CALLED to BE (by permission; chp 4 from Ray Prinzings Book - Whispers of His Call)
"To them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours." [1 Corinthians 1:2].
One of the foremost features of the order of the first covenant
of the law could be summed up in the one word, DO. "Ye shall DO my judgments,
and keep Mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the Lord your God. Ye shall
therefore keep My statutes, and My judgments: which IF A MAN DO, HE SHALL LIVE
in them: I am the Lord." [Leviticus 18:4-5]. Paul clearly reminds the people
of this, when he writes, "For Moses describeth the righteousness which
is of the law, That the man which DOETH those things shall live by them."
In tremendous contrast to this, we find that one of the foremost points of the New Covenant, to which we are called, can be summed up in the one word, BE. Then, out of our STATE OF BEING we shall live His righteousness which we have BECOME. "For He (God) hath made Him (Christ) to be a sin offering for us, who knew no sin; that we might BE MADE (or, become) the righteousness of God in Him." [2 Corinthians 5:21].
Christendom in general continues to propagate those doctrines which give emphasis to the realm of DOING. Self-effort, programs arranged by man for men to accomplish, with a myriad of twists and turns of applying the law to suit their own purposes, and to further the building of their kingdoms. Spiritual credit-points are gained by all the work-involve-ments, and glory and prestige is accorded to those who give their life in such service. So it comes as quite a traumatic shock to many, when the Spirit of God begins to speak within them concerning their being CALLED TO BE, to become a state of being in Christ --a union--as ONE SPIRIT, that from this quality of being they might express the realities of His life in all of His righteousness, and love.
There are a few background thoughts which we would do well to share, as we consider some of the ramifications of our being called to BE.
"Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the HIGH CALLING of God in Christ Jesus." [Philippians 3:13-14].
When we see, perceive, understand that our calling is not based on what we are in the natural, but what HE SHALL MAKE US INTO, our new state of being in Christ Jesus, then we begin to realize, without question, that this is indeed a very HIGH CALLING. Concerning its "highness" we are at a loss for words to give a description, "for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." [Isaiah 55:9].
As the Spirit quickens to us portions of truth, we rejoice in that increase of light -to know that we shall be sons in The Son, fathers in The Father, and returning into God, we shall become "saviours" unto the ends of the earth. But for all the fragments of this vision received, and glimpses into such lofty heights, we are now constrained to borrow the words of the Psalmist, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; IT IS HIGH, I cannot attain unto it. (Young's Literal, "I am not able for it."). [Psalms 139:6].
We are caused to marvel at the "low ceiling" some place upon this call of God. In their childish fancy many would claim that they have arrived at the pinnacle. Now they feel they are a composite of prophet, priest, and king, and seem to be utterly unaware of the fact that they are still bound in mortal-flesh bodies, laden with the lusts thereof, and far, far short of the glory of God. They say in effect, "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing," but they know not that they are "wretched, and miserable, and poor; and blind, and naked." [Revelation 3:17]. How men have limited the Holy One of Israel, and minimized the scope of redemption, and the triumph of Calvary.
"For this saith the HIGH and LOFTY One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the HIGH and holy, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit." [Isaiah 57:15]. Amazing indeed! God Himself declared that He dwells in the HIGH AND LOFTY, and while we cannot fully comprehend what that height is, we readily acknowledge that this be so. But then it is God Himself that adds, "with him also," and reaches out to include those of a contrite and humble spirit, whom He would receive unto Himself, that "where I am, there ye may be also." [John 14:3].
Again, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit WITH ME in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down WITH MY FATHER in His throne." [Revelation 3:21].
In as much as this is such a HIGH calling, it is imperative that it also be an HOLY calling. "Who hath saved us, and called us with AN HOLY CALLING, not according to our works but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." [2 Timothy 1:9].
The word "holy" comes from the Greek word "hagios" meaning: separate, set apart, holy. It is both a FROM and an UNTO. Surely there is no partaking of the heights unless we are willing to be separated from the low realm of the flesh. Called out from the world, and called unto Christ.
All of this involves much separation, often from friends, religious realms-- everything and everybody that would hinder the upward climb into the hill of the Lord, that we might stand "in His holy place." [Psalm 24:3]. The flesh will cringe at the "aloneness" of this walk, betimes. The mind will question why it must be so. But His Spirit within will continue to draw us onward, without the camp, bearing His reproach, while we are also loosed from so many hindrances and infirmities.
