Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!


Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.

God's Call . . . to Faith

    This is the second in our four part series, God’s Call to . . . Life, Faith, Vocation and Ministry. Last time we talked about God’s first call, to life. Certainly, without life there would be no call to faith, vocation, or ministry. God calls to life and His call to life is usually through the means of the giving and taking in a loving relationship between a husband and a wife.
    God calls us to life, however, and unfortunately that does not mean that we are conceived or born as a Christian, as a believer in Jesus and possessing salvation. Because of the fall into sin, because of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden, our free will has been tainted. Contrary to what some people might would like to believe, we are not innately good. As a matter of fact, apart from God and His working in us, all we can do, in and of ourselves, is refuse God’s calling to faith as Paul says, “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot” (Romans 8:7 (ESV)). Paul talks about not being able to do the good that he wanted to do, but only being able to do the evil that he did not want to do (Romans 7:15-20). “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)). Even the greatest king of Israel understood his predicament, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5 (ESV)).
    Getting back to Paul, he knew that no one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit. “Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says ‘Jesus is accursed!’ and no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:3 (ESV)). Thus, we do not call ourselves to faith, we do not determine that we are to be born again. Just as we did not determine to be conceived and born, so we do not determine to be born again
    Faith is a gift, given by God, through the means He has of giving faith. God’s usual work is through means, or mediately, indirectly. Again, Paul reminds us, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16 (ESV)). “To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thes. 2:14 (ESV)). Thus, we understand, that is, we believe, teach and confess that God calls us to faith through the means of His Word.
    Yet, God does not simply leave Himself to calling one to faith through His Word. He also calls us to faith through the means of His Sacrament of Holy Baptism. As a “conceived and born in sin” human, having a tainted by sin reason and understanding, it may be difficult to understand how God can work through the means of simple water. Yet, Peter tells us that through the Sacrament, through the Sacred act of Holy Baptism, God now saves you. “Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21 (ESV)). Notice that Peter does not say that a person must choose to be Baptized, as we were reminded earlier, we do not choose God and so we would not choose to be baptized. The noun, the thing running the verbs, running the action in Peter’s word is Baptism. It is the Sacrament of Holy Baptism and God working through the Sacrament which gives faith, thus God calls us to faith through the means of Holy Baptism.
    Getting back to the fact that we do not call ourselves into being, we do not choose to be conceived or born, so infant baptism shows quite well God’s desire to call us to faith through this means of simple water connected with His Word, and in particular, His name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The same parents who brought you into this world through the sharing of their love in the bonds of Holy Marriage are to bring you to the Lord’s house and into His Kingdom through the waters of Holy Baptism. Thanks be to God for loving parents through whom God calls us to life and to faith.
    Perhaps we have begun seeing a pattern, we are impotent, we are ineffective, we are unable to call ourselves into being and into faith. The One who must call us into being and into faith is the one and only One True God. God is the One who must run the show, who must run the verbs, who must do the doing, and we are the ones who must be run and done to. We get it right when we get it right as to who is running the show, the Creator, Preserver, Redeemer and Sanctifier.
    As Christians, we believe, teach and confess that faith is a gift from God given to us through the means of His Word and the waters of Holy Baptism connected with His name. Thus, we do not believe that man is born sinless, with an untainted free will so as to be able to choose God, rather man is conceived and born in sin and his will is tainted so that apart from the power of the Holy Spirit he can only refuse and reject God, faith and the gifts and blessings He has to give.