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DOCTRINE OF COMMON AND EFFICACIOUS GRACE

(Formerly called the doctrine of the Convicting Ministry of the Spirit)


4/27/77, 11/30/77; Eph 782ff 4/7/88, 801ff, 1024 3/19/89
A. Real Spiritual Death.
1. Real spiritual death is the condition of all mankind at the moment of physical
birth when God imputes to each one of us Adam's original sin.
a. As a real imputation, Adam's original sin is imputed to the geneticallyformed oldsin nature in the cell structure of the body.
b. At the same time, God creates and imputes human life to the soul.
Biological life is not human life. God creates human life and imputes it to the soul at the
point of physical birth.
2. Being born spiritually dead means we have spiritual brain death, meaning that
we cannot understand anything related to the spiritual life or to Bible doctrine, including
the Gospel.
3. There are three basic characteristics of real spiritual death.
a. Total depravity includes the trend toward both moral and immoral
degeneration. A person will eventually become either morally or immorally degenerate
apart from two categories of restraint.
(1) The laws of divine establishment motivate a certain category
of virtue in unbelievers.
(2) Regeneration motivates an even greater virtue in believers who
learn Bible doctrine.
b. Total separation from God.
c. Total helplessness to establish a relationship with God. God must
contact us, just as He did with our original parents in the garden.
d. The problem of dichotomy means that, having only a soul and body, we
cannot comprehend spiritual phenomena.
4. Because all mankind is in the status of spiritual death, the work of salvation
must be the work of God on behalf of each one of us. That work begins with dealing
with our spiritual brain death.
5. All three persons in the Godhead are involved in helping us to have a
relationship with God.
a. God the Father is the author of the fantastic salvation plan for the
human race, which called for Him to impute and judge all our sins in Christ on the cross.
b. God the Son received that imputation and was judged for our sins, and
His shout of "TETELESTAI" on the cross proved that salvation was completed on the
cross.
c. God the Holy Spirit performs several functions for the spiritually dead
human race.
(1) His first ministry is the pre-salvation clarification of the
Gospel, classified theologically as the doctrine of common grace.
(2) Where there is positive response, God the Holy Spirit takes the
faith of the spiritually dead person and makes it effective for salvation, the doctrine of
efficacious grace.

6. These two enabling ministries of the Holy Spirit in evangelism may be


compared to breathing.
a. In the inhale, the unbeliever in a state of spiritual death listens to the
Gospel, which is made perspicuous for him by God the Holy Spirit.
b. In the exhale, the spiritually dead person believes in Christ, whose faith
is made effectual for salvation through the ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
c. Note that in efficacious grace, God the Holy Spirit only makes faith
effective for salvation; He does not make any system of human works effective.
d. The works of the spiritually dead person are dead works. Dead works
depend upon the power and ability of the spiritually dead person, who is characterized by
total depravity, total separation, and total helplessness.
e. None of us would have eternal life were it not for the fact that the
Father sent the Son, and that the Son went to the cross and was judged for our sins.
These facts are commonly understood. Not as well understood is the tremendous grace
ministry of God the Holy Spirit in our so-great salvation.
7. In the function of evangelism, there are two categories of volition from the
spiritually dead.
a. The volition of the unbeliever, who in spiritual brain death cannot
comprehend the Gospel, but makes a decision to listen, a totally non-meritorious decision
which is compatible with grace. He cannot comprehend the Gospel, but the Holy Spirit
makes it understandable.
b. The volition of the spiritually dead person who responds to the Gospel
exhales faith in Christ. Though that faith is ineffective, coming from a spiritually dead
person, it is made effective by the Holy Spirit.
8. These two functions of the spiritually dead person are noted in Eph 1:13, "In
whom also, when you heard [common grace] the message of truth, the Gospel of your
salvation [content of common grace], in whom also, when you believed [efficacious
grace], you were sealed by the Holy Spirit with reference to the promise." There are four
meanings to this signature guarantee of the Holy Spirit.
a. The sealing of the Holy Spirit is a guarantee of the validity of common
and efficacious grace.
b. It is a guarantee of eternal salvation.
c. It is a guarantee of eternal security.
d. It is the guarantee of your very own portfolio of invisible assets, which
include your escrow blessings for time and eternity.
9. Therefore, there are three grace functions of divine sovereignty in evangelism.
a. The ministry of God the Holy Spirit in making the Gospel
understandable, lucid, comprehensible, and perspicuous.
b. The invitation of God the Father and God the Son to believe in Jesus
Christ, classified as the divine call. The divine call is understanding the Gospel in the left
lobe.
c. The omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit in making faith in Jesus Christ
effective for eternal salvation. The spiritually dead person can listen to the Gospel and
believe in Jesus Christ. But these decisions are powerless to provide salvation apart from
the work of God.

10. The spiritually dead person is impotent, incapacitated, and powerless to be saved
through his own works, merit, and ability. Man is constantly wanting to do something to
impress God. But God the Father is impressed only with the work of God the Son.
11. The omnipotence of God provides the ability to accept the invitation to believe in
Jesus Christ.
B. Definition and Description.
1. Common grace is the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in making the Gospel
lucid, perspicuous, and understandable to the person who is spiritually brain dead, i.e., to
all unbelievers.
2. Efficacious grace is the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in making the faith of
the spiritually dead person effective for eternal salvation.
3. Common and efficacious grace emphasize the total helplessness of the
spiritually dead person. No matter what a spiritually dead person can do, it is not
salvation. Salvation is accomplished by faith alone in Jesus Christ, the one thing that
God the Holy Spirit can make effective.
4. The spiritually dead person can make legitimate decisions to listen to the
Gospel and to believe in Christ. But these positive decisions originate from spiritual
death, and so they have no ability apart from the ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
5. This emphasizes the importance of God the Holy Spirit in evangelism. The
Holy Spirit is the sovereign executive of the Gospel.
6. The works of a dead person have no place in evangelism. This means that both
hearing the Gospel and believing in Jesus Christ are totally non-meritorious and totally
compatible with the grace of God.
7. The free will of mankind and the sovereignty of God coexist in human history
by divine decree.
8. In spiritual death, the free will of mankind is totally separated from God and
totally helpless to do anything about it.
a. Therefore, common grace is the work of the Holy Spirit in making the
Gospel perspicuous.
b. The call of God is the invitation of God the Father to believe in Christ.
c. Efficacious grace is the work of the Holy Spirit in making faith in Jesus
Christ effective for eternal salvation.
C. The Time of the Decision to Believe in Christ.
1. Because mankind is born spiritually dead and simultaneously physically alive,
the only opportunity for eternal salvation is during the time framework of human history.
Only between birth and death do you have the opportunity for eternal life.
2. Physical life is classified as the time elapse between physical birth and
physical death.
3. There are two positive decisions the spiritually dead person can make in time,
and only in time.
a. The decision to hear the Gospel.
b. The decision to believe in Jesus Christ.
4. Once the spiritually dead person dies physically, the door is closed forever.
There is no purgatory or half-way house. No one can buy you out of hell, or pray you out

