July 7: School & Family Catechist – WSC Q. 31

The Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 31

Q.31. What is effectual calling?

A. 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.


Convincing us. –Making us sensible, removing all doubt from our minds.

Enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ. –Removing the darkness of ignorance, and making us to understand the way of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Renewing our wills. –Changing our desires and inclinations, from a love of sin, to a love of holiness; or making us to hate sin, which we formerly loved, and to love holiness, or goodness, which we formerly hated.

To embrace Jesus Christ. –To receive him, with affectionate hearts, in all his offices, as our prophet, our priest, and our king.

In the gospel. –In the covenant of grace, or the promise of life and salvation, which God has made to every sinner who repents of his sins, and believes in the name of his Son Jesus Christ.


In this answer there are nine important points of doctrine taught :

  1. That effectual calling is the work of the Spirit of God. –2 Thess. ii. 13. God hath, from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth. 2. Tim. i. 9. Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling.
  2. That in this work the Spirit convinces us of our sins. –John xvi. 8. And when he (the Holy Spirit, the Comforter) is come, he will reprove the world of sin.
  3. That in it he produces also a conviction of misery. –Acts ii. 37. 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?
  4. That he enlightens our minds in the knowledge of Christ. –Eph. i. 18. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened. Phil. iii.8. I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.
  5. That in the work of effectual calling, the Spirit also renews our wills. –Ezek. xxxvi. 26. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.
  6. That he persuades us to embrace Jesus Christ. –Heb. xi. 13. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, (the promises of Christ,) and embraced them.
  7. That he also enables us to embrace Christ. –John vi. 44. No man can come to me except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him. Phil. ii. 13. It is God who worketh in you, both to will and to do, of his good pleasure.
  8. That Christ is freely offered for our acceptance. –Isa. lv. 1. Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk, without money, and without price. Rev. xxii. 17. Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
  9. That it is the gospel in which this offer of Christ is made. –John vii. 37. In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any many thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.


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