*Updated 19th December 2016
Rom 1:6 KJV: Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:
That is, the Roman Christians, though geographically part of the Gentiles (nations), were a distinct people in that they too, alongside other Christians, were the called of Jesus Christ.
This means that Christians everywhere, wherever they may be, though geographically part of different nationalities, are a distinct people, separate from all peoples, tribes, races, or nations of the earth by being the called of Jesus Christ.
Hallelujah! We are a unique people: special, separate and completely different from all others for amongst all the nations we are the called of Jesus Christ. See: 1Pe 2:9 KJV
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
“... the called of Jesus Christ”
The word, ‘called’ here is translated from the Greek word, ‘klētos’ which primarily means invited. However, in usage, especially in the epistles, the word is used in reference to Christians in ways that suggest the meaning of designated or appointed.
For example, when Paul says in Rom.1:1 and in 1Cor.1:1 that he is ‘called’ to be an apostle it should be taken to mean a designation or appointment to the office of an apostle for in several other places, he plainly describes himself as an apostle and not as one invited to be: Rom. 11:13; 2 Cor.1:1; Col. 1:1. He even states that he was designated (rendered ordained and appointed respectively) an apostle: 1Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11. The words, ‘to be’ are actually in italics and are not in the original therefore, it should read “called an apostle.” Additionally, even if the meaning was invited it would still connote a designation as an apostle for an invitation by royalty or a governing authority to an office is equal to an appointment to that office.
Therefore, in this verse (Rom.1:6), I believe ‘called’ means designated for the following reasons:
In the next verse (Rom.1:7), he clarifies what it means when he says they are the called of Jesus Christ by saying they’ve been “called to be saints.” The word, ‘called’ there means designated because firstly, the words ‘to be’ are in italics showing that they were added by the King James Bible translators and as such, it should read “called saints.”
Secondly, in the New Testament, God’s people are plainly described as saints: Phil.1:1; Col.1:2; Eph.1:1; 2:19. They are not once described as being invited to be saints. They are already saints. A saint here simply means one who is holy or sacred, which in turn fundamentally signifies separateness; something or someone separate. In the Scriptures, these two words are usually associated with God and things or people dedicated to or set apart unto Him because by nature, God is the very definition of holy (separateness); there is no one like Him and He is the only one like Him. In the sense that things or people dedicated to or set apart unto Him are so, they are separate.
Again, in 1 Cor.1:2 we are told that they who are sanctified in Christ, referring to the Corinthian church along with Christians everywhere, are called to be saints. Again ‘to be’ is in italics and as such, the passage should read ‘called saints’. Therefore, Christians everywhere, sanctified in Christ, are called saints.
‘Sanctified’ there means made holy, that is, set apart or separated which is who or what a saint is. As such, it would make sense for called there to mean designated, that is, those who are sanctified in Christ are called (designated, termed or named) saints.
Considering the above, it is therefore clear that when he says they are the “called of Jesus Christ” he means they are the ones who have been designated of the Lord Jesus Christ (as saints: Rom.1:7; 1 Cor.1:2). That is, the ones whom He regards as saints: Cf 1 Cor.1:2 and Jude 1:1.
This does not mean that as saints or people who are sanctified we are not to live holy (lives set apart unto God). In several places the Bible admonishes us to be or live holy. What this means is that we, a people who are holy (separate), should live lives becoming of our nature even as God who has called us is holy.
Though we may be geographically part of different nationalities, we, as believers, are a distinct people, separate from all peoples, tribes, races, or nations of the earth in that we are the called (designated, named, christened) of Jesus Christ. Hallelujah! We are a unique people! We are the special ones!