Article by Greg Cercone
God sounds out a general call of salvation to every creature on earth. It is to be spread to anyone and everyone indiscriminately. Matthew 28:19, Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations. This call has no barriers, but goes out freely and universally to all who will hear it (Mark 16:15). When presenting this gospel call to the lost, believers are to present the death and resurrection of Jesus as the message, but the call must also include an sincere invitation to repent and believe in Christ. Believers are to present this call of the gospel in the pulpit, through teaching, in the household, to their neighbors and in the highways and byways. Believers are evangelists who bring the message of salvation to the world and call people to turn away from sin and believe in Jesus Christ for salvation. However, many, if not most will reject this general call.
There is another calling that Scripture speaks of where God sovereignly draws a person to salvation. Theologians call this the effectual calling. This is where the Father draws His chosen people to Christ in salvation (John 6:44). Those who are called will respond to Christ in repentance and faith and when God calls in this way the person will be saved forever. Romans 8:30, Whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. It is guaranteed that when God calls those whom He predestined they will be justified and glorified. This is the golden chain of redemption. There is no breaking this chain; the ones who are called will be glorified in heaven.
There are other callings mentioned in the Bible for believers. Most of these have to do with living the Christian life such as being called to liberty and peace (Galatians 5:13; 1 Corinthians 7:15). There is a clear calling to holy living for all believers (2 Timothy 1:9). 1 Peter 1:15 states, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior. Once a person is called to salvation there is embedded in that call the seed of holiness. There is a change of heart when a person is saved that produces a change in desire to live a holy life. Believers are also called to suffer mistreatment from the world as Christ did. 1 Peter 2:21, For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps. Those who follow Christ must count the cost and realize that persecution comes with the territory. Certain believers are also called to vocational ministry. Paul said that he was called to be an apostle (Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1). 2 Timothy 1:11 states, For which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. This calling is discovered through a strong desire and aspiration to serve in ministry (1 Timothy 3:1). Charles Spurgeon is famously quoted to have said, “If you can do anything other than be a pastor, do that. But if being a pastor is such a passion and burden on your heart that it is all you can do, then give your life to it.”
Greg Cercone is the pastor of The Master's Church in Kingsport, TN. Greg is married to his lovely wife, Rene and they are the proud parents of two boys, Nathan and Luke. You can learn more about Greg and benefit from his teaching and preaching at www.themasterschurch.net