Biblical Definition Of
In biblical usage, the word ‘call’ has a similarly wide range of meanings as it has in everyday usage. This wide range of meanings applies even when the Bible speaks of God’s call to individual people, though certain usages stand out as being of greater theological significance.
God may call people in the sense simply of commanding them or inviting them; yet rebellious people often ignore his call (Isa 65:12; Jer 7:13; Matt 9:13; 22:3-6,14). More specifically, he may call people in the sense of choosing them or directing them according to specific purposes he has for them (Isa 43:1; 46:11; Hosea 11:1; Matt 4:21; Acts 16:10; Heb 11:8). In an even higher sense, he calls people by giving them his salvation and making them his own (Rom 1:6; 8:30; 1 Cor 1:24).
Christians are those who have responded to the call of God that they heard through the gospel. Their existence as God’s people is the work of the sovereign God who, in his grace and mercy, has called them and saved them (1 Cor 1:2,26; Col 3:15; 2 Thess 2:14; 2 Tim 1:9). This aspect of the call of God is sometimes referred to as election (Rom 9:11).
God’s calling involves more than merely saving his people from the penalty of sin. He has called them to enjoy freedom (Gal 5:1,13), to practise holiness (1 Thess 4:7; 1 Peter 1:15), to be changed into Christ’s likeness (Rom 8:29-30), to share in Christ’s kingdom (1 Thess 2:12) and to proclaim Christ’s message (1 Peter 2:9). He has also called them to share Christ’s glory; though if they are to experience this fully, they must also share Christ’s suffering (1 Peter 2:21; 5:10).