Paul was “called to be an Apostle”. Quite clearly we as the current day church are not, and that is self-evident given the requirements in being an Apostle and the cessation (fading away) of signs and wonders that were used by God to convict the hearts of the Jews surrounding the Messiah (1 Corinthians 1:22, 14:22). Today, I would like us to look at our “calling”, as the church of Christ, what that is and what it means. Before we take any steps, lefts get our terminology right.
Webster defines a “call” as a divine vocation or summons. Perhaps even more elaborate “a summons from heaven”. More specifically “called” means invited, summoned, invoked, appointed.
Paul uses the word “called” 10 times in Romans alone, and while there are more references strewn across Romans and the New Testament we will aim our laser focus to here (Romans) on verses relevant to the church. This to give us a little deeper insight into our calling as the bride of Christ, that is those who are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Romans 1:6 “Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ”
Paul draws our attention in this the introduction, that yes he is called to be an apostle, given a divine vocation to be a witness of the Gospel to the Gentiles. However, so is the Church at Rome, or rather the Church as a whole. Note the calling, our divine vocation as members as saved individuals is not a calling from men, nor a calling of men, but a divine calling of Jesus Christ. Our instructions, our purpose, our direction does not come from elders, deacons, charismatic preachers or a Pope, but directly of Jesus Christ.
Note how beautifully scripture ties us to Christ? Do you see it? Scripture doesn’t say “Among who are ye also the called by Jesus Christ”, as if we are off at a distance and Christ is calling us. Quite the contrary, it uses the word “of”. The definition of “of” is – expressing the relationship between a part and a whole. Friends, what a wonderful revelation, that though we were sinners, sinful and wretched yet Christ redeemed us by His death, His blood atonement, and considers us to be His own, related, Father to son, Father to daughter, children of the living God. How truly blessed we are to be “called of Jesus Christ”.
Romans 1:7 “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ”.
We are called, appointed, invited, summoned from heaven to be “saints”. A saint is a person sanctified (set apart); a holy or godly person. What is a saint set apart to? Christ of course. Note, without Christ someone cannot be sanctified, and without being sanctified one cannot be a saint. A saint isn’t a title, it’s a state of being, it’s a person whose life is given unto the Lord. Saints are not men or women different from mere mortals, but are mere mortals who in the everyday normalcy of life, choose to be directed by Christ and live life through Christ.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
This “called” does not separate the church. but unifies it. Some are not called to a higher purpose from others; though we may have different roles our purpose is never higher than another’s. A Pastor is never above the church, nor is the church above the Pastor, different roles, and both needed to the functioning of the body.
Purpose is so vital to the human life, for when life loses it’s purpose, it loses it’s way. Being born into the family of God, doesn’t leave us without direction, in fact it highlights it even more. From a broadened wide-angle to a narrow tunnel. Christ has called us unto His purpose, unto His glory and unto His desire. The question then that should rest on each of us, is what is our purpose in light of who we are, in light of the son’s and daughter’s we have become in Christ, and how best can we reflect His Glory unto the world. “If ye seek me, ye shall find me, if ye shall search for me with all thine heart”.
Romans 8:30 “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.“
God’s foreknowledge precedes election or predestination (Rom 8:29). God does not randomly of His own accord decide who will be pre-destined to heaven or hell, but rather in knowing a man and woman’s past, present and future, and in line with that person’s free will choice, He calls those to a higher purpose, His purpose. But it’s not enough for them to be “called” of God, that does not cover their sins or atone for it, but being the perfect and most righteous judge God; justifies those “called” through the death of Jesus Christ (His blood being the payment that covers the mercy seat).
Romans 9:24 “Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
It’s amazing to consider how God opened the doorway to allow the Gentiles to also be called, as Israel (the Jews) were “called” as a special nation. The difference here, is that we are called as a spiritual body, and they as a physical one. We are not bound by blood or race, but by the shedding of blood (Jesus Christ on calvary) and grace (faith in Jesus Christ).
Thank you Lord!
Romans 9:26 “”And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.”
This is not a vocation, this is a noun, a name, a title – “children of the living God”. Friends, for a moment, consider that? We are children of God. We are adopted into His family, warts and all. Despite our color, our perspectives, our differences, our broken-ness, our mistakes, our failures – when we come to Jesus Christ in belief of His work on Calvary as THE atonement for all my sin (past, present and future), then we are adopted into His family, but not called “adopted”, oh no, called His own “children”.
For a moment we may forget to see that beautiful word “living” in the verse above. We are not just children of God, we are children of God who is real, but more so active in our lives. Though not visible, He is ever working out His purposes in our own lives, to the glory and honor of His name. His glory revealed in and through us, makes for a life worth living, a life of purpose.
How blessed we are to be “called” of God.
Cessation of Spiritual Gifts:
Qualifications for An Apostle: