“All those whom God has predestined unto life,” immediately points to what is precedent to the issue of a gospel call, namely that before the foundation of the world, God who ‘dwells’ in eternity purposed to save some, the elect, and not others, the reprobate. This was predestined before time. It is a distinction to be made on a general call to all humanity, and that which may be defined by the adjective ‘effectual’. “And those only, he is pleased, in his appointed and accepted time, effectually to call (Rom. 8:30, 11:7; Eph. 1:10-11). Then, in the time he created, God chose and continues to choose, that specific moment in time to make the outward call effectual to the elect. To all others who hear but don’t respond in repentance and faith, the fruit of efficacious grace, he leaves to their own inexcusable condition. “By his word (which is heard by many), “and Spirit,” some, namely the elect, receive the regenerating work of the Spirit, which brings about repentance and faith (II Th. 2:13-14; II Cor. 3:3, 6).
These elect, God has taken “out of that state of sin and death in which they were by nature.” This simply affirms that all people are born in a state of sin and death, which we have by our union with Adam in that first covenant at the dawn of creation. Out of the mass of humanity, the elect are transferred to a state of “grace and salvation by Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:2; Eph. 2:2:1-5; II Tim. 1:9-10).” Here we see the Spirit’s ultimate focus, which he makes ours, namely, the Lord Jesus Christ. How does he do this? He does this by “enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God (Acts 26:18; I Cor. 2:10-12; Eph. 1:17-18).” Here we learn that, although the Spirit may work on any “spiritually,” he only works “savingly to understand,” for the elect. “The things of God,” do here specifically pertain to the gospel. As part of regeneration, the Spirit must take “away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh (Ezek. 36:26).” The Spirit must get to our core as persons, the heart of the matter.
It is only as the elect are given a new heart or core, that they may have a “renewing” of “their wills.” In other words, as noted in the last chapter, the will is not some kind of person within a person that is somehow less affected by sin, and can make a decision to accept the gospel, for which a heart of stone is completely incapable of on its own. From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks,* and this is no less the case when thinking of the will to act in repentance and faith. This God does, “by his almighty power determining them to that which is good (Dt. 30:6; Ezek. 11:19; 36:27; Phil. 2:13).” Here we have re-emphasized that any good to come from us, especially in the matter of our salvation, is only “by his almighty power.” It is by his power that he “effectually” draws the elect “to Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:19); yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.” What seems by some to be a unresolvable paradox, is perhaps only viewed as such because we are dull to how it is that God in fact predestines all things.
*(Ps. 14:1; Pr. 4:23; 10:11; 21:2; 24:12; Ezek. 11:21; 16:30; Mt. 12:34; Lk. 6:45).