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The higher calling of Jesus Christ - James Bell

Christians are the elect of God, as Ephesians 1:4 says, "For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love (verse 5), He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will -- to the praise of His glorious grace."

Holiness is the result, not the basis, of God's choosing. It refers both to the holiness imparted to the believer because of Jesus Christ, and to the believer's personal sanctification.

(See 1st Cor.1:2) Here Paul said: "To those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy." "Sanctified" means to be set apart for the Lord. It can also mean "made holy," which is done by (1) being declared holy through faith in Jesus Christ's atoning death on the cross, and (2) being made holy by the works of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians.

We are sanctified, not because of our conduct, but because of our relationship to Christ.

All Christians are called of God; they are called to specific service, in that they are to be His witnesses and to be the children of God through the saving power of Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:7a says, "In Him [meaning Jesus,] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sin."

Ephesians were familiar with the Roman practice of redemption; slaves were freed by the payment of a ransom. The ransom necessary to free sinners from the bondage of sin was, and is, the death of Christ (called here His blood). "Through His blood" means the same -- His death on the cross. This is what we mean when we ask, "Are you saved," or say, "You should be saved."

All Christians are "saved" or have come into relationship with Jesus Christ. (God the Father, God the Son-Jesus, and God the Holy Spirit, the three-in-one, and the one-in-three, the blessed Holy Trinity. Amen!)

We often hear of Christians being called to preach, called to be evangelists or pastors, and this is true of God. But actually, all Christians are called, first to be sanctified children living holy, daily lives for Christ, and to be His witnesses, telling how Christ saved them and how He wants to save others, also.

When I was a Young Christian, I wondered what Jesus wanted me to do. Should I be a preacher and go into the ministry? I thought about this and prayed about it, but felt no compelling conviction to be a minister. Finally, I went to the home of a prominent Baptist minister and discussed the situation with him. His counsel was for me to continue to pray about it, for he felt that if I really was called by God to preach, I would not be able to resist His certain call.

After that, I began to feel God wanted me to be a dedicated layman and teacher in the church. I have followed this advice all of my Christian life, and now, as an old man, I still teach His glorious word and have been blessed as Christ's witness, and have experienced the Holy Spirit, using my testimony and presentation of the gospel of Christ to save those He chooses to save.

If you have not been saved by accepting Christ and believing in Him, I pray you will accept Him as you read this article. If you have felt in your heart you should believe in God through faith in Jesus Christ, do you realize you have been chosen to become one of the elect of God, to have the great blessings of the high calling of God?

Yes! It is true, you can be saved only if you believe and repent of your sins. (See Romans 10:9) Go to church this Sunday and talk with the pastor. Tell him of your conviction to become a Christian, and he will gladly lead you to Christ! May God bless you and give you courage.