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Most of us know the sense that change is about to take place, and we are not sure where that will lead. Perhaps pressure at work from someone senior saying we should move on, or from personal dissatisfaction that seems to say we’ve served our usefulness, causes us to start looking at job boards and down-loading applications.
But it seems that Paul’s life changing experience had no preparation. He was totally satisfied with his achievements and, as far as he was concerned, so was God. But things were about to change in a way he could never have imagined. On the way to arrest believers in Damascus, he met the risen Jesus.
This was Paul’s call, not only to stop persecuting believers but to give himself unreservedly to Christ and to follow Him. He had been chosen by God, as he makes clear in verse 1.
The concept of God calling people is found throughout the Bible but, surprisingly, while it does refer to individuals being called, the term applies much more commonly to communities or nations. However, in both cases, individual and national, the calling is ultimately to servanthood.
So Israel was called, the remnant in Babylon was called, the Church is called, and individual sinners are called. When we see the doctrine of election through the lens of service, many of its apparent difficulties are removed. While individual people are called to receive salvation, by far the greater emphasis is that they are called to serve God.
As you read the chapter, and then the letter as a whole, you will notice that Paul is continually using Old Testament vocabulary. This is important to keep in mind if you want to follow what he is saying. The best way to understand Paul is by reading your Old Testament!
Dear Father, You choose us to be Your people and to serve You by making Your Gospel known. Please help us to be faithful in doing this. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.