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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Really Real

And really now.

Our Heavenly Calling (1)

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus… Hebrews 3.1

In our secular age, the idea that there might be something like a “heavenly calling” is not received as anything like real truth. The only heavenly matters most people today take seriously are those that relate to the weather, space exploration, star gazing, or coronal mass ejections.

In other words, all that’s considered heavenly by most people is just some form of matter located up in the sky at one level or another.

The notion of heaven as a spiritual region, where spiritual beings reside, and with which we may have fellowship, is for increasing numbers of people today merely a quaint bit of lore, leftover from our religious past, and clung to by people who have difficulty coping with the real world.

The unseen realm of spiritual beings and purposes is no longer regarded by many people as of any relevance to our lives. It’s not really real, even though large numbers of people claim to have some acquaintance with it.

Even Christians aren’t exactly sure how to think about the spiritual realm, which is mentioned so frequently in the Bible. For most Christians, heaven is a real place, but it’s not so real right now. It will only be really real when we get there and, hopefully, that won’t be for a while yet.

Most unbelievers don’t acknowledge a heavenly realm or spiritual beings, including God, at all. Many— perhaps too many—Christians regard such matters as true, but only somewhat relevant to our lives here and now. Heaven is not so much something we know as something we believe; not something we possess as somewhere we will be sometime; it is not to be experienced in the present but awaits us, so to speak, in the sweet by-and-by.

Whatever heavenly calling we may have relates to when our lives in this world are over, and we go to be with the Lord.

A calling we can share
The writer of Hebrews, on the other hand, mentions “a heavenly calling” and indicates that some people— “holy brethren,” such as those to whom he was writing—actually partake of that heavenly calling, and that they were partakers of it at the time he was writing them. The entirety of Hebrews 3 is devoted to reminding, urging, exhorting, and teaching holy brethren how to partake of that heavenly calling, and how to keep from forfeiting it.

In other words, the writer of Hebrews indicates that heaven—from which this heavenly calling derives, and for which, and to which it pertains—is a real place, a place within our grasp, and one so important that we must not allow anything in this life to get in the way of our partaking of, holding fast to, pursuing, and knowing that heavenly calling at all times.

What does the writer mean by this “heavenly calling”?

From, for, and to heaven
First, a heavenly calling is a summons to a way of life that comes to us from heaven—from God, the Creator of all things (v. 4), the One Who sent His Son to inaugurate the day of salvation (vv. 1, 13-15). God issues a call to human beings, a call which, as the writer explains in Hebrews 1, comes through the prophets of the Old Testament and Jesus Christ and those who knew Him first-hand (Heb. 2.1-4). From His place of eternal Presence and power, God issues a call to all human beings, summoning them to know Him and His ways, and to enter His rest (vv. 9-11).

This heavenly calling is a call for heaven as well. It comes to summon people to peer into heaven’s realities and to embrace heaven’s priorities, which are the ways of God (v. 10). The ways of human beings on earth are naturally unbelieving, sinful, and deceitful (vv. 12, 13). As Solomon argued in Ecclesiastes, those who live only “under the sun,” as opposed to “under the heavens,” live empty, disappointing, vain lives, because they are out of touch with the eternal realities for which their souls long.

Such a way of life does not please God, Who is the Author of life (v. 17). This is not why He created us. His desires and plans for us are higher, brighter, and more eternally significant than what we typically pursue “under the sun.” But rather than just exercise sovereign wrath against humankind, because of the moral and spiritual affront such a way of life is to Him, He calls us from heaven to embrace a life for heaven and its purposes and ways.

Finally, that heavenly calling is to heaven as well. God is gathering people into His eternal rest in heaven (vv. 11, 18). In that place, there will be no unbelief, no sin, no deceit, and no wickedness. Instead, resting in the Lord and partaking of Him (v. 14), human beings will find full and complete satisfaction and joy, forever (Ps. 16.11).

There is a heavenly calling, and it’s really real. Every day, for everything. It comes to holy brethren, who are partakers of this altogether true and complete domain of reality and life. Has it come to you? 

For reflection
1.  If you were asked to define the “heavenly calling” which Christians pursue, what would you say?

2.  What do you think are the primary obstacles keeping people—including many who call themselves Christians—from partaking of this heavenly calling here and now?

3.  What is the place of considering Jesus in this heavenly calling? What does it mean to consider Jesus?

Next steps—Conversation: Ask a Christian friend about this “heavenly calling.” What is it? What does it mean to partake of it? How can we be certain that we are following this heavenly calling? Share your own thoughts as well.

T. M. Moore

Two books can help you gain a better sense of what this heavenly calling entails. The first, What in Heaven Is Jesus Doing on Earth?, considers the work Jesus continues doing at the Father’s right hand. Order the book by clicking here or download the PDF here. The second book, The Landscape of Unseen Things, offers a detailed study of the teaching of Scripture on the unseen realm and why it matters for our heavenly calling. Order your copy of this workbook by clicking here.

Support for
ReVision comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

And please prayerfully consider supporting The Fellowship of Ailbe with your prayers and gifts. You can contribute online, via PayPal or Anedot, or by sending a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 103 Reynolds Lane, West Grove, PA 19390.

Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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