Called From Above

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 8
He came from above, from the dwelling-place of God, to earth. He lived quietly for about thirty years. Then He called disciples to follow Him as He traveled from town to town doing good and calling sinners to repentance. He was rejected, cast out, nailed to a cross and crucified. Loving hands carried His body to the grave and kept watch over the tomb. On the third day, He rose from the dead and manifested Himself to them for the next forty days. Then He was taken up from them into heaven to sit at the Father’s right hand.
Following Him
The moment the cloud received Him out of their sight, their object, their hope and their lives were no longer centered on earth; their Lord, their all in all, was now in heaven. From that moment on, their lives were linked to heaven. Separated in heart from earth by death, His death, they now lived in the power of resurrection life and in the hope of His promise to return for them to receive them up to Himself and take them home to the Father’s house where they would be with Him forever. Since He would no longer be with them on earth to look after them, when He got to heaven He sent down to earth the Holy Spirit to dwell in them and to handle and direct the affairs of their lives. The Spirit in them was the “seal” of their redemption and the assurance that, belonging to Him, their portion was to be with Him where He was, to behold Him in His glory.
Shortly after his Lord returned to heaven, Stephen charged the Jews with their sin in murdering Him, the Just One, and, in response, they cast him, like his Lord, out of the city to stone him to death. He, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up into heaven itself and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on God’s right hand. He, calling upon God, said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” and fell asleep in Jesus.
A Heavenly Man on Earth
Later, Saul on his mission to persecute these people who were followers of Jesus was struck down by the light of heaven and heard a voice from heaven speaking to him. Called from above, He was obedient to the heavenly vision, owning Jesus as Lord, and this new man was given the new name of Paul. He had the unique privilege of being called up to the third heaven to view the glory that awaits those who like himself are called from above. God made his life a pattern for all to follow—the pattern of a heavenly man living on earth.  As such he was crucified with Christ; he had Christ risen as his life; he had Christ in glory as the sole object of his life. He forgot everything already behind him, to run totally focused on the goal line and “the prize of the calling on high of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:1414I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14) JND).
The Jews were an earthly people with earthly hopes and promises. But when they rejected and crucified their king, they stood guilty of casting out the One on whom all their earthly promises depended. During the present day of grace, those earthly hopes have been set aside. Now they, like all other men, are to trust in Jesus to be made “partakers of the heavenly calling.” The Man in heaven at the right hand of God is to be their Apostle and High Priest. Earthly things, including the visible things of earthly worship, are set aside and “heavenly things” take their place. Instead of having an earthly dwelling-place for God, which they were not fit to enter into, they were now given access into heaven itself to worship — access through Christ, who had by one sacrifice forever removed their sins from God’s sight. Better still, each one who, like Paul, responds in faith to the heavenly call leaves his earthly place as a Jew and becomes a part of the church of God, the new, heavenly Jerusalem.
Earthly or Heavenly
Today, every man begins life as a member of Adam’s race, a citizen of earth. As such, he has no place, no link with heaven, but is lost in his sins. The Man from heaven came to earth seeking and saving such. When found, he is redeemed — redeemed from his sinful condition, given new life in Christ, raised up from the dead with his Saviour, and seated before God in heavenly places. His citizenship—his life and relationships — are now heavenly; he minds heavenly things. The supreme object of his life is in heaven and nothing can fully satisfy him but being with and like his Lord where He is. He looks for Him, his heavenly hope, to fulfill His promise, “Surely I come quickly.”
Before, he was of the first man of the earth, earthy, but the second man, his Redeemer, is the Lord from heaven. He shall be changed to bear the image of the heavenly. Now in the earthly house he groans “earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with [his] house which is from heaven.” He waits for the redemption of the body, that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (see Rom. 8:2323And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23); 2 Cor. 5:1).
When at home, in heaven, he shall share the glory with others who desired “a better country, that is, a heavenly” one — others like Noah and Abraham and David and John the Baptist who were also to be taken up to share in the heavenly kingdom (2 Tim. 4:18) and to be there as friends of the Bridegroom. When God’s coming judgments are in the earth, some in faithfulness to their Lord will be martyred. They, too, shall be called up to heaven as part of the “first resurrection.”
A Warning
Each one, now called from above, is warned about the danger of minding “earthly things” — of losing sight of their “treasure” in heaven, of the fact that their Lord has been cast out and crucified, and, as a result, of becoming like those who are enemies of the cross of Christ (Phil. 3:1820). Such are called upon to rise up, trim their lamps (with oil in them) and go forth to meet their Bridegroom, for the marriage in heaven is at hand.
D. F. Rule