of hell. 2 Cor 6:2, "Now is the time of acceptance [while we're alive]; behold, now is the
day of salvation."
5. Therefore, the spiritually dead person must make two decisions in time, for
only in time will God the Holy Spirit validate those decisions with His ministry of
common and efficacious grace.
a. In common grace, the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit makes the
Gospel perspicuous and understandable.
b. In calling, which follows common grace, God the Father invites the
spiritually dead person to believe in Christ. It is an invitation which the New
Testament calls "the calling of God." The "calling of God" is without repentance;
God never changes His mind. He always invites everyone to believe in Christ. You
don't hear the voice of God, but you do understand the issue through the
communication of the Gospel.
c. In efficacious grace, the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit makes
faith in Christ effective for salvation.
6. The spiritually dead person can only be evangelized in time. 2 Cor 6:1-2, "We
also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain. [Isa 49:8] `At an acceptable time, I
listened to you [positive volition at common grace], and on the day of salvation, I helped
you [efficacious grace].' Behold, now is the time for acceptance [while we're alive];
behold, now is the day for salvation."
a. The grace of God refers to three categories.
(1) In common grace, the Holy Spirit makes the Gospel
perspicuous.
(2) The divine call is the invitation of God the Father to believe in
Jesus Christ for eternal salvation.
(3) In efficacious grace, the Holy Spirit makes faith in Jesus
Christ, and faith alone, effective for salvation.
b. This grace ministry of the Holy Spirit occurs in every dispensation, as
noted by the Old Testament quote.
7. The two non-meritorious decisions from a spiritually dead person can only be
made in time.
a. The decision to hear the Gospel.
b. The decision to believe in Jesus Christ. These options are not open after
physical death.
D. Mankind's Brain Death Regarding Spiritual Things.
1. At the point of Gospel hearing, the unbeliever is spiritually dead which means
he has brain death. Brain death he has no ability to comprehend spiritual things, which
includes the Gospel.
2. There are two reasons why the unbeliever is in a state of brain death regarding
spiritual phenomena.
a. Spiritual death at birth, which means total depravity, total separation
from God, and total helplessness.
b. Mankind is born dichotomous, which means he has a body and soul,
but no human spirit. Therefore, he has no frame of reference for the Gospel.

3. The dichotomous state of man is described in Jude 19, "These [unbelievers] are
the ones who cause divisions. They are soulish [PSUCHIKOS] persons, not having a
human spirit."
a. The Greek adjective PSUCHIKOS is used to describe the dichotomous
state of each one of us when we were unbelievers.
b. As an adjective, PSUCHIKOS means a soulish person.
4. So at birth, homo sapien has a body and a soul, but he does not have a human
spirit. 1 Cor 2:14,
1Co 2:14
(14) ButG1161 the naturalG5591 manG444 receivethG1209 notG3756 the thingsG3588 of theG3588
SpiritG4151 of God:G2316 forG1063 they areG2076 foolishnessG3472 unto him:G846 neitherG2532
G3756
canG1410 he knowG1097 them, becauseG3754 they are spirituallyG4153 discerned.G350

"The soulish person [dichotomous unbeliever in a state of real spiritual death] does not
accept the things of the Spirit of God [gospel, Bible doctrine], for to him, they are
foolishness [in his state of spiritual death]. In fact, he is not able to acquire [spiritual]
knowledge, because spiritual things are investigated in a spiritual manner." A spiritual
manner refers to the work of God the Holy Spirit.
5. The brain death of the unbeliever as a dichotomous being with an old sin
nature makes perception of the Gospel totally impossible. We are helpless to understand
any phase of the Gospel.
6. Without a human spirit and the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the unbeliever is
spiritually brain dead, which means he cannot comprehend the Gospel, even though he
may be a genius.
a. Job 32:8, "It is the spirit of man [human spirit] and the Spirit of the
Almighty that gives perception."
Job 32:7-9
(7) I said,H559 DaysH3117 should speak,H1696 and multitudeH7230 of yearsH8141
should teachH3045 wisdom.H2451
(8) ButH403 there is a spiritH7307 in man:H582 and the inspirationH5397 of the
AlmightyH7706 giveth them understanding.H995
(9) GreatH7227 men are notH3808 always wise:H2449 neither do the agedH2205
understandH995 judgment.H4941

b. Rom 8:16, "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are
the children of God."
Rom 8:15-17
(15) ForG1063 ye have notG3756 receivedG2983 the spiritG4151 of bondageG1397
againG3825 toG1519 fear;G5401 butG235 ye have receivedG2983 the SpiritG4151 of
adoption,G5206 wherebyG1722 G3739 we cry,G2896 Abba,G5 Father.G3962
(16) TheG3588 SpiritG4151 itselfG846 beareth witness withG4828 ourG2257 spirit,G4151
thatG3754 we areG2070 the childrenG5043 of God:G2316
(17) AndG1161 ifG1487 children,G5043 thenG2532 heirs;G2818 heirsG2818 of(G3303)
God,G2316 andG1161 joint-heirsG4789 with Christ;G5547 if so be thatG1512 we suffer
withG4841 him, thatG2443 we may be alsoG2532 glorified together.G4888

7. This means that only the believer in Jesus Christ is a trichotomous being,
having a body, soul and spirit,1Thes 5:23;Phile 25.
1Th 5:22-23
(22) AbstainG567 fromG575 allG3956 appearanceG1491 of evil.G4190
(23) AndG1161 theG3588 veryG846 GodG2316 of peaceG1515 sanctifyG37 youG5209 wholly;G3651
andG2532 I pray God yourG5216 wholeG3648 spiritG4151 andG2532 soulG5590 andG2532

bodyG4983 be preservedG5083 blamelessG274 untoG1722 theG3588 comingG3952 of ourG2257


LordG2962 JesusG2424 Christ.G5547
Phm 1:25
(25) TheG3588 graceG5485 of ourG2257 LordG2962 JesusG2424 ChristG5547 be withG3326
yourG5216 spirit.G4151 Amen.G281 Written from Rome to Philemon, by Onesimus a
servant.

a. At the moment we personally believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, God the
Holy Spirit creates in us a human spirit. The creation of the human spirit is called
regeneration.
b. To that human spirit (PNEUMA) God the Father imputes eternal life.
We already have human life which was imputed to our soul at physical birth.
8. The unbeliever in spiritual death has no human spirit. Therefore, brain death
demands an act of grace on the part of God the Holy Spirit.
9. That act of grace is the function of the Holy Spirit as a human spirit.
a. Someone communicates the Gospel. Having no human spirit, the Holy
Spirit acts as a human spirit for the perception of that doctrine in the unbeliever.
b. When that doctrine is perceived, it goes to the left lobe (NOUS) where
the issue is understood. The issue is:"He who believes on the Son shall have everlasting
life; but he who does not believe shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him[Jn
3:36]."
c. At that point, God the Father issues the divine call, an invitation to
believe in Jesus Christ.
d. Now the person's volition makes a decision, either to believe in Jesus
Christ or reject Him. Jn 3:18, "He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who
does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the
uniquely-born Son of God."
e. Yet even when a person believes in Christ, he is still spiritually dead.
However, in efficacious grace, God the Holy Spirit takes the faith of the spiritually dead
person and makes it effective for salvation.
10. However, once a person dies physically without believing in Christ, the door of
salvation is closed; nothing remains for him but the Last Judgment. Because mankind is
born physically alive and simultaneously spiritually dead, the only opportunity for
salvation is during lifetime.
11. Common grace is the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in making the Gospel
perspicuous, lucid, comprehensible, and functioning as a human spirit so that we can
understand.
12. Time is the only opportunity we have to believe in Christ.
a. Heb 9:27-28, "Just as it is destined for mankind to die once [physical
death], but after this [physical death] the judgment; so Christ also was sacrificed once for
the purpose of taking away the sins of many."
b. Jn 3:18, "He who believes in him is not judged, but he who does not
believe has been judged already because he does not believe in the name [person] of the
unique Son of God."
13. So grace begins before we are even saved at the point of God-consciousness and
Gospel hearing.
14. There are two categories of the Holy Spirit's ministry to the spiritually dead
person.

a. There is a restraint on total depravity so that the human race does not
destroy itself under two categories: moral degeneration and immoral degeneration.
b. Common grace is the ministry of the Holy Spirit in revealing the
Gospel to the unbeliever.
15. Common grace recognizes the inability of the spiritually dead person with his
spiritual brain death to understand the Gospel.
16. The reaction of spiritual brain death to the Gospel is that of foolishness. 1 Cor
1:18, "For the doctrine of the cross is, to those who are perishing, foolishness; but to us
who are saved, it is the power of God."
a. The doctrine of the cross is understanding that all personal sins in
human history were reserved for when Christ was on the cross. The omnipotence of God
the Father imputed those sins to Christ; then the justice of God the Father judged every
one of them.
b. The power of God is first seen in common grace, where God the Holy
Spirit uses His power to make the Gospel clear, lucid, understandable, and
comprehensible.
c. That's why in Rom 1:16, Paul says "For I am not ashamed of the
Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation, to everyone who believes [efficacious
grace], to the Jew first, and also to the Greek [Gentile]."
Rom 1:16
(16) ForG1063 I am notG3756 ashamedG1870 of theG3588 gospelG2098 of Christ:G5547
forG1063 it isG2076 the powerG1411 of GodG2316 untoG1519 salvationG4991 to every
oneG3956 that believeth;G4100 to the JewG2453 first,G4412 andG2532 alsoG5037 to the
Greek.G1672

