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While God's external and internal calls have the same source - the Triune God; the same Applier - God the Holy Spirit; and the same instrument - the holy gospel; yet there are clear and significant differences which make these two callings distinct. God's internal call is not simply an extension of His external call, but it is a distinct calling.

Study the following chart carefully; it presents important distinctions between God's external and internal calls.

Its recipients

All who hear the proclamation of the gospel
(The hearers)

All who receive the saving application of the gospel
(The elect)

The Church Visible The Church Invisible
Its gracious source

Common grace

Saving grace

Its power of working



Its benefits
Common convictions Saving convictions
Invitation to salvation Application of salvation
Restraining of sin and resulting temporal blessings Forgiveness of sin and resulting eternal blessings
God draws near to the sinner God dwells within the sinner
The mind and the emotions of the hearer can be touched, producing a change in behavior The mind, emotions, and heart of the person are renewed producing a change of states (from spiritual death to life)
Warns sinners to repent, believe, and obey Works true repentance, faith, and obedience
Can produce historical and temporary faith Produces true saving faith

Denying the necessity of the Holy Spirit's internal calling results in an Arminian, free-will gospel. Denying the value and responsibility attached to the Holy Spirit's external calling leads to fatalism. Both deny truths of Scripture. The one makes man the cause of his salvation; the other makes God the cause of man's damnation, apart from justice. God's Word requires a clear and balanced presentation of both the Holy Spirit's external and internal calls.

So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

- 1 Corinthians 3:7

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

- 1 Corinthians 1:18

But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

- 1 Corinthians 1:23-24

But the natural man receiveth the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

- 1 Corinthians 2:14

How can God's external and internal calls be related to God's Covenant of Grace - in both its outward and inward relationship; and to God's church - both visible and invisible?

  • Arminian - A follower of the teachings of Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609), a professor in the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. Arminius taught that every sinner received sufficient grace in the death of Christ to have the ability to believe in, choose for, and turn to, God of himself. Moreover, Arminians deny the Five Points of Calvinism
  • Fatalism - The false belief that since all events are predetermined by God, man should do nothing because his actions will not be of any consequence

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