Doctrine of Efficacious Grace

December 20, 2010

Doctrine of Efficacious Grace

At the moment a person makes the non-meritorious decision to believe in Jesus Christ for
eternal salvation simultaneously, God the Holy Spirit performs seven ministries on behalf of the
believer: (1) Efficacious Grace: Makes faith in Jesus Christ effective for salvation (2 Cor. 6:1-2;
Eph. 2:8-9). (2) Regeneration: Creates a human spirit for the purpose of the imputation of
eternal life (John 3:1-16; Titus 3:5). (3) Baptism of the Spirit: Places every believer in union
with Jesus Christ (John 7:37-39; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 4:5; 1 Pet. 3:21). (4) Indwelling: Creates a
temple for the indwelling of Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19-20; 2 Cor. 6:16). (5)
Filling: Controls the soul of the believer and is the means of executing the Plan of God (Eph.
5:18). (6) Sealing: Puts His stamp on the believer to guarantee their salvation (2 Cor. 1:22; Eph.
1:13; 4:30). (7) Distribution of Spiritual Gifts: Gives every believer a spiritual gift (1 Cor. 12:4-
Efficacious Grace is one of the 60 Things that a believer receives at the moment they believe
on the Lord Jesus Christ when God the Holy Spirit makes a person’s faith in Christ effective for
When a person hears the Gospel message, God the Holy Spirit makes it understandable,
which is called Common Grace. He has to make it understandable to the unbeliever because the
Gospel is a spiritual message but the unbeliever is spiritually dead. He needs help to understand
the things of God. The Gospel is spiritualese. The unbeliever needs a Translator. Once the Holy
Spirit translates the Gospel for the unbeliever like an interpreter of a foreign language. The
unbeliever then has to make a decision once he understands what he has heard. God has given
everyone a soul and in that soul he has placed a volition or free will. The free will or volition is
the light switch in your soul. The person who believes in Christ for salvation flicks on the light
switch and now walks in the light while the person who doesn’t believe in Christ remains in the
darkness. If a person makes the decision to believe in Christ that person is not saved yet… I
repeat they are not saved yet… God the Holy Spirit has to do 1 more thing, which is our subject…
God the Holy Spirit has to make a person’s faith in Christ effective for salvation. This is called
Efficacious Grace.
2 Corinthians 6:1-2, “And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive
the grace of God in vain-for He says, ‘At the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the
day of salvation (the day that you believed in Christ) I (God the Holy Spirit) helped you,’
behold, now is ‘the acceptable time,’ behold, now is ‘the day of salvation.'”
Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved in the past completely, through the
instrumentality of the Faith (in Christ), with the present result that you are in a state of
salvation which goes on forever, and this (the grace & the faith) is not of yourselves, it (the
grace & the faith) is the gift of God; not as a result of human works, that no one should
boast (before God)” (corrected translation).
A person’s faith in Christ does not save them until God the Holy Spirit does something with
that person’s faith. Efficacious Grace is a big word for when the omnipotence of God the Holy
Spirit takes a spiritually dead person’s faith in Christ for salvation and makes it effective or valid
for salvation.
The best way to describe efficacious grace is through the drowning man analogy. A person
who is drowning cries out for help, don’t they? Of course, they do. A drowning person cries out
.2003 William E. Wenstrom, Jr. Bible Ministries 1
for help because they are helpless. A drowning person cries out to another person for help
because they cannot save themselves. A person’s faith in Christ is like a drowning person’s cry
for help. A person’s faith in Jesus Christ for salvation is a cry to God for help. God the Holy
Spirit hears the person’s decision to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation and then proceeds to
save that person like a lifeguard who saves a person from drowning… A person is not saved from
drowning until the lifeguard pulls them out of the water. In the same way, a person is not saved
until God the Holy Spirit makes a person’s faith in Christ effective for salvation. A drowning
man is not saved by simply crying out for help and neither is a person saved by simply having
faith in Christ. Someone has to hear and then pull a drowning man out of the water to be saved,
right? Well, God the Holy Spirit has to hear our faith in Christ and then He has to save us. God
the Holy Spirit is our spiritual lifeguard Who makes our faith in Christ effective for salvation.
We are saved from drowning in the Lake of Fire forever and ever when God the Holy Spirit, our
spiritual lifeguard takes our cry for help, faith alone in Christ alone and makes it effective for
salvation which is analogous to being pulled out of the water.