17. Brain death of the unbeliever is described in Rom 8:5-8. "For those who are
according to the flesh set their minds on things of the flesh [spiritual brain death]. But
those who are according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For the
mindset of the flesh is death, but the mindset of the Spirit is life and prosperity. Because
the mindset of the flesh is hostile toward God, for it does not subject itself to God's law
because it is not able to do so [because of spiritual death]. Therefore, those in the flesh
cannot please God."
a. The mindset of the flesh is brain death of the spiritually death.
b. There is nothing we can do to please God in spiritual death. This is
why salvation is by faith alone in Christ.
c. Spiritual death is not only brain death, but total depravity, total
separation from God, and total helplessness to do anything about it.
18. The result of brain death in the spiritually dead person is described in 2 Cor 4:3-4.
"And even if our Gospel is hidden [veiled], it is hidden to those who are lost [perishing],
in whose case the god of this world [Satan] has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that
they might not see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of
God."
a. Satan is the god of this world, according to Jn 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; Eph
2:2.
Joh 16:7-11

(7) Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away:
for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart,
I will send him unto you.
(8) And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of
righteousness, and of judgment:
(9) Of sin, because they believe not on me;
(10) Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
(11) Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

Eph 2:1-6
(1) And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
(2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world,
according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh
in the children of disobedience:
(3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the
lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and
were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
(4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved
us,
(5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with
Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
(6) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly
places in Christ Jesus:
b. Satan can blind the minds of unbelievers because they are spiritually
dead. Spiritual death means brain death regarding spiritual truth, which includes the
Gospel.
19. In the function of common grace, the Holy Spirit acts as a human spirit so that the
brain death of the spiritually dead may be enlightened on one subject only, and that is the
Gospel.
a. In common grace, the unbeliever in spiritual death provides nonmeritorious hearing of the Gospel, and God the Holy Spirit provides the rest. Listening is
non-meritorious, though for some it may appear to be work.
b. In the left lobe of the soul, the Holy Spirit filters out the inaccuracies in
the Gospel presentation and emphasizes the accuracies; this is the ministry of common
grace for all mankind.
c. Once understood, God the Father invites you to believe in Christ, not
by speaking to you personally, but through your understanding the issue in the Gospel.
This is the call of God.
20. Only the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in common grace can overcome the
handicap of brain death in spiritual death.
a. The spiritually dead person listens to the Gospel. Brain death is a
barrier. He can't understand the Gospel apart from the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
b. In every case where the Gospel is presented with any degree of
accuracy, the Holy Spirit makes it perspicuous, lucid, understandable, comprehensible,
and meaningful.

21. Just as a living person cannot communicate with a dead person and visa versa, so
living evangelists cannot make perspicuous the Gospel to the spiritually dead unbeliever
who is listening to them. God the Holy Spirit is the sovereign executive of evangelism.
He makes the Gospel message understandable by acting as a human spirit. As a result,
the issue of the Gospel, "what do you think of Christ?", is comprehended.
E. The first reference to common grace is found in Gen 6:3.
1. Gen 6:3, "Then the Lord [God the Father] said, `My Spirit [Holy Spirit] shall
not convince [convict] inside mankind forever [common grace], for in his going astray
[total depravity], he is also flesh [spiritually dead]. Nevertheless, his days shall be 120
years.'"
2. The Spirit's function in common grace is to convince.
3. It would be 120 years from the moment this was spoken until the Flood and the
physical death of that generation minus eight people. So those 120 years were the last
opportunity for salvation.
4. The Holy Spirit would keep convicting man about salvation until the Flood
came; then they would all die except for eight people.
5. Salvation was provided before our Lord's physical death. This sets the pattern.
There is no opportunity for salvation after our physical death.
6. The Holy Spirit convicted Noah's generation that the Gospel was true for
another 120 years before the Flood came, yet men still rejected it.
7. Death terminates the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit. The principle is
that physical death is your last opportunity for making the decision to believe in Christ.
F. The Mechanics of Common Grace.
1. The mechanics for common grace are found in Jn 16:8-11, "And He [Holy
Spirit], when He comes [Church Age], will convince the world [of unbelievers]
concerning three things: sin, righteousness, and judgment; concerning sin, because they
do not believe in Me; concerning righteousness, because I go to My Father and you no
longer see Me; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world [Satan] has been
judged."
a. "When He comes" is a prophecy of the ministry of the Holy Spirit as it
will exist in the Church Age. While the ministry of common grace by the Holy Spirit
always occurs in every dispensation, there is a new emphasis and renewed presentation of
the Gospel, now that Jesus Christ has been resurrected, ascended, and seated at the right
hand of the Father. All effective evangelism must line up with this concept.
b. Since the salvation work of Jesus Christ has already occurred in the
dispensation of the Hypostatic Union, the nature of the ministry of the Holy Spirit has a
new emphasis.
c. There are three areas of evangelism in which the omnipotence of the
Holy Spirit functions in common grace: sin, righteousness, and judgment.
d. Because of brain death in the spiritually dead person, he cannot
understand these concepts apart from the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit in common
grace.
2. Jn 16:9, "Concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me."

a. The only sin for which Christ was not judged on the cross was rejection
of Himself. In the presentation of the Gospel, personal sin is not an issue because all
personal sins were judged on the cross, 2 Cor 5:14-15, 19; 1 Tim 2:6, 4:10; Tit 2:11; Heb
2:9;
2 Pet 2:1; 1 Jn 2:2.
b. Since Christ was our substitute and judged for our sins on the cross,
"sin" here refers specifically to one sin only: the refusal to believe in Jesus Christ.
c. Personal sin is not an issue, not even at the Last Judgment, because all
sins in history were judged at the cross. Personal sin is an issue in total depravity of
spiritual death, but personal sin is never an issue in the Gospel. You must remember this
when communicating the Gospel.
d. The issue in the Gospel is what our Lord said on the cross:
"TETELESTAI," the perfect active indicative of the Greek verb TELEO, which means
"Finished in the past with the result that it stands finished forever." Salvation is finished
on the cross. A spiritually dead person is incapable of doing anything for salvation, or
adding anything to the completed work of Christ. If you add anything to faith, then there
is no salvation.
e. Hence the issue is faith & faith alone in Jesus Christ.
f. The spiritual death of Jesus Christ on the cross satisfied all the
righteous demands of God the Father. This is called propitiation.
g. The spiritual death of Jesus Christ on the cross is the basis for
deliverance from the slave market of sin. This is called redemption.
h. The spiritual death of Jesus Christ on the cross is the basis for
removing the barrier between God and man. This is called reconciliation.
i. The spiritual death of Jesus Christ on the cross is the basis for judgment
of all personal sins in history. This is called unlimited atonement.
j. Condemnation at the Last Judgment is not based on personal sins, as so
many evangelists teach. The sins of the unbeliever will never be mentioned at the Last
Judgment because they were judged on the cross. Under the law of double jeopardy, they
cannot be judged again at the second resurrection of unbelievers and the Last Judgment,
called the Great White Throne Judgment.
k. Instead, what was not judged on the cross is the basis for the indictment
of the unbeliever. There are two sets of books at the Last Judgment.
(1) The Lamb's Book of Life at the end of history is a registry of
believers only. The unbeliever's name was blotted out of it when he died without
believing in Christ.
(2) The Book of Works list all the human good works the
unbeliever ever did. They all add up to -R or relative righteousness. Jesus Christ, sitting
on the Great White Throne, is +R or absolute righteousness. -R cannot have fellowship
with +R. Therefore, the unbeliever is indicted on this basis and sentenced to the lake of
fire.
3. Jn 16:10, "And concerning righteousness, because I go to My Father and you
no longer see Me."
a. As God, Jesus Christ is infinite, perfect, eternal, immutable
righteousness.
b. As true humanity, Jesus Christ is impeccable, for His humanity resides
in the prototype divine dynasphere; therefore, He is perfect trichotomous humanity.

