Monday, December 1, 2014

NTDS (26): Called

Rom 1:6  And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.  NIV

Called. Paul uses this word three times in the first seven verses of Romans 1. He uses it at least six more times in Romans in a similar fashion, so it would seem to be of particular importance to those Paul was writing to, which means it certainly must be important to us as well. Let’s take a closer look to see what Paul would be saying to us.

Though there is some debate over the original meaning of the word, the context here seems pretty clear. Paul says that he is called to be an apostle in verse 1. Strong’s definition here is “invited or appointed.” We know from the book of Acts, how Paul was called. While he was still persecuting believers in Jesus, he was traveling toward Damascus. Look at what happens,  …”suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.’”  Acts 9:3-7 (NASU) Verse 8 tells us that Paul could not see when he got up.

Now that is quite an invitation! Jesus gives Paul some very specific instructions, which Paul follows and he is given two important things. He receives the return of his eyesight and he is told the course of his calling. That is why he says so confidently that his apostleship is a “calling” from God.

It seems obvious that Paul is telling these Roman believers, that though they may not have had the same experience he had, they are still “called” to belong to Jesus. He says in verse 7, that they are loved by God and called to be “saints.”

Do you see what this means for you and I? It means that however you came to Christ, whether you were a child who grew up in the church and have followed him all of your life or if you have only recently come to him after years of sinful living, you are loved by Him and were called by Him!

People often ask the question, “How do I know if I have bee called?” The answer is actually quite simple. If you have accepted Christ’s free gift of salvation by faith in Him, you are called. The next question is, “what am I called to?” The answer again is simple. Paul answered it in verse 7. You are called to be a saint.

Wait, I thought saints were perfect people who did at least three miracles! Not so. The word for saint in Greek is hagios. It means sacred or holy (sacred, morally blameless or consecrated). Notice that Paul does not say we become holy, he says we are holy. Not because of anything we have done but because of our calling. Paul teaches us in Eph 4:1 and Col 1:10 that we should live a life worthy of this calling. The verse in Colossians tells us what that will look like. Col 1:10-11 “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,” (NIV)
This is what we should see in our lives, good works that bring glory to God and growth in our knowledge of Him.

Though Paul got his “marching orders,” or you might say his specific calling immediately, you may not experience your calling in the same way. The direction of your life In Christ may not come until later. That is okay. Just seek to know Him more, be consecrated to Him and allow Him to direct your path. That should be the priority of your life.

In verse 7 of Romans 1, Paul, writes to the believers in Rome. He emphasizes that not only are they called to be saints, but that they are “loved by God.” Rejoice that you are in that same category, a saint who is loved and called by God!

God bless you


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