(Continued from the previous issue)
In the last article we talked about the gospel's effect when it comes to and is heard by the reprobate.
We must now speak of the effect of the gospel on the elect.
When the gospel is preached according to the command of Christ, the effect of that gospel upon God's people, while mysterious and wonderful, is nevertheless, not mechanical. God never works with His people in a mechanical fashion. He never works in such a way that a person is a robot who does things unconsciously because God, through the gospel, presses buttons in his psyche.
In general, we must remember that, before a man can respond to the gospel, the Holy Spirit has already begun to work in his heart. If he is dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1), then as a dead man he cannot respond to the gospel except to reject it. He must be given ears that hear (Matt. 13:11, 16).
This God-given ability to hear the gospel is what is meant by the inward call of the gospel. The outward call is the preaching; the inward call is the work of the Holy Spirit.
The inward call is never apart from the outward call. But the outward call is always effective in the hearts and lives of the elect because of the inward call.
Nevertheless, while all this is true, it is also true that the Holy Spirit continues to work in the hearts of the elect when the gospel is preached.
The Holy Spirit does not make one receptive to the gospel, and then throw man on his own powers and abilities. Every moment that the gospel is preached, the Holy Spirit is also working in the heart. And this continues all the life long of the elect people of God.
How does the Holy Spirit work? He works in such a way that the gospel is impressed upon the consciousness of the individual child of God so that he not only becomes conscious of what the gospel says, but he understands and believes that gospel in the context of his own life with all its circumstances.
I cannot emphasize the importance of this enough.
Let us take a few examples.
Supposing that the minister is explaining a doctrine. Let us, for purposes of the illustration, use the doctrine of total depravity. When the elect child of God in whom the Spirit works, hears the doctrine of total depravity explained, the Holy Spirit so works in his consciousness that he becomes aware, not only of the doctrine itself, but of the fact that he, personally, is a totally depraved sinner, worthy of God's wrath and eternal death.
When the minister is preaching on the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit so impresses that upon the consciousness of the elect sinner that he sees the sacrifice of Christ as the only way of salvation; but he sees it also as the only hope of salvation for him.
So it is with all the truth. When the minister is talking about the wonder that God uses afflictions to save His people, the child of God hears that word in such a way (because of the Spirit's work) that he finds peace in his afflictions, knowing that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that awaits him.
There is more, but our space is used up for this time.
- Volume: 5
- Issue: 18
Prof. Herman Hanko (Wife: Wilma)
Ordained: October 1955
Pastorates: Hope, Walker, MI - 1955; Doon, IA - 1963; Professor to the Protestant Reformed Seminary - 1965
Emeritus: 2001Website: www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Prof._Herman_Hanko
Address725 Baldwin Dr. B-25
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