10

c. As God, Jesus Christ is said in Latin to be NON POSSE PECARE, i.e.,


not able to sin. As true humanity inside the divine dynasphere, Jesus Christ is said to be
POSSE NON PECARE, i.e., able not to sin.
d. At the termination of the dispensation of the Hypostatic Union, the
perfect resurrected humanity of Jesus Christ ascended into the presence of God the
Father, where His righteousness was totally acceptable in heaven forever.
e. As eternal God, God the Son and God the Father are coequal and
coeternal. That was not the issue here however. For it was the humanity of Christ in a
resurrection body that ascended. When He came into the presence of the Father, the
Father said, "Sit down at My right hand until I make your enemies your footstool." Only
humanity can sit down.
f. So it is the perfect righteousness of the humanity of Christ that was
acceptable in heaven. This explains why the Old Testament saints did not reside in
heaven until perfect humanity with perfect righteousness was accepted. At this point,
those Old Testament saints were transferred from paradise or Abraham's bosom into the
third heaven.
g. The perfect humanity of Christ was the first humanity in heaven in two
categories: He was the first resurrected humanity and the first perfect humanity.
h. So Jn 16:10 refers to our Lord's impeccability, which qualified Him to
go to the cross and be judged for our sins, and to ascend in a resurrection body to the
presence of God the Father.
i. No human being ever went to heaven until Christ went there first. Until
then, believers went to paradise in hades, which is in the heart of the earth. The transfer
of the Old Testament saints from paradise to heaven was not made until Jesus Christ went
there first in resurrection. This is because no imputed righteousness to a human being
was ever accepted in heaven until our Lord's righteousness was accepted.
j. Paul mentions the new paradise in heaven in 2Cor 12:1-4 and Eph 4:8,
10, where the Old Testament saints now reside.
k. All members of the human race who believe in Christ possess the
perfect righteousness of Christ at the moment they believe. This is the basis for
justification and acceptability. Perfect righteousness is imputed to us at salvation.
(1) Rom 3:22, "Even the righteousness of God through faith in
Jesus Christ for all those who believe."
(2) Rom 5:1, "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have
peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
(3) Rom 3:20, "Because by the works of the law, no flesh shall be
justified in His sight. For through the law is the knowledge of sin."
(4) Rom 3:28, "We maintain that man is justified by faith apart
from the works of the law."
l. The righteousness of God is accepted in heaven. The righteousness of
God is imputed to us at the moment we believe in Christ.
m. The convicting or convincing ministry of the Holy Spirit in common
grace deals with the fact that there is a barrier between God and man. This barrier is
removed by the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

11

n. If we are to live with God forever, we must possess both the perfect
righteousness and eternal life of God. Both are imputed to us at the moment we believe
in Christ. These are two of the forty things we receive at salvation.
o. The righteousness of God the Father comes to us through imputation.
The righteousness of God the Son comes to us through the baptism of the Spirit. So as
members of the royal family of God, we have a double righteousness.
p. Spiritually dead mankind cannot produce a righteousness which is
satisfactory to God, nor the equivalent of God's righteousness. The principle is that -R
cannot have fellowship with +R.
q. So according to Jn 16:10, divine righteousness is one of the areas in
which the Holy Spirit convinces us with regard to the Gospel.
r. Once our Lord Jesus Christ was resurrected, ascended, and seated at the
right hand of God the Father, there was no visible demonstration of perfect righteousness
on earth. Therefore, it is the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in common grace to make
perspicuous and understandable the importance of imputed righteousness as a
qualification for living with God forever.
s. So far, we've noted the emphasis of God the Holy Spirit's revelation of
the Gospel, which includes the importance of two things: faith alone in Jesus Christ for
salvation, and the imputation of divine righteousness to the one who believes in Jesus
Christ.
t. Spiritual death produces a relative righteousness which is not acceptable
to God. Isa 64:6, "Our righteousnesses are as filthy rags in His sight."
u. While personal sins are not used at the Last Judgment, two things are
used to indict the unbeliever in his status of spiritual death.
(1) An inadequate righteousness because spiritual death cannot
produce an absolute righteousness.
(2) Inadequate works because spiritual death can only produce
dead works.
4. Jn 16:11, "And concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been
judged."
a. Satan is the ruler of this world, Jn 12;41, 14:30, 16:11; 2 Cor 4:4; Eph
2:2.
b. Prior to human history, both Satan and all fallen angels were tried,
judged, found guilty, and a sentence was passed. The sentence passed on Satan and all
fallen angels is recorded briefly in Mt 25:41. "Then He said also to those on His left
hand, `Depart from Me, you accursed ones, into eternal fire which has been prepared for
the devil and his angels.'"
c. This sentence was appealed by Satan, with the result that mankind was
created, and human history was invented by God as the environment for Satan's appeal
trial.
d. Mankind was created to resolve the angelic conflict. Like angelic
creatures, mankind was given free will to demonstrate to Satan and all fallen angels the
validity of God's judgment on them.
e. The human being who rejects Jesus Christ as Savior, who follows the
pattern of fallen angels in rejecting Christ, will share in the condemnation and eternal
judgment of Satan and the fallen angels, according to Rev 20:10-15.

12

f. Jn 3:18, "He who believes in Him is not judged; but he who does not
believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the person of the
uniquely-born Son of God."
g. Rev 20:15, "If anyone's name was not found written in the Book of
Life, he was cast into the lake of fire." The Book of Life is a registry of everyone who
has believed in Christ.
G. Concluding Principles of Common Grace.
1. "Common grace" is theological nomenclature for the function of the
omnipotence of the Holy Spirit in making the Gospel lucid, perspicuous, understandable,
and comprehensible to the spiritually dead person. With his brain death, he not capable
of understanding spiritual phenomena.
2. The brain death of the spiritually dead person is described in 1 Cor 2:11. "For
what man understands the things of man except [the spirit of life] man's frame of
reference which is in him? Even so the things of God no one has known except the Spirit
of God."
a. We only have a human frame of reference. We have no spiritual frame
of reference; we are dependent upon the Holy Spirit to understand the Gospel.
b. The last sentence refers to the enabling power of God the Holy Spirit to
make the Gospel comprehensible and perspicuous.
3. In the function of the Holy Spirit in common grace, neither human works,
human merit, nor human righteousness is revealed. Instead, it is the work of Jesus Christ
on the cross that is revealed, the merit of Jesus Christ as Savior, and the perfect
righteousness of Christ which qualified Him to be the lamb without spot or blemish, and
therefore to be our substitute on the cross.
4. Common grace is the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit breaking through
spiritual brain death to communicate the Gospel to us as it is accurately presented.
5. The Holy Spirit is the sovereign executive of evangelism. We as believers are
the agents. Those with the gift of evangelism witness as their full-time function. Those
without the gift are ambassadors for Christ, and therefore we also have the responsibility
of witnessing for Him.
6. Without the ministry of the Holy Spirit in common and efficacious grace, none
of us would be here. None of us could have understood even the first principle of the
Gospel.
7. Anything the unbeliever adds to faith is works. The works of the unbeliever
are dead works which cannot save, according to Eph 2:9. Tit 3:5, "He saved us, not on
the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but on the basis of His mercy by
the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit." The Holy Spirit
renewed us by creating for us a human spirit.
8. Dead works depend on human power which has no efficacy because of
spiritual death. It takes divine power to help the helpless unbeliever, the spiritually dead
person.
9. Divine and human power are mutually exclusive. Therefore, the omnipotence
of God the Holy Spirit in common grace is provided.
10. Divine and human I.Q. are mutually exclusive. Therefore, God the Holy Spirit
provides the spiritual I.Q. for the perception of the Gospel.

