Where does God’s calling come in?

Does God call people? Meaning – does he select, choose, and appoint people to fulfill his purpose through?

The answer in Scripture is an obvious “Yes.” God called Noah, Abraham, Jacob, the nation of Israel, the Judges and Prophets in Israel, King David, all the minor Prophets, and later the 12 disciples of Christ. All were appointed by God to fulfill some purpose of his own. Jesus told his 12 disciples in Acts 1:8, for instance, that “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the world.” No choice on their part; they were appointed! God also appointed Paul: “I am sending you,” he told Paul in Acts 26:17-18, “to open their (Gentile) eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” No choice on Paul’s part, either. God called and Paul obeyed, verse 19. Paul did what God called him to do.

But that’s what happens when God calls people. They do what he appointed them to do. He doesn’t call people to offer them a choice, he calls people to fulfill his purpose, and those people then fulfill his purpose. He called Pharaoh, for instance – the one who wouldn’t let Israel go – to fulfill a clear purpose that Pharaoh then fulfilled, “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.'” Pharaoh didn’t have any choice in the matter either. He did what God appointed him to do.

God also appointed one of Jesus’ disciples to betray him. And Judas found himself doing exactly what God appointed the betrayer to do. Paul realized “I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher,” 2 Timothy 1:11, so that’s what he became. God also selected “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light,” 1 Peter 2:9, and there are people on this earth right now who can’t help themselves doing exactly that! Why? Because God appointed them for that purpose.

When God calls it’s as good as done, therefore. So when Paul writes in Ephesians 1:4 that “he (God) chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight,” it’s as good as done too.

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