“Called to belong to Jesus Christ”. Roman 1:6
Just under seven weeks to go before Bible Focus Number 5 on September 11th! I do hope you have booked or are planning to do so shortly (firstname.lastname@example.org). We praise the Lord that so much uncertainty about this year’s event has cleared away, though we still have to be prepared for a change in the Covid situation that might necessitate a change in our plans. But we press on in faith, believing that it was the Lord who brought SWBF into being and he will sustain it for as long as it is his will to do so. It is he, too, who has called us (and that includes you!) to be partakers of this work. That is why I find the fourfold call of God in Romans 1:1-7 so encouraging.
Firstly, we are called to serve (v1)
“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, and set apart for the gospel of God.”
Paul’s apostleship was unique, but the underlying principle applies to all believers; all of us are, in some way or another called by God to serve him. We are, as Peter writes: “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that (we) may declare the praises of him who called (us) out of darkness into his wonderful light”. And if we are called we can rest assured that, by his grace, God will enable us for that service.
Secondly, we are called to obedience (v5)
Paul had “received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.”
Is not this the heart of the church’s mission, so to preach the gospel that the disobedient might become obedient? Obedience is not a cold adherence to some ethical or legal code, but rather the warm response of a heart touched by God’s grace – transforming every part of life, and every act and attitude.
Thirdly, we are called to belong to Jesus Christ (v6)
“And you also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ”.
Jesus described himself as the good shepherd who knows his sheep and whose sheep know him. (John 10:14-16). How the world longs for such a sense of ‘belonging’, and for such a sense of deep security!
But it offers all manner of false substitutes for true belonging is only to be found in Christ.
Fourthly, we are called to be saints (v7)
The word ‘saint’ means one who has been set apart. In that sense all believers are saints for we have been called by God to be his holy, set apart, people; set apart from sin for God’s service – thus we are a holy (sanctified, separated) people. Why have believers been ‘set apart’? For no other reason than we are “loved by God and called to be saints”. It is futile to try to be holy in our own strength. But how different when we desire to be holy in response to God’s love, his call upon our lives and the work of the Holy Spirit, and simply because, by grace, we “belong to Christ Jesus”.
Called to serve – called to obedience – called to belong to Jesus Christ – called to be saints.
What a God of grace we worship and serve! And what noble callings!
Yours, in Christ,