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18 September 2012 by Daniel

Q. 68. Are the elect only effectually called?
A. All the elect, and they only, are effectually called; although others may be, and often are, outwardly called by the ministry of the Word, and have some common operations of the Spirit; who, for their willful neglect and contempt of the grace offered to them, being justly left in their unbelief, do never truly come to Jesus Christ.

In each of the four gospels John the Baptist describes the coming Christ as the one who would baptize, not in water, but in the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself, at His ascension (c.f. Acts 1:5), remarks that in the same way John baptized people in water, so all of those gathered with Jesus at the time would likewise be baptized in the Holy Spirit -and this, "not many days from now" (ie. at Pentecost).

I should note for some that the word baptize simply means to immerse one thing entirely into another thing. A body was "baptized" in a tomb, a cucumber into brine, etc.. In some contexts it is obviouse what is being baptized into what, but in other contexts these details are supplied.

Believers began to be baptized in the Holy Spirit (by Christ) on the day of Pentecost. This baptism was a new covenant promise (see Ezekiel 36:26-27) and was described by our Lord as a change in the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who formerly was with believers, but would, when the He came (ie. at Pentecost), dwell in belevers. (c.f. John 14:17).

In Galatians 3:27, Paul speaks of believers as being baptized into Christ. In Romans 8:9, Paul writes that anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him. In other words every genuine believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. When do we receive the Holy Spirit? We receive Him when we believe.

In Romans 6, Paul tells us that our union with Christ is a product of this same baptism. We who have believed have been baptized in Christ, and through this baptism we are united with Him in His death, burial and resurrection.

This union did two things. It joined Christ to our guilt, and joined us to His righteousness.

It is a mind-blowing thing, but Jesus didn't take our disembodies sins with Him to Calvary tucked away in some sort of separate, spiritual back-pack; The scriptures tell us that Jesus became (our) sin for us. Said another way, He became a partaker of our guilt (condemnation). How did he become a partaker of our guilt? Through our union with Him.

It is just as mind-blowing to think that God did not idly forgive us, as though He saw His own Son destroyed and was so sad He was willing to forgive anything. No, we became partakers of Christ's life - His righteousness. When Christ lay in the tomb, there we were with Him through this same union. In order to raise up Christ from the dead, God had to find us as acceptable as Christ who Himself knew no sin. Christ found favor for us with God (ie. made propitation) through His own life which we became partakers of through this same union.

One might look at the ordinance of the Lord's table - where his blood represents the spilling out of his life that expiates our sin, and his body represents the life he lived that made propitiation on our behalf - all this we take into ourself - picturing our union with Christ, through which the atoning work of Christ has its perfect work.