"These shall war against the Lamb, and the Lamb shall
overcome them, for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and
they also shall overcome that are with him, called and chosen and
faithful." Revelation 17:14.
There is a sense in which these three words represent a
graduation from one plane and sphere of probation to another.
While we may be "chosen in Him before the foundation of the
world," it is also true that in the matter of trusted
service and honoured intimacy with God the choice is from those
who "make their calling and election sure."
God begins all His dealings with us by a call. "The call
of God," to be of any use, must be personally felt and
realised by the inner man. The flesh may hear of it; yes, as with
those who went with Paul, it may be struck to the ground by the
glory of the revelation; the senses may witness some of the
outward manifestations accompanying the call; but, as Paul says,
"They heard not the voice of Him that spoke to me."
The call of God contains both grace and truth. Truth is the
separating instrument. "Get thee out." Grace is the
promise. "I will bless and make a blessing." Man often
grasps at the grace, the "I will bless" of God, and
fails to comply with the demand thereof - "Get thee
out." Now this does not only apply in the matter of our
salvation in its first steps, but it comes in new revelations and
calls at different times in the Christian life. The call of God
to some fuller and higher acceptance of truth and ministry; of
testimony and witness; of surrender and experience, will
undoubtedly come by one or another of the Divine forms of
visitation to such as the Lord wishes to lead in grace. This will
be timed, definite, and challenging. A messenger may come as out
from nowhere; the nowhere of reputation, recognition, worldly
fame or honour. He will deliver a message, only staying long
enough to leave its essential implications with those who hear.
Then, having passed on, things can never be the same for them
The "call" has sounded. The crisis has been
precipitated. The issue is between the life which has been with
its limitations known or unrecognised, and that which God offers.
But, as usually is the case, this truth is going to call for a
"getting out." Getting out, it may be, of a certain
popularity, a comparative easy going. There may be a risking of
reputation, a loss of prestige, a disfavour among men, a being
labelled "singular," "peculiar,"
"extreme," "unsafe." It may mean a head-on
impact of all the prejudice, tradition, and disfavour of the
religious world. It may involve exclusion, ostracism, and
suspicion. These are the accompaniments of all calls of God to
advance with Him beyond accepted standards. This is the cost of
path-finding for souls. This is the price to be paid for the
higher serviceableness to God and men.
One who paid this price as few ever will, and who was
entrusted with superlative revelation and immortal and universal
service said at the end of his life "There is no man
like-minded with me." "No man stood with me." Did
this mean that he was wrong? Who will ever dare say so?
Note, moreover, that every step ahead with God brings the
"called" into more direct and intimate collision with
the forces of the enemy, and he is going to give much more
attention to such. The only way to "reign in life" is
by literally knowing the need for it.
The interrogation is, are we going on with God at any cost?
Shall we refuse Him that speaketh? Are we going to respond to
every call to advance, mean what it may? Shall we stand our
ground when the price seems almost too much? Shall we "hold
fast" in the probation of a "call," and having
proved ourselves by the grace of God, be chosen for a work which
only such can have committed to them?
Or shall we sink back to our easier path, and take a line of
less resistance; keep our treasures, fear to lose, keep our place
in the pleasantries and safeties of the shallows, and not
"launch out into the deep."
The "Well done, good and faithful servant,"
will be reserved for those who risked something of loss and went
beyond the obligation of duty and embarked upon the second mile
at the "call" of the growing revelation.
Oh, beloved of God, let us go all the way and whatever it may
involve - it will never be in advance of the apostolic suffering
- aspire to be of "the called, chosen, and faithful."
First published in "A Witness and A Testimony"
magazine, Jul-Aug 1926, Vol 4-4