“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” (2 Timothy 1:9)
Our “calling” (Greek klesis) to follow Christ was not a matter of human decision, and certainly not one based on human works, for it was issued in Christ before He had even created us. In some inscrutable way, we were a part of His eternal purpose, and it was altogether by His grace. We were “chosen . . . before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Ephesians 1:4).
Our calling is therefore a most “holy calling,” that is, a sacred calling to be consecrated and separated unto God.
It is, moreover, a “heavenly calling,” one originated in heaven, by our heavenly Father, centered in His divine will and purpose. In the Father’s sight, in Christ Jesus, we are nothing less than “holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling” (Hebrews 3:1).
We should therefore be able to say with Paul: “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). The high calling is not quite the same as the holy calling or the heavenly calling, though all are components of one great whole.
The word translated “high” is only so translated this one time. It is the usual word for “up” or “above.” Thus the prize toward which we press is the “up calling.” It is the same idea as in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, where we are promised that one day all who are in Christ Jesus, dead or living, will be “caught up together,” thereafter to “ever be with the Lord.”
He has called us before the world began, He is calling us daily to a heavenly walk with the Lord, and He will call us up to His eternal presence some day soon. HMM