The Call of God, and Resurrection Life.

The God of glory appeared unto Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, and said unto him, "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land that I shall show thee." This was altogether a new departure, God inviting a single individual to leave his country, home and relations, and to come with Him into a land that He would show him. And Abraham obeyed this call, and believed what the God of glory told him; his faith was tested more than once or twice, but he held on his way steadfastly, and to the end of his life was only a stranger and a sojourner in the land God had promised him. As another has said, "This life of faith is, in other words, life spent in the power of resurrection. It is the life of a dead and risen man. It is a lesson, if one may speak for others, hard indeed to be learnt to any good effect, but still it is the lesson, the practical lesson of our lives, that we are a dead and risen people. At the outset Abraham, in spirit, took that character. He left behind him all that nature or the world had provided him with. He left what his birth introduced him to, for that which faith introduced him to. And as he began, so he continued and ended, with failings by the way indeed, and that too again and again, but still to the end he is a man of faith, a dead and risen man."

Each believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is now in a similar position to that of Abraham, and having been called of God, he has through the Spirit been born again into an entirely new life, with a heavenly nature, and made a child of God. The "old man," has been finally judged in the cross of Christ, and put away from before God. But as long as the believer remains in this world, he carries with him the old nature. The natural man is dead in trespasses and sins, and as such can never stand before God. No efforts at amelioration on man's part can ever be of the slightest value. Nothing less than a new creation can serve, and this was accomplished by Christ coming into the world as man, a perfect, sinless man, and offering Himself as a willing Sacrifice. He was made sin, and died on the cross in our stead. God was fully satisfied with this great sacrifice, and proved this by raising Him on the third day from the dead; and now we see that blessed Man seated at God's right hand, crowned with glory and honour. How wonderful are the riches of God's grace and love Who is able now to offer in righteousness so great a salvation to poor sinners! "But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved), and hath 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" (Eph. 2:4-7). And all these wonders of grace come to us through that blessed Man, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostle Peter, in his second epistle, tells of His preciousness to the Father, when he speaks of the transfiguration. "For He received from God the Father honour and glory when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased."

"In Thy presence we behold Him,
 Object of Thy heart's deep love
Boundless theme of adoration,
 In that scene of joy above."

"In Thy grace Thou now hast called us,
 Sharers of Thy joy to be,
And to know the blessed secret,
 Of His preciousness to Thee."

"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:9-11).

Now let us continue with the special subject before us, the Call of God. Rom. 8 speaks very clearly about this; "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called." What a wonderful thought is this high calling of God in Christ Jesus, and how little do Christians grasp the greatness of it! United by the Spirit to that risen Man in the glory, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Him, and having the assurance of being made like Him when He shall appear. Truly "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God" (1 Cor. 2:9-10). In the N.T. Scriptures all believers in the Lord Jesus are spoken of as saints, saints by divine calling, whether they be babes or fathers, this term in no way referring to their progress in the Christian life, but to their present position in God's sight. But this wondrous position has its responsibilities as well as its privileges. The saint, having been raised with Christ, is bidden to seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God; he is told to set his affection on things above, not on things of the earth, for he is dead, and his life is hid with Christ in God. In short, he is called to live the resurrection-life. To quote from another: "God, in the love wherewith He loves him, as his heavenly Father, puts him to school, to learn the lesson of a child of resurrection, to be a partaker of His holiness, the holiness not merely of a right or pure minded man, but the holiness that suits the call of God, the holiness of a dead and risen man, one of the pilgrim family, one of God's strangers in the world."

Most of those who read this little paper will no doubt have noticed that the Apostle Paul, in writing to the saints of various churches, frequently begs them to be his imitators, to follow him, even as he followed Christ. The beloved Apostle had seen the Lord Himself in the Glory, and heard His voice, and from that moment he had become another man; old things had passed away, and all things had become new. Earthly attractions could no longer influence his heart, and he counted all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus his Lord, for Whom he had suffered the loss of all things. Should not each of us wish to be his imitators, his followers? He was a chosen vessel indeed, and with his natural eyes had seen the Lord of glory; but we can see Him by faith, and by the power of the Holy Spirit grow in His knowledge from day to day. What our blessed Lord desires is that our whole heart's affections should be fixed on Himself. His saints are very dear to Him, for has He not shed His precious blood to ransom each one of them? Oh, that our faith might, like among the Thessalonian saints, grow exceedingly. As the Apostle Peter tells us, the trial of our faith is more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried by fire; and these heavenly truths can only be grasped by faith, by the power of the Spirit. What is our God's desire for each of His children? Is it not that they should individually know the love of Christ, that passeth knowledge, and be filled with all the fulness of God? And He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Oh, how rarely is Resurrection Life seen in practical daily exercise among the saints! With grief we are obliged to confess that the cause of this sad lack is nothing but our unbelief. How often was not our Blessed Lord obliged to rebuke His disciples for their want of faith? Often indeed might He well say to each of us: "Where is your faith?" Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, Which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort our hearts, and stablish us in every good word and work.
G. F. Barlee.