13

11. Therefore, common grace emphasizes the inability of the unbeliever to understand
the Gospel apart from the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit. Post-salvation epistemological
rehabilitation emphasizes the inability of the believer to understand Bible doctrine apart
from the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit inside the divine dynasphere.
12. So in common grace, the Holy Spirit functions as a human spirit to provide the
spiritual I.Q. In post-salvation epistemological rehabilitation, the Holy Spirit is the
spiritual I.Q. for the believer who resides in the divine dynasphere.
13. Before salvation, the spiritually dead person is dichotomous, 1 Cor 2:14; Jude 19.
14. In regeneration, the Holy Spirit creates a human spirit for two purposes.
a. The Holy Spirit imputes eternal life at salvation.
b. The Holy Spirit teaches the human spirit after salvation, Rom 8:6.
15. Hence, the believer is trichotomous, Mt 26:41; 1 Thes 5:23; Phile 25.
16. When Bible doctrine is taught by whomever is your right pastor, only residence in
the divine dynasphere under the enabling power of the Holy Spirit teaches and makes that
Bible doctrine perspicuous, Jn 14:26, 16:12-14; 1 Cor 2:9-16.
17. In the pre-salvation ministry of the Spirit, called common grace, the Holy Spirit
teaches the spiritually dead person the Gospel, making it lucid, perspicuous, and
understandable.
18. The work of the Holy Spirit in common grace is antecedent to both the divine call
from God the Father and the ministry of the Holy Spirit in efficacious grace.
19. In common grace, Jesus Christ is presented as the only Savior, and faith in Christ
is presented as the only means of salvation.
1 Cor 1:18, 2:14; Jn 6:44; Rom 8:7; 2 Cor
4:3-4.
H. The Call of God.
1. Definition.
a. The call of God includes two concepts.
(1) The invitation of God the Father to the spiritually dead person
to believe in Jesus Christ after the Gospel has been communicated to and understood by
the unbeliever.
(2) The election of the believer.
b. The invitation of God the Father to believe in Jesus Christ is the logical
and inevitable result of the doctrine of common grace. Once we listen to the Gospel and
hear an accurate presentation, God the Holy Spirit makes that information lucid,
perspicuous, comprehensible, and understandable. That is grace. Under total depravity,
we are unable to understand spiritual phenomena or do anything to have a relationship
with God.
c. However, God the Father doesn't issue this invitation verbally; no one
hears the voice of God. God no longer reveals Himself outside of the canon of Scripture,
since the Bible has been completed and circulated in the post-Canon period of the Church
Age.
d. Therefore, the invitation of God the Father comes to us through
understanding the issue of the Gospel, which is Jesus Christ. Believe in Him and you
have eternal life; reject Him and you have eternal condemnation. This constitutes the
invitation of God the Father, which the Scripture calls "the call" or "the calling of God."

14

e. The election of the believer is something God the Father knew billions
of years ago. He knew who would believe in Christ and who would not, and He elected
those who would believe.
f. The call of God follows the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in common
grace. In Rom 1:6-7, the invitation or calling is said to originate from both God the
Father and God the Son. "Among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ. To all
who are beloved of God [the Father] in Rome, called [invited] to be saints: grace to you
and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ." So this is a double invitation:
from God the Father and from our Lord.
Rom 1:6-7
(6) AmongG1722 whomG3739 areG2075 yeG5210 alsoG2532 the calledG2822 of
JesusG2424 Christ:G5547
(7) To allG3956 that beG5607 inG1722 Rome,G4516 belovedG27 of God,G2316 calledG2822
to be saints:G40 GraceG5485 to youG5213 andG2532 peaceG1515 fromG575 GodG2316
ourG2257 Father,G3962 andG2532 the LordG2962 JesusG2424 Christ.G5547

g. Generally, the call of God is said to originate from God the Father.
Rom 8:30, "And whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these
He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified."
Rom 8:30
(30) MoreoverG1161 whomG3739 he did predestinate,G4309 themG5128 he
alsoG2532 called:G2564 andG2532 whomG3739 he called,G2564 themG5128 he alsoG2532
justified:G1344 andG1161 whomG3739 he justified,G1344 themG5128 he alsoG2532
glorified.G1392

h. There are a number of passages in which the word "calling" occurs.


(1) Rom 11:29, "For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable."
The calling of God is irrevocable in the sense of efficacious grace. The gifts of God are
irrevocable in that, at the moment of salvation, one of the forty things we receive is a
spiritual gift.
(2) 1 Cor 1:2, "To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those
who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus [baptism of the Spirit], saints by calling."
(3) 1 Cor 1:9, "God [Father] is faithful, through whom you were
called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord."
(4) 1 Cor 1:24, "But to those who are called, both Jews and
Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God."
(5) 1 Cor 1:26, "For consider your call, brethren, that there were
not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble." What you
were before salvation, your human attractiveness or achievement is not the issue. The
issue is grace.
(6) Gal 1:6, "I am amazed that you so quickly have deserted the
One [Father] who called you by the grace of Christ, and have now turned to a different
Gospel." God the Father called them when Paul gave them the Gospel. The different
Gospel is faith plus works.
(7) Eph 4:1, "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, exhort you to
walk in a manner worthy of your station in life, for which you have been called." Your
station in life is now royal family, and it requires that you learn a lot of things.

15

(8) Eph 4:4, "There is one body [royal family] and one Spirit
[ministry of Holy Spirit in common grace], just as you were called in one hope [hope one
means that when you believe in Christ you have eternal life] of your calling."
i. The invitation has two sources: God the Father, and God the Son
during the Hypostatic Union. Most passages dealing with God the Father are obvious.
However, passages dealing with Jesus Christ doing the calling, related to His ministry in
the Hypostatic Union, are not always clear.
j. The invitation to salvation, or the doctrine of calling, follows the
principle of coming to Christ, not inviting Christ to come to us.
k. The calling of God is an invitation to believe in Jesus Christ for
salvation. Therefore, inviting Christ into your heart or into your life is blasphemous.
You don't invite Christ anywhere as an unbeliever. That is the reverse of the calling of
God.
2. The Call of Jesus Christ.
a. As an exception, the divine call was given during the dispensation of
the Hypostatic Union, i.e., the First Advent and Incarnation, by our Lord Jesus Christ. In
Mt 11:28, Jesus said, "Come to Me, all of you who are weary and heavy-laden [under
pressure], and I will give you rest."
(1) This is a reference to one of the earliest and most important
problem solving devices to young believers, i.e., the faith-rest drill.
(2) This is an invitation from our Jesus Christ during the
dispensation of the Hypostatic Union.
b. Jn 6:35, "Jesus said to them, `I am the bread of life. He who comes to
Me shall never hunger, and He who believes in Me shall never thirst.'"
(1) Both of the above passages have in common the phrase "Come
to Me." So in believing in Christ for salvation, we go to God; we respond to God's
invitation. No one is saved by inviting Christ to come to him, by inviting Christ into our
heart, which is a garbage dump, or into our life, which is in the status quo of spiritual
death, Rom 5:12ff.
(2) You cannot be saved by inviting Christ anywhere. That is the
quintessence of human arrogance, and it is a distortion of the passage in Revelation about
knocking, an invitation for fellowship to the believer only.
(3) Everywhere in the Scripture, it is clear that salvation is by faith
alone. Not by your invitation to God.
c. Jn 6:37, "He that comes to Me I will never cast out." That means that
once you believe in Christ, you have eternal life, and there is nothing you can do to
cancel the work of God. It is arrogance to think you can do something to cancel your
salvation, or that you have the power to in some way cancel the grace of God.
d. Jn 6:47, "Truly, truly, I say to you, He who believes in Me has eternal
life."
e. Jn 10:9, "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved,
and shall go in and out and find pasture." The pasture is the perception, metabolization,
and application of Bible doctrine.
f. Before you hear the calling or invitation from God, you must
understand common grace through the ministry of God the Holy Spirit; i.e., the

