Christians are called to do the right things by faith. A Christian family or church is called by God according to the design He prepared for them. They are called to obey by which they progress forward to receive a higher calling. When one has come to the Lord by faith, he or she must be willing to execute their faith by what they received. As they fulfill the portion received, the Lord God takes them to a deeper faith. This is growing from faith to faith. Through such faith the depth in obeying God is realized. It is obedience that guides us into doing all things that are according to faith. Obedience gives to us God’s image, which alone gives us the power to interact with Him.
There are levels of faith and therefore, levels of obedience. Christians are called to walk from one level to another. He who has little faith can exercise only little obedience, perhaps like the seed that fell on the rock or among the thorns. In other words, he cannot fully please the Lord. When God calls us to Him, He does not intend for us to remain naïve or fragile, but desires that we attain to a complete faith through learning. The journey to a complete faith includes simple things. They are hearing and obeying. For example, when the Spirit said, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Eph. 6:1), He was simply asking them to obey by hearing. Where is belief? And, how can obeying parents alone be right? We too were once children and we remember our parents instructing us to simply do what they say. Notice that the Spirit does not give an elaborate reason as to why children should obey their parents except that it is right. It is because they are not born to analyze instructions, but obey them with fear. This obedience profits them in due time, because they were sown with the right things at the right time. It is only right for them to simply obey; nothing more or less, because of the fruit it brings for the later days, i.e. understanding.
Even so, there will be times when it is absolutely necessary for Christians to simply obey God’s word. There are times when faith is obtained by hearing God’s word and times for this faith to develop by simply obeying His instructions. For this reason, faith and obedience always go hand in hand. Neither is complete without the other. But, they are enough for a complete or deeper faith. Do not be confused there are surely times when only believing God is required to be His child. These include His calling us from sin and calling us to fulfill His desires. Many are His desires that He intends to accomplish in and through us, and therefore, His many callings. Once God fulfills a call toward us, and then comes His instructions pertaining to that call to which we simply ought to obey. It is only right, because of the fruit it brings. This is God guiding us. He gives to us His impregnable understanding of the instructions and from the instructions. For this reason, the faithful do not have to question God, but live in total subjection to Him. This yields in them a deeper faith. Count the number of times God called Abraham or Paul, and each time it was either a call to believe or a call to obey. This was their standard and it was from the Lord. They were like the children that obey the parents who are in the Lord. They no longer had a measure of their own, but of the Lord.
The issue becomes complex for Christians when they do not possess the standard from the Lord. “The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter” (Rev. 8:11). The standard is this – believe at the hearing of His call and His every call; then, obey His instructions pertaining to that call. He gave the word for this very reason. If God firstly called you to Him from sin and you turn to Him, you keep His commandments. You realized the effectiveness in His calling. Hence, it is written and believed that the calling of God is irrevocable. Realizing the effectiveness in His call is your first step in progressing toward complete faith. This is pleasing to God wherein He calls you for a higher calling i.e. to perform His desires. You obtain the standard from Him for a measure which Paul elsewhere in the Spirit refers to it as prophecy, service, teaching, exhortation, liberality, leadership or showing mercy. Unless we prove ourselves to God wherein He credits to us our belief in Him as righteousness, we do not receive His standard.
Nevertheless, when His commandments appear burdensome to you or you do not abide in them, it is evidence for your association with sin. The Lord God tested you and knew that you did not fully turn to Him. This evidence is not merely to those who observe you, but is primarily to you. Though the calling of God is irrevocable or without regret, you did not comprehend its effectiveness. Then, it certainly became a complex issue for you. Know that as Christians when we do not possess a measure from God, it shows the lack of His standard in us. We resemble the men that suffer immensely from the burden of sin. And, sin causes the wrath of God to fall upon men. Bitterness is always before them, in them and behind them. Do not be overworked, but understand the Lord’s desire. A great number have ignored the effectiveness in God’s calling. And, some having presumed the effectiveness in His call to be the only step minimized His longing for them. But, to obtain a measure from the Lord belongs to a higher calling. Not having a measure from the Lord too indicates our unwillingness to comprehend the effectiveness in His calling. Then, we cannot be the good soil for the seed. To possess a measure from the Lord necessitates a standard from Him. “If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too” (Rom. 11:16).
To have understood the effectiveness in God’s calling is of utmost need. It signifies you have been made holy by the Lord even as He is holy. He has cleared the way for you to do everything that is holy. In your case the calling of God is indeed irrevocable. Only be with the earnest expectation that even as you are fulfilling His call God is pleased to give you a higher calling. Since He does not intend for you to be fragile to the schemes of the devil and the world, He is not willing to delay His measure to you lest you fall. How true is it that the nature of the branches is purely dependant on the root! And, our root is the Lord God Almighty. There is no doubt the Root is holy and if we are His branches, who is there to reproach us? If our beginning in Him is by belief, our end which is life eternal is by obedience, because of the things He richly gives us. Make sure the first understanding in you about God is holy. “And it happened that while He was praying alone, the disciples were with Him, and He questioned them, saying, ‘Who do the people say that I am?’” (Luke 9:18).
Great is the disparity between the children of God and those that seem to be of God. When Jesus heard what people said of Him, it was everything, but the truth. They had different opinions about Him ranging from Elijah to John the Baptist to one of the risen prophets of old. They knew of Elijah, John the Baptist and the prophets of old. They even knew that one can rise up from the dead. Yet, they did not know Jesus like the disciples who knew Him as the Christ of God. O, the disparity in the evidence offered by those that claim to know the Scripture and those that can identify Jesus instantaneously! The latter have understood the effectiveness in God’s calling. And, they received the standard from the Lord. The men that the crowd identified Jesus with are all sons of God, but they could not realize that those men came to serve the Christ of God.
Many are present in the churches as leaders and members with intellectual attainments, but cannot identify Jesus instantly. They address Him with great themes and glorified names, but are not known to identify Him by the effectiveness in His calling. Hence, they do not have the full knowledge of Him. Are you one of them or are you of His disciples? How will you identify Jesus? That Jesus is called the Christ signifies no less stature. He is the Anointed of God, the equal of God or God, able to perform and supply richly to those who have realized the effectiveness in His calling. Therefore, when Paul spoke, “He said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said to him, ‘No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit’” (Acts 19:2). To have received the Spirit by believing is the key to obtain the standard for a measure. When we say we believed, in what did we believe – a man or the Son of Man? Here is a time for Christians to set aside their egos and intellectual attainments, and simply obey. The Spirit is the image of Christ who is the image of God. He alone is the power in us to interact with God and to richly supply us. Thanks be to God who does not disregard the innocent and the ignorant. He avails them the true knowledge through His ministers, even as He did through Paul in those days.
The present condition of many Christians is sad. They do not know of the standard that helps them grow from faith to faith; much less of the measure. Without it they are not justified by faith. They are ignorant of the schemes of God; even of the understanding of His instructions and from His instructions. Faith in Christ did not permeate them. If Christians are called to do the right things by faith, the Holy Spirit in you is all-essential to stand proof for that faith. And the God that said “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Col. 3:17) is vindicated.
This is the design God prepared for us so that we are called to obey to progress forward for a higher calling. Let your earnest expectation for a higher calling from God be your primary objective having in you the effectiveness in God’s calling. “May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you” (Jude 1:2).