Sunday, July 16, 2017

Rethinking Christian Calling

Many well-meaning Christians often want to baptize their aspirations and decisions with divine approval. It’s not uncommon to hear young people encouraged to figure out who, where, and what God might be “calling” them to. Consider three little anecdotal stories. John is talking with some friends when he confidently announces that he has met the girl he will marry. When asked how he can be certain he says God has called him to take her as his wife. Susie is getting ready to graduate high school and decides to go to a particular university. When asked why, she says God has called her to go to that school. Ben works as a plumber. When asked why he chose that profession he says God has called him to that work. Do you see the pattern?

While it may not gain me popularity points I want to rethink this common idea of God’s calling. Biblically, the call of God is used in reference to our salvation and to Apostolic office (see e.g. Romans 1:1 and 1 Corinthians 1:1). Foregoing the second of these, the Bible says we have been “called to belong to Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:6) and “called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:30). We’re “called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:2) and “called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9). We have been “called to freedom” (Galatians 5:13) and called into a hope that is “the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18). We have received the “upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14) and are to “walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12). And you are to be “diligent to confirm your calling and election” (2 Peter 1:10). The dominant use of “call” in the New Testament is directed toward our initiation, identity, hope, and destiny in Jesus Christ. In all of that, and there’s dozens more that could be mentioned, the Bible never mentions God’s call in relation to your individual aspirations and decisions. Read More

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