This is another repost of an old post in the Called According to Paul series. I’m reposting them all, one per week (sort of), so I can link to them in the sidebar under Favorite Posts. An explanation of this series can be found here, and the already reposted pieces are here.
In this post, I’m going to look at all the uses of the word called or calling in Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians. The first time Paul uses this word is in Ephesians 1:18:
…since the eyes of your heart have been enlightened - so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints… (NET)
I see this as being similar to the other times Paul tell us that God’s call is to something: to righteousness or peace or holiness, etc. God’s call, as the term is used here, is an appointment. Specifically in this case, it’s an appointment to hope.
Next, skipping over to chapter 4 of Ephesians, where the word called or calling is used several times in the first few verses:
I, therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live worthily of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you too were called to the one hope of your calling….
Here, as we saw, too, in 1 Corinthians 1 and 7 (and other texts), called and calling are being used as near synonyms (or metonymies) for salvation. Those who are being saved are being urged to live in a way that reflects God’s saving work within them, or that reflects their status as ones who are being saved.
Notice, too, that in verse 4, just as in Ephesians 1:18 above, Paul says that our call is to hope.
These posts are getting a little repetitive aren’t they? That’s not a bad thing, because it means we’re discovering a pattern to the way Paul uses the word called in his writings.