God Calls -
Elder Wm. Doyal Thomas
Pastor - Philadelphia
Decatur , Alabama
The term, "irresistibly", means that an action has been taken, or is to
be taken that cannot be successfully resisted or opposed. It implies a
power, or ability behind the action, or the contemplated action, that is
sufficient to withstand any and all attempts of be successful in opposition
to that action.
God declares very plainly, and with certainty, that He will cause His chosen
ones to be called, and that they will, without any possibility of loss,
respond positively to that arousal and call. Hear Him as He speaks: "All
that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I
will in no wise cast out." (John 6:37).
Actually, this one verse of scripture is sufficient to establish the entire
message that I now undertake to deliver to you who shall read these words.
But, I must insure that I have been faithful to a degree that will be pleasing
to Him who has called me, first, to His great salvation, and then secondly,
to His marvelous services. I must be faithful to discharge my responsibility,
and to proclaim His word to others, just as it is.
What is the basis of the declaration that Jesus made that those given to
Him WOULD come to Him? Why would He make such a statement? Was He simply
making conversation with those around Him, or was He not stating that He
was in the world to accomplish exactly the stipulations of the eternal
covenant that He had entered into, along with the other Persons of the
Eternal Godhead? Most surely, He was not making idle conversation. Rather,
He was completely serious as He described the actions that He would take,
and those actions that would result from His having taken the steps that
the Father had assigned Him to take. He was stating that the Father had
given Him a definite people, and that that people would respond to the
call that would be issued, for that call was of immeasurable quality and
of irresistible power.
Again, we ask, why did Jesus make the statement that He made? It is clearly
because of the unity of the purpose of God in saving sinners, and delivering
them into His presence for His own honor and great glory. It was because
the purpose of God, being a purpose in the singular, as shown forth in
the teachings of the Bible that men have labeled, the doctrines of grace.
These great and cardinal truths are, simply stated,
the Total Depravity of all of Adam's race;
the Unconditional Election by God of some out of the total race unto the
salvation that He has provided;
the Limited Atonement that His Son's death accomplished in the behalf of
those chosen ones;
the Irresistible Grace of God in calling those who had been chosen unto
and the Perseverance and Preservation of those chosen ones.
These great doctrines stand or fall together. If one of these can be in
any way threatened, or overturned, then the entire purpose of God is defeated!
Perish the thought! Away with such foolishness!
Can these doctrines be overthrown? If they have no scriptural warrant,
then perhaps they can be set aside. But, since they do have a most positive
basis for their declaration, and that being a solid scriptural basis, then
they stand. They stand! They are sure!
We will now, for the sake of clarity of this message, state in most brief
terms each of these truths. We will only discuss their meaning when viewed
as a separate doctrine, and then show how they blend together into one
whole, so that each of us may be assured that God deals in harmonious splendor
as His eternal purpose unfolds into glorious victory.
This is the dreadful condition of all men, in their native state, and is
the direct result of Adam's sin of rebellion against his Creator and God.
He willfully and openly disobeyed God, preferring to give countenance to
the help-meet that God had, in kindness and loving consideration for his
happiness given him. Rather than heed the clearly stated command that God
had spoken to him, he preferred to remain in harmony with Eve, who by now
had been deceived, and was therefore in the transgression.
It was not for Eve's sin however that God held Adam accountable. It was
for his own sin, his sin of disobedience, that God charged Adam. It was
Adam's sin that plunged him, and all his offspring into utter and complete
ruin. His sin resulted in the loss of all desire and ability to serve God,
and placed man in a helpless and hopeless position. It left man under the
wrath of a Holy and an offended God.
In this condition, there is no possibility that Adam, or any of his posterity
will be able, ever, to elevate themselves to an acceptable level with God.
Except there come ability and desire from some source outside the race
of man, there must eternally remain that awful condition. There must forever
be this state of horrifying separation from the presence and favor of a
Thrice Holy God. How devastating is this thought!
This election, or choosing, is an action taken by God of some men out of
this mass of filthy and depraved humanity to obtain salvation. This salvation,
to which these chosen ones are to obtain, is through the benefits or merit
of the shed blood of Jesus Christ, God's own Son. Salvation has never been,
nor has it in any way been contemplated to be on any other terms. Salvation
is of the Lord, and it is bestowed upon those sovereignly chosen to be
it's glad recipients.
