Why I Am Convinced the So-Called Five Points of Calvinism are True (Part 4)
Evangelism and Prayer. Paul strongly speaks of unconditional election in Rom. 9, and this raises the question of how the elect are saved. He answers that in the very next chapter, Rom. 10. His answer is that God brings his elect into the fold by opening their hearts in response to the preached word of God.
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Rom. 10:13-17 ESV)
The Lord himself, in John 10, says “My sheep hear my voice, they will not follow another.” In his death, Christ purchased the believer’s faith and repentance (which the Bible describes both as gifts, Acts 11:18, 2 Tim. 2:25, Phil. 1:29). Truly born-again people are guarded by faith for salvation by God until the last day (1 Pet. 1:4-5). Those that walk away from the faith demonstrate by their apostasy that they were never truly born again (1 Jn. 2:19, Matt. 13:18-23, Heb. 6:4-6 in the context of verses 7 & 8). So faith in Christ is absolutely necessary, but as a fruit and evidence of genuine saving faith, not as a condition of maintaining one’s salvation.
God has eternally chosen that certain things will not happen unless his people pray. He has given us the incredible privilege of working with Him toward Hi goals. By His Holy Spirit He works in our hearts, stirring us up with a heart for the lost, and a hunger and thirst for holiness.