PARTAKERS OF THE HEAVENLY CALLING
"Partakers of the heavenly calling." Heb. 3:1
How important to the people of God is the recollection of their real condition! "You are not of the world," says their Divine Lord, "I have chosen you out of the world." They are in the world as their scene of duty and trial. But their home is not here. Their real concerns are not here. They are partakers of flesh and blood, as descendants of man; but they are partakers of a divine nature, as the children of God. This constitutes the reality of their being and their true character. The remembrance of this should ever be effectual, as an encouragement to holiness--as an incentive to duty--as a stimulant to hope. They are partakers of a heavenly calling. This is their common, united condition. If God has thus endowed me, I would feel it to be my highest, my only real treasure. I may well despise all other things.
1. It is a heavenly calling in its ORIGIN. All the blessings which the gospel brings me are gifts, free gifts. I did not make myself a Christian. I could not have done it. I was made so by the sovereign grace and mercy of my God. I did not first choose him, and of myself determine to belong to him. It was his own choice of me that made me so. All this course of meditations has carried me back to that one origin of all my mercies. God was pleased to choose me and to love me, long before I thought of him. Every spiritual blessing I have enjoyed has flowed from that choice. Am I a child of God, a servant of Christ, a vessel of mercy? It was the purpose of God I should be so. A calling arranged and settled in heaven--before it was revealed to me upon the earth. Oh, I would ever lie in the dust, deeply humbled with a sense of my own utter unworthiness; and learn to attribute every good thing in me, and about me, to him who has thus loved me!
2. It is a heavenly calling, in the AGENCY which effected it. Yes, it was not flesh and blood which led my sinful heart to God. Instruments might have been employed. Ministries and dispensations might have been used. But ah, Paul's planting would have done no good. It was the Holy Spirit of God who awakened, convinced, and renewed my sinful mind. It was He who sought me in my lost condition, arrested my wayward will, and compelled me to come from all my wanderings, and yield myself a living sacrifice to God. I mourn to remember how much I resisted him, and fought against him. But I bless his holy name, for his persevering compassion and his conquering power. It is he that has wrought all my works of obedience in me. And he deserves, and shall receive from me, all the praise for what he has done. Oh that I may ever follow his gracious admonitions, and walk in the comfort and light of his divine teaching! May he who has thus called me, keep me ever, through faith unto salvation.
3. It is a heavenly calling in the LIFE which it requires. He that has called me is holy, and to a holy life in his own example he desires to bring me. It requires of me a heavenly mind, affections truly set on things which are above. There is my portion and my home. I should think of it, desire it, and prepare for it. What sincerity, ardor, and perseverance in prayer should it produce! What watchful, earnest, and humble efforts to obey divine commands! What constant and determined waiting upon God, and maintenance of his truth! What contentment and cheerfulness in my earthly relationships, under his protection! Let me ever thus walk worthy of my high calling. Let me strive to stand complete in all the will of God; and to appear before him happily and at peace. Thus would I finish my earthly mission, growing constantly in a mind adapted to my heavenly calling.
4. It is a heavenly calling in its RESULTS. God has chosen us unto salvation--to be the heirs of his kingdom, which he has promised. What glories has he provided for those who love him! Triumphant outcome of all the trials of earth. Perfect peace in the hour of departure. Assured acceptance in the presence of God. Rest and glory with a Divine Savior. Unveiled vision and enjoyment of the Divine perfections. Glorious resurrection of the body from the grave. Partnership with Christ at his appearing and his kingdom. Everlasting fellowship with the triumphant Savior and his redeemed. What wonderful results are these! But these are the promises to God's ransomed flock. These are the glories which the gospel proclaims. These are the recompense of a Savior's work of obedience and suffering for his people. While he has called me to his service here, and enabled me to embrace this gracious calling; to these glorious outcomes he allows me to look forward. He permits me to call them my own. In dependence on his power and faithfulness, I may rejoice in the hope of them all. Why should I not? Has he not encouraged and commanded me to do so? Has he not adopted and renewed me for this very end? Oh let me live in this happy anticipation, and strive to walk daily more accordantly with it in the whole current of my life.
5. How happy and PRECIOUS is this calling! Heavenly in its origin, its agency, its exemplification, and its results! Surely if this is mine, there is nothing more for me to ask, or to desire. I can never lack, while so enriched. Nor be cast down, while so exalted in the Lord. But it is not from me. It is not for anything that I have done. It is all a gracious gift of God. And every good or useful act or attainment of my life, is a part of this divine and heavenly gift.
Dear Lord, if indeed I am thine,
If you are my sun and my song,
Say why do I languish and pine?
And why are my winters so long!
Oh drive these dark clouds from my sky,
Your soul-cheering presence restore;
Or take me unto you, on high,
Where winter and clouds are no more.