A simple word study on the topic of calling in the Bible would reveal several more of God’s calls to all people, but what we have considered so far summarizes how the basic calls of God are ubiquitous and applicable to any person at any time. And humanity’s experience is that each of these areas of calling, far from showing humanity’s ability to fulfill them, instead has shown how these callings have been venues for sin and depravity. But God, before Adam and Eve left the garden, had already begun to speak of the redemptive work He would do one day through the serpent-crushing Messiah (Gen. 3:15). This Messiah, through His life, death, and resurrection, would pay for the sins of His people, provide the righteousness that they could not achieve, and fulfill all the calls of God on His people. This Messiah is Jesus Christ, and in Him we find both new calls and renewed calls from God.
As we consider calls from the perspective of redemption, we know that God has been patient with the sin of humanity throughout the ages but now calls everyone everywhere to repent and believe in Christ (Acts 17:30). This is the external call of the gospel that Christians carry into the world. Pastors preaching from pulpits and Christians evangelizing their neighbors extend to everyone the free offer of the gospel: Repent and believe in Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. This is now the one great redemptive call laid before every man, woman, and child. This call drives the New Testament church, it fuels world missions, and it is laid on every Christian.
As this external call sounds forth, there is also, when a person is born again, an internal call that accompanies it. Salvation is of the Lord; it is His monergistic work. He knows His own, and He calls them by name (John 10:27). When a sinner is redeemed, the Holy Spirit regenerates him so that he can receive and rest in Christ Jesus as He is offered in the gospel. In this way, the internal call of the gospel is always effectual because it is always and only performed by God. The external and internal call of God mark the New Testament age. These two calls chart and explain the explosion of the church from a ragtag bunch of Galileans to a worldwide body of redeemed sinners from every tribe, tongue, and nation.
The effectual call of God through Jesus that converts us also begins the work of conforming us into His image (Rom. 8:29). That doesn’t mean that we are all becoming more like Nazarene carpenters-turned-itinerant preachers. It means that God’s work of sanctification in us operates within the guard rails of the creation callings that are already operational in our lives. Under the power of the Holy Spirit, we now fight against sin and pursue holiness. We receive our call to vocation, and we work as unto the Lord with all our might. The husband embraces his call to marriage and loves his wife as Christ loved the church. The wife embraces her call to marriage and submits to her husband as the church does to Christ. The godly child obeys her parents as unto the Lord. The Christian embraces his call to holiness, pursuing holiness in grateful response to God’s grace. The Christian in authority does not lord his authority over others. The Christian under authority joyfully submits to and obeys authority, knowing that God is behind it all. In this way, the major calls of God on our lives—the call to vocation, the call to marriage, the call to morality, the call to submit to authority, the external call of the gospel, and the internal effectual gospel call—work together from creation and through redemption to accomplish God’s purpose in the world, His own glory through the worship of Jesus Christ in the church.