Many years ago Charles Spurgeon told about the loss of the vessel called the “Central America”. She was in a bad state, had sprung a leak, and was going down. She therefore hoisted a signal of distress. A ship came close to her, and its captain asked, through the trumpet, “What is wrong?”
“We are in bad repair and are going down. Wait till morning,” was the answer.
But the captain on board the rescue ship said, “Let me take your passengers on board now.”
“Wait until morning,” was the message that came back.
Once again the captain cried, “You had better let me take your passengers on board now.”
“Wait until morning,” was the reply that sounded through the trumpet.
About an hour and a half later, the lights were gone, and though no sound was heard, she and all on board had gone down to the fathomless abyss.
Spurgeon used this as motivation for those in his audience to respond to the call of God on their lives immediately, without delay. He stressed the urgency of that call and the great loss to those who would ignore it.
As we look at the practical application of God’s grace in the Christian life, it seems wise to consider why we are here in the first place. Why am I a Christian? Why are you a Christian? The answer is not as easy as it might seem.
In fact, theologians have debated that question for many centuries. Some suggest that we are Christians because we responded to the invitation to come to Jesus. Others claim that we are Christians because we were baptized as children. Still others say that we are Christians because we are part of some special group known as the “elect”.
Aside from all the deep arguments, the Scripture simply makes it very clear that we are believers because God called us. That’s what I want to look at this morning. This idea of the call of God is a very important thing for us to understand if we are to understand grace in our daily lives.
Almost from the very beginning God has been calling to the people of His creation. When Adam and Eve sinned that day in the garden and attempted to hide themselves from the all-seeing eye of God, the Lord began to call them. He called out to Adam, asking him where he might be found. It wasn’t as though God didn’t know where Adam was, it was that Adam didn’t realize he was lost. In His great love, the Lord called to Adam.
Remember our definition of grace? It is the Lord, in His majesty, holiness, wisdom, and strength reaching down to us in our helplessness to provide all our needs. The Lord is great and wonderful. We are helpless and needy. Grace is when He reaches out to us.
Consider the Creator of the universe. He made it all. Everything that exists has come from His command. He spoke the word and out of nothingness came organization and substance. Nothing disobeyed Him and nothing held Him back. From the most immense bodies of outer space to the tiniest parts of the atom, God created it all. Everything was in perfect obedience to Him. Everything was subject to His word.
Until He made humankind. Imagine the arrogance, the ingratitude of the man and the woman in the garden. There they stood, in the garden He had created, eating fruit He had made, in the bodies He had fashioned, and they turned their hearts away from Him.
With a word He could have destroyed them. He could have pushed them back into the dust of the earth and started again. He could have made them, forced them, to conform to His will. He could have done anything He wanted to them, but He decided simply to call.
The call of God is an act of His wonderful grace. He bowed Himself to us. In His majesty and glory, He bowed down Himself to meet our need.