devotional

23SEP
2013

The Scope of the Hope of Redemption

 

In Ephesians 1:18 Paul prays that that church would come to know, “…the hope of His calling.” This is only one part of his prayers for them. Considering the fact that the Biblical use of the word “hope” is easily missed by us today I’d like to talk a bit about what I believe the glories of the, “Hope of God’s calling” really are. I hope it’s a blessing to you.

     There are many aspects we could focus on regarding the hope found in God’s calling. Today I’d like to remind you of the surety of it. I believe that the hope of God’s calling which Paul speaks of here is just that—the surety or certainty of it. I say this in light of the full sweep of his comments in this remarkable passage. I believe he wants them to know that their salvation in Christ is not at all fickle. Salvation for God’s elect is as fixed as anything else in the world. God’s elect run absolutely no hazard of ever being lost. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand—not even themselves. They will as surely be saved as God will be glorified. Christ will bring His sheep into the fold.

     Let’s talk quickly about what “calling” is. There are several callings in Scripture. The calling used in Romans 8:30 is the point when God calls men out of death to life in Christ. Being called in this way in Reformed theology is sometimes referred to as the, “Inward calling.” God alone calls inwardly. This distinguishes it from the “Outward” call which is the one you should be giving out to the people in your life as often as possible to come to Christ. If God has “called” you in this way it means you’ve been saved. “Calling” then actually becomes synonymous with the whole of our salvation. It’s this salvation or calling that Paul prayed the Ephesians would grow in their knowledge of. This calling is like the calling Jesus gave to Lazarus to come up from death. It leads to eternal life every single time. This calling was your being born again. It led to your repentance and faith which led to your justification.

     The hope of this calling then is that it actually forever has the end in mind. When God called you it was at a specific point of time in your life, yes, but that moment was ordained by God from before time. God had no false conceptions about you. He knew your frame. He knew that you’d sin and be weak yet He saved you anyway. His grace was not the recognition of our worthiness! That’s the hope we have. God didn’t save you conditionally. His glory is never conditional, and your salvation is part of His glory. You are His glorious mess where He glorifies Himself if you’re the called. The hope of His calling, the one Paul that prayed the Ephesians would come to understand, is a calling fixed in the mind of God. It is a calling that ensures the believer that he or she will be raised up with Christ on the last day. It is contrary to the pathetic and puny “callings” that say you can receive grace and yet still be lost in the end. Here in Romans 8:31-33 is the hope of our calling in other words: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.”

     This is the hope of your calling in Christ. It is fixed. Who can bring a charge against you if you’ve been called? No one. Christ is your intercessor! Understanding this affects every aspect of our lives. It brings a true Biblically based hope into every circumstance. It marks the end of every path with light and changes our perspective on the cross by rooting our appreciation of it to both ends of eternity. It teaches us the size and scope of the gospel. Growth in the understanding of this brings strength.

     In summary then, when Paul says to them that he prayed they’d come to understand the hope of their calling what he’s saying, at least in part, is that he hopes they’ll come to see how sure it is that God is going to bring them to heaven when they die. I pray you too would grow in the understanding of the hope of the calling of God in your life.  

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