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Mustard Seed March/April 2013
Letter From the Editor
Love Turned Stone Cold
A New Name
A Passover of Thanksgiving
To Whom Is God Calling?
Bible Study Aid
The Author of this Violence - Past and Present
To Whom Is God Calling?
Most professing Christians feel that God is now calling everybody to salvation. Others think that God calls to salvation those who wish to be called, or those who seek to be called by deciding to "give their hearts to the Lord." Still others feel God must surely call only the best that society has to offer-s-the "good people" who try to obey as they see Him. A few feel that a person has not been called unless he has had some type of special religious experience such as "speaking in tongues." Certain preachers must feel that they have the power to call people, since they tell people in meetings to come forward and profess Christ.. Amazingly, all these common teachings and impressions are proven false by the Bible.
A person called at this time is also one of the relatively few to whom God is now offering salvation today. God alone decides who shall be called, by opening a person's mind to understand His truth. Notice the illustration in Matthew 22:1-14. "The Kingdom of heaven," Christ said in a parable, "is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding" (verse 2-3), plainly shows that God's calling is an invitation .. Galatians 1:6 says it is a calling an invitation-to the grace of Christ. I Peter 2:9 says it is a calling from darkness to light, being called means that one is invited to become a member of the body of Christ.
The Greek word translated "church" in the New Testament is ecclesia, which literally means" called-out ones-« that is, the Church. The common teaching that God is calling all now--that he is now trying to save the world is false. When asked by His disciples why He spoke in parables, Christ said, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but unto them it is not given" (Matt.3: 11). That is, the disciples had been called to know the truth, but others had not been called. This is not to say that the others will never be called, just that they were not called at that time. The subject of the time of one's calling concerns the doctrine of eternal judgment.
Who are now being called? Christ makes the answer clear in John 6:44. Here, surely to the astonishment of the religious teachers of this world, Christ states, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. "No one can be called unless God Himself decides to call -him or her. This means that God does not call everyone- not those who wish to be, or those who try to be, nor those who are talked into joining churches by well intentioned but misguided preachers, not just the "good" among people. Rather, He calls those He decides to call for His own reasons.
Notice how Paul states it in Romans 9, where he discusses this precise topic:" So then it is not of him who wills (he who wants to be called), nor of him who runs (he who even tries in his on way), but of God who shows mercy" (verse 16). Paul is not saying those not now called will not be saved, only that their opportunity for salvation is not in this age, but later. Still, we cannot help but wonder upon what God bases His decision, to call or not call a certain person. God does state certain qualifications, and gives some examples from which we can glean answers.
The most penetrating of scriptures on this question is in I Corinthians 1 :26-29, is where Paul writes'" for you see your calling brethren not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble: are called. But has- chosen the weak. things of the world to put to' shame the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen yea, and things which are not to bring to nothing things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence."
Literally, then, God picks those who are foolish, weak and despised-s-in the eyes of this world, that is. He does so in order that those who are saved are humbled and don't take the credit themselves.
one of the most important
questions asked by
this subject is "Am
I know?" Look
at John 10:28.
verses Christ likens the true
with himself as the shepherd.
He says the true sheep will know their spiritual shepherd because they will
hear his voice and understand his words.
See especially verses 3-6, 14, and verses 26-28. The book of Mark chapter 4 verses 1-20, illustrates who is called. The point of the parables is this: the one whom God is calling will have his mind opened to understand when he hears God's truth.
One who is not being called may hear the words but, like a foreign language he does not understand. God calls then, by opening one's mind to understand and believe the truth when he or she hears it. Are you being called? You are if you are understanding and believing the truth. Such is the clear meaning of many verses such as: Isaiah 6:9-10, Acts 28:23-27, and Romans 11:8-10. This subject pierces through so many commonly held wrong beliefs, that it is important to highlight a few important verses that a person may remember, II Peter 1: 10---Christians are commanded to make their calling and election sure Matt. 22:14---God's calling is His invitation for salvation now. John 6:44--no one is called unless God initiates the call. JohnlO:I-28 and . Matt. 13:10-17. God calls by opening our minds to understand the truth,--- and those not called are spiritually blinded.