16

presentation of the Gospel. Jn 10:11, "I am the good shepherd, and the good shepherd
lays down his life as a substitute for the sheep."
g. Jn 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the
Father except through Me."
3. Scripture Documenting the Divine Call.
a. Col 3:15, "You were called into one body." This invitation to the
believer in Christ includes becoming a member of the royal family of God.
b. 1 Thes 2:12, "So that you may walk in a manner worthy of God, who
calls you into His own kingdom and glory."
c. 1 Thes 4:24, "Faithful is He who calls you, who will also bring it to
pass." In other words, when you respond to the invitation and believe in Christ, He
provides for you forty things at the moment of salvation.
d. 2 Thes 1:11, "And to this end, we pray for you always, that our God
may count you worthy of your calling and fulfill every desire for integrity and the work
of faith with power."
(1) To be worthy of our calling, we must grow in grace and
execute the protocol plan of God. We must reside inside our very own palace, the
operational-type divine dynasphere.
(2) Many of the challenges found in the New Testament are
challenges to be worthy of our calling.
e. 2 Tim 1:9, "Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not
according to works, but according to His purpose and grace which was given to us in
Christ Jesus from eternity past." We cannot be saved by faith + anything else. God does
all the work. Faith is the only non-meritorious system of perception. Faith alone in Jesus
Christ provides eternal salvation.
f. Heb 3:1, "Therefore holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling."
g. Heb 9:15, "Those who have been called may receive the promise of
eternal inheritance." When we are called, we respond by faith in Jesus Christ. At that
moment, we receive eternal life from God.
h. 1 Pet 1:15, "The Holy One who called you."
i. 1 Pet 5:10, "The God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in
Christ."
j. 2 Pet 1:3, "Seeing that His divine omnipotence has given to us
everything pertaining to life and godliness through the epignosis knowledge of Him who
called us to His glory and virtue."
k. The divine call is found abundantly in the New Testament: Rom 1:1, 67, 8:28, 30, 9:11, 24, 29; 1 Cor 1:1-2, 9, 24, 26, 7:15, 18, 20; Eph 4:1, 4; Col 3:15; 1 Thes
2:12, 4:17, 5:24; 2 Thes 2:14; 1 Tim 6:12; 2 Tim 1:9; Heb 3:1, 9:15; 1 Pet 1:15, 2:9, 21,
3:9, 5:10; 2 Pet 1:3.
4. Summary of the Call of God.
a. The calling of God is defined as the divine invitation to the spiritually
dead person to believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life.
b. This calling from God follows common grace and precedes efficacious
grace. Therefore, it is the link between common and efficacious grace.

17

c. The call of God invites the spiritually dead person to believe in Jesus
Christ for eternal salvation. This call or divine invitation clarifies the issue in salvation,
and limits it to faith and faith alone in Jesus Christ.
d. The divine invitation to the spiritually dead person excludes any system
of works added to faith. For example: inviting Christ into your heart, or inviting Christ
into your life.
e. There are three reasons why nothing can be added to faith in Christ for
salvation.
(1) The direct statement of the Word of God.
(2) The statement of our Lord on the cross,Jn 19:30, "Therefore,
when Jesus had received the wine, He said, `It is finished [TETELESTAI]!'" The
intensive perfect active indicative of TELEO means to stand finished forever with the
result that salvation was completed on the cross while our Lord was still alive. Therefore,
nothing can be added to the work of Christ.
(3) The ministry of the Holy Spirit in efficacious grace by which
He makes only our faith in Christ efficacious for our salvation.
f. The content of common grace emphasizes the work of Christ on the
cross. But no system of salvation by works is revealed by God the Holy Spirit.
g. The calling or divine invitation by God, which follows common grace,
invites the spiritually dead unbeliever to believe in Jesus Christ, but does not invite the
spiritually dead person to lordship salvation, commitment salvation, salvation by morality
or keeping the Law, salvation through ritual or water baptism, salvation through emotion,
salvation through inviting Christ into your life or heart. All these are systems of salvation
by works, and they are excluded. When you add anything to faith in Christ, you have
canceled the efficacy of that faith.
h. In efficacious grace, the Holy Spirit makes only faith in Jesus Christ
effective for salvation. No works are added to faith. Efficacious grace follows the
invitation. We respond to the invitation by believing in Jesus Christ.
(1) While faith is non-meritorious, the faith of the spiritually dead
person is totally helpless in itself to provide eternal life. It must be picked up by God the
Holy Spirit and made effective.
(2) Being spiritually dead, we are under total depravity, with our
old sin nature in control. It means we are totally separated from God, and totally helpless
to do anything about it. There is no system of works we can do by which we can gain the
approbation of God. It is all done for us at the cross.
(3) Being condemned at birth demonstrates the fantastic wisdom
of God. Condemnation must precede salvation, and therefore, if one dies before reaching
the age of accountability, he goes to heaven.
(4) Faith in itself is totally non-meritorious. Faith in Jesus Christ
comes from a person who is spiritually dead, having only a body and soul. He is brain
dead regarding spiritual things.
(5) However, under common grace, the Holy Spirit makes the
Gospel lucid and understandable, so that you come to understand that Christ, not sin, is
the issue. Then when you believe in Christ, you're still spiritually dead, so that your nonmeritorious faith has no ability to procure salvation. Therefore, under efficacious grace,
God the Holy Spirit picks up that faith and makes it effective for salvation.

18

i. Generally, the word used for the call of God is the Greek verb KALEO.
It is generally accompanied by one of three Greek prepositional phrases.
(1) DIA plus the genitive means "though." We are "called
through" the Gospel, as in 2 Thes 2:14. The Gospel has been understood in common
grace, and we respond to that call by faith in Christ.
(2) EN plus the locative of sphere is used with KALEO in several
ways.
(a) We are called in the sphere of grace, Gal 1:6.
(b) We are called in the sphere of hope, Eph 4:4.
(c) We are called in the sphere of peace, 1 Cor 7:15.
(d) We are called in the sphere of holiness, 1 Thes 4:7.
(3) EIS connotes the purpose of the calling or invitation from God
to believe in Christ.
(a) We are "called into fellowship" in
1 Cor 1:9.
(b) We are "called into His kingdom" in
1 Thes 2:12.
(c) We are "called to eternal life" in
1 Tim 6:12.
(d) We are "called to suffering" in
1 Pet 1:21.
(e) We are "called to blessing" in
1 Pet 3:9.
(f) We are "called to eternal glory" in
1 Pet 5:10.
(g) We are called for Gods enjoyment forever, 1 Pet 2:9.
(h) We are called for the Lambs marriage supper,Rev19:9.
j. The ministry of God the Father in the divine call or invitation is stated
by our Lord in Jn 6:44, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws
him." In other words, it is the invitation of God the Father that causes us to come to Jesus
Christ.
Joh 6:44
(44) No manG3762 canG1410 comeG2064 toG4314 me,G3165 exceptG3362 theG3588
FatherG3962 which hath sentG3992 meG3165 drawG1670 him:G846 andG2532 IG1473 will
raise him upG450 G846 at theG3588 lastG2078 day.G2250

k. The Father's invitation to the spiritually dead person to believe in Christ


eliminates several heresies, like faith + works for salvation, or the blasphemy of inviting
Christ into your heart or into your life.
l. There are two categories of the call of God.
(1) As a result of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in common grace,
the invitation of God the Father extends to the spiritually dead to believe in Christ.
(2) Another calling is explained in the doctrine of election.
Election is the expression of the sovereign will of God in eternity past.
(a) His will starts at salvation, for "He is not willing that
any should perish, but that all should come to a change of attitude about Christ."
(b) God also expresses desires for us regarding our postsalvation experience. As members of the body of Christ, we have equal privilege and
equal opportunity.
(i) Under election, our equal privilege is our royal
priesthood, wherein we represent ourselves before God. Our equal opportunity is our
logistical grace support, in which the justice of God imputes to the indwelling divine
righteousness in each believer daily support and blessing.
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(ii) Election, along with predestination, is a part of


