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God Calling!

Galatians 1:6-7 “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another;”

This is a very difficult verse to decipher.  The very first part of this verse could be misconstrued to support those who don’t believe in the perseverance of the saints (of which I am not one of those people.  I whole-heartedly believe in a God who has enabled His people to persevere.)  But, before I deal with this section of the verse, I think it is wise to delve into the middle of the verse.  Which in turn will help us to understand more clearly what this first part is saying.

“ him that called you ”  This is talking about God doing the calling.  Or, to put it another way, this is the “I” in the “TULIP”; Irresistible Grace.  Look at Matthew 13:3-9 & 23:

“And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear...But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

Here we have four different types of soils.  Notice in verse 23, Jesus explains about the good ground.  The first 2 words “But he ” points out that the soil is a person.  But, in Matt. 19:17 someone will say that Jesus says “ there is none good but one ”  And I will whole-heartedly agree.  There is none good until God makes us good.  Another way to put it is to exchange the word "good" for "prepared" . When a farmer takes ground and prepares it to receive the seed that he is to plant he could call that ground good. So, there had to have been an inward change in the person to make him good or prepare him to receive.  That inward change is what is called regeneration.  Regeneration gives us the ability to hear the truth of the gospel.  In the parable of Matthew 13, there is no distinction in the seeds.  The distinction is in the soils.  Look back up in verse 9, notice what Jesus said,

“Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.”  It is God who gives us ears to hear in regeneration.

Now, lets look at Ephesians chapter 2, verses 1-5: “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 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;)”

Verses one through three clearly and unmistakably define how we were and how those outside of Christ are right now.  We could do nothing else but sin because we were unregenerate.  That is what Paul means when he says, &ldqu;owere by nature the children of wrath” Our whole aim in life was to fulfill the lusts of our flesh and the desires of our flesh and our minds.  Very “self” centered in one aspect but in another we were just following after the course of this world.

Now if you will take out the middle of verses four and five you get this:

“But God hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)”

I just wanted to emphasize that it is God doing “ALL” the work here.  Let’s go back though are re-read those two verses over again.

“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;)” (4-5)

Look at the part that is in the middle real close.  It says that God is rich in mercy and has a great love for us even when we were dead in our sins.  Again, this is a very specific love.  This book was written to believers, not to the world in general.  So, the mercy and love that God has is for His children.

What a glorious God we serve!

My point with all of this so far is that we must be regenerated before we can hear the call of God.  Jesus in talking to Nicodemus in John 3:3 & 7-8 said;

esus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (3)
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (7-8)

The words “born again” are a synonym of regeneration.  They mean the same thing.  In these verses above, there is no explanation on how to be born again, but it is a command.  Notice that Jesus said, “Ye must be born again.”(emphasis added)  It is something that God does within His children in His perfect timing.

So, it only stands to reason that once God regenerates you, then you will readily receive the truth of the Gospel.  Just like the parable of the soils in Matthew 13, it was the soil that was good or prepared, that received the seed into the ground and brought forth fruit.  Did the good soil have a choice in the matter?  Could the good soil have not produced fruit?  Of course not!  Everything was there that was needed to produce fruit so it produced fruit.

God will only call those whom He regenerates.  That is why it is effectual.  Look at Romans 8:28-30 with me. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 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: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Verse 28 is an very wonderful promise to God’s children.  Whether we feel like this is what is happening or not, this is a promise that we can stand on.  Even if we don’t understand it.  In fact, we probably won’t understand for a while, if even then.  But, we do know that God is faithful and we trust in Him.  Notice in verses 29 and 30 the word order of the action words.  Notice what is in front of God’s calling.  First, God foreknew whom He would call.  It doesn’t say that God foreknew that they would choose Him as most of professing Christians believe (of which I can’t deny that God foreknew who would choose Him, because God knows everything.  But, if that were the case here, then that would make God dependent on us because He is basing His decision on something we were to do and not on His grace.)  It is a personal foreknowing.  Notice the words in verses 28 and 29, “to them ”, “who” and “whom”; they are all personal words.  Now, contrast this personal foreknowing with Matthew 7 verses 21 through 23.

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (A.V.)

Verse 23 says, “I never knew you:”

Now back to our verses in Romans.  The next action that is says is that “he did predestinate” those whom He foreknew.  Think about this word for a moment.  Pre means before and destinate is the same as destination or destiny.  If you have a destination for a trip that you are going on, then you know where you are going.  Another word for it is preordain or predetermine.  It is in the active voice which represents the subject as the doer or performer of the action.  God is the subject of these verses, so that makes Him the doer or performer of these actions.  Actually, each of the words, “foreknew”, “predestinate”, “call”, “justify” and “sanctify” are in the active voice.

Did God have a purpose in His predestinating His children?  The apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians says in chapter 1 verse 5: “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,”

And in verse 11 says:

Ephesians 1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will(emphasis added)

So, here it says that we were predestinated for His purpose and according to His good pleasure.  Ok, so what is the purpose?  Look back at Romans 8:29.  We were predestinated for the purpose of being conformed to the image of His son.  Paul earlier in this book says this:

Romans 6:22  But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

John recorded these words of Jesus’ in chapter 14:23-24 “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

Holiness is a fruit of regeneration and that is what we have been predestined for, to live a holy life.

Now in our inseperables links in Romans 8 we get to the calling part.  Notice the progression and also notice there are no “if’s” or “maybe’s.”  Those that God has called he has also justified.  Very matter of fact.  It doesn’t say “Some whom God called, He justified.”

Since God justifies all that He calls, and since it was He who did the calling in the first place.  Then are the Galatians in danger of falling away?  Absolutely not!  (Even with this though, we need to bear in mind the verse 1 John 2:19  They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. And, 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examin yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?)

So, then what is this verse in Galatians saying?  Going back to the first part of the verse, the word “removed” is actually in the present tense and should be rendered “being removed.”  They are actively being removed and not fully removed.  It is like they are “practically” removing themselves from the gospel of grace into legalism.  But, now our “position” in Christ can never be removed as I dealt with earlier.  But, practically, or on a day to day basis we can get caught up into legalism.  And when we do, then we need to go to:

 1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I think that it can start out with right and good motives.  We only want to please our heavenly Father.  But, when we start adding man-made rules and regulations into the equation we are in danger of trading the grace of God for legalism.

There are certain things that are very clear from scripture that we are not to have any part of.  In fact, Paul deals with them later on in this book.  Lord willing we will deal with them more in depth later but now I want to list them for you.

Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

These things are point blank and not debatable in our Christian walk.  But some things are not so clear.  But we can use other scriptures to help us.

Psalms 101:3  I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.

And

Philippians 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

And

1 Corinthians 10:31  Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

These are good verses to put on top of your television set.  And also are good verses to meditate on when thinking about a movie to watch or even what activities to participate in on a daily basis.  Now, we all have certain convictions.  And, convictions are good.  But, I can’t dogmatically tell you not to listen to certain music just because I don’t or go to certain movies just because I don’t.  But if you will apply these verses to your decisions, we will more than likely be real close to our thinking.

Now, back to Galatians.  At the end of this verse, the word “another” should be rendered “different.”  It is a difference of quality and substance.  The word “Gospel” means good news in the Greek.  Legalism is never good news.  It never brings about joy or contentment.  It only breed pride and self-righteousness.  You are constantly worried that if you aren’t doing enough that God is going to strike you dead.  There are things that we are to be doing but they are fruits of His grace in our lives.  I will end with one more section of scripture.

Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Notice the order of events.  We are saved by grace through faith not of works.  But, then we walk in the works that God has ordained for us to walk in.

Tom Adams 2/2000