The book of Ephesians is rich in telling us who we are in Christ Jesus. We also learn what God does for us. This is the third and last study in our series, Living Out My Destiny, as we talk about who is called and chosen. It’s long so grab your Bible, a notebook and a hot cup of coffee. Let’s get started!
Who you are in Christ
Ephesian 1:4, 5 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, KJV
I love Ephesians. I don’t know why but maybe it has to do with the many references of who I am in Christ. Let’s look at a few as I want to bolster your faith.
1:3 I am blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
1:4 he chose me in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
1:5 In love he predestined me for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ.
1:11, 12 In him I was also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
2:10 we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
I hope you read these and see what I see. You are no accident, not by design, nor by value. You are chosen by God Almighty Himself! You are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. That means you have a destiny to fulfill. You have been called.
What is the calling?
That’s a great question. So many of us look at the English vernacular and think it means the job, vocation or ministry that we are doing. But, let’s look at the origin of the word, how it was used in Scripture.
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words explains “calling” which comes from KLESIS (Strong’s 2821) as to accept the benefits of salvation.
So, if ‘calling’, ‘call’, or ‘called’ refers to our salvation and not to a job or ministry we need to look into it further as this now raises some other questions.
Is the calling revocable?
This is a fair question as many people have debated the ‘once saved, always saved’ question. While we won’t delve deeply into this, we will look at two verses to answer this question.
Isaiah 41:9 Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.
Romans 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance KJV or in NKJV are irrevocable.
The New Bible Commentary Revised by Eerdmans states this regarding verses 8-20 of Romans 11: “The long chain of promises, in the future verbs of vv 10b-20, is characteristically anchored in the facts of present and past: a pledged relationship (vv 8, 10a) and an irrevocable choice and call (v 9).”
Once God has called you, He will not remove that calling nor will He reject you.
How and why were you called?
John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Romans 8:28-30 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
According to these verses, the Father draws us Himself for the purpose of eternal life with Jesus. God has a purpose for calling us and it is the same call for each of us which is the benefit of salvation.
Matthew Henry Commentary states “They are the called according to his purpose, effectually called according to the eternal purpose. The call is effectual, not according to any merit or desire of ours, but according to God’s own gracious purpose.”
What is this purpose?
2 Timothy 1:8-11 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, 11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
According to Paul, the purpose of his calling was to spread the gospel as a preacher, an apostle and a teacher of the Gentiles. Have you thought of what your purpose is? How are you fulfilling it?
How do we handle this purpose?
2 Peter 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
Let’s have another look at the Matthew Henry Commentary
(1.) It is the duty of believers to make their election sure, to clear it up to themselves that they are the chosen of God. (3.) … there must be a very close examination of ourselves.
There are Scriptures where we are told to examine ourselves, to ensure we have the right motive. And this verse in 2 Peter directs us to be diligent in ensuring we called by the Father and not pretending we are Christians.
Are you called and chosen?
We have read the verses about being called and chosen. We need to take a closer look at the meanings of these words to keep things in context.
Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
This verse led me to
Matthew 19:30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
And this verse led me to
Matthew 20:16 So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.
Okay, I know…what does that mean? There are those who choose to accept the call of salvation with sincerity of heart. Then there are those who accept the call of salvation but don’t mean it. They walk in the path for a short time before leaving it altogether. They were not chosen by God.
Checking in with Matthew Henry Commentary on this verse, we learn that there are many who are called with the common call of salvation but refuse (Pro 1:24) and others who are called, leave Him (Hos 11:2,7). He also states there are few chosen Christians in comparison to the many who are called.
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;
Jesus chose the men who would be His disciples. They did not choose Him. Still today, He chooses those who will be part of His ministry. Though there are men and women who make the choice to be ministers of grace, first and always, the Spirit of God placed that desire within them to make that choice. Christ will always have the first choice whom He will choose to be His disciples.
John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
Ephesians 1:1, 4 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
That’s a Wrap
Whew! That was a lot of background information, I know. But, you know, it sure opened my eyes to the meaning of this term “called and chosen.” I can no longer see it based on the English definitions but rather how Scripture defines it. How about you?
Based on Scripture, ‘calling’ means the Father has drawn us to receive the free gift of salvation. We accepted that call. God’s purpose of this call is that we would also share with others the gospel message as His hands and feet here on earth. As we share Christ, the Father draws them to Himself and the hearer has the opportunity to accept the call of salvation.
The Father and Jesus have chosen us to be a part of His family. We all have a ministry of reconciliation but we do not all walk in the teaching/preaching gifts. We are members of the body of Christ with each having their own function, maybe even blogging.
Did you like this study? Do you feel secure in the knowledge that you are both called and chosen? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave me a comment below.