UNDERSTAND the reason of our ‘HIGHER CALLING’
November 20 Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians Chapters 1-3
“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” (1 Cor. 1:26-29)
The real reason behind Apostle Paul writing the above passage to the church in Corinth was due to the fact that many of the believers in that church were thinking more highly of themselves that they ought to have, due to their spiritual pride. They had a false independence of God along with a bent toward self-sufficiency, and this had resulted in conflicts and divisions within the church. God rejects these kinds of human wisdom because of its pride and self-glory!
So Paul patiently reminded the Corinthians that not many wise, mighty and noble people, according to human standards, have been called by God among them. Many of them had not come from the upper intellectual crust of society. The ones God had called were not generally the ones the world considered great. Consequently, the church at Corinth was made up of the common people just like all the other New Testament congregations. So Paul took pains to point out to them that most of them had little to boast about themselves (v. 26; 6:9–11). On the whole, they were weak, sinful people saved only by the grace of God, which was what Paul had written to the church at Ephesus: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Eph. 2:8-9)
When our Lord Jesus had put together His team of twelve disciples to carry on His ministry in the world during His absence, He also had called people who were less desirable in society. His team included fishermen, a zealot and even a despised tax collector named Levi (Matthew). Jesus used these simple people and ignited them through His teachings and the power of the Holy Spirit to initiate a movement that affected their society in such a manner that it was remarked by the Jews that they had "turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6). It appears that Jesus was intentional in calling marginalized people, infused in them His word, and empowered them through the Holy Spirit to be effective witnesses of the gospel (Acts 1:8).
Salvation, by its very nature, does not depend on human values. Rather, God has mercy on all who acknowledge their sinfulness (Mark 2:17; John 9:39–41) and calls them to carry on His ministry. God chooses the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God chooses the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty. As Erich Sauer says: "The more primitive the material, the greater—if the same standard of art can be reached—the honor of the Master; the smaller the army, the mightier—if the same great victory can be won—the praise of the conqueror."
So, it is important for us to understand the reason of our higher calling! The selection by God is designed to silence the wisdom of man. God simply loves to call people who are of no esteem in the eyes of the world and use them to glorify Himself. God’s purpose in choosing those of no account in the eyes of the world is that all the glory should accrue to Himself and not to man. Since salvation is entirely of God, He alone is worthy to be praised! Today, the grace of God still reaches out to the weak, the downcast, the broken, and the oppressed. Perhaps for that reason, people who pride themselves on their strength and self-sufficiency have little use for the gospel. Many times we forget the higher calling we have in Christ (vv. 2, 9, 24–29).