Except God intervene in the behalf of fallen man, it becomes clear that
none could, or would be saved. Total depravity of the race verifies that
fact. But God does save some. This fact is proof that God did interpose
the blood of His Son as a suitable and sufficient atoning element for the
souls of His people. That some are saved from the wrath to come is proof
that God provided the way out of this dreadful state. But all men are not
In choosing some to obtain salvation, God passed by others, and left them
in that' awful state, and to their just punishment. But, we are assured
that none can charge God, for He simply left them as they were. He did
them no injustice. Remember, "So then it is not of him that willeth,
nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy." (Romans
This great doctrine is sometimes spoken of as "particular redemption",
and that description is apt, for He who is the only Redeemer, came expressly
to give His live for the sheep. It is clearly set forth in the scriptures
that teach redemption, that Christ died for some in particular, and that
He knew who they were. John 10:11 declares, "I am the good shepherd:
the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." And John 10:27-28
declares, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow
me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither
shall any man pluck them out of my hand."
Now, if it can be scripturally proven that all men are not now, nor shall
finally be saved, then honesty demands that the doctrine of limited atonement
be taught by all those who claim to be servants of God. If men are in hell,
then the atonement was not universal, and was never intended to save all
men. Otherwise, there is shame brought upon Christ, for He did not do what
He was directed to do. But doesn't the Bible teach us that, "I do always
those things that please the Father." (John 8:29)?
And where was the rich man when he cried out and said, "Father Abraham,
have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger
in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame." (Luke
16:24)? Luke 16:23 answers this question, in terms that are
not debatable, nor are they mere conjecture upon my part, nor upon the
part of anyone who reads them, including those who ridicule the teaching
of limited atonement. Listen to these words. Read them, those of you who
would dispute with God's word. "And IN HELL he lift up his eyes, being
in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom."
Is there hope that this man, who is seen as being in hell, will one day
be reprieved or pardoned from that place of torment? Read on and find out.
Luke 16:26 settles this issue. It is most unnerving to read, but
it is settled. "And beside all this, between us and you there is a great
gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither
can they pass to us, that would come hence." Universal, or general
atonement advocates are without warrant for their position, for God's word
will nowhere, or in any manner support such an erroneous position.
GRACE OF GOD IN CALLING:
We will defer our work on this teaching, or doctrine, for the moment. Since
this is the subject of this article, we will briefly state the doctrine
of the Perseverance and the Preservation of the Saints of God, and then
return to the Irresistible Grace of God in Calling the elect.
AND PRESERVATION OF THE SAINTS OF GOD:
This is the doctrine that Baptist have always believed, and honest Baptists
among them have openly and joyously proclaimed. Those who deviate from
this position are generally, of recent origin, and are those who have departed
from the historic position of God's people who have taught the truth of
the matter since Christ Himself walked and taught men while He was upon
this earth. And His followers have taught the same things that He taught,
for He has given them of His Spirit that they could, and would so teach.
The two oldest Baptist Confessions of Faith in America have stated this
position clearly, and we will simply quote from them to establish what
we believe on the subject. These confessions do square with the teaching
of the Bible, and are acceptable to us on that basis. We quote from them,
and are in accord with them.
New Hampshire Declaration of Faith (1833): "We
believe that such only are real believers as endure to the end; that their
persevering attachment to Christ is the grand mark that distinguishes them
from superficial professors; that a special Providence watches over their
welfare; and that they are kept by the power of God through faith unto
Philadelphia Confession of Faith (1742): "Those whom God hath accepted
in the Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit, and given
the precious faith of His elect, can neither totally nor finally fall from
the state of grace ... but shall certainly persevere therein to the end,
and be eternally saved."
Both these confessions clearly teach preservation and perseverance. We
believe these statements to be correct in that they express this point
in total harmony with God's recorded word, the Bible. Any statement that
is in agreement with the Holy Writ is true, Any statement that is in disagreement
with the Holy Writ is false.
