Partakers of the Heavenly Calling
What does the above phrase actually mean?
Let's look at the Scriptural passage and then try and understand what God
is telling us:
Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the
Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful
to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his
house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses,
inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.
For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things
is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as
a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;
But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold
fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Wherefore
(as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not
your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.
Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err
in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my
wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Take heed, brethren, lest there
be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living
God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any
of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers
of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the
end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your
hearts, as in the provocation. For some, when they had heard, did provoke:
howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved
forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases
fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter
into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could
not enter in because of unbelief.
Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering
into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us
was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did
not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn
in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were
finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place
of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day
from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter
into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein,
and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief:
Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long
a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your
hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have
spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of
God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his
own works, as God did from his. Let
us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the
same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and
powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing
asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is
a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there
any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are
naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then
that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus
the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not
an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities;
but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let
us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy,
and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 3:1 - 4:16)
We see that this applies to holy brethren.
The apostle Peter tells it this way:
Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have
obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and
our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through
the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power
hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness,
through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby
are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these
ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption
that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence,
add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance;
and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness
brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things
be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be
barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 1:1-8)
The Bible is there to tell us what the heavenly calling is.
How do we become partakers thereof? Not by sitting in church week by week,
nor by being an usher or organist.
The word partake:
Strong's Concordance tells us it means to take part in the heavenly calling,
to be an associate of Jesus Christ, to be as Christ, a participant of heavenly
things instead of worldly things.
If the passage is studied, we notice that, firstly, we have to believe.
This means that we have to be reborn by the Spirit of God. We have to come
into Covenant with God through an oath, the same as the Hebrew nation discussed
How does this happen?
Firstly, we must believe that there is God.
Thereafter we need to repent of our evil deeds, cry out in distress for
our Creator to forgive us.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain
mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
If we do this, we receive the Holy Spirit who shall open up the Scriptures
to us and together we proceed along the narrow holy path to the Celestial
We see that grace is a heavenly gift:
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ,
(by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made
us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That
in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in
his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye
saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift
of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
God fills our being with the knowledge of Him and as a result we give our
life to Him.
In charismatic circles this is a well-worn phrase, but actually means that
we give our life, that is, we each subjugate our soul to the will
of God. We give Him control of our life believing that He
shall take better care of it than we can.
Our life is not our body, but our soul. Our body is shortly to die, but
our soul lives on.
The amount of obedience we have to God's commandments shows the amount
of our faith and love (John 14:21).
Muse on the implications of the word "if" in the top passage above.
Do you seek a Spiritual rest in the arms of God?
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye
might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good
cheer; I have overcome the world.
Meditate also on this: At the time of the last supper Jesus said "I have
overcome the world"; He had not yet been crucified, nor raised from the
dead, yet He could use the past tense. He had already overcome the world
What does it mean to harden one's heart?
If you or I, from the prompting of the Holy Spirit, know that a
certain thing is sin in the eyes of God, such as marrying a non-believer,
marrying a divorcee, being the main-man at drinking parties, lying etc.
and are willing partakers therein, we have shown the Holy Spirit that we
are more interested in enjoying the "I" than God's presence, present and
In other words "I" is more important than God.
No servant can serve two masters: for either he will
hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and
despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. And the Pharisees also,
who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. And he
said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God
knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination
in the sight of God. The law and the prophets were until John: since
that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law
to fail. Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth
adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband
committeth adultery. There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in
purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a
certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table:
moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that
the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the
rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being
in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And
he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus,
that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for
I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou
in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things:
but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between
us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from
hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come
from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest
send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify
unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith
unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he
said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they
will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets,
neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.
And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that
they were righteous, and despised others: Two men
went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that
I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or
even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that
I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much
as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God
be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house
justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself
shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
He who is God, who created us out of the dust of the earth, will not accept
anything less than us giving our life to Him.
Those who are not partakers of the heavenly calling shall be subject to
the second death.
