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Pastoral 2012

Manifold Purposes of Christians’ Divine Call - IV

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In this fourth and final article on Christians’ divine call, we will consider three more purposes of our calling. The Bible describes our calling from God in wondrous terms. In Hebrew 3:1, it is described as “heavenly calling”. In 2 Timothy 2:9, Paul describes it as “holy calling”. Philippians 3:14 refers to it as “high calling”. Such glowing descriptions of our calling impress upon us the need to understand and appreciate the call of God that we have received through Christ. That is why Paul prayed in Ephesians 1:18, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling.”

10. The Call to Peace

When a person responds to the call of God by the Gospel, he may experience conflict at home. His closest and dearest ones may oppose and reject his faith in the Lord. In 1 Corinthians 7:15, the apostle Paul portrayed a scenario of a believer being abandoned by his unbelieving spouse. In such a case, we are told, “But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.”

Scripture teaches us that Christians ought to be peaceful. We must always prevent contentions and violence. This is to be our grand principle. When Paul suggested letting the unbelieving depart, he was not suggesting that the Christian initiates a separation from the spouse. But if the unbelieving spouse becomes agitated and threatens to part with the believer, the believer is advised to let the unbeliever leave peaceably. If peace cannot be maintained by living together, there should be a peaceful separation. If the unbelieving departs, he should be permitted to do so peaceably without contention and strife, for God has called us to a life of peace.

In Colossians 3:15, we are exhorted to pursue peace in the church, for thereunto are we called. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

11. The Call to Liberty

Christians are reminded in Galatians 5:13 - “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”

Firstly, the apostle Paul was referring to the freedom that Christians have from the Jewish rites and ceremonies. The Galatian church was infiltrated by some false Jewish teachers who urged them to go back to the ceremonial practices of the Old Testament. Such adherence to the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament was unnecessary and destructive because Jesus has already accomplished a perfect sacrifice for our freedom from sin. The Old Testament ceremonies were only a figure of what Christ would accomplish for us. Since Christ has fulfilled all that the old ceremonies have pre-figured, it was an entanglement to yield to those ceremonies again. So Paul insisted that true Christians have been called unto liberty, and they are not to limit and destroy that liberty. They are never to be in subjection to all the ceremonies of the law of Moses.

Secondly, this liberty from Jewish rites also indicates our freedom from sin. Now through Christ’s work on the cross, we are free, free from the servitude to sin as much as we are free from the burdensome rites and customs. Christians should remember this as a great and settled principle. “Liberty in Christ” is our motto of life.

Thirdly, Christian liberty is not a licence to sin. It is not freedom to do anything that our lusts would have us to do. So Paul said, “Only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” We are not freed to serve sin. Our liberty is freedom from sin unto the service of fellow brethren and our Lord. Christian freedom is not lawless behaviour but joyful service to the praise of our great Liberator, Jesus Christ.

12. The Call to His Kingdom and Glory

Our calling from God is for the purpose that we may be granted the inheritance of His kingdom and glory. Many portions of the Scriptures testify to this glorious truth. The following are some of these Scriptural attestations of our calling unto His kingdom and glory.

2 Thessalonians 2:14 – “Whereunto He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

1 Thessalonians 2:12 – “That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.”

1 Peter 5:10 – “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”

2 Peter 1:3 – “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.”

By the gracious and efficacious call of God, we are transferred out of corruption and misery of sin into the glories of Christ. We are also no more under the servitude of Satan’s kingdom of darkness. We are called to the hope of the heavenly city that the Lord is preparing for His people. We have now come, because of His gracious call, into the participation of the glory which God has prepared for His redeemed people.

Nothing in this world can stop us from partaking in the glorious eternity in His celestial kingdom. We shall soon be in that eternal glory. While we are in this world of corruption, we can look forward to inheriting a glory that fades not away. It will not be like the glory of this world which is transient, and soon passes away. The glory that awaits us will abide for ever. The saints of Christ are called to obtain a glorious, eternal kingdom that shall not perish.

 

 

Prayer Requests from Gethsemane Bible Institute, Cebu
Richard Tiu

 

1. Wisdom in planning for the coming school year’s curriculum
2. Pastor Koshy’s online/video lectures may be set up to cater to GBI students
3. For commitment and consecration of every lecturer and student
4. That all the lecturers may hold forth and hold fast the faithful Word
5. For the Lord to call our young people in the church to take up full-time studies
6. For the current students to persevere and be diligent in their studies
7. For more Bible lecturers to join the GBI faculty as the Lord leads
8. For more books and resources for our GBI library

 

Pastoral Exhortation