Regardless of what various confessions, or declarations may say on any
subject, the final authority is what God Himself said. Therefore, we conclude
our remarks on this point by quoting the words of our dear Lord, as He
Himself spoke in the the text that we cited to begin this message. Hear
again John 6:37. "All that the Father giveth me shall come to
me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
The last phrase of verse 37 makes it clear that he who cometh to
Christ will not be cast out. Under no circumstances. Now, would Christ
have made such a statement if He were unwilling or unable to carry out
His stated purpose? How foolish even to pose such a query! Nay God forgive
And now, back to the stated subject of this message: GOD CALLS IRRESISTIBLY.
We deferred our study on this point in order that we might be able to maintain
such sequential order to the systematic study of the doctrines of grace
as would lend itself to good order.
Irresistible Grace of God in Calling is the work of God, the Holy Spirit.
To imagine that He fails in His agreed to work is to imagine that there
could be imperfection and failure on the part of the other Persons of the
Godhead. How absurd is such an assumption, and how dishonoring it is.
We ask you now to open your Bibles and read with us from the Gospel according
to John. Look at chapter 6, and read verses 44 and
45. These two verses will serve as the beginning point as we seek
to search out "thus saith God" in the matter before us. We have implied
that those chosen, or elected by God to obtain eternal salvation are the
very same ones whom He does effectually and irresistibly call. We state
now that it is not just an implication, but a declared and asserted position
that we hold, and present to you.
"No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him:
and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets,
And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard,
and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." (John 6:44-45).
It is immediately apparent that Jesus speaks of the natural inability of
depraved man to come to Him. In language that cannot be misunderstood,
He declares this inability on man's part. He says, "No man can come
to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him." NO MAN CAN
COME TO ME EXCEPT .... There is no mistake. No man has the ability
to come to Jesus that he may have life given to him, EXCEPT that
ability be also given to him that he might come.
In the face of this clear announcement by Jesus Christ Himself, depraved,
fallen, and yet incurably religious man has the audacity to lift up his
voice and say, "but any man can come to Jesus Christ any time he chooses
to do so." What a shame that a puny, created worm of the dust would even
dare to say that Jesus lied. And that is just what men do. They say that
Jesus lied about this matter, and then they insist upon it by repeating
again and again that man CAN come to Jesus to receive the benefits of atonement.
Just reform your habits, is often to advice that men give to other men.
Just clean up your conduct, they say. Just turn over a new leaf, they say.
Just cry, and be sorry that you were found out, they say. But what did
Jesus say? He said, "No man can come to me except the Father which hath
sent me draw him:" It is clear then that the ability to come does not
rest in sinful man. God's word has said so. It is not my word, it is God's
word. God said, "No man can come ..." Don't take issue with me about
this matter. It is God who has made the announcement. Take it up with Him,
if you are not agreeable to the marvelously precise declaration contained
statement by our dear Lord has again verified the doctrine of Total Hereditary
Depravity. The fact that man is depraved, sinful, dead in trespasses and
in sins is borne out by his complete loss of ability. He cannot respond
in his dead state, for he is dead.
But Jesus did not leave the matter after reaffirming that man has no ability
to come to Him. He immediately dealt with the matter by saying also, "...
except the Father which hath sent me draw him:" This "except"
clearly teaches that the Father will intercede and will indeed draw him.
Please notice also in the last phrase of verse 44 that Jesus makes
a promise to "raise him up at the last day." Does our Lord, at any
time, make idle conversation, or empty promises that He has no intention
of keeping? Does He speak such words of assurance if He has no ability
to carry them out? Give very careful and serious consideration to what
I am about to say now on this point. It is very important, and I urge you
to hear me plainly, and make no mistake in understanding.
First of all, please understand that Jesus did make a plain and clearly
stated promise to raise up at the last day, "someone". Who is that someone
who is to be raised up at the last day? Listen carefully. The someone is
the same as the ones drawn by the Father. The same ones who "come
to me" in the first phrase of this verse.
The promise of resurrection is based upon coming to Jesus in this life,
and coming to Jesus in this life is based upon the drawing power of God,
the Holy Spirit. And our dear Lord has never made a promise to raise up
all men in the last day in the sense of their being raised up to be eternally
in His presence. He has promised that His people will be raised up to this
end, and that none of His people will ever perish, nor shall any man pluck
them out of His hand. Oh security! Oh joy of knowing that His people are
forever safe in His care and keeping.
To declare, and openly advocate a position that many men new hold is terrible.
