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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

   Morning Thoughts by Elder Philip Conley

John 11:43-44, "And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go."

This morning, there are many that get confused between the effectual call of the Lord and the utility of the gospel. Some want to make them one and the same act, others want to intertwine the two, so that one cannot tell where one ends and another begins.  The effectual call of the Lord and the utility of the gospel are completely separate acts, and I believe that these verses bear that out as well as the function, purpose, and characteristics of both.

Notice the first statement of Christ. It is a statement given by God to a dead man. That is the case with the Lord's effectual call in EVERY case.  Both the effectual call in regeneration and the one in glorification (resurrection) are given to those things that are dead. This is an act that is completely passive by man. Lazarus had not the ability to resist, reject, or accept (of himself) the command of the Lord. He came forth because the power of the Lord gave Him life and drew Him forth. Lazarus did not even come out of the grave under his own steam, for we read
that he was bound (unable to move).  

If anyone doubts the binding of dead Jews, just read the lengthy details of their burying process, and one will easily find that Lazarus could not walk out after having life.  Therefore, the power of the Lord must have brought Him out of the grave as well. This call only gave Lazarus natural life again, but it is a clear picture of what happens in the effectual call spiritually to every child of grace (much more could be said).  

The next statement of the Lord deals with the utility of the gospel. The gospel is a loosing of the graveclothes that bind God's children. Could the Lord have loosed the clothes when He called Lazarus out?  Most certainly! Could the Lord automatically give every child of grace complete knowledge in truth upon regeneration? Most certainly again! Yet, it pleased Him in both cases NOT to do so. It pleased Him to have those that stood by to loose Lazarus from his clothes. It pleased the Lord to use earthly men to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ.  

Are ministers perfect? No in no wise, as I am sure those that loosed Lazarus were not perfect either. Yet, in both cases the Lord used men on the scene to open the eyes and release the burden. And, when the Lord reveals Himself to those that are blind, and they are made to hear the gospel and know that their burden upon them (that binds them) has been removed, then they can look upon their Saviour!  

Notice Lazarus heard the voice of the Lord, but He could not see Him until the napkin around his face was removed.  Likewise, God's children have heard and felt Him (He is not far from every one of us, and we feel after Him). But, they do not really begin to see Him (through the eye of faith) until the pages of the Scriptures begin to be opened through the gospel. The gospel does not bring life, but it shows the one who has life how they got it and where to set their affection upon. Notice that Lazarus was not set free to thank those that unloosed the burden. He was set free to thank Him who gave Him life. Likewise, preachers get ZERO credit, and the Lord gets ALL the credit for any revealing or life.

In Hope,

Bro Philip