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.


Are You Frustrated with the Blind?

Do you ever get frustrated because an unbeliever just doesn’t ever seem to understand what you tell them? Everything you say and offer them to read just doesn’t seem to have any effect. Almost like you are both speaking different languages. Technically you are. Unbelievers are blinded to the truth.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4

3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing.
4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

We should never become frustrated or irritated with unbelievers because the Lord is very clear that He gives understanding to those who understand. Until the Lord gives unbelievers understanding then Satan is allowed to blind them to the truth. But that doesn’t mean we don’t warn them.

No one understands upon their own but only through the working of the Lord and the Holy Spirit.

1 Cor 2:14 (ESV) The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.

But notice in 1 Corinthians 4:3 that they are perishing. Oh, shouldn’t we have mercy and love for those who are perishing and yet are blinded to that fact?

How much sense would it make for someone to get angry with a blind man because he just refused to see where he was going? It wouldn’t make sense would it. How foolish would it be if we saw a blind man heading to a cliff and yet we refused to warn him about it because he just wouldn’t be able to see it anyway. Why bother? But what if he was to turn from his destruction?

Ezekiel 3:18-19

18 If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.
19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die for his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.

Warn away for some might turn from perishing and the Lord might grant them sight.


Evil – Jay Adams

All evil is according to His determinate purposes—always for some good purpose. God doesn’t allow evil; He has planned all good and evil. Actually, all the “evil” we talk about today is actually a good that we shall someday see to be such. God doesn’t allow it—He foreordains it.


Jay Adams from Evil


Send me what thou wilt …

Can you say this with Spurgeon?

“Send me what thou wilt, my God,

so long as it comes from thee;

never came there an ill portion from thy table to any of thy children.”

“Say not my soul, ‘From whence can God relieve my care?’

Remember that Omnipotence has servants everywhere.

His method is sublime, his heart profoundly kind,

God never is before his time, and never is behind.”


Charles Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, August 5th


God’s Will Is Not Thwarted

God’s will is not thwarted even by our foolish decisions.

We do have a responsibility to make wise decisions or to discover the will of God, whichever term we may prefer to use. But God’s plan for us is not contingent upon our decisions. God’s plan is not contingent at all. God’s plan is sovereign. It includes our foolish decisions as well as our wise ones.


Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges


What Is My Good?

Funny how the books I’ve been reading, the Bible study I’ve had, the conversations I’ve had and even the sermon last Sunday have all been so interrelated.  I posted about For My Good last week.

But what is my good?

See, like I asked previously, how can terrible things be for my good?

We have a flawed perception of what is good.  To us good is anything that makes us happier or fulfills our desires.

The question is what is for our good with an eternal perspective and with the wisdom of the Lord?

Romans 8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. ESV

See this is the verse that follows Romans 8:28 which most believers have no trouble quoting.

Romans 8:28-29 (ESV)
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Being conformed to the image of Christ is what the Lord desires for our good.  Everything that happens to us is for our good and is conforming us to the image of Christ.


Broken Belt or Shoestring?

It is hard to imagine that the Lord would even concern Himself with belts or shoestrings.  I mean really doesn’t He have enough to do?  Yet not only is the Lord concerned with such seemingly petty matters, but He even is concerned about them for His enemies.  Not a shoestring will break unless the Lord wills it!  Don’t believe me?  How about this verse?

Isaiah 5:27 (ESV) “… not a waistband is loose, not a sandal strap broken;…

This verse is found when the Lord is bringing judgment upon His people for their sin.  The Lord ensures that belts are not broken, sandal straps are not broken, nor are they even weary.  If the Lord will do all that for His enemies just think what He will do for those He loves; His own children.

Isaiah 5:25-29 (ESV)
25 Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against his people, and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them, and the mountains quaked; and their corpses were as refuse in the midst of the streets.  For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.
26 He will raise a signal for nations afar off, and whistle for them from the ends of the earth; and behold, quickly, speedily they come!
27  None is weary, none stumbles, none slumbers or sleeps, not a waistband is loose, not a sandal strap broken;
28  their arrows are sharp, all their bows bent, their horses’ hoofs seem like flint, and their wheels like the whirlwind.
29 Their roaring is like a lion, like young lions they roar; they growl and seize their prey; they carry it off, and none can rescue.


No Plan Can Succeed Against Him

We make plans, but those plans can succeed only when they are consistent with God’s purpose. No plan can succeed against Him. No one can straighten what He makes crooked or make crooked what He has made straight. No emperor, king, supervisor, teacher, or coach can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not first decreed to either make it happen or permit it to happen. No one can say, “I will do this or that,” and have it happen if it is not part of God’s sovereign will.

Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts –  Jerry Bridges

Isn’t that refreshing?