Abraham—Called by God, by Witness Lee

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THE NEW BEGINNING OF GOD • Now we need to consider the significance, the meaning, of God’s calling. Firstly, God’s calling was a new beginning. When God created man, there was a beginning. But that man was corrupted and spoiled. The man whom God created for Himself fell and forsook Him. So God came in to call man that He might have a new beginning with the fallen man. Even with us, God’s calling was a new beginning. We all have had a new beginning. I thank God that after living over nineteen years in the old creation, I received a new beginning before I was twenty. God’s calling is a new beginning made by God Himself. God would not give up man. Rather, He came in to call man that He might have a new beginning.

The man whom God called was Abraham. When God created Adam, He did not create a single man but a corporate man. When God called Abraham, in a sense He called a corporate man, but, in another sense, He called a single person. Although all of the descendants of Adam were created in Adam, we cannot say that all the descendants of Abraham were called in Abraham. Although it appears so outwardly, actually this is not the case, for Romans 9:7-8 says that not all the seed of Abraham are the children of God. Simply because a person is a Jew by birth does not mean that he has had a new beginning with God. Even those who are Jews by birth need a new beginning. Whether we are Jews or Gentiles, as long as we have had a new beginning by faith in Christ, we are Abraham’s seed (Gal. 3:7). Most of us are not Jewish, but we are all the seed of Abraham through faith in Christ. We are the seed of Abraham because we have had a new beginning. At the time of His calling of Abraham, God began to have a new beginning, and now we all have entered into this new beginning through faith. Whenever you speak about God’s calling, you must realize that His calling means a new beginning. I can never forget that afternoon in 1925 when I was called by God. Immediately I had a new beginning and my whole life, being, and concepts were changed. This is God’s calling.

THE TRANSFER OF RACE • In His calling, God’s new beginning with man is a transfer of race. God’s calling of Abraham meant that He had given up the race of Adam and had chosen Abraham with his descendants as the new race to be His people for the fulfilling of His eternal purpose. This was a transfer of race, a transfer from the created Adamic race to the called Abrahamic race (12:2-3; Gal. 3:7-9, 14; Rom. 4:16-17). When we say that God’s calling is a new beginning, we must understand that this new beginning is a transfer of race. We all have been transferred from the old created race to the new called race. Although we were born in a particular race, at the time of our calling we were transferred into another race, the new race of the called ones.

THE TRANSFER OF LIFE • The transfer of race in God’s calling is actually the transfer of life. Although you can boldly declare that you have undergone the transfer of race, can you say that you have experienced the transfer of life? Although we have had the transfer of race, we are still in the process of the transfer of life. I dare not say that I have had a full transfer of life. Neither can I say that I have had no transfer of life. I have had some transfer of life, but this process has not yet been completed. We all are in the process of the transfer of life.

We need an inner transfer of life. Even though we have had the transfer of race, the life within us must be transferred. If we do not have this inner transfer of life, we shall remain the same as the fallen race. If we are simply removed from one position to another, we actually remain the same in life. The mere transfer of position cannot fulfill God’s purpose in His calling of us. There must also be a transfer of life.

Since the transfer of life is from the life of Adam to the life of Christ, it is a transfer from the life of the old creation to the life of the new creation. Due to the fall of man, all of God’s original creation became old and is no longer able to fulfill God’s purpose. So God needs a new creation, a creation with a life stronger and much better than the created life of Adam. This stronger life is the uncreated life of God, the life of Christ. The transfer of life in God’s calling is from the fallen life of the old creation to this stronger and better life of the new creation.

AS SEEN IN THE CALLED ONES • The significance of God’s calling is clearly seen in God’s called ones. In Abraham, in Isaac, in Jacob, and in the New Testament believers we can see the new beginning of God, the transfer of race, and the transfer of life. Their lives can be considered as clear pictures of the significance of God’s calling.

(Abraham—Called by God, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)