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Doctrine of Salvation: The Gospel Call

December 5, 2021 Series: Great Doctrines of the Christian Faith

Scripture: John 6:41–45

Review/ Introduction

Last week we finished working through Chapter 8 of the Confession by looking at the Doctrine of Christ.

Today, instead of moving on to Chapter 9, we are going to continue with our train of thought and discuss Chapter 10 – the Doctrine of Salvation.

  • And look at how the application of redemption, which was discussed during the atonement, begins with the call of the gospel.

Let us begin by reading Chapter 10 – Articles 1 & 2 of the Confession

Here we are introduced to the Doctrine of Salvation, beginning with the Calling.

What is the Call to Salvation?

  • In general, it is God's gracious act of inviting sinners to accept the salvation that is offered in Jesus Christ

The Concept of the Call to Salvation

Notice – the call proceeds from God to the sinner…. not the other way around

  • 1 Peter 5:10
    • Never does it say in Scripture that we have called ourselves unto God.
    • God calls us to Jesus Christ who is our Redeemer.

Also notice, Article 2 speaks of something termed the “effectual call”

What are we to understand by this? How does this apply to those who never respond to the gospel?

That the call to salvation, therefore, is to be understood in the sense that there are two outcomes within one, outward proclamation.

Rather, there are two effects, two results of the one Call to Salvation.

The External Call of the Gospel

There is what is known as the external call and the effectual call.

We will first look at the external call (the general call of the gospel)

  • Matthew 28:19, 20 -> There is an outward call to teach about Christ

The external call goes out everywhere

  • offering salvation by earnest exhortation to accept Christ by faith to any that hear it
  • that the elect who are regenerate by the Spirit of God
    • may obtain forgiveness of sins through the work of Jesus Christ
    • may obtain eternal life through the work of Jesus Christ.

The call does state that God sincerely loves a specific or certain individual

The call does proclaim

  • that there is life and salvation in Christ for those who believe in Him

The call does proclaim

  • that there is life and salvation in Christ for those who God will bring.


  • brings them
  • regenerates them
  • restores them
  • and gives faith and repentance to come and embrace a loving Savior

It is right to say

  • that God does give his life to His elect, to His people

It is not right to say

  • that God loves all men.

God is good to all men, yes. (Matthew 5:45)

God does act in ways of mercy and longsuffering to all men, yes. (Romans 9:22)

But -> God does not love all men, soteriologically speaking.

God loves His -> those for whom He sent Christ to die for, to be redeemed.

God hates the wicked. Psalm 11:5, 5:5 (as opposed to the righteous)

The call does not state that God sincerely desires the salvation of all men.

1 Timothy 2: 1-6, 1 Timothy 4:10

  • The phrase “all men” cannot be understood in isolation
  • The phrase “all men” must always be interpreted within the universe of the passage within which it occurs.
  • Sometimes, it can refer to every individual without exception
    • Rom 03:23
    • Rom 5:14-19 (yet here there is an exception, 18b)

Here, it is applying to categories of men, or all types or all kinds of men

Applying “all men” always to be all-inclusive of all men everywhere is a misrepresentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The external call of the gospel

  • It is not a salvation that is sincerely given to all men
  • It is not a salvation that is offered to all men in the sense that God should desire all men to be saved.
    • For what thing could God desire that He is not able to obtain?
    • For who can frustrate and stand in the way of God?

We are not to say that God sincerely desires the salvation of all men.

  • If God desired the salvation of all men, then
    • God would have willed the salvation of all men
    • God would have fully and completely saved all men

God does not extend a call to what He has not purposed in His divine decree.l

God desires the salvation of His elect through the mediatorial work of Christ.

Therefore, it is improper to say God extends a desire that all men should be saved.

That is not to say that the call should not go out universally

The gospel must be preached

  • unto all the nations (Mark 13:10)
  • to every family every kindred and tribe every people (Rev 14:6)

 The call of the gospel is to be preached to all men, everywhere, saying…

  • that there is salvation in Christ to those who hunger and thirst after him.
  • That these is salvation to all those whom call upon His name (Rom 10:13)

The Call Goes Out Without Distinction

God sets out in the Gospel that Christ is the savior of all those who believe.

But God does not desire the salvation of all men

  • AND is just not capable of accomplishing it for all of them
  • AND falls just short of accomplishing His will and needs the cooperation of man to complete His work

God is fully capable and does, without fail, accomplish His desires. (Isaiah 55:11)

The gospel is to be preached to exhort men to embrace Christ as their Savior.

  • There is no personal direction from God as to which person will respond
  • There is simply the holding forth of Christ as the redeemer

The gospel is to be preached to exhort men to embrace Christ as their Savior.

  • Christ is, from what we learned about the Atonement, is the redeemer of God’s elect
  • Christ loves his church
  • Christ redeemed the elect.
  • Christ died for them.
  • Christ secured salvation for them.

We do not know who the elect are because God has not revealed that to us.

  • Therefore, it is required that the Gospel is to be preached to every creature
  • It is required to call everyone to be disciples

Simplicity of the External Call

The invitation to accept Christ is:

  • by faith alone for salvation
  • for those who are able to come, to come. (Isaiah 55:1)

Therefore, the Call to Salvation, the General call is made to all men everywhere

  • To sincerely invite men to come to Christ through the preaching the gospel
  • They will come if God has so worked in their heart and predetermined it and had so given it unto them to come (John 6:65)
  • They will come is they are thirsty and desire to eat of the tree of life ... that is to eat of Christ

That is the simple Call.

  • No schemes
  • No tricks
  • No fancy arguments
  • No empty promises of ritual recitations

It is simply the promise of forgiveness and salvation to all who come by faith

  • Those with true faith
  • All who truly come to the foot of the cross of Christ by faith have never been turned away.

The Two Results of the Call of the Gospel

This call of the gospel will have one of two results

  • Not Effectual
    • It will be as foolishness to them (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)
    • The world cannot come to a knowledge of God by their own wisdom.
    • The world comes to a knowledge of God
      • through the foolishness of preaching the Gospel
      • through a proclamation of God's truth of God's
    • Effectual
      • Unto those which are saved, it is the power of God.
      • Unto those which are saved, it is salvation.

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