the doctrine of divine decrees.
(c) There are three elections in history.
(i) Israel under the ritual plan of God.
(ii) Christ under the incarnation plan of God.
(iii) The Church under the protocol plan of God.
(d) Each election introduces a new category into history.
(i) The election of Israel introduces the new racial
species, called the Jews.
(ii) The election of Christ introduced the
Hypostatic Union, in which Jesus Christ became the God-man.
(iii) The election of the Church introduces a new
spiritual species and a royal family of God.
I. Efficacious Grace.
1. Efficacious grace is defined as an instant act of the power of the Holy Spirit
whereby faith in Jesus Christ, originating from a spiritually dead person, is made
effective for eternal salvation. When the spiritually dead person responds to the divine
call or the invitation to believe in Christ, the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit causes
the faith of the spiritually dead person to become effective.
2. The work of God in evangelism leaves no place for human works or ability.
Therefore, faith and faith alone in Christ is made effective. No human works can be
added to faith or included.
3. The unbeliever is spiritually dead from birth. Therefore, the faith of the
spiritually dead person, though necessary as an expression of non-meritorious positive
volition, is powerless in itself to effect anything. It is ineffective because we, the source
of that faith, are spiritually dead.
4. Consequently, the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit is effective as the
means of producing the intended result: eternal salvation. So although the message of the
Gospel is very simple to us, "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved,"
little do we realize that behind the scenes God the Holy Spirit is working on our behalf,
and that is grace.
5. Efficacious grace is the doctrine of effectual faith.
6. The faith of the spiritually dead person indicates positive volition, but the
volition of the spiritually dead person has no power to produce the intended result. We
were helpless in spiritual death. God found us in grace, saved us by grace, and provides
for us by grace.
7. Grace is the work of God, not the work of man. Grace is the policy of God
after salvation for the execution of the protocol plan. Before salvation, grace is the work
of God making the Gospel perspicuous, making the issue clear, and making our faith in
Jesus Christ effective for salvation.
8. The Holy Spirit only makes faith in Jesus Christ effective. Efficacious grace
makes faith in Christ only effective for salvation; no works are added.
9. Works added to faith in Christ are dead works. Dead works are the function of
human power, for dead works depend on human power. Divine omnipotence and human

20

power are mutually exclusive. Consequently, there is no efficacy in dead works added to
faith in Christ for salvation.
10. Spiritual death causes the unbeliever to be helpless. For him to understand the
Gospel requires the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in common grace. For him to
understand the Gospel invitation requires the ministry of God the Father. For his faith to
be made effective requires the ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
11. So efficacious grace is an act of God the Holy Spirit proceeding from His
omnipotence. Only God the Holy Spirit has the power to make faith effective for
salvation, Eph 1:13.
12. There are three steps in God's ministry to the spiritually dead.
a. After the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in common grace, the
spiritually dead person understands the Gospel.
b. After the ministry of God the Father in the divine invitation to believe
in Christ, the spiritually dead person understands the issue of Jn 3:36.
c. At this point, the spiritually dead person faces the option. He can
believe in Jesus Christ and God the Holy Spirit will make his faith effective for salvation.
Or he can reject Jesus Christ as Savior, & there is no function of the Holy Spirit after that,
except that whenever the Gospel is again presented, He makes the issue clear.
e. Instead, the spiritually dead person remains in a state of spiritual death
because he has rejected Christ as Savior. Heb 9:27, "It is appointed unto [destined to]
man once to die, but after that the judgment."
f. So for the one who remains spiritually dead, there is a second
resurrection and judgment because he has rejected Jesus Christ as Savior. Jn 3:18, "He
who believes in Him is not judged, but he who does not believe is judged already because
he has not believed in the name of the uniquely-born Son of God."
g. After the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in efficacious grace, the
spiritually dead person's non-meritorious faith is made effectual for salvation. At the
moment of salvation through faith in Christ, human volition and divine sovereignty
function together.
(1) Human volition is the faith of the spiritually dead person
which is a non-meritorious function. It is also ineffective because the one who is
believing in Christ is spiritually dead. But in every case, without exception, the grace of
God comes to the rescue.
(2) Divine sovereignty and the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit
turns that helpless that faith into effectual faith for eternal salvation.
J. Summary of Common Grace, the Divine Call, and Efficacious Grace.
1. In evangelism, the spiritually dead person listens to the Gospel, which the
Holy Spirit causes to be lucid, understandable, comprehensible, and perspicuous under
the doctrine of common grace.
2. In evangelism, God the Father and God the Son issue a divine invitation or a
call to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation,Rom1:6-7. This is not an overt call. This is
not hearing the voice of God. The voice of God is the Word of God, and it comes
through understanding in your soul that to believe in Christ is eternal life, and to reject
Him is eternal condemnation.

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3. In salvation, the spiritually dead person believes in Jesus Christ, while the
omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit under efficacious grace causes that faith from a dead
person to be effective for eternal life.
4. Real spiritual death implies two things.
a. It implies brain death, i.e., a dead understanding regarding spiritual
things. This means there is the necessity for the ministry of the Holy Spirit in common
grace, in which the Holy Spirit makes the Gospel clear.
b. It implies a dead faith, which means it is necessary for God the Father
to issue the invitation to believe in Christ, and for the ministry of God the Holy Spirit to
make that faith effective.
5. The invitation is given in Jn 10:27. During the dispensation of the Hypostatic
Union, our Lord said "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me."
a. During our Lord's day, all sheep would gather at the same watering
hole. There was no way to distinguish between the different herds. But each shepherd
had his own call by which his own sheep would follow him.
b. Our Lord used this custom as an illustration. You cannot be
distinguished from other members of the human race. But when you believe in Jesus
Christ, you are distinguished and different, because God the Holy Spirit takes that faith
and converts it instantly into eternal life.
6. Efficacious grace is taught in Jn 10:28, "And I give to them eternal life, and
they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand."
7. This does not conflict with the fact that the spiritually dead person uses his
own free will in two ways.
a. Hearing the Gospel is an act of non-meritorious positive volition,
compatible with God's grace.
b. Believing in Jesus Christ is an act of non-meritorious positive volition,
compatible with God's grace.
8. In this way, the responsibility to hear the Gospel and to believe in Jesus Christ
is never ignored. Without listening to the Gospel and without believing in Christ, there is
no way to have eternal salvation.
9. So the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in common and efficacious grace is
emphasized, although we are not aware of it at the time.
10. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." What is presented in
the Gospel must be the Word of God; it must be accurate. The Gospel must be
perspicuous before you can make the right decision, which is faith alone in Christ.
K. Defining Efficacious Grace: What it is and What it isn't.
1. Efficacious grace in Calvinistic theology is comparable to "irresistible grace,"
the "I" part of the acronym TULIP.
2. The Calvinistic view is defined by Dr. John Walvoord of Dallas Theological
Seminary as "the instantaneous work of God empowering the human will and inclining
the human heart toward faith." However, this puts the cart before the horse and doesn't
really explain the true doctrine very well.
3. It isn't the Holy Spirit "inclining" us to faith. The Holy Spirit could not work
on our volition, or that would destroy free will. The fact is that God the Holy Spirit takes
the faith that is freely expressed and makes it effective for salvation.

