Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Called Ones of Jesus Christ

Romans 1:6 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ

I. What does it mean that the Roman believers are “the called” of Jesus Christ ?

Romans 1:6 6 among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ

Jude 1:1 Jude 1:1 Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ:

There are at least two uses of the word called
(1) The General Call: a call that comes through the preaching of the gospel (Matt. 4; Mark 13:10; Acts 8:40).

(2) The Effectual (Effective) Call: The effectual call is effective, that is, it always results in salvation (Romans 8:30, Romans 1:6-7; I Corinthians 1:9, 26; II Peter 1:10)

"Effective calling is an act of God the Father, speaking through the human proclamation of the gospel, in which he summons people to himself in such a way that they respond in saving faith." (Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1994), 693.

Commentaries of Romans that see the special use of calling here:

- Douglas Moo
“ “Call” and its cognates are used by Paul to express an “effectual” calling. What is meant is not an “invitation” but the powerful and irresistible reaching out of God in grace to bring people into his kingdom.” Douglas G. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, NICNT (Grand Rapids, MI.: Eerdmans, 1996), 54.

Thomas Schreiner
“Here it denotes the effective call accompanying the preaching of the gospel. Those who are called exercise faith in Christ (see 8:28-30). To say that Roman believers are “beloved by God” and “called to be saints” applies language to the church that was used for Israel as God’s elect people.” Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament ( Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998), 36.

Albert Barnes
"The called of Jesus Christ. Those whom Jesus Christ has called to be his followers. The word called (see ver. 1) denotes not merely an external invitation to a privilege, but it also denotes the internal or effectual call which secures conformity to the will of him who calls, and is thus synonymous with the name Christians, or believers. That true Christians are contemplated by this address is clear from the whole scope of the epistle. See particularly Roman chapter 8."

Matthew Henry
"The called of Jesus Christ; all those, and those only, are brought to an obedience of the faith that are effectually called of Jesus Christ."

Leon Morris
"When we think of our position as Christians we are inclined to think first of what we do, and so we speak of our faith or our commitment or the like. But Paul stresses God’s initiative. Christians are people whom God has called. He goes on to speak of being called to belong to Jesus Christ. There is a responsibility attaching to call. Those called belong to Christ. Their lives are his."
Leon Morris, The Epistle to the Romans, IVP (Leicester: IVP/Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988), 52.

Other key text:
Rom 8:28-30 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to {His} purpose.For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined {to become} conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

**See 1 Cor. 1:18-31 for this effectual calling of God.**

18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;
23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,
24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;
27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,
28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,
29 so that no man may boast before God.
30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
31 so that, just as it is written, "LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD."

The ultimate purpose in God choosing and calling us is so that no one would boast before him.

Examples of the divine/effectual call:
One non-salvific example—the raising of Lazarus (Jn 11:39-44)
Salvific—the apostle Paul (Acts 9:1-6; 22:3-11)
Salvific— Lydia (Acts 16:13-14)