To declare that a single one of those chosen by the Father, and given to
the Son in the eternal covenant of grace shall one day fall, or fail to
come when called, is to accuse God. Hear this clearly. It is to accuse
God! In order for a single one of God's elect to be lost, then there must
be some failure on God's part. If God promised to raise up every one that
He draws, as He most certainly did promise in verse 44, and then
fails to do so, it would prove Him either to be lacking in DESIRE to do
so, or, to be lacking in ABILITY to do so. Which horn of this dilemma do
you who deny the effectual call of God choose ?
If you say, God decided not to raise one, it accuses Him of changing, or
of being mutable, as is man. The Scriptures plainly teach that "God
changes not." (Malachi 3:6); that with Him "there is
no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1:17).
If you say, God could not raise up one, then you accuse Him of being limited
in power, or ability to do so. This is an open attack' upon God's omnipotence.
He is all powerful, and the only Saviour, as is stated in Isaiah 43:11.
I repeat: If God does not raise up every one of His own, it is either because
He would not, or, He could not. God forbid that man would make such charge
against the Almighty God. Have you ever, at any time, questioned God on
this matter? Have you ever imagined that God is trying His very best to
save some dead, alienated sinner, and that the dead sinner just will not
let God save him? Beloved friend, God is not trying to do anything! He
does as He will, now and always.
- "The kings heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water:
he turneth it whithersoever he will."
Daniel 4:35 - "And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed
as no thing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven,
and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or
say unto hin, What doest thou?"
Isaiah 46:9-10 - "Remember the former things of old: for I am
God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring
the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are
not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure."
Verse 45 of the text also reveals some precious truth on this subject.
It is declared here, "Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath
learned of the Father, cometh unto me." The last phrase, "... cometh
unto me" is a continued promise that someone will come to Jesus. Who
is this "someone"? Is it every man of Adam's race? Who is it?
First, it cannot refer to every man of Adam's race. How do I know that
to be so? Because if every man of Adam's race comes to
then they all, without exception, will be raised up at the last day, as
verse 44 has just said. Is this the case? Certainly not, for in
that case, Luke 16:23 would not be true. Remember the rich man "in
hell"? Is he to be raised up at the last day? What an absurdity!
Then, those that come to Jesus must be someone in particular. Who are they?
Verse 45 says they are "they that hath heard, and hath learned
of the Father". These are the ones that will come, and none besides
them will ever come, because all that come are all that are drawn by the
Father. Furthermore, those that come will have heard, and will have learned
of the Father.
But have not all men heard and learned of the Father? Romans 10:18
asks this question - "Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went
into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world." But
to hear the sounds of the gospel, or to hear with the natural ear does
not mean that one has heard, or that one has learned of the Father.
How is it that two may sit side by side and hear the gospel preached, and
one of them hear the "good news", and the other hear only the uncertain
sounds of human words? How is it? Have you ever thought on this situation?
You may say, "one of them wanted to hear and the other one did not." That
sounds good, doesn't it? Is seems to satisfy most people. In fact, it satisfies
all those who believe that man saves himself by his own works, or has a
part to play in saving himself. But, it just isn't true.
Consider this. When Jesus was crucified on Calvary's barren hillside, there
were two thieves crucified along side Him. One on either side of Him, that
the scripture might be fulfilled that had declared, "I was numbered
with the transgressors."
These two were guilty of murder and sedition. Truly, they did most assuredly
deserve the punishment they were receiving. One of them admitted that they
were getting their just dues. Now, as these two were facing death, certain
death - does it make sense that only one of them wanted to hear? What ever
was said that one heard, the other heard also. Whatever was seen by one
of these, was also seen by the other. But only one of them said, "Lord,
remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." Why? Why not both of
them? Why even one of them?
One of these guilty malefactors was effectually worked upon in regeneration
by the irresistible grace of Almighty God, the Holy
He was awakened, made alive, given ears to hear and eyes to see. He was
enabled to see Jesus, who He was. He acknowledged Him as Lord. In repentance
and faith (which are fruits of the Spirit), he turned to Jesus and said,
"Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." (Luke
Listen now to the gracious Lord, as He assures this guilty and yet repentant
sinner, whom He has just saved. "Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt
thou be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43). Today! Today, to
be in paradise with the Lord! O marvelous prospect!
