“Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy.” (1 Corinthians 1:1–2)
The little word, called, as used here by the apostle is like a door opening into another world, and when we enter we shall find ourselves in another world indeed. For the new world into which we pass is the world of God’s sovereign will where the will of man cannot come, or if it come it is as a dependent and a servant, never as a lord.
Paul here explains his apostleship: it is by an effectual call, not by his own wish or will or determination, and this call is a divine thing, free, uninfluenced and altogether out of the hands of man. The response is from man, but the call, never. That is from God alone.
There are two worlds, set over against each other, dominated by two wills, the will of man and the will of God, respectively. The old world of fallen nature is the world of human will. There man is king and his will decides events. So far as he is able in his weakness he decides who and what and when and where. He fixes values: what is to be esteemed, what despised, what received and what rejected. His will runs through everything. “I determined,” “I decided,” “I decree,” “Be it enacted.” These words are heard continually springing from the lips of little men. And how they rejoice in their fancied “right of self-determination,” and with what comic vanity do they boast of the “sovereign voter.” They do not know, or refuse to consider, that they are but for a day, soon to pass away and be no more.
Time like an ever rolling stream
Bears all its sons away,
They fly forgotten as a dream.
Dies at the break of day.
The busy tribes of flesh and blood
With all their cares and fears,
Are carried downward like a flood
And lost in following years.
Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires. Romans 8:5
There are two worlds, set over against each other, dominated by two wills, the will of man and the will of God, respectively.
Make us aware, Father, of the fleeting nature of our existence, and help us to bend our wills toward your’s.