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4. So the Calvinistic definition of efficacious grace is not only wrong, but it is


contrary in every way to the teaching of the Word of God, therefore is blasphemy.
5. This view eliminates the fact that the sovereignty of God and the free will of
man coexist in human history by divine decree.
a. The reason for that is that angels are learning from the human race.
They are learning that the judgment on fallen angels given before human history began
was a just and fair judgment from God. They learn by watching the function of human
volition. They see human free will that accepts Christ, and they see human free will that
rejects Christ.
b. This coexistence of divine sovereignty and human volition is the only
way the angelic conflict can be resolved.
c. God Himself invented human free will that can operate in dependence
on God or independently of God, as evidenced by God allowing us to sin. The trouble
with the whole Calvinistic system is that it does not recognize the field of angelology, and
does not recognize the prehistoric angelic conflict.
6. The Calvinistic view of irresistible grace implies coercion and compulsion;
therefore, it eliminates any existence of human volition in history. Yet the simplest of
verses teach human positive volition versus negative volition, as in Jn 3:36. "He who
believes on the Son has everlasting life. But he who does not believe shall not see life,
but the wrath of God abides on him." This does not contradict the doctrine of divine
decrees.
7. The correct view of efficacious grace is this: God the Holy Spirit, using His
magnificent omnipotence, causes the faith of the spiritually dead person to be effective
for salvation.
8. The incorrect view is that of irresistible grace in the Calvinistic view, which
claims that the Holy Spirit works on the will rather than the faith of the spiritually dead
person. This is one of the greatest contradictions in Calvinism.
9. Efficacious grace means that the instant act of God the Holy Spirit on the faith of
the spiritually dead person results in salvation immediately. In that moment of time, God
does forty things for us.
10. The call of God is an invitation to believe in Jesus Christ. However, the call of
God is not effectual unless the spiritually dead person responds by believing in Jesus
Christ. Then the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit causes faith in Jesus Christ from one
who is spiritually dead and totally helpless to become efficacious, which means it is
effective for salvation.
11. This brings into the view the grace of God. We are hopelessly helpless; we are
spiritually dead with brain death. We cannot understand any part of spiritual phenomena.
a. So God the Holy Spirit makes it understandable as we listen. That's
common grace.
b. Once we understand the Gospel, we hear God's call to believe in Christ
through the communication of the Gospel.
c. If we respond by believing in Christ, the Holy Spirit makes our faith
effectual for salvation.
12. Efficacious grace is not God the Holy Spirit working on the will of mankind to
believe in Christ, but the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit converting the faith of the
spiritually dead person into effective faith for salvation.

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13. There are three reasons why faith only in Jesus Christ can provide eternal salvation
for the spiritually dead human race.
a. The application of efficacious grace says that only personal faith in
Jesus Christ is made effective for salvation by God the Holy Spirit. He does not accept
faith plus commitment, faith plus lordship, faith plus baptism, etc. Efficacious grace
recognizes one thing only, and that is the faith alone in Jesus Christ from the spiritually
dead person.
b. The Greek perfect tense of the verb TETELESTAI in Jn 19:30,
means "finished in the past with the result that it stands finished forever." This is what
our Lord uttered while He was still alive, after He had completed being judged for the
sins of the world. That one word eliminates any form of salvation by works.
c. The direct statement of Scripture explains pre-salvation grace. The
omnipotence of the Holy Spirit makes the Gospel perspicuous in common grace. God the
Father issues the divine invitation (call) to believe in Christ. Finally, God the Holy Spirit
makes the faith of the spiritually dead person effective for eternal salvation. Eph 1:13,
"in whom also, when you heard [common grace] the message of truth, the Gospel of your
salvation [content of common grace]; in whom also, when you believed [efficacious
grace], then you were sealed by means of the Spirit." The sealing ministry of the Spirit is
a signature guarantee about four things.
(1) Sealing is the guarantee of the ministry of the Holy Spirit in
common and efficacious grace.
(2) Sealing is the guarantee that at the moment of faith in Christ,
you have eternal salvation. The reason for this is that the Holy Spirit has previously
guaranteed this fact to you by making the Gospel clear, and by taking your spiritually
dead faith and making it effective for salvation.
(3) Sealing means eternal security. You cannot reverse the work
of God at salvation by any failure on your part, or by anything you do. You cannot
change what God has wrought! That's grace. It is the quintessence of human arrogance
to think that you can do something to lose your salvation. Neither you nor God can
cancel your salvation. The phrase "shall never perish" in Jn 3:16 refers to eternal
security.
(4) Sealing is the guarantee that after salvation you possess your
very own portfolio of invisible assets, beginning with escrow blessings.
L. The Spirit's ministry of common grace continues into the Christian life.
1. Under common grace the Holy Spirit acts as a human spirit for the
comprehension of the Gospel.
2. This ministry continues into the Christian life under the teaching ministry of
the Holy Spirit.
3. In regeneration the Holy Spirit creates a human spirit for the immediate
imputation of eternal life at salvation, Tit 3:5.
4. The Bible emphasizes the difference between man's soul and spirit. Heb 4:12,
"The word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing
even to the dividing between the soul and the spirit..."
5. The unbeliever is dichotomous, 1 Cor 2:14; Jude 19. The believer is
trichotomous, Mt 26:41; 1 Thes 5:23; Phile 25, Heb 4:12. Inside of a spiritually dead

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person, the soul can understand certain academic subjects or a language. But with regard
to God and what He is and what He has done for us, it is impossible for him to
understand because he is spiritually dead.
6. After salvation, the Holy Spirit teaches our human spirit, Rom 8:16. This
teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit to the human spirit is an extension of common grace
in the sense that it only occurs inside your very own palace, the operational-type divine
dynasphere. The Holy Spirit is always the teacher.
7. Therefore, it is important to be filled with the Spirit once you have believed in
Christ. You will never learn anything apart from the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The
filling of the Spirit is the enabling power of the Spirit inside the operational-type divine
dynasphere.
8. When Bible doctrine is taught by your right pastor, only residence in the divine
dynasphere under the enabling power of the Holy Spirit teaches that doctrine under
operation Z, Jn 14:26, 16:12-16; 1 Cor 2; 1 Jn 2:27. everything we have ever learned in
Bible doctrine is courtesy of God the Holy Spirit!
9. The ministry of the Holy Spirit in common grace to the unbeliever continues
after salvation as the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit to the believer. 1 Cor 2:12, "For
we have not received the world's frame of reference, but the human spirit from God, that
we might know the things [our portfolio] which have been graciously given to us by
God."
a. Now we have the whole realm of the mystery doctrine, and we are to
master it and grow in grace.
b. "By God" is the Greek preposition HUPO plus ablative of agency from
THEOS, which is most unusual. The ablative of agency means that were it not for the
Holy Spirit, we would never understand these things. It means that all absolute truth has
its source in eternal and infinite God.
M. Conclusion.
1. The absence of spiritual life before salvation demands the ministry of the Holy
Spirit in common and efficacious grace.
2. This does not conflict with the fact that human volition is involved in two
ways.
a. Hearing the Gospel is an act of non-meritorious positive volition
compatible with God's grace.
b. Believing in Jesus Christ is an act of non-meritorious positive volition
compatible with God's grace.
3. In this way, human responsibility hears the Gospel and believes in Jesus
Christ. Yet this does not ignore the fact that procuring salvation in this manner would be
impossible apart from the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
4. Rom 10:14, "How shall they believe in Him, concerning whom they have not
heard?" Verse 17, "So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."
a. Believing refers to efficacious grace. Hearing refers to common grace.
b. The accuracy of the Gospel must come from the Word of God.
5. Salvation is for those people who are alive physically on planet earth. There is
no eternal salvation offered to those who are dead.

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a. Jesus Christ was alive on the cross when He was judged for our sins.
As along as a person is alive physically, he can be saved. However, after death there is
no salvation offered.
b. Therefore common& efficacious grace apply only to those who are
alive on planet earth and simultaneously spiritually dead.
6. Efficacious grace is a theological term for the work of God the Holy Spirit in
making effectual personal faith in Jesus Christ.
a. Efficacious grace is an act of God the Holy Spirit solely dependent on
His omnipotence for execution.
b. Efficacious grace is an instant act of God the Holy Spirit whereby faith
in Jesus Christ from a spiritually dead person is made effective for salvation.
c. Efficacious grace is the result of common grace whereby God the Holy
Spirit makes the Gospel perspicuous.
d. Sufficient grace is only given to those who believe in Jesus Christ.
e. When the Gospel message of common grace is rejected, efficacious
grace is never given.
(c) 1989, by R. B. Thieme, Jr. All rights reserved.

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