The will of God is sort of a generalized idea, directed toward the world. But Paul was sure that the purpose of God was not a generalized but an individualized purpose. God calls individuals to work out that purpose.
The call to salvation:
- For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Thessalonians 5:9)
- But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. (2 Thessalonians 2:13)
The call to holiness (hagios) to be different: For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. (1 Thessalonians 4:7)
The call to peace: we are not play-things of the gods, ones that did not care about mortal man. One has no peace with the concept of God. Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such [cases,] but God has called us to peace. (1 Corinthians 7:15)
The call to grace: in opposition to the law, which was both obligatory and impossible. Man was forever in default. I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; (Galatians 1:6)
The call to fellowship: God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:9)
The call to share in the kingdom and Christ’s glory: as opposed to the cross being some kind of emergency measure of God when all else that He tried had failed. Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love (Ephesians 1:4)
The call came to men supremely in Christ: Among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; (Romans 1:6)
The call came by the preaching of the Gospel: And it was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2:14)
This material is from William Barclay, the Mind of St. Paul, 1975.