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Kicking and Screaming

13 September 2012 by Tom Chantry

Q. 67. What is effectual calling?

A. Effectual calling is the work of God's almighty power and grace, whereby (out of his free and special love to his elect, and from nothing in them moving him thereunto) he doth, in his accepted time, invite and draw them to Jesus Christ, by his Word and Spirit; savingly enlightening their minds, renewing and powerfully determining their wills, so as they (although in themselves dead in sin) are hereby made willing and able freely to answer his call, and to accept and embrace the grace offered and conveyed therein.

I suppose one of the silliest objections I’ve ever heard to the doctrines of grace is this:
I just don’t think that God would drag anyone kicking and screaming into heaven.
To which I have always wondered, “Why not? Doesn’t He love us enough?”

On one of the worst nights of parenting I’ve experienced yet we had my then two-year-old at the emergency room. He had been sick for days, had not been eating, and that day had refused even to drink. The doctors confirmed that he had become dehydrated, and that this was a potentially dangerous situation. He needed to be rehydrated quickly, and for that he would need an IV.  I suppose I could have respected his free will as an intelligent creature and just let his kidneys fail, but it didn’t seem quite the thing to do.  So I sent my poor wife away to the furthest corner of the ER, and I held him down, kicking and screaming, while the doctors prodded at his arm with a needle and - ultimately - saved his life.

My point is this: if I were dying and going to hell, and if God’s only option to save me were to drag me kicking and screaming into His kingdom, then I sincerely hope that He would do exactly that. Of course, God is not very much like me, and because of that He has more than just one option. I was unable to make my son willing and able freely to accept and embrace the hypodermic needle and the life-saving saline solution conveyed therein. The Holy Spirit, on the other hand, when He enlightens our minds and renews our wills, makes us desire salvation, so that we arrive at Heaven’s door not kicking and screaming, but leaping and rejoicing.