“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
In our doctrinal study, we have talked about foreknowledge. We’ve talked about predestination, or the doctrine of election. We’ve talked a little about justification. And we will talk about glorification.
But the one word that I want you to focus on with me tonight is the word “called.” Called. In verse 28, “Those who are called.” In verse 30, “Whom He predestined these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified.”
Now, one of the most simple words in the English language is the word “call.”
We all understand that word. We use it in a daily manner. It’s one of the more common words in our vocabulary.
We call our kids to come to dinner in the hope that they will respond.
Or we call our husband to come to dinner and hope he will respond.
We call our friends on the phone and hope that they will spurn the answer machine option and pick up the phone.
It gets a little more important when a church calls a pastor hoping he will accept the offer to come and shepherd them.
And when you are called by your boss, the call becomes equally compelling. I remember as a kid being called to the principal’s office.
I remember in college receiving what was called a “call slip” to come immediately to the dean’s office.
Some of you have received a summons from a court. A summons is a call you really shouldn’t ignore because if you are summoned to court, you probably ought to show up or you may even get a visit from law officers.
Maybe a little stronger than just a summons is a subpoena. A subpoena is a summons commanding the person designated to appear under a penalty for failure to do so.
And so really there are all kinds of calls. There are those sort of minimalist calls that you sort of meekly offer to somebody to get them to the table, or those phone calls you hope somebody might answer, all the way through to the far more serious call from your boss, or call from a church, or from a principal’s office or a summons from a court or a subpoena with a threat for non response. So there are increasingly more compelling kinds of calls.
But in all those cases, you can still choose to ignore them. You can resist any of those calls and go on your way and do what you want.
But Scripture reveals a truth about a call, a summons that cannot be ignored and it cannot be resisted. It is the unyielding summons from God.
It is a subpoena to appear before Him in His court for the purpose of being declared righteous, being declared just, having all your sins forgiven, and being set free from any judgment or any condemnation.
This is the call that you read about in Romans 8.
It is a call that justifies.
It is a call that comes according to the divine purpose.
It is a call that comes to those who are predestined, those who are elect, those who are chosen.
It is a call that leads through justification to eternal glory.
Theologians have called this
call an effective call,
an efficacious call,
a determinative call,
a decisive call,
a conclusive call,
an operative call and
an irresistible call. It is the call to salvation.
It is the divine summons.
It is the divine subpoena, not for judgment and not for punishment, but so that you can be declared righteous, free from condemnation, forgiven.
It is the call to salvation.
The question is: Can it be denied? Can it be resisted? Is there such a thing as non-compliance?
Well verse 30 says, “Whom He predestined, these He called.” So this call is limited to those who are the elect. We’re not talking here about a general call, just a broad-sweeping gospel call, the kind of general call that the apostle Paul talks about quoting the Old Testament prophet, nor are we talking about the Matthew 22 words, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” We’re not talking about what we could call the general call of the gospel, the general outward invitation of the gospel. We’re talking about something that comes only to the predestined and results in justification. And that is why it is called an efficacious call, or an effectual call.
Now, I want you to look at the word “called” here.
It’s part of a group of words that come out of a root kaleō… kaleō. Kaleō means “to call into one’s presence,” or “to summon.”
It is used, for example, in Matthew 2:7, where it says, “Herod called the magi into his court and they came.”
The word can be used in less serious circumstances, but it is the word that is used in the Scripture to speak of a summons. In fact, it is so descriptive that we as believers actually are “the called.”
We are the called, the church is the ekklēsia, not from kaleō, but from ekkaleō. Kaleō to be summoned. Ekkaleō a stronger word, a stronger summons, to be called out and the church then becomes the noun form of that verb, “the called out ones.” So, if you ask what is a church? It is the assembly of those called, summoned.
Now, this becomes very clear throughout the Scripture, not just Romans 8. So I want to do a little Bible study with you.
” Romans 1:1,5, 6″ – a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.” He’s a good one to look at for this kind of call because when the call of God came on the life of the apostle Paul, it was a sovereign, divine, gracious, and irresistible summons. He was slammed in to the dirt on the road to Damascus with nothing to do but respond. He is called as an apostle.
Down in verse 6 he’s talking about the “obedience of faith.” In verse 5, obeying the gospel, “among whom you also are the called. You are the called ones of Jesus Christ to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called saints – ” called holy ones. You are the called, the holy ones, the ones called out.T
To continue this study