The above teaching therefore shows us that although we may be born
again of the Spirit of God, we can lose our salvation by partaking of the
worldly calling; by being carnally minded.
The choice is ours.
A few words of encouragement from the founder of Gospel for Asia:
Imagine with me that someone bought a bunch of bright red, crisp apples
and tied them onto an apple tree. Everyone who casually walked by the tree
would think, Wow, that tree looks great. See all those apples? and
never notice that the apples were just tied onto the branches. If you let
some time go by though, anyone would be able to notice that the now-rotting
apples were not really a part of the tree.
Our Christianity can be like that apple tree. By knowing the appropriate
behaviours, we can make our lives look so spiritual. However, you and I
can be right in our understanding and all our doctrines, yet be completely
wrong on the inside.
Look at the Pharisees. They had everything right. They knew God's holiness
and all the laws. They were missionaries. They fasted, gave, prayed and
taught the Scriptures.
Their problem? Everything began and ended with them. God had no part
What God wants us to be goes beyond doing all the right things. Our
"apples" should be produced from the tree, or our fruit will not last.
So often we want a plan, an agenda, a book to tell us how to become
godly. But godliness is not a list of how-to's.
The answer is Jesus. If we listen closely, we'll hear the Lord calling
out to our hearts, "Be mine. Let My life be yours."
Please don't look for a quick fix. This call from the Lord involves
daily walking with Him, being sensitive to hear His voice, seeking to do
His will and loving Him through our choices. It is not obedience to the
letter of the law, but rather understanding the heart of our Master. This
is not a fill-in-the-blank test, but a living, growing relationship with
the Creator of this world.
We must see Jesus -- everywhere, in all of our life, in everything.
The book of Hebrews tells us, "looking unto Jesus" (Hebrews 12:2).
Have you ever studied a car that was passing you, and all of a sudden,
without realising it, you actually started to steer towards the passing
car? The more you dwell on negative things, the more negative you become.
The more you dwell on positive thoughts, the more positive you become.
The more time you spend with someone, the more you actually take on their
mannerisms and vocabulary without even trying.
We are called to be partakers of His nature (see 2 Peter 1:4). How do
we do that?
We see Jesus. Scripture says that when we see Him, we shall be like
Him (see 1 John 3:2). Just like the passing car, the thoughts we entertain,
and the people we spend time with - if we look at Jesus and keep Him before
us, we will go to Him. We will become like Him. The measure in which we
are able to see Him continually in all our circumstances is the same measure
we will experience Him and His life through us.
In my own life, there was a particular time when I was going through
great difficulty. In the midst of that season, the Lord asked me the question:
"are you willing to give up your reputation?"
I said to myself, Oh goodness! He is the One who didn't care what people
thought about Him. He didn't defend Himself when people said all kinds
of evil about Him. He's asking me if I'm willing to identify with Him and
have His nature in me.
"Lord, I didn't see this before," I said to Him. "I'm happy to do it."
I was able to find such peace and release from my personal anguish.
Look for Him in your own situations
that you are facing right now. Listen to the things He speaks to your heart.
Look at His life on earth and consider what it was like for Him. Look for
Him in His word. If we see Him in every part of our lives, we will become
We will have His attitude toward the Father that says, "I do nothing
of myself" (John 8:28) and "I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto
me, so I speak" (John 12:28). We will walk in the humility that yields
our rights for others and is respectful toward those He created. We'll
have His mind to suffer and not be fearful of it. We will manifest His
passion to seek and save the lost.
This is the kind of life Christ wants for us. It is a journey. Each
day, as we see Him, we will become more like Him.
Will you seek Him today? He promises that you will find Him.
We must always remember, God is the Power, God makes the decisions:
And this will we do, if God permit. For it is impossible for those
who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were
made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God,
and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew
them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of
God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh
in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for
them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which
beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing;
whose end is to be burned. But, beloved, we are persuaded better
things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.
For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love,
which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the
saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the
same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That
ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience
inherit the promises.
For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with
hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself,
now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer
himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year
with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation
of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to
put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men
once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to
bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for
him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.