The Christian Calling
Of old Abram was called of God when he lived in Mesopotamia. There his fathers and he had served “other gods”—the idols of the nations. To him “the God of glory” appeared. In some way of which we are not told He made Himself known and called Abram to leave his country, kith and kin and go to a land which he should be shown. And Abram arose and went.
By that call he was separated from all that which had surrounded him previously. God had called. Henceforth all for him was to be found in or provided by “God Almighty” who had made Himself known to him.
Today it is the same with the believer on the Lord Jesus Christ. He is called of God. It is of this calling—as brought before us in the first epistle of Peter I wish to briefly speak.
In the first chapter we read,
“As He which hath called you is holy so be ye holy in all manner of conversation” (v. 15).
God who has called us is holy. Therefore those called are to be holy also. We are
CALLED TO HOLINESS.
From those honoured with such a call a manner of life consistent with the privilege is looked for. We are to answer to the position in which we are placed. Our whole life is to be befitting—as becometh those “professing godliness.” The call has come, the favour is conferred and therefore our whole course is to be in accordance with it.
He who called us is holy. Sin, in every form, is abhorrent to Him. The world has cast out and rejected His beloved Son. The world has broken with God and God has broken with the world which now lies under condemnation. His grace lingers over it. His long-suffering is salvation. But its judgment is pronounced. It has been tried in various ways. The same result has always been reached. Man has failed, without law and under law—judges, priests, kings, Jews and Gentiles alike all are plunged into one common ruin. “Last of all” God’s beloved Son was sent. “The world hath seen and hated both Me and My Father” was the sad and solemn pronouncement of the Lord. Out of this world God has called us—to be holy in our words and ways.
In the second chapter we find,
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light” (v. 9).
Here we find our calling distinguished as
“CALLED OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS MARVELLOUS LIGHT.”
The world lies in darkness. The rulers of this world-darkness control it. Man vaunts himself as to discoveries and inventions and engages his mind with “some new thing,” and boasts of twentieth century progress. He shuts his eyes to the future. Death—judgment—eternity are banished from his thoughts if possible. He is deceived, duped by the devil who “deceiveth the whole world.” He is in the dark and blinded “by the god of this world.” Out of that condition Christians have been called—called into light—into marvellous light—into God’s marvellous light. God has revealed Himself fully. He is now in the light of manifestation. The Christian walks in that light. He can be there happily because he knows the value of the blood of Christ which cleanseth from all sin. And knowing God in His love, he worships as a holy priest, offering up “spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” And as a royal priest he is privileged to show forth the praises of the God whose grace and goodness he knows. In the holiest of all he worships pouring out his heart’s thanksgivings. In the world, through which he has to pass, he witnesses bearing testimony to the wonderful grace of God. These two forms of priesthood—holy and royal—are seen exercised by Paul and Silas in the Philippian jail, they “prayed and sang praises to God,” this was holy priesthood. “They spake to him the word of God”—this was royal priesthood. How treat is our privilege to sing to God and to speak for God.
Another view of our calling is found in verse 21. We are
CALLED TO SUFFERING.
Our Lord Jesus trod a pathway of suffering in this world and in each chapter of the epistle He is spoken of as a Sufferer (1:11; 2:21; 3:18; 4:1; 5:1). And we who are His are called to follow His steps.
“If, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called; because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow His steps.”
The world being what it is, the path of the Christian is necessarily one of trial and difficulty. He has to hold himself aloof from every form of evil. His separation may bring upon him reproach and shame. And it may be that persecution and distress become his portion. If so this is favour from God. To us, “it is given (given as a favour] . . . not only to believe on Him but also to suffer for His sake” (Phil. 1:29).
Let us not seek a path of ease and comfort in the world of our Saviour’s refusal and betrayal and murder. Let us “take our share in suffering as good soldiers of Jesus Christ” (2 Tim. 2:3).
In chapter 3, verse 9, we read,
“Not rendering evil for evil or railing for railing; but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.”
CALLED TO BLESSING.
Called to inherit blessing—blessing abundant—blessing eternal, called to live in the enjoyment of the blessing. Called to minister blessing to others. We are reminded of the words of our Lord Jesus; “Bless them that curse you.” So it was that He prayed for His murderers, saying, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
God has blessed us so abundantly—blessed us with all spiritual blessings—so that we—set up in blessing—may be here for the help and cheer and encouragement of others. Should we not ever cry,
“Make me a channel of blessing today,
Make me a channel of blessing, I pray:
My life possessing, my service blessing,
Make me a channel of blessing today.”
This is an honour which we may prize. We are allowed to be channels through which good may reach others. We have had the light shine in that the light may shine out.
The Lord proposed this when He cried “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”
Should we not seek grace to be here in a weary, unsatisfied world as clear channels through which the blessing of God may flow unhinderedly?
It is but a little while and the journey will be over and our openings for usefulness and helpfulness here will cease. Therefore we should buy up our opportunities. If we are fit for the Master’s use, He will employ us. He has called us to service thus.
Finally, in the last chapter, verse 10, we read,
“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”
Wonderful thought, we are
CALLED TO GLORY.
Called by God Himself to holiness—into light—to suffering and to blessing. All this in the present time. As to the future the glory of God—“His eternal glory” is before us. Its brightness draws us on, attracting us ever forward, encouraging us in the midst of every difficulty. The suffering we may know, is but for awhile.” The glory is eternal. “The God of glory” who called Abram has called us and He has called us to “the glory of God.” This is our only sure future.
A young man was speaking with an aged servant of God of the future. He was proposing to take a step in faithfulness to God, a step which might mean suffering and difficulty. He said “If when I take this step this or that thing happens—” He was interrupted by the older one who exclaimed “There’s no future but glory for the Christian.”
Let us remember this—our Lord Jesus is coming quickly—“He that cometh will come and will not delay.” Any moment He may return to receive us unto Himself that where He is we may be also. Then the joys of His company in the Father’s house will be ours. And like Him then we shall enjoy unbroken unbreakable communion for ever and ever.
“The glory shines before me!
I know that all is well!
My Father’s care is o’er me,
His praises I would tell.
The love of Christ constraineth me
His blood has washed me white;
Where Jesus is in glory,—
’Tis home! and love! and light!”
Wonderful is our calling—May we answer to it more faithfully.