Have you ever been called upon to do something? Sure, we all have. Sometimes we are called upon to do something very simple that requires little time or effort and may be a onetime occurrence. Perhaps a friend calls and asks for help cleaning out the garage or moving some furniture. At other times we are called upon to do things that require much more of us, both in time and effort, and may be ongoing for days, years, or even a lifetime. I remember years ago when I clearly heard God’s calling in my heart to go in The Way Corps leadership program, and that is a calling I continue to answer to this day. As born-again believers, we want to understand what God’s call is according to His Word so we can respond to that call as He would have us to.
As we explore this topic, we will see that there are two basic aspects of God’s calling to which every person may respond. There is a onetime calling in the new birth to eternal life, and there is a continuing upward calling of God to “walk worthy” in a manner pleasing to Him. God lovingly and continually invites each one of us who is born again of His spirit to faithfully walk, or live, what we’ve been called to do.
In Ephesians 4:1, we find both aspects of God’s calling of a believer.
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.
The words “are called” at the end of this verse are the Greek word kaleō, meaning “to call any one, invite, summon.” In the Greek, this occurrence of the verb is in the aorist tense, which denotes a onetime attained action in the past, and would be more clearly translated “were called.” This calling refers to that onetime calling in the new birth to eternal life. God has summoned us, invited us, called us, to be His sons. And He beseeches us to walk worthy of that calling. The word “vocation” is translated from the Greek word klēsis, which E. W. Bullinger’s lexicon defines as “a calling, summons, invitation.” It is used in the New Testament for that calling “whose origin, nature, and goal are heavenly.”
“The vocation wherewith ye are called” could also read “the calling wherewith ye were called” or “the invitation wherewith ye were invited.” To walk worthy is the continuing upward calling. God beseeches us to walk worthy of His invitation to be His sons.
Let’s first consider God’s call to the new birth. Every person who desires to know and love God as a Father must first become born again of His spirit. Answering God’s call to the new birth starts with confessing and believing what God’s Word says in Romans 10:9 and 10:
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
This onetime occurrence of the new birth for every believer is the starting point for answering God’s call. It is based on our free will. God wants all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2:4). But only those who respond to the promise of His Word receive the benefits of His calling.
Romans 8:30 says, “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called….” What does it mean to say that God predestinated us? In “The Qualities of a Spiritual Leader” in Order My Steps in Thy Word, we find a very concise explanation regarding predestination, foreknowledge, and our calling.
The subject of predestination has a very simple basis, namely, God’s foreknowledge. Predestination without foreknowledge would make human beings pawns of God. In fact, some people do indeed explain predestination in this manner, a teaching which is totally erroneous. Our God does not select some of us for heaven and others for hell. Rather, He knows in advance, by foreknowledge, the choices we will make. Each person makes up his or her own mind whether he or she wants to be saved and go to heaven or to stay unsaved and accept the consequences—to believe God or reject Him….
How wonderful it is to understand that our answer to God’s call concerning the new birth and eternal life is our freewill choice.
The other main aspect regarding God’s calling of a believer has an ongoing nature. It’s our moment-by-moment, daily response to God’s invitation to be His sons—that is, to walk worthy of this calling. Philippians 3:14 indicates this continuing summons to walk for God:
I press toward [follow after] the mark [finish line] for the prize of the high [upward] calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Regarding this verse, “The High Calling” in The New, Dynamic Church gives the following: “In a race or in a track meet, the finish line determines the winner. Paul says he will press toward the finish line which will culminate in the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” This “high calling of God” is that continuing upward calling of God to walk worthy in a manner pleasing to Him….
This is an excerpt from the November/December 2011 issue of The Way Magazine.
Copyright© 2011 by The Way International. All rights reserved.
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