Know Your Calling

The Apostle Paul’s prayer (Eph 1:15-2) demonstrates how fully he, by the Holy Spirit, entered into the difficulty with which the Church would ever have to contend, in seeking to apprehend “the hope of God’s calling, and the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints”; because, evidently, if we fail to apprehend our calling, we cannot “walk worthily” (4:1) thereof. I must know where I am called to be, before I can go there by faith.

If we are led by the Holy Spirit into the understanding of truth, that we called are with a heavenly calling, that our home, our portion, our hope, our inheritance are all above, “where Christ sits at God’s right hand,” we could never be satisfied to maintain a standing, seek a name, or lay up an inheritance on the earth. The two things are incompatible. Our heavenly calling is not an empty dogma, a powerless theory, nor a crude speculation. It is either a divine reality, or it is absolutely nothing.

I we would enjoy the divine sanction and the divine presence, we must be seeking, by faith, to act upon the divine calling. That is to say, we must seek to reach, in experience, in practice and moral character, the point to which our Father has called us, and that point is full fellowship with His own Son—fellowship with Him in His rejection below and fellowship with Him in His acceptance above.

It is positional death which breaks the link by which nature ties us down to this present world. We must realize and reckon upon the fact that we have died with Christ, our Head and Life—that the Cross of Christ is to us what the Red Sea was to Israel, namely, that which separates us forever from the land of death and judgment. Thus only shall we be able to walk, in any measure, “worthy of the calling wherewith we are called”—our “calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phl 3:14).

The same Cross which connected me with God, has separated me from the world. A dead man is, obviously, done with the world; and hence, the believer, having died with Christ, is done with the world; and, having risen with Christ, is in union with God, in the power and acceptance of a new life. Being thus inseparably linked with Christ, he, of necessity, participates in His acceptance with the Father, and His rejection by the world. The two things go together. The former makes him a worshipper and citizen in heaven, that latter makes him a witness and a stranger on earth. That brings him inside the veil: this puts him outside the camp.

If the Cross has come between me and my sins, it has just as really come between me and the sinful world. In the former case, it puts me into the place of peace with my Father; in the latter, it puts me into the place of hostility with the world, i.e., in a moral point of view; though in another sense, it makes me the patient, humble witness of the blessed, unfathomable, eternal grace which is set forth in the Cross of Calvary.

It is our happy privilege not only to be done with our sins, but to be done with the world also. All this is involved in the doctrine of the Cross. Well, therefore, might the Apostle say, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal 6:14). Paul looked upon the world as a thing which ought to be nailed to the Cross; and the world, in having crucified Christ, has crucified all who belonged to Him. Hence there is a double crucifixion, as regards the believer and the world; and where this is fully entered into, it proves the utter impossibility of ever amalgamating the two. Let us deeply, honestly and prayerfully ponder these things; and may the Holy Spirit give us the ability to enter into the full practical reality of both these phases of the Cross of Christ.

- C H Mackintosh