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Grace Notes

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CALLING: LIGHT AND CANONIZATION
by Philip Owen

            “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,” exhorts the Apostle Paul (Eph. 4:1).  But unless we have at least a glimmer of the nature and scope of that calling, we will have no measure of the quality of our walk.

            For instance, did you realize that, if you are a believer, you are part of “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (I Pet. 2:9)?  I remember as a high school student performing a simple biological experiment on the effects of light upon seed germination and plant growth.  Of course, the seeds receiving varying amounts of natural sunlight, direct and indirect, germinated and grew more or less normally.  Even the seeds shut up in an otherwise dark closet and receiving only the artificial light from one 75-watt bulb made a valiant effort to grow normally.  And although those plants clearly showed evidence of their inability to properly produce chlorophyll, they, nevertheless, attained nearly normal levels of growth.  But the seeds I had planted in soil in a totally dark environment refused even to germinate.  And when they were finally dug up at the end of the experiment, they had merely shriveled and dried up.

            Light is essential.  Without light there is no growth.  Without light there is not even any life.  And what is true in the biological realm is true also in the spiritual realm.  Spiritual light is essential to life and growth.  The glorious truth of the gospel is that Jesus Christ has called us out of spiritually dead darkness into His life-giving light.  Without the Lord, we would walk about in a state of continuing spiritual darkness and death.  Only the light of salvation produces in us fruit that lasts beyond the grave, whereas the darkness of the flesh produces only death.  Children universally fear natural darkness.  Even adults, would they admit it, have an irrational fear of the dark that exceeds simple explanations such as being afraid of running into something or of stumbling over something else.   On the other hand, we have every reason to fear spiritual darkness with its judgment and separation from God.  But the glorious message of the gospel is that the believer never walks in darkness.  He knows who he is and where he is going—both illuminated by the light of the Word.  And while those without Christ stumble about futilely beating the air, the saint grows, matures, and produces eternal fruit under the light of God’s Word.

            Speaking of saints, another truth concerning the believers’ calling is that they are “called as saints” (Rom. 1:7b).  One worldwide religious organization, without any scriptural justification whatsoever, canonizes various people it deems particularly important or righteous.  These few people they then refer to as “saints.”  But, of course, from time to time, they indirectly admit to making a mistake and unceremoniously remove some poor dead fellow from the ranks of sainthood.  Saint Christopher, the patron saint of travelers is a notorious example.  There are no such mistakes when the Lord creates a saint, and every genuine believer is a saint.  He has within his breast the nature of the Lord Himself and indwelling him eternally is the Third Person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit.  What more would one need in order to qualify for sainthood?  Regardless of the weakness of his vacillating flesh, by virtue of these two facts and the efficacy of the cleansing blood of Christ, a believer is both perfectly and eternally a saint of God, that is a sacred vessel, set apart, consecrated, and holy.  Did we not read earlier that every believer is “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession”?  Whom the Lord chooses saints neither wish nor deed of man can disannul.

            Are you walking as one in the light?  Are you concerned with the Lord’s perfect, blessed will for your life?  Or are you still stumbling about in the midnight of sin?  Can those around you recognize that you are a saint—one who, though humbled in the flesh, has been exalted with the Lord?  Let each believer’s walk be one of obedient humility as he rejoices in the “Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” (Jam. 1:176b).

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