The Effectual Call


By Mike Ratliff

1After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: c “Fear not, Abram, I am d your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2 But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue [1] childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and e a member of my household will be my heir.” 4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; f your very own son [2] shall be your heir.” 5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and g number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, h “So shall your offspring be.” 6 And i he believed the Lord, and j he counted it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:1-6 ESV)

In Genesis 15:1-6 (above), God gives us through His prophet Moses probably one of the most important truths found in His Word. This truth is all wrapped up in God’s Sovereignty. In v1 we read that through a vision given to him by God, Abram learns that God is his shield and that he will receive a great reward. In vv2-3 we witness Abram’s fear and his plea for an heir from his own loins. His focus is temporal, but he recognizes that unless God ordains it, there will be no child of his own. Here we see that Abram is no different than us. When he is in control then he is dominated by fear and unbelief. However, in vv4-5 God gently deals with Abram’s unbelief and fear by assuring him that he would indeed have a son and that his descendants would be innumerable. From this we learn that God’s promises are eternally focused even if they have temporal elements. We are called to believe based on His character not our circumstances. In these two verses, we have God’s effectual call of Abram. In v6 we read that Abram believed the Lord, and God counted it to him as righteousness. As a result of every effectual call by God, the one called by God believes Him and as a result He justifies them. They are saved by grace through the saving faith that accompanies every effectual call.  Continue reading