We will consider four more purposes of Christians’ divine calling. Thus far, we have learned six purposes of our calling – (1) “The call to salvation”, (2) “The call to sanctification”, (3) “The call to separation” and (4) “The call to fellowship”, (5) “The call to sonship” and (6) “The call to eternal life and inheritance”.
7. The Call to His Marvellous Light
Scripture declares unto us in 1 Peter 2:9, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” We are God’s very special people on earth by virtue of the fact that He has called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.
Jesus came to this world “to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79). He came and called the people who were groping in the blackness of sin and shame. So Matthew 4:16-17 says, “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Scripture continues to call God’s people, saying, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Ephesians 5:14). Christians are also admonished, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).
His marvellous light denotes all His goodness, truth and holiness. God’s purpose of calling Christians is that He may communicate to us His marvellous light and that we might abide always in that light. Now, this is no small favour shown to us in that we are called to walk in God’s glorious light, when many people are left in darkness and in the shadow of death. Because His people are called into His marvellous light, Jesus said to them, “Ye are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14).
8. The Call to Suffering
Many Christians of our time will be startled to know that they are called by God to suffer because today’s popular “health-wealth gospel”, propagated by the charismatics, declares that God does not want any Christian to suffer. But the Word of God teaches: “When ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps” (1 Peter 2:20b-21).
Even though we have lived righteously and are undeserving of cruel treatment, yet we are reminded that we should be willing to suffer injustice done to us, simply because we are called to suffer. Jesus is our example who quietly suffered all hurts and pains.
Jesus declared, “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:38). In Matthew 16:24, Jesus repeated the call of His disciples to be ready to suffer – “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
Christians must expect and accept suffering as it is their calling from God. Jesus reminded His disciples in John 16:33, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Likewise the early Christians were exhorted by the apostles, “that [they] must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).
Similar exhortations to endure suffering are found in many places in Scripture. Consider Paul’s words to the Philippians: “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29). Again, 1 Thessalonians 3:3 exhorts, “That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.” That we should suffer affliction is God’s immutable decree. So let us be patient in suffering. It is our inevitable lot.
Suffering for Christ’s glory confirms our faith, proves our devotion to God, arouses prayers in our hearts and strengthens our desire to be in heaven’s glory.
9. The Call to Inherit a Blessing
The apostle Peter teaches Christians that we are called to bless that we may inherit a blessing. He wrote, “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9). We are called both to inherit and dispense blessings.
We should be ready to bless even those who malign, curse and persecute us. Even in hostile situations, we ought to be ready to bless others, be it in words or deeds. We should be ready to bear all their reproaches and even wish them well. Our awareness and assurance of eternal life should make our minds calm, even in adversity. Our prospect of being so exalted in heaven should fill our hearts with compassion and love towards others. To bless is every Christian’s duty, for thereunto is he called.