Romans 8:30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
How does God call one to a saving faith in Jesus? What is our part in this? How do we know when we’ve received an effectual call?
God uses two key things to call people to Himself: The Holy Spirit works in the person and the Gospel is proclaimed. We use terminology to describe what we’re feeling when the Holy Spirit is working in us like “tugging at our heart” or “stirring our soul”. Things like this are just our human way of describing what we know to be true; that the Holy Spirit is doing something. We might not know what is happening inside of us, but we feel the need to respond to it. Then we hear the Gospel.
A clear presentation of the Gospel will leave us with an understanding that we’re sinners and that we need a Savior, that the penalties for our sin is death, and that Jesus Christ died to pay that penalty. Hearing this news proclaimed, paired with the work of the Holy Spirit to make us understand it, we can then respond in repentance and faith. Those two things must be present. God has to have initiated a calling within us for the possibility of faith to even exist, and we need to hear the Gospel (Romans 10:14) in order to respond to it. Then, we can be saved.