Effectual Calling and Regeneration by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

This is one of the clearest explanations I’ve read for effectual calling, regeneration and conversion.

Effectual Calling and Regeneration
by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

So, then, what is this effectual, internal call that we are speaking about? Well, the most we can say about it is — and this must of necessity be true in the light of these scriptures — that it is the exercise of the power of the Holy Spirit in the soul. It is a direct operation of the Holy Spirit within us. It is immediate, it is spiritual, it is supernatural, miraculous. And what it does is to make a new mode of spiritual activity possible within us. Without this operation we are incapable of any true spiritual activity but as the result of this operation of the Holy Spirit upon us, we are rendered capable, for the first time, of spiritual activity and that is how this call now becomes effectual, that is what enables us to receive it.

So as we consider what we mean by regeneration, the one important thing, it seems to me, is that we must differentiate it from conversion. And yet how frequently they are confused. But regeneration is not conversion and for this reason: conversion is something that we do whereas regeneration, as I shall show you, is something that is done to us by God. Conversion means a turning away from one thing to another in practice, but that is not the meaning of regeneration. We can put it like this: when people convert themselves or turn, they are giving proof of the fact that they are regenerate. Conversion is something that follows upon regeneration. The change takes place in the outward life and living of men and women because this great change has first of all taken place within them.


2 thoughts on “Effectual Calling and Regeneration by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

  1. Martin Lloyd Jones had far more clarity on the distinction between regeneration and conversion than the vast majority of evangelicals today. His position, which is in the minority by far in our time, is that regeneration preceded conversion IN TIME, even as the bible teaches (John 1:13, 5:24, 8:47, I John 5:1, etc.)

    My prayer is that more people might come to understand this truth even as MLJ did and in so doing that they would see more clearly that our salvation is by the sovereign grace of God and “not by works of righteousness which we have done.” (Titus 3:5)

    God bless,



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