It is true, God deals with us as individuals, for each of us are His own original handiwork, but the spiritual principles wrought in us are the same, for these principles come from Him. When he begins to separate us from "our works" it is a real work of the cross. We think we cannot really live for Him without being "busy" in a merry-go-round of religious activity. So we weep, and we pray, and we groan to ourselves (and maybe to others), but all the while His Spirit within urges us to abandon ourselves to God, and to continue to walk with Him in that HIGH PROCESSION which is leading us to Zion. Reluctantly we let go of our works, and discover that rather than losing out with God, actually we are entering into a new realm with Him, into a realm of BECOMING, as HE becomes in us the total sufficiency of all that we need.
The transition isn't over yet, we still struggle with the processings, learning to STAND A PART from this world's system, to be separate even from the Babylonish religions that plagues mankind. Learning to walk in that royal dignity of one who is not of this world, but whose citizenship is in a higher realm, in the heavenlies with Christ. It is an HOLY CALLING, and the depths of that holiness we still don't comprehend. But somehow, in our reckless committal to God, we are will to say: "Whatever God means by such holiness, we are willing for Him to work it out in us by his grace."
It is inevitable that being an HIGH and HOLY calling, we would also find that it is AN HEAVENLY calling. "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling." [Hebrews 3:1].
It is significant to note that the Hebrew word for "heaven" according to Young's Concordance, means "heaved up things," signifying the dimensions above, or things above. We also note that the word is in plural form.
Then, in the deeper studies of Andrew Jukes, we find that he brings out that this expanse above us is called "heaven, that is, THE ARRANGER," and so called, because this heaven, in ways above our thoughts, is the great agent in arranging everything, and that the word comes from the root "to set or place." Also there is that reference made to effects ascribed to attraction, gravitation, etc. along with the repulsion, electricity, evaporation, and so on. While we are more acquainted with the effects, than understanding the underlying forces of power which cause those effects.
Might we also point out how the ancient Greeks derived their word "Theos" for GOD, from the word "TO SET OR PLACE," for the same reasons, that HE is the DIVINE ARRANGER, the DIVINE PLACER.
All of this combines to give us staggering insight into what it means to be partaker of the HEAVENLY calling. To think that in His time, one in Him, we might also be apart of that glorious arranging and placement of His life and salvation, while gathering together in one all things in Christ.
"As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." [1 Corinthians 15:48-49].
If we have been amazed at the "low ceiling" and "unholiness" of some callings, we are even more shocked at the earthiness of their calling. We wonder to what means God will have to work to cause men to "set our affection on things above, not on the things on the earth." [Colossians 3:2].
Surely the HEAVENLY CALLING does not include building kingdoms for the flesh, with our minds on the offering plate, and gaining reputations and fame which exalt the ego of man. Oh, for the enfolding of His fire which will purge us from all that would hinder our rising into the heavenlies in Christ.
The nature of the call-- it is heavenly, spiritual.
The quality of the call-- it is holy, pure, undefiled.
The scope of the call-- it is very high, to share His throne.
Peter clearly tells us how that the earth also and the works
that are therein shall be burned up. "Since all these things are thus in
the process of being dissolved, what kind of person ought each of you TO BE
in the meanwhile, in consecrated and holy behavior and devout and godly qualities?"
[2 Peter 3:11, Amplified].
God has united His purpose of the ages with a people, and it is in their coming into a certain STATE OF BEING which ushers in the time element for the next unfoldment of that purpose. With Divinely inspired eloquence Paul speaks of "the glory which shall be revealed IN US." [Romans 8:18]. But he does not stop there, for he goes on to state that "The earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." [Verse 19]. Why? Because not until these have BECOME, will the succeeding events take place, which includes the whole of creation being "delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." [verse 21].
What a challenge for those who are now hearing the call of God for them to BECOME. For it is in the SONS that are becoming, that the hope of all the rest of creation's deliverance is promised. Think not that you are the only one that is groaning for your redemption. Behind you stands the whole of creation "groaning and travailing in pain together until now," and if the first fruits of the new creation think that the time has been long, suffice it to say, for the rest of creation the time is even longer.
Now, since all of this first world order is to be dissolved, Peter implores us, "what manner of persons ought YE TO BE in all holy conversation (Greek, behaviour) and godliness." And then he makes a very interesting statement, 2 Peter 3:12, "Looking for and HASTING unto the coming of the day of God." The margin gives: "hasting the coming." What does this mean?
Full well we know that "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power." [Acts 1:7]. And surely we cannot change HIS TIMING. He has total authority over time, and we say again with the Psalmist, "My times are in Thy hand." [Psalm 31:15].
