I was never much good at games. Every week in the winter months I would stand in line at school as captains picked their football teams, not really listening for my name since I knew it would be among the last to be called. I wasn’t particularly bothered. I’d accepted fairly early on that football wasn’t my thing. Nevertheless it was always nice if my name was, say, the nineteenth to be called and I was not left until the very last!
If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, He has chosen you and called you by name. When you put your trust in Him, you stepped forward and accepted your place on His team. You are not a last resort. For reasons you’ll probably never understand, you were the one He wanted, chosen in Him ‘before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him (Eph 1:4). Of course you had a decision of your own to make, to accept His offer of grace, but He had already chosen you, as shown in John 15:16:
‘You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide …’.
The purpose of the call and its place in the scheme of things is given in Romans 8:28-29:
‘And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.’
The purpose is underlined and the five steps by which it is achieved are in bold type. God is assembling a team of siblings for His Son, people who are allowed to become like Him. There is no higher destiny. Whom does He call to this wonderful transformation? Those whom He has predestined. And who are they? They are those whom He foreknew from His vantage point outside time. What happens after He has called them? He justifies them, declaring that they are righteous because His Sons righteousness qualified Him alone to bear the punishment on the cross for their unrighteousness. Then they are glorified, changed to reflect the moral glories of the Lord Jesus character and given the hope of entering fully into all His glory in heaven. If you have a Christlike character, you will produce fruit, including the beautiful fruit of the Spirit that marked the Lords own character, as listed in Galatians 5. The work you do for Him will have lasting results that will never be erased from the lives you touch with the love of Christ. The articles in this series will point you to some of the purposes for which He has called you.
Think of the twelve apostles. They were among the many people fascinated by Jesus of Nazareth, but one day ‘he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him …. so that they might be with him (Mark 3:13,14). How privileged they must have felt. Of course He had called them there to send them on a special and unique mission as apostles. Nevertheless, as we have seen from Ephesians, He calls you and me to be with Him, to spend time with Him, to be His disciples, to bear lasting fruit for Him in our lives. Notice, too, that there is a direction to this call: “I chose you out of the world” (John 15:19). If you are on the M6 motorway in England, driving towards Carlisle, you are necessarily driving away from Birmingham. The Lord Jesus has chosen you out of the world. If you have responded to that call, keep your back to the temptations of the world and your face towards the One who has called you.
Christian reader, you need never feel that your life has no value. Christ Himself has chosen you and called you for a purpose. You have something to get on with.
Bible quotations from ESV