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Calling Today into the Future

May 16, 2021 • Life for Leaders

Scripture – 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12 (NRSV)

As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children, urging and encouraging you and pleading that you lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

Focus

God is calling us today into his own kingdom and glory. His present calling points to the future, when God will reign fully over all creation and when all creation will be filled with his glory. This calling to the future inspires us to live in the present for God. Knowing the glory yet to come, we glorify God right now in all we do.

Today’s devotion is part of the series God’s Transformational Calling.

Devotion

In our study of God’s transformational calling, we have seen that the Apostle Paul sometimes uses the language of calling to refer to the action of God that brought us into salvation through Jesus Christ (for example, 1 Corinthians 1:9; 7:18). In this case, God’s calling is in the past and takes a past tense verb.

But in 1 Thessalonians 2:12, Paul uses the language of calling differently. He refers to God as the one “who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” More literally, the Greek original could be translated, “who is calling you into his own kingdom and glory” (using the Greek present tense participle, kalountos). In this case, God’s calling is both present and ongoing, rather than the once-for-all calling that happened when we said “Yes” to God’s grace in Christ.

So, there is a present-tense aspect of God’s calling, something that continues after our past-tense calling to faith in Christ. God is calling us right now into his kingdom and glory. But this present-day calling also has a future dimension to it. In the letters of Paul, God’s kingdom belongs to the future. It is primarily something we will one day “inherit” (1 Corinthians 15:50). God’s glory has a similar characteristic. For example, in Romans 5:2 Paul speaks of “our hope of sharing the glory of God.” Or in Romans 8:18 he mentions “the glory about to be revealed to us.” Therefore, God is calling us right now into his future kingdom and glory.

What difference should this make in our lives? Paul’s answer comes in an earlier part of 1 Thessalonians 2:12. He writes that we are to “lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” If that sounds familiar, it’s because the language here is similar to what we have seen in Ephesians 4:1, where it says that we are to “lead a life worthy of the calling to which [we] have been called.” In Ephesians, we are to walk worthy of our calling. In 1 Thessalonians we’re to walk worthy of the God who calls us.

I find it interesting that Paul does not say we’re to walk worthy of the God who calls us to live rightly. He could have written this. But, instead, he focuses on God’s calling that’s oriented to the future. One day we will fully inherit the kingdom of God. God will reign over every part of our lives and, indeed, every part of this world. In that day, we will see God’s glory as never before and, amazingly, share in that glory. As we think about what lies ahead for us, as we attend to God’s present-day calling to his future kingdom and glory, we are inspired and guided to walk in a way that honors God right now. The vision of the future we will have through God’s grace in Christ stirs within us a deep desire to live our lives in this moment for God’s glory.

Reflect

How do you respond to the notion that God is calling you right now into his future kingdom and glory?

When you think of walking worthy of God, what comes to mind?

Act

As you consider what it might mean to walk worthy of God who is calling you into his kingdom and glory, do one of the actions that comes to mind.

Pray

Gracious God, thank you for calling us into your own kingdom and glory. Thank you for the invitation to experience the fulness of your future. Thank you for including us through your grace in Jesus Christ.

Help me, Lord, to live in light of your calling. Help me to see my life today in light of your future. May I be inspired and empower right now to glorify you, in anticipation of the glory that is yet to come. May I choose this day to live under your sovereign authority, in anticipation of the day when I will inherit your kingdom.

All praise, glory, and power be to you, O God. Amen.


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Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Commentary on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Working Faith, Finishing Up, and Keeping the Faith (1 Thess. 1:1–4:8; 4:13–5:28; 2 Thess. 1:1-2:17)


2 thoughts on “Calling Today into the Future

  1. Margie Tomlinson says:

    “Back from the Future” We can live as God’s Covenant people in the Present when we know the Promise of His Future Kingdom. Obadiah verse 21 is a favorite from the Minor Prophets. “The deliverers will ascent Mount Zion to judge the mountain of Esau, And the kingdom will be the Lord’s. My hand written footnote says “The Kingdom of my heart can be the Lord’s now” dated 8-14-94 Thanks for this the reminder is perfect for today.

    • Mark Roberts says:

      Yes, indeed. Thanks for your comment, Margie. I was actually thinking about “Back to the Future” but couldn’t figure out how to work it in.

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