Calling is a beautiful word. It speaks of God’s gracious urging of sinners to turn from their wicked ways and return to Him, the “Shepherd and Guardian” of their souls (1 Pet 2:25). It is both common and effectual. The common call of God is given by means of the preaching of the whosoever-will-gospel to every person (Matt 28:18-20; Luke 24:47; Rom 10:14). The common call is external; it is to the sinner’s ears.
The effectual call of God is the work of the Holy Spirit wherein He convicts the sinner of his or her sin, God’s righteousness, and the coming judgment, and woos him or her to receive the gift of God’s grace in Jesus Christ (John 16:8; Rom 8:30; Jude 1:1). The effectual call is internal; it is to the sinner’s heart.
The doctrine of effectual calling is a great incentive toward practical holiness, as modeled by Paul’s reminder to the Corinthian believers that they were indeed the called; that the faithful God had “called [them] into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor 1:24, 9) not because they were inherently good or worthy, but in order that they might become God-boasters (1 Cor 1:31) and God-pleasers (2 Cor 5:9).