There are two main Greek words translated as "time." Chronos, and kairos. Chronos is the basis for our words such as chronological, etc. and bespeaks of time in its sequence, day two follows day one, hour by hour, or however we care to speak thereof. But the word "kairos" bespeaks of time, as when all the conditions are met, so that we are brought to the fulness of time. Truly God is able to maintain perfect harmony with both chronos and kairos. He dovetails the events in perfect sequence with His time table. And HE would unite us in this outworking, so that as we are processed unto maturity, and we BECOME a state of being which is purged to perfection, holy as He is holy, it also signals the time for the change of this whole world order. Therefore, in a limited sense, it can be said that in our yielding to His processings, and giving earnest heed to His call upon us, we are also HASTING THE COMING of that day. For we are becoming a people of HIS TIME.
A brief illustration: A farmer might look at his calendar and know the general timetable, that harvest will occur in approximately so many days. In fact, many garden seeds come with the time listed-- 60 days, 64 days, etc. from the planting of the seed till the time of maturity. However, there are other factors involved, a long, cool growing season might delay things, or a sudden heat wave might hasten them-- so when it comes near the harvest date, the farmer will keep close watch on his wheat, the weather, the dryness, the degree of maturity, and when all the conditions are met just right, then he says, "It is time to harvest."
So James writes, "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the Husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until He receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh." [James 5:7-8].
Full well our Father knows the TIMES AND SEASONS, for they are in His power-- authority. He also knows what conditions have been met in us, and what work still needs to be accomplished that we might fully BECOME. And now, "Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: LET US therefore cast off the works of darkness, and LET US put on the armour of light." [Romans 13:11-12]. And in our RESPONSIVE ACTION to His inworkings, we are truly HASTING THE COMING of that hour when all the conditions are met, and the time is NOW for the establishment of His kingdom in righteousness upon the earth.
Before we precipitate a rash of do-it-your-self programs, however, to see if we can HASTEN His coming, we do well to remember Paul's admonition to the Galatians [3:3], "Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" For there is no way that our flesh works will hasten His coming! They only assure the fact that we will need more of His consuming fire to burn out such dross. It is not in doing, it is in BEING! And our life that was begun in, with, and by the Spirit, must be continued BY THE SPIRIT to bring us to that spiritual maturity which He desires, even "unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." [Ephesians 4:13]. What then is our responsibility in all of this working? To DAILY YIELD TO HIS INWORKINGS.
Song of Solomon 1:4, "Draw me, we will run after thee." Certainly it moves a lot faster if, when drawn, there is a responsive RUNNING WITH HIM. If we must go through many wrestlings to bring resistance to an end, these would only be delay tactics in our development. But when EVERY DAY the deep cry of our heart remains, "Not my will, but Thine, be done," [Luke 22:42] it will surely work for our good in our spiritual growth. In fact, it is to be noted that the Greek text more literally reads, "Thy will BECOME." For this is exactly what takes place. As we run with Him, yield to Him, HIS WILL BECOMES IN US until our state of being is HIS WILL. Praise God!
We read in Proverbs 21:16, "The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead." But in contrast to this, Eliezer said, " I BEING in the way, the Lord led me." [Genesis 24:27]. How we need to cease all "aimless wanderings" out of the way of understanding, to ramble through the avenues of the carnal mind, by-paths of the traditions of men, etc. for these only retard our spiritual ascent.
"BEING in the way." It did not say, "busy doing in the way." There was no extra, unusual activity beyond the normal living, but he recognized that he was IN the right way. To BECOME, to BE, it is not a verb of action, but of a state of being, where He might be revealed through us by what we ARE, not by what we do. And thus God leads us steadily onward to the hour of His appointment, as He synchronizes HIS TIME with our spiritual progress.
You will notice the word "chronos" is prefixed with the preposition "with," for "syn" comes from the Greek meaning "with." Synchronize means: WITH TIME, i.e. to take place at the same time. Our BECOMING blending WITH HIS TIME. Truly this is Divine Handiwork all the way.
But to become, we obviously must needs remain IN THE WAY OF UNDERSTANDING. This is a going on to perfection, called according to purpose.
A challenging, applicable principle is found in Genesis 4: 16-17, "And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord...and he builded a city..." As long as we are BEING IN THE WAY, remaining in His presence, worshiping Him, "I have set the Lord always before me," [Psalm 16:8], we will continue to be "changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." [2 Corinthians 3:18]. But when we wander out of the way of understanding, away from a consciousness of His presence, of His being foremost in our lives, it is then that we start "BUILDING FOR SELF." And the more we build for self, the less we are aware of Him, and we cease to BECOME as He is.
