJV
The Greek preposition "eis" that connotes the purpose of the calling or the reason for God's invitation to believe in Christ is used in the following passages. We are "called into fellowship" in 1Cor 1:9; We are "called into His kingdom" in 1Thes 2:12; We are "called to eternal life" in 1Tim 6:12; We are "called to endure suffering" in 1Pet 2;20-21; and Phil 1:29;
Along with this we are "called to blessing" in 1Pet 3:9; We are "called to eternal glory" in 1Pet 5:10;
We are called for the enjoyment of God forever, 1Pet 2:9; We are called for the marriage supper of the Lamb, Rev 19:9;
The ministry of God the Father in the divine call or invitation is stated by our Lord in John 6:44; "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him." Jesus tells us that it is God the Father's invitation that causes us to come to Jesus Christ.
The Father's invitation to the spiritually dead person to believe in Christ rejects several heresies, like faith plus works for salvation, or the blasphemy of inviting Christ into your heart or into your life.
The result of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in common grace is the invitation of God the Father extends for the spiritually dead person to believe in Christ. God's calling is also expressed in the doctrine of election that is the expressions of God's sovereign desire from eternity that all men be saved.
His will starts at salvation, for "He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to a change of thinking about Christ." 2Pet 3:9; God also expresses desires for us regarding our post-salvation experience. As members of the Royal Family of God we have equal privilege and equal opportunity.
Under election, our equal privilege is our royal priesthood that places us in a position to represent ourselves before God. Our equal opportunity comes from logistical grace life support and blessings that God's justice conveys each day to the imputed righteousness of God that resides in every believer.
Predestination and election are part of the doctrine of the divine decree. There are three elections in history, Israel under God's ritual plan, Jesus Christ under God's incarnation plan, and the Church under God's protocol plan.
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