Those Called Now
Commentary for May 31, 2004 — June Article & Newsletter
Read both “The June Newsletter” as well as the lecture/article by Dr. Ernest L. Martin “Types of People God Is Calling.” They will help explain both the strengths and limitations that are placed upon you as a Son or Daughter of God as you fulfill God’s purpose in your life. The biblical examples that Dr. Martin gives of God’s calling and role in His plan of salvation are both fascinating and humbling. Keep in mind that most of what we are being trained for will come to full fruition only after our resurrection from the dead. If you are like me, much of your life (if not most of it) seems to be a preparation for something to come later. In many cases that “something” is — apparently — unfilled. However, God’s purposes are being fulfilled in you, both now and in the future. You are in good company, as the Scriptures make clear. With this in mind, reread Hebrews chapter 11 and note how all the heroes of faith received only a foretaste and a hope of the promises of God. I have no doubt that in their own mind they probably did not achieve what they considered to be their full potential. Yes, they were as human as you and me. They were as carnal as you and me, perhaps more so because we have the benefit of God’s Spirit working and residing within us which they did not have.
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were  persuaded of them, and  embraced them, and  confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims [expatriates] on the earth.If you ever felt that you do not belong, that you are a “stranger in a strange land” (which is the meaning of Gershom, who is Moses’ son by Zipporah [Exodus 2:22 and 18:3]), it is because God made you that way, with all your abilities, talents, limitations, and flaws. You are a misfit in this world because God made you to be so. In fact, you are a necessary part of God’s entire salvation process. Without you, me, and all the people of the ekklesia of God, the people of faith in Hebrews would not receive their promise that they believed they would receive. You doubt this? Read what Paul says further in Hebrews chapter 11:
• Hebrews 11:13
“And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”How Then Should We Live?
• Hebrews 11:39–40
That “some better thing” is the Spirit of God, the “Power of the Highest” (Luke 1:35). Therefore, how should we live? We should live with the same expectation those heroes of faith had. To learn what else we should do, read the next verses in Hebrews, continuing on in the same context.
“Wherefore seeing WE also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let US lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset US, and let US run with patience the race that is set before US, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of OUR faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross [stauros, stake], despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”Note that Paul always returns to the stauros, the stake, the tree of crucifixion, and from there he presents Christ (the “finisher of OUR faith”) at the right hand of the Father. We are there also, with Him. As a result, we should never be ashamed nor despair with discipline from God.
• Hebrews 12:1–2
“If YOU endure chastening [discipline], God deals with YOU as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens [disciplines] not?”This discipline can take the form of not giving you things that you “think” you need, and it can take the form of taking away things you “think” you need, such as physical abilities and talents as we get older. Such things are temporary until the resurrection. As Peter made clear, writing to an audience who apparently never saw Jesus in the flesh — yet believed — your inheritance is safe, is ready to be revealed, and the present everyday problems and trials of life (not just those when your faith is challenged) that you endure now are to be counted some day as precious, even more than gold:
• Hebrews 12:7
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for YOU, who are kept [garrisoned] by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein YOU greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, YOU are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of YOUR faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”You are loved, protected, coddled, nurtured and sustained by God in ways that you cannot even imagine at present. Ask consistently, even constantly, that God grant you faith, hope, and love through His Spirit (1 Thessalonians 1:3, 5:8).
• 1 Peter 1:3–7
“What is the exceeding greatness of his power toward US who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, ... and gave him to be the head over all things to the church [ekklesia], which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. And YOU has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past YOU walked according to the course of this world, ... But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved US, even when WE were dead in sins, has quickened US together with Christ, (by grace you are saved); and has raised US up together, and made US sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward US through Christ Jesus.”
• Ephesians 1:19–20, 1:22–2:2, 2:4–7
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