Free Will and Effectual Calling (Discipleship Training)

by Dec 7, 20200 comments

This post is part of my series on Discipleship Training. See all Discipleship Training Plans here.

Or, read my introductory post on discipleship training here.

Free Will and Effectual Calling: The Bible teaches that everyone chooses freely, according to what each of us desire most in our will. The problem is not that we are bound, constricted, and hampered from choosing what we most want, but that our will is enslaved to sin. Even insofar as we desire to do good at some level, we find our desires bound to pursue sin.

Therefore, we need freedom from the bondage of our sin. Much of the Bible is about a declaration about how the first human beings lost their freedom of the will, and how God is restoring us liberty through Christ. Furthermore, the Bible identifies the event through which God breaks our chains that enslave us to sin, and restores us our freedom: the effectual calling of the Holy Spirit, leading to faith in Christ.

Training Objective

To recognize the depth of our slavery to sin, and to see the promise of freedom through God’s effectual calling.


Read and discuss:

  • John 6:44–45: No one can come to the Christ unless the Father draws him (through the Holy Spirit)
  • Romans 7:14–25: We cannot do the good that we want to do
  • Romans 8:7–8: Our sin nature (“the flesh”) makes it impossible to submit to God’s law
  • 1 Corinthians 2:6–16: The world does not understand the wisdom of God, but we have the mind of Christ through the Spirit
  • Galatians 5:17: The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh
  • Philippians 2:13: God is the one who works in us, to will and to work for his good pleasure
  • Colossians 2:13: We were dead in our sins, but God made us alive with Christ


Read and discuss:

Discussion Questions

  • What does it mean to be enslaved to sin?
  • In what sense are our choices free, while our will is in bondage?
  • What is effectual calling?
  • Why is effectual calling necessary for restoring us the freedom that we lost by the Fall into sin?


  • Reflect on the broad range of effects that come as a result of our bondage to sin.
  • Pray that God would increasingly make you free through Christ
  • Pray for the Holy Spirit’s effectual calling to liberate those you know who are still in bondage to their sin.

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