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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

The Shorter Catechism
of the Westminster Assembly
Explained and Proved
from Scripture

by
Thomas Vincent


XXXI. Ques. What is effectual calling?
Ans.
Effectual calling is the work of God's Spirit, whereby, convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ, freely offered to us in the Gospel.

Q. 1. What is the difference between effectual calling and ineffectual calling?
A. Ineffectual calling is the bare external call of the word, whereby all sinners are freely invited unto Christ, that they may have life and salvation by him, but in itself is insufficient to persuade and enable them to come unto him. "Many be called, but few chosen ." Matt. 20:16. "Ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life." John 5:40. 2. Effectual calling is the internal call of the Spirit accompanying the external call of the word, whereby we are not only invited unto Christ, but also enabled and persuaded to embrace him as he is freely offered to us in the gospel. "Every one that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." John 6:45.

Q. 2. What is the work of the Spirit of God in our effectual calling?
A. The work of the Spirit of God in our effectual calling, is twofold 1. Upon our minds. 2. Upon our wills.

Q. 3. What is the work of the Spirit of God in our effectual calling upon our minds?
A. The work of the Spirit of God in our effectual calling upon our minds is l. A convincing us of our sin and misery. 2. An enlightening us in the knowledge of Christ.

Q. 4. What is it for the Spirit to convince our mind of our Sin and misery?
A. The Spirit worketh in our mind a conviction of our am and misery, when he giveth us a clear sight and full persuasion of the guilt of our sins, and a feeling apprehension of the dreadful wrath of God, and the endless miseries of hell which we have deserved for sin, and every hour are exposed unto: which doth wound our hearts and consciences and filleth us with perplexing care what to do to he saved. "And when he is come, he will reprove (or convince) the world of sin." John 16:8. "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their hearts, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do ?
" Acts 2:37.

Q. 5. Whereby doth the Spirit convince us of our sin and misery?
A. The Spirit convinceth us of our sin and misery by the law, and threatenings thereof. "By the law is the knowledge of sin." Rom. 3:20. "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them " Gal. 3:10.

Q. 6. What knowledge of Christ doth the Spirit enlighten our minds withal, after the conviction of our sin and misery?
A. The Spirit doth enlighten our minds, after conviction of our sin and misery, with the knowledge 1. That Christ only can save, and that he is all-sufficient to do it. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4:12. "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him." Heb. 7:25. 2. That Christ is willing to save all that come unto him. "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out." John 6:37. 3. That Christ hath undertaken to save us, and is faithful to perform it. "That he might be a merciful high priest, in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." Heb. 2:17.

Q. 7. Whereby doth the Spirit enlighten us with the knowledge of Christ?
. A. The Spirit doth enlighten us with the knowledge of Christ, by the discoveries of Christ in the Gospel, opening our eyes to discern him there discovered. "To whom I send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness unto light," &c. Acts 26:17, 18.

Q. 8. What is the work of the Spirit of God in our effectual calling upon our wills?
A. The work of the Spirit of God in our effectual calling upon our wills, is to renew them.

Q. 9. What is it for our wills to be renewed?
A. Our wills are renewed when the Spirit doth put new inclinations and dispositions into them. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh." Ezek. 36:26.

Q. 10. Are not we able to renew our own will, and to turn from sin unto Christ ourselves?
A. No; it is the almighty power of the Spirit of God that doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ by faith. "And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead." Eph. 1:19, 20.

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