A man must be undoubtedly saved by God to enter heaven. But, how does it all begin? There must be a pattern for it. Along the years men that called themselves Christians have come up with different prospects for it. They gave many principles, even began movements to go to the primitive ways of Christianity. They made creeds, the dos and the don’ts and reformed their ideas in order to show the pattern. Though by their own admission they used the Scripture as basis for their principles, not many were congruent to God’s pattern. And, the men that came after the reforms further made changes to them to suit their mental power. They brought more chaos to the structure, principles and living nature of the church. The result is quite visible in that there appeared many ways to be saved. Are there really that many ways? Surely, God in His infinite wisdom would have known the nature of men that will work against His way, purpose and desire. Then, He must have set a pattern.
God has the perfect way of calling men to Him. It is the only way no matter what people say. It doesn’t change or He does not change it for any reason. For He has determined before the foundation of the world, even before the dust from which we were created was made that it will be the way to call men to Him. Christian men and women ought to first come to know and understand it so that they are not an impediment to His kingdom. God has plenty of ways in His power to remove any obstruction to His kingdom, which stands on eternal foundation. His perfect way is the foundation. Through it He calls men for salvation. And He began it with Abraham whom He appointed as the father of the faithful “and said to him, ‘LEAVE YOUR COUNTRY AND YOUR RELATIVES, AND COME INTO THE LAND THAT I WILL SHOW YOU’” (Acts 7:3).
It is only those who are called by the perfect way that will continue in the kingdom of God. They not only continue in it, but are the cause for its furtherance. God chose them, so He enables them for it. The rest who have known Him through other ways are the impediments. They assume to be in the Kingdom, but God will remove them. If one must possess eternal life it must first be by God’s initiation of His work toward him. They ought to hear His call; they must obtain the promise of His word. The gospel is glorified when people who have first obtained His call proclaim it. If the churches are not formed based on this principle, they are not the saved. Consider the position of Abram. In the days when he did not know God what works of his became the cause for God to call him? None. What principles did he formulate to say that he can be justified by God? None. Yet, he becomes the father of all who believe. How? What enabled him to find God? It was God’s work, i.e. His calling him with the word.
The reason many Christians these days do not have God’s calling is because they misunderstand the reason for the presence of His word. They do not see the word as God’s source for communicating with them. They do not believe He personally speaks to them from it. His word saves them only when God establishes it in them. It lives in them only when they receive His will for them from it. If they do not know what God desires from them, they are directionless. Every faithful person in the Bible has known God, because God spoke His word to his or her heart. Many works do not bring men to God; neither does their many principles. They cannot work themselves up to the throne of God and into His kingdom. On the contrary, God must do His work toward them that they are saved. In this way there will be no condemnation to them. God nurtures them through teaching, reproof and rebuke that they enter His rest.
Consider this statement: “Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision?” (Rom. 3:1). If God had not called Abraham there was no advantage to the Jew; he has no circumcision, a sign for righteousness by faith. But because God took the initiative to call him, the Jew was blessed with His oracles; he was blessed with His promises and will; he became His child. And so God called many since Abraham for the sake of His covenant. He did not do so seeking the works and principles of men, but with His word. He put His word in their hearts that they are saved. Even to this day it is God who takes the initiative to call men to Him that they receive the promise of the seed. It is He who speaks His word to their hearts. If it is not so, grace does not appear because of man’s inventiveness. Therefore, He proclaims the gospel through whom He called and who also subsequently believed. They preach exactly according to the way they were called so that those who hear them might be called by God for faith. And if these believe He gives them the promise of the seed, i.e. Christ.
Hence the Spirit said, “If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward” (1 Cor. 3:14). This is the hope with which they proclaim Christ. They build their work, the calling of men to God, on the seed that God gifted them. Yet, not every man’s work will remain on the Christ, though as the Scripture says, they themselves will not miss God’s rest. It is because though there will be many that hear their gospel, God judges the hearers by their faith. For the hearers of the gospel must also experience His calling just as Abraham to be justified by faith; they must obtain His word for which it is given. For this reason, the word of God was deemed as sharper than any two-edged sword and the gospel as God’s power for salvation to all who believe.
So, what is the purpose of God’s calling through His word or the gospel? It is to select men and women that wholly believe in Him, trust Him and commit to Him after having heard His call. To this extent we have Abraham as an example from God. And how prudent is the following to those who are justified by Him! “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:9). To practice that which you received will put God at your side; you have peace. It is the everlasting one and not that which comes from men. As God is everlasting and you practice the things you heard and learned it will remain in you. Of it Paul at one place said it surpasses all understanding. For it takes you closer to God giving you the confidence to seek His will and desire. It guarantees that God will lead you in all matters relating to life and godliness. It vouches for your justification.
How wonderful it is to know that peace arrives in us through the work of God! He has told us how He calls us to Him. He has given us Abraham not only as an example to His calling, but also to the manner in which He leads men in His ways. And to all this His word is the life. This life has come to us and to all who believe in the form of Jesus Christ. So, now God called us through Him not only for salvation, but even to all that He purposed to accomplish in and through us. If we have seen, heard, understood and received how Abraham was perfected by God for eternity and for His purpose, we will not digress from the way. We embrace it so that we are his sons. To this end the Word dwelt among men. Christ did not come to divert us from the way which God employed to call Abram, but to bring us into it and into the promise that said to Abram in you all nations will be blessed. So, He kept calling men to Him. Or else, how is a Christian a son of Abraham? To become his son or daughter means to be called and be led by God like him. Yet, if men continue to digress from the pattern of God’s calling, they will miss salvation. They will not be conducive to the word that teaches and gives them the promise of God. “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, ‘I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU’” (Heb. 13:5).
This was fulfilled in Abraham and in all those who were of his faith, because they believed God. In all his hardships Abraham was never forsaken by God. He was even able to give God a tenth of his possessions as an offering. His focus was always on God, His call and the awesome guidance He provides. To be content is to have God and then possess all things through Him. It means to be away from the desires of the flesh. This happens only by obtaining His word, do accordingly and wait on Him. God will never forsake you. He proved it through Abraham after he believed in His call and now He desires to prove it in you. If God has called you and gave you His promise, will you lack anything? You be the judge. He will empower you to overcome anything that comes up against you. For see the God you have at your side. “The patriarchs became jealous of Joseph and sold him into Egypt. Yet God was with him” (Acts 7:9).
If God should be with you, you must wholly depend on Him. You must carefully listen to Him and perform His word. Whatever be His call, you should grasp it with all our heart. If you neglect it, you lose His precious blessings. Whatever be His will to fulfill His ministry you must obey. Then, your sorrow will turn into joy resulting in the effective glorification of God. No circumstance or ideology overrides you for God will be with you. It is He who took the initiative to do wondrous works through you. You do not have to fear. Nevertheless, realize the answer God expects from you. “But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, ‘Who is My mother and who are My brothers?’” (Matt. 12:48).