Some called in a sovereign gospel-way
Some are brought to Christ in a sovereign gospel-way, when the Lord, by some few words of love swallowing up any work of the law, quickly takes a person prisoner at the first, as He did Zaccheus, and others, who, upon a word spoken by Christ, did leave all and follow Him; and we hear nothing of a law-work dealing with them before they close with Christ Jesus. And because some may pretend to this way of calling, we shall touch on some things most remarkable in that transaction with Zaccheus. 1. He had some desire to see Christ, and such a desire as made him waive that which some would have judged prudence and discretion, whilst he climbed up a tree that he might see Him. 2. Christ spoke to his heart, and that word took such hold upon him, that presently with joy he accepted Christ’s offer, and closed with Christ as Lord, whilst few of any note were following Him. 3. Upon this his heart was opened to the poor, although it seems he was a covetous man before. 4. He had a due impression of his former ways, evidencing his respect to the law of Moses, and this he signifies before all the company then present, not shrinking from taking shame to himself in such things as probably were notorious to the world. 5. Upon all these things, Christ confirms and ratifies the contract by His word; recommending to him that oneness of interest which behaved to be between him and the saints, and the thoughts of his own lost condition, if Christ had not come and sought him; all which is clear from Luke 19: 3-10. We grant the Lord calls some so; and if any can lay claim to the special things we have now hinted, they have a good confirmation of God’s dealing with them from Scripture; neither are they to vex themselves because of the want of a distinct preparatory law work, if their heart has yielded unto Christ; for a work of the law is not desirable, except for this end. Therefore Christ offers Himself directly in the Scripture, and people are invited to come to Him; and although many will not come to Him who is the Surety, until the spirit of bondage distress them for their debt, yet if any, upon the knowledge of their lost estate, would flee and yield to Christ, none might warrantable press a work of the law upon them. As for others, whom Christ persuaded by a word to follow Him, whatsoever He did, or howsoever He spoke to them, at His first meeting with them, we must rationally suppose that then He discovered to them so much of their necessity, and His own fullness and excellency, as made them quit all, and run after Him; and if He do so to any, we crave no more, since there is room enough there for the Physician. So that from all this, as some may be confirmed and strengthened, with whom God has so dealt, so there is no ground for deluded souls to flatter themselves in their condition, who remain ignorant and senseless of their own miseries, and Christ’s all-sufficiency, and hold fast deceit.
from The Christian’s Great Interest by William Guthrie