This one heard, and learned of the Father, as the Spirit did His work effectually
and efficiently. The result is, the repentant sinner came. In repentance
and faith, which were given him, he came to Jesus. Why? Because it was
given unto him to believe. (Philippians 1:29).
But why not the other? Because unto him it was not given. There were no
works performed that day either. Not by either of these two. There was
no act of baptism, or any other outward demonstration of works on the part
of either. Simply put, to one of them it was a gift of God, and to the
other, there was no gift.
Why do two sit side by side often times and hear the same exact message
of grace as it comes to them in human words, and one of them believes it
and the other continues to reject it? For the same reason. To one it is
given. To the other it is not given. "For who maketh thee to differ
from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou
didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?"
(I Corinthians 4:7).
We will now present numerous scriptures that will, without any doubt, substantiate
the position that we have offered. Please read and study these very carefully.
Please do not read over them hurriedly and move on. Meditate upon what
the say. Consider what they affirm.
ACTS 2:39 - "For the promise is unto you, and to your children,
and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."
ROMANS 1:6 - "Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ."
ROMANS 8:28-30 - "And we know that all things work together for
good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his
purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed
to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethern.
Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called,
them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified."
ROMANS 9:11 - "(For the children being not yet born, neither
having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election
might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth.)"
- "Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the
GALATIANS 1:15 - "But when it pleased God, who separated me from
my mother's womb, and called me by his grace."
COLOSSIANS 3:15 - "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts,
to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful."
I THESSALONIANS. 5:24 - "Faithful is he that calleth you, who
also will do it."
II THESSALONIANS 2:14 - "Whereunto he called you by our gospel,
to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."
II TIMOTHY 1:9 - "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy
calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and
grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."
HEBREWS 9:15 - "And for this cause he is the meditator of the
new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions
that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive
the promise of eternal inheritance."
I PETER 2:9 - "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood,
an holy nation, a peculiar people: that ye should shew forth the praises
of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light."
I PETER 5:10 - "But the God of all grace, who hath called us
unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while,
make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."
II PETER 1:3 - "According as his divine power hath given unto
us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge
of him that hath called us to glory and virtue."
The call of God, the Holy Spirit is:
A DIRECT CALL: As shown in Acts 16:14, in that the heart of Lydia
was "opened" so that she attended to the things of God. She was
caused to hear and to receive the gospel when it was preached to her. The
Holy Spirit applied the word to her heart in regenerating her, and passing
her from death unto life. It is by this effectual work of God that any
are ever able to receive the things of the Spirit of God.
A PARTICULAR CALL: As shown by the declarations of Romans 8:30.
Also, please note the call that came to Saul of Tarsus, as is told us in
Acts 9:3-6. Later, those men who journeyed with Saul agreed that
they had seen a light, and a noise was heard, but they did not receive
a call. The Lord spoke to Saul. He called him by name. He was not communicating
with the others who were there.
AN EFFECTIVE CALL: As shown again in Romans 8:30, and in I Corinthians
1:24, which declares, "But unto them which are called, both Jews
and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God."
In the book of II Samuel, chapter 9, we are presented with
a most remarkable and wonderful account of God as He uses His wise and
holy counsel to announce in type the way of salvation. We are told plainly
the whole matter of God dealing with His chosen, and coventanted people
in their deliverance from bondage, and all the many and great benefits
that accrue to them as the result of His gracious dealing with them.
Here we see the king as he takes the initiative in seeking out the one
who stands to benefit from his covenant keeping faithfulness. Mephibosheth
is not aware that a covenant exists. He is in a most helpless and hopeless
circumstance. He cannot deliver himself out of his awful predicament, nor
has he anyone to assist him in the great need that he has.
But king David sends to where Mephibosheth is held captive and fetches
him away from that danger, and brings him into his presence, to be treated
as one of the king's sons, and to eat from his table. The king fetches
him. He calls him, and the call in every way is harmonious with God's way
of calling sinners unto Himself. He is always effective. The King sends.
The King fetches out.
Remember the statement of John 6:44-45? "No man can come to me,
except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up
at the last day. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned
of the Father, cometh unto me."
God does call. And that call is IRRESISTIBLE!
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