CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE
...all things work together for good to them that love God, and who are … called according to his purpose.. Ask anyone to quote this verse from memory, and more than 99% of the time, they will word it like that. Now, open your Bible and see what it really says,
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Almost invariably, people leave out the seemingly insignificant little word the.
Why is this important? If you read the verse the way most people do, this infers that if you are not in his purpose which he called for your individual life, then you are out of his perfect will (and are not necessarily under his protection), so all things will not always work for your good, even though you are a Christian!
This is the standard interpretation of those who preach the gain is Godliness gospel. You know those people. You've met them, and so have I. They are the ones who say,
"If you want to be healthy, wealthy, and wise, just find God's perfect calling for your life, and you'll be successful; you won't have any problems."
Or else they say,
"If things are not working out, you must not be called according to his purpose for your life." These preachers don't understand why God put the definite article the in the verse, so they just leave it out so it will make sense to them. This is typical of the modern Christian who tries to make the Bible line up with his private doctrine. In doing this, he misses the entire intent in Paul's message.
Think about this: who are the called? The called refers to every born again Christian‑‑whether or not you are in his perfect will for your life. Proof? Paul got out of God's perfect will for his life, and lost two years of his ministry, but God still blessed him, and he bore fruit!. This puts a whole new slant on the meaning of this verse. I ask you:
What is God's purpose for calling you? Why were you called?
I PETER 2:21:
For even hereunto were ye called(!)...
That pretty well answer's it, doesn't it? I don't know how you can get any more plain than that. Some of you still are missing it. Let me help you. Turn in the Bible to the first book of the New Testament. Now look at the first word out of Jesus' mouth.(If you have a red‑letter Bible, it will help).
Suffer (!) MATTHEW 3:15. That was the first word out of Jesus' mouth. That must mean something. Now turn back to I PETER 2:21:
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow!
We were called (the called) to suffer for his name.
II TIMOTHY 3:12
All that shall live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution!
Jesus called us to live holy, to witness his love to others ( which he bestowed on us by shedding his blood as an atonement for our sins), and to suffer for his name by preaching the gospel. If we do that, we are in his perfect will for our lives. If we are truly born again, then we are
the called according to his purpose!!!