Ezekiel spoke a strong word to the people, when he said, "Thou hast also built unto thee an eminent place, and made thee an high place in every street." [Ezekiel 16:24]. Groves, altars, temples, religious cathedrals, built, enlarged, springing up everywhere-- monuments to religion, but where is that personal BECOMING? "He is Lord of heaven and earth, and dwelleth not in temples made with hands." [Acts 17:24] Nay, but He dwelleth "also with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit." We would not build Him a temple, we would BECOME His temple. "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" [1 Corinthians 6:19]. For truly He would DWELL in us, and He would BECOME in us, "the fullness of Him that filleth all in all." [Ephesians 1:23].
There is no need to put on a facade, a pseudo image of spirituality. Paul writes, "Stop assuming an outward expression that does not come from within you and is not representative of what you are in your inner BEING but is patterned after this age; but change your outward expression to one that COMES FROM WITHIN and is representative of your inner BEING, by the renewing of your mind." [Romans 12:2, Wuest].
How God has been stripping away all the falsity of the flesh, with its religious airs, etc. that we might face up to what we are, or are not, in Him, that we might in turn seek Him the more, to become as He is.
Whatever uncoverings we pass through, they are not meant for our hurt, for the uncoverings do not change our state of being. "By the grace of God I am what I am." [1 Corinthians 15:10]. Incomplete at present time, yes, but the new inner life is HIS, and the more the cross brings to an end the old self-life, the more there will be an expression of HIS LIFE, which is to BE our new, genuine state of being. "That ye may BE, the children of your Father which is in heaven." [Matthew 5:45].
In this instance, the Greek word for "be" is "ginomai" meaning: TO BECOME, for it signifies a process in becoming the children of our heavenly Father-- which process includes not only the conception of His life within, but all of the growing and development which brings us to full maturity in Christ. And then we have the next statement, Matthew 5:48, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
BE, and IS-- we are to BE what He already IS. No wonder it is qualified as a HIGH, HOLY, HEAVENLY calling! To share in His perfections, partakers of His divine nature, fully conformed to His image, that the expressions might be totally of HIS LIFE, redounding to His glory and praise.
"The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple to be as his master, and the servant as his lord." [Matthew 10:24-25].
Such oneness, this becoming AS He is! Fulfillment of the prayer, "That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may BE ONE IN US." [John 17:21]. There is no way that man can bring about such perfections, it is totally and sovereignly the handiwork of God.
"Lord, Thou wilt ordain peace for us: for Thou also hast wrought all our work IN US." [Isaiah 26:12]. The Hebrew word "shalom" meaning: peace, is also the same root for the word completeness. Only HE can complete in us the work begun, until our state of being is perfect as He is perfect. Then the prophet goes on, (verse 13), "0 Lord our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us:" but none of these could ever work in us that which would change us-- all lesser realms come short of the glory of God.
If man is your master, and you become as he is, you are still only a man. If an angel were to lord it over us, and we were to become as that angel, we still would be far short of the perfections of God. Only HE can ordain completeness for us, therefore the prophet concludes, "BY THEE ONLY will we make mention of Thy name."
"The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: Thy mercy, 0 Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the work of Thine own hands." [Psalm 138:8].
Yes, we are CALLED TO BE-- called to be saints, His set apart ones, set apart from the world, and set apart unto His glory. Called to BE perfect, because of His indwelling life. Called to "BE merciful, as your Father also is merciful." [Luke 6:36]. Called to show forth His love and grace to all. Filled with His peace, "to which also ye are called in one body; and BE ye thankful." [Colossians 3:15].
What adoration and praise shall arise from hearts filled with thanksgiving, as He completes His work within, and we come into the maturity of that state of BEING to which we have been called.
It is enough the servant BE as his Lord,
The disciple and the Master -one accord.
Be that state of being that is to His praise.
From within to worship Him for all His ways.
Till there is forth-coming more abundant life,
Ending flesh corruption, ending works of strife.
Called to be a child of God, just as He is,
For our nature and our image must be His.
Be the time of promise all earth waits to see,
Be the new creation in reality.
Be the revelation of His boundless grace,
Be His love-expression to each tribe and race.
To His praise and glory, be His will alone,
Height of our becoming is to share His throne.
Holy is the calling, heavenly the sphere,
Outwork of redemption that is drawing near.