We are taking a quick survey of what Scripture says about the Christian’s “calling.” And so far we’ve seen in Romans 1:6 that every Believer is called to “belong to Christ.” To understand ourselves as belonging to Him as His possession. That we are not our own. Then we saw in Romans 1:7 that we are each called to be “saints.” Holy ones. Set apart in an exclusive way to Him. And meant to become bearers of His own holy nature and character.
These are high things indeed. And if they were all Scripture had to say on the topic, they would be more than enough to occupy us fully in living out life in the light of them. But there is more. Much, much more. And so we read further in Romans 8:28 those amazing and familiar words: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Now it seems to me that we tend to focus on the first part of this verse – but not so much on the second. We all want to know that in the ups, downs, challenges and experiences of life – “all things work together for the good.” However, we tend to modify even this to read more like: “No matter what, everything will be OK.” It becomes a sort of universal maxim of Christian Karma. I recently read a book which is gaining much popularity, and in its closing chapter on the resurrection, the author utterly ignored Jesus’ teaching on the resurrection that some will be resurrected to life, and others to judgment. In closing he quotes Julian of Norwich: “all will be well…and every manner of being will be well.” “Everything, including our own lives, eventually will end sunny-side up.” This, he says to all without qualification. And done in this way, it is a lie. It makes a lie out of Romans 8:28. For all things working for the good, is true as God defines our good, and only for those “called according to His purpose.”
So of the utmost importance here is for Believers to grasp that we are called to be living out and serving God’s purpose. He is not our cosmic agent in helping us carry out OUR purposes. Which then begs the question – just exactly what purpose is it we have been called to, so that in so doing, we might know for certain all things in life work for our good in obtaining it?
What is it God is doing in all of creation and all of life as respects us? Peter captures it in all of its wondrous glory: 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” That in being His image-bearers, we might manifest and make known His glorious, infinite excellencies. And this, cosmically. Even as Paul expands on it in Eph. 3: “To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.”
This beloved, is THE purpose we are called to: To be revelatory agents of God’s glory – even to the vast angelic hosts.
And why would God be so invested in making His glorious excellencies known? Because the very highest blessing He can bestow on any creature, is Himself – as the very fountain and sum of all goodness. All of creation is the overflow of His unimaginable triune love spilling out on objects of that love. And we then, even in light of The Fall, are conscripted to call all of humanity to come into right relationship to Him through the atoning work of Christ – that they too might be restored to that purpose. To preach the Gospel of reconciliation in Christ.
And so John writes: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” (1 John 1:1-4, emphasis mine)
Called to belong to Christ Jesus. Called to be saints bearing His own holiness. Called to His eternal purpose in Christ.
Tell me Christian – do you know your calling from God’s perspective? Or are you still trying to invent or discover some hidden thing which revolves around you, rather than orbits – The Son?