Week­end Bi­ble Re­flec­tions With Jon

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in­di­vid­ual in the early church, but rather to the church as a whole. I love how the Holy Spirit in­spired Jude (2 Peter 1:19-21) to re­fer to Chris­tians as “to those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Je­sus Christ” (Jude 1).

While it is true that God calls all of us, do you know how He calls us? In most re­li­gious dis­cus­sions in which some­one brings up that they were “called” by God, they talk of that “call­ing” in vague, un­de­ter­mined terms. Usu­ally it is said to be a feel­ing, an in­tu­ition or per­haps a dream. “God called to me last night in this very in­tense dream I had.” “I just felt that God called me to take this job.”

Yet the Bi­ble teaches that God calls all of us in a way com­pletely un­re­lated to such no­tions. Paul wrote, “It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Je­sus Christ” (2 Thes­sa­lo­ni­ans 2:14). No­tice that Paul was writ­ing to Chris­tians, “brethren beloved by the Lord” whom God had “cho­sen from the be­gin­ning for sal­va­tion” (v. 13). It was for that pur­pose – “sal­va­tion through sanc­ti­fi­ca­tion by the Spirit and faith in the truth” – that God had called them…how? “… through our gospel” (v. 14).

God calls all of us through His gospel, the good news of Je­sus Christ. He doesn’t call us through feel­ings, hunches or dreams. He calls us through His gospel which is “the power of God for sal­va­tion to every­one who be­lieves” (Ro­mans 1:16). Yet while all are called by His gospel, Chris­tians are the only ones who heed His call by obey­ing that gospel. In fact, the Bi­ble specif­i­cally teaches that all those who will end up be­ing con­demned to hell for all eter­nity are “those who do not know God and those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Je­sus” (2 Thes­sa­lo­ni­ans 1:7-9). How does one obey the gospel?

The an­swer is by be­liev­ing it and obey­ing its com­mand to be pen­i­tently bap­tized into Christ. Re­mem­ber, the most im­por­tant part of that gospel mes­sage is the good news that Je­sus died for our sins on the cross, was buried in the tomb and then was res­ur­rected by the power of God three days later (1 Corinthi­ans 15:1-4). The Bi­ble teaches that when we be­lieve that good news, we can obey it by dying, be­ing buried and then be­ing res­ur­rected like Je­sus…only in a spir­i­tual sense.

Here’s how Paul put it: “What shall we say then? Are we to con­tinue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been bap­tized into Christ Je­sus have been bap­tized into His death? There­fore we have been buried with Him through bap­tism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too might walk in new­ness of life. For if we have be­come united with Him in the like­ness of His death, cer­tainly we shall also be in the like­ness of His resurrection” (Ro­mans 6:1-5).

In other words, we heed God’s call through the gospel mes­sage of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection by spir­i­tu­ally dying to our sins through re­pen­tance and bap­tism, be­ing buried in bap­tism and ris­ing spir­i­tu­ally to a new life as a saved and beloved child of God.

Have you heeded His call? Peter would tell you to “make your call­ing and elec­tion sure” and thus en­sure that en­trance into the eter­nal king­dom of God (2 Peter 1:10-11). Give me a call at (706) 629-8459 if you would like to study more about this. I would love to hear from you.

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