If we are to live Beyond a Mere Christianity, we must understand that Christianity is not man’s idea, it is a calling from God. From the highest heaven, God created all things for His own purpose; in HIs plans He brings us into a relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ. He rules and reigns through His Son, and by His Holy Spirit calls us to follow Him; to know Him and to live for Him.
A Holy Calling
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” 2 Timothy 1:9
It is a holy calling, from a Holy God, who calls us to a separation from the world to live holy before Him (1 Peter 1:15) and to serve Him in His kingdom. We cannot work for this relationship, but He, by His own purpose reveals His grace to us in Christ. This was determined before the world began, made possible through His Son, and administered by His Holy Spirit.
A High Calling
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14
The apostle Paul knew the calling of a Christian to be the high calling of God in Christ, where Christ sits enthroned at the right hand of the Father, ruling and reigning as King of kings and Lord of lords. This high calling is beyond our earthly thinking, and comes from above.
A Heavenly Calling
“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.” Hebrews 3:1
The writer of Hebrews 2 spoke of Jesus being made like us, partakers of flesh and blood, made a High Priest for us, being tempted Himself, so that He can succor those who are tempted(Hebrews 2:17-18).
What is the purpose of His calling, and what are the expected results? We find this explained vividly in Paul’s letter to the church at Thessalonica. To get the full impact of this calling and the end result, we need to read 2 Thessalonians 1. Here Paul writes, describing their patience and grace through the endurance of persecution and tribulation.
This calling includes the testing of our faith by those who do not obey the gospel.
“that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer (2 Thessalonians 1:5).
“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:” 2 Thessalonians 1:11
This holy, high and heavenly calling begins and ends with our Lord God in heaven; with His intentions to create and redeem a people with all the good pleasure of His goodness
“That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:12
Simon Peter makes reference in the following:
Called out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9); that we should inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:9); called to His eternal glory in Christ (1 Peter 5:10); to glory and virtue (2 Peter 1:3).
The Work of Grace
Look back to the Holy Calling in 2 Timothy 1:9 in the previous text ~ “according to His own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” In every generation He is calling His saints, and by His grace, working faith in us with power not only to believe but to suffer for the sake of His name and the gospel.
The common denominator, Christ Jesus, is found in every reference to God’s holy, high and heavenly calling.
Gracious Father, who has called us, according to your purpose and the precious grace that works in the hearts of those whom you call, we thank you. We praise you that you save us and call us to a life beyond any mere thoughts of faith that man can speak of; a faith that enables us to suffer for your sake and to endure to the end. Your Son, our Lord, Savior and High Priest calls us to follow in His footsteps. Do your work in our hearts to see beyond this world to the place of our calling and glorify your Son in us. In HIs precious name we pray. Amen.