First of all, we must remember that Scripture clearly teaches both election and the free will of man. I believe that God draws all people to Himself through general revelation. Not all respond. That’s the premise of Romans 1:18-20.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:18-20 ESV)
Those who adhere to Calvinism call this the general call of God, just as they refer to Jesus’ whosoever claims as the general call of the Gospel.
Then, when dealing with Romans 8:29-30, they refer to this as the effectual call of God. I borrow a quote from Wayne Grudem on this:
“This powerful act of God is often referred to as effective calling to distinguish it from the general gospel invitation that goes to all people and which some people reject. This is not to say that human gospel proclamation is not involved. In fact, God’s effective calling comes through the human preaching of the gospel, because Paul says, “To this he called you through our gospel so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 2:14). Of course, there are many who hear the general call of the gospel message and do not respond. But in some cases the gospel call is made so effective by the working of the Holy Spirit in people’s hearts that they do respond; we can say that they have received “effective calling.”
We may define effective calling as follows: Effective calling is an act of God the Father, speaking through the human proclamation of the gospel, in which he summons people to himself in such a way that they respond in saving faith. It is important that we not give the impression that people will be saved by the power of this call apart from their own willing response to the gospel. Although it is true that effective calling awakens and brings forth a response from us, we must always insist that this response still has to be a voluntary, willing response in which the individual person puts his or her trust in Christ.”
Does God call? Yes. Do we have a responsibility to answer God’s call? Yes. Our responsibility is not at all diminished by God’s sovereignty, and God’s sovereignty is not at all diminished by our responsibility.
To listen to Sunday’s related sermon (Evidence of Election), go to http://graceforall.org/#/media.