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The Heavenly Calling

“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling . . .” (Heb 3:1). “Calling” here, as always in Paul’s epistles, has reference not to an invitation to go to heaven, but to a present heavenly standing and manner of being. For Christians according to Colossians 1:12, have already by Christ’s work on the Cross have been made “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light,” and their citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20).

The Hebrews had a natural earthly calling. To them was given an earthly land, with earthly blessings, wonderful indeed, with Jehovah’s dwelling in their midst in His temple in Jerusalem! But their sin drove Him from that temple. It was destroyed, the city taken and the people placed under Gentile rule. Though they rebuilt their temple, and at the same time of this epistle worshiped there, they were under the Romans, so that although never to be nationally forsaken of God, they were not yet nationally forgiven.

But these individual believing Hebrews, addressed in Hebrews 3:1, had been transferred from an earthly to a heavenly calling and destiny, an entirely different “calling,” ending their fleshly hopes; called to a rejected Savior—and lo, a priesthood announced on high, at God’s right hand, which was for those who believed and left all earthly hopes—who were willing to be “without the camp,” (of earthly religious things, including Jerusalem) and to be the earth-rejected but heaven-accepted worshipers “within the veil” above. On earth they would be persecuted and despised. In heaven they were received, welcomed and incited to “the throne of Grace,” of which, alas, the Jewish nation knew nothing!

Remove from your mind the idea of any difference before God between these Hebrews and anyone else who comes to God by Jesus Christ. For, although God had given these Hebrews a “religion,” the book of Hebrews sees God taking it all away! The Hebrews were indeed to learn lessons from their former history, and God will exercise great gentleness and grace now toward them. But Aaron disappears; yes, Moses disappears; yea, the Law is “disannulled—the priesthood being changed”; the scene is changed from earth to heaven, and these Hebrew believers are saluted as “partakers of a heavenly calling.” In this “calling” there are no Hebrew or Jewish things, which distinctions belong wholly on earth (Col 2:16, 17; Heb 8:5).

It will be difficult to view a Hebrew believer as “having nothing”; and most difficult to the Hebrew believer himself! Union with Christ, resurrection, heavenly position, this was “the heavenly calling.” In this “calling” there are no Hebrews, no longer Gentiles, for they are “new creations in Christ Jesus.” Creation is creation, not change (change - old body into new body – Rom 8:11; creation – not change old nature into new nature but remove the old and bring forth the new nature—NC; 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15).

There is but one heavenly calling revealed. Those to whom Hebrews 3:1 was addressed were “partakers” of it. They were in a risen, heavenly Christ. It matters not whether or not they fully realized these glorious facts, or whether or not they enjoyed then. The writer of Hebrews, indeed, here defines their heavenly calling (as is done in Ephesians). But he does not assert that they, being partakers of a heavenly calling, are through with earthly things, not having here on earth even an abiding city! They are to be approached as those who one had a city, a temple and a sacrifice, but are now without them, without any earthly religion whatever. They are called to come boldly to the throne of grace in heaven, by the Blood of the Lord Jesus; having Him as Great High Priest! In short, the object of Hebrews is to call to a heavenly rest and worship, people who now have a heavenly calling!

- William R Newell

Excerpt from MJS June 7th devotional:

“We find the greatest difficulty often in bringing our sorrow to God. How can I do so, some may be saying, as my sorrow is the fruit of my sin? How can I take it to God? If it was suffering for righteousness’ sake, then I would, but I am suffering for my sin; and can I, in the integrity of my heart towards God, take my sorrows to Him, knowing I deserve them?

“Yes: the Lord Jesus has been to God about them. This, then, is the ground on which I can go. There has been perfect atonement for all my sins; Christ has been judged for them. Will God judge us both? No; I go to Him on the ground of atonement, and God can justly meet me in all my sorrow, because Christ’s work has been so perfectly done.” -J.N.D.
None But The Hungry Heart

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