Is Heaven Calling?
Bible Study Lesson and Devotional #12: 2nd Timothy Chapter One
2nd Timothy 1:9 "Efficacious Call"
Form: Personal Letter (Epistle)
From: Apostle Paul
Date: 67 A.D.
Story: The Apostle Paul writes to encourage and embolden young Timothy.
Lesson: Vs. 9 “The God, who calls us”
In verse 9 Paul introduces (8) concepts for Timothy to consider: (1) Salvation, (2) Efficacious Call, (3) Holy Living, (4) Human inability, (5) God’s Sovereign Will, (6) Grace, (7) Union with Christ, (8) Foreordination.
Here we will look at the Efficacious Call and Human Inability.
1. The Effective call of God in a believer’s life is the necessary first cause of salvation. God takes the initiative to draw an unregenerate (without spiritual life) person to Himself in a way that will result in the desire He intends. In His Imperial, Majestic, and Self-Governing Authority; God the Creator governs the world and the life of man as He pleases. Nebuchadnezzar, when his sanity was restored to him announced:
“His (God’s) dominion is an eternal dominion; His kingdom endures from generation to generation. Al the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back His hand or say to Him: ‘What have you done?’”
Daniel 4:34b-35 NIV
2. As in our last lesson the mind of the believer must start with the understanding that he or she does not understand naturally and any understanding that is worth understanding only comes from the source of true understanding; namely God Himself. We are working in the realm of the unseen, which is beyond that which we can taste, or touch or smell. The Supernatural is only spiritually perceived:
“The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14 ESV).
3. Again, as in our last lesson, we who are drawn to the Bible, to the Truth, to God Himself take no credit for our desire or our choice; because it was God’s gracious and undeserved assistance that moved us to such a state. We, if left to our own natural choices, would have preferred Hell over God. Our natural fallen, warped, and perfidious (deceitful) character is unwilling and incapable of having a relationship with the Almighty. We need God to take the first step (The Call).
“We may take a survey of everything in and on the earth, and we cannot find anything so vile as sin…Sin is wholly evil, without the least mixture of good vileness in the abstract….Sin’s enormity is seen in what it has done to man: it has completely ruined his nature and brought him under the curse of God. Sin is the source of all our miseries; all unrighteousness and wretchedness are its fruits. There is no distress of the mind, no anguish of the heart, no pain of the body, but is due to sin. All the miseries which mankind groans under are to be ascribed to sin. It is the cause of all penalty…. Had there been no sin, there would have been no wars, no national calamities, no prisons, no hospitals, no insane asylums, no cemeteries!... All comparisons fail to set forth the horrible malignity in that abominable thing (sin) which God hates.
A. W. Pink
4. Thus, regarding our sin nature we must conclude that apart from God’s gracious deliverance we would still be wallowing (with the world) in self-concern, self-pity, self-aggrandizement, and self-destruction and we would, except for the Grace of God; still love every bit of it! Apart from God’s Efficacious Grace in our lives, we would still be, so self-absorbed and self-righteous, that we would have no time, room, or interest whatsoever for a Being that is greater than ourselves. We would still be so “hell-bound” to do it our way and thus, an Omnipotent God would be at minimum an irritant and in reality, a threat to our self-importance and self-appointed deity. This is why God must intervene, on our behalf, to change the disposition of our hearts to receive His Gracious gift of Salvation, or there would be no redemption in all the world and Christ’s supernatural suffering on the Cross would have been for nothing.
“The teaching of the Scriptures is such that we must say that man in his natural state is radically corrupt, and that he can never become holy and happy through any power of his own. He is spiritually dead and must be saved by Christ if at all. Common reason tells us that if a man is so fallen so to be at enmity (bitter) with God, that enmity must be removed before he can have any desire to do God’s will. If a sinner is to desire redemption through Christ, he must receive a new disposition. He must be born again, and from above (John 3:8). It is easy enough for us to see that the Devil and the demons would have to be thus sovereignly changed if they were ever to be saved; yet the innate sinful principles which actuate fallen man are of the same nature, although not yet so intense, as are those which actuate fallen angels. If man is dead in sin, then nothing short of this supernatural life-giving power of the Holy Spirit will ever cause him to do that which is spiritually good. If it were possible for him to enter heaven while still possessed of the old nature, then, for him, heaven would be as bad as hell; for he would be out of harmony with his environment. He would loathe its very atmosphere and would be in misery when in the presence of God. Hence the necessity for the inward work of the Holy Spirit.” Loraine Boettner
Scripture Related to Man’s Nature
“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves, their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Romans 3:10-18 NIV
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”
Ephesians 2:1-3 NIV
“Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 AKJV
“For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.” John 5:21 NIV
“"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.” John 6:44 NIV
“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.” Colossians 2:13 NIV