A Heavenly Calling (2)
“Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession...”
There is heavenly calling, a summons from God in heaven to a life more in line with the priorities and purposes of heaven, a life that ends in a heaven of rest in God, where sin and death can reach us no more. To the secular men and women of our age, the idea of such a calling seems foolish.
But for over two millennia multiplied millions have found it to be so, and have devoted themselves to sharing in that calling as the driving force, organizing motif, and overarching objective of their lives. In the process those who have shared in this heavenly calling have contributed more of beauty, goodness, and truth to the human experience than any other people who have ever lived.
There is, therefore, a heavenly calling, and it is actually possible to “share in” this calling, so that the reality of it becomes real to us as well. To share in the heavenly calling means to understand its priorities and promises and to embrace them as one’s own. It means gaining a new hope and new aspirations, a new outlook on life, and new values, as well as a raft of new practices which enable us to show the reality of that heavenly calling to the watching world.
How does one begin to share in this heavenly calling? We cannot enter into this calling unless we first hear God Himself summoning us to turn away from the life of sin, deceit, and wickedness, which offends His holiness and frustrates our desire for happiness. God speaks to us through His Word, the Bible, where, through prophets, apostles, and His own incarnate Son, He makes known to us His displeasure against those things that violate the tenets of love for God and neighbor, and calls us to share in His heavenly calling, so that our lives reflect more and more His eternal and glorious will.
The key to beginning to share in this calling is, as our text says, to “consider Jesus.” Jesus was sent by His Father to earth, the Word of God incarnate, in order to accomplish deliverance from sin for all who believe in Him (Heb. 1:1-3). It is in this sense that Jesus is our “apostle.” We receive Him as sent by God, and we embrace the mission He came to accomplish by repenting of our sinful way of life and looking to Jesus to lead us in the way we should go, in the heavenly calling that is following Him.
But we do not do this on our own. Jesus is not only our apostle; He is also our High Priest, and this means He lives forever to intercede on our behalf and help us in our desire to share in the heavenly calling (Heb. 7:25). As our High Priest, Jesus is able to “save to the uttermost” all who look to Him in faith and take up the heavenly calling to which He summons us. He does this by giving us His Holy Spirit to dwell within us, teach and remind us, and transform us increasingly into the very image of Jesus Christ Himself (2 Cor. 3:12-18).
Believing in Jesus thus puts us into that heavenly calling. If we believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins, then we have begun to share in the heavenly calling and to bring our lives more into line with His. If we have no sense of that heavenly calling, and little or no desire to share in its promises, precepts, and commands, then it’s likely we’ve never truly considered Jesus and understood what He requires of all who wish to follow Him.
The calling to a life in line with and bound for eternal glory can be ours by trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. If we can confidently profess Him and make His hope our hope, we will share in the heavenly calling in ways that become richer and fuller every day.
Do you have a sense of have engaged that heavenly calling? How can you tell? Ask your pastor or a church leader to outline the marks of one who has truly come to believe in Jesus Christ. Do these marks describe you? How can you make sure that you have a “share in” the heavenly calling of God?
This week’s series, A Heavenly Calling, is available in a free downloadable format, suitable for group study.
For more insight to this heavenly calling, order the book, The Radical Disciple, by John Stott, from our online store. Or read the article, “Manufacturing Converts or Making Disciples?” by Trudy Chun.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.