FAITH Holiness Numbers Obedience Repentance Sanctification Transformation

A KINGDOM OF PRIESTS AND A HOLY NATION

It is truly miraculous how a book that took over 1200 years to write, by over 40 authors, in 3 different languages, could dovetail or fit together so perfectly. For instance, Moses and the children of Israel were liberated from Egypt and sent out to worship and serve the living God. When they came to Sinai, Moses was instructed to say to the people,

“Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’  (Exodus 19:5, 6)

The picture that is given to us could not be more clear. Moses was chosen to lead the people out of the land of bondage. It would be difficult, even impossible by human means. However, God can do what men cannot do, but it would take faith on the part of the people. The one constant throughout the book of Numbers is the people’s complaining and unwillingness to comply to God’s demand to repent, believe, and obey.

In chapter 16 of Numbers a band of people grumble and complain who are led by Korah. God chose Moses and Aaron to be vessels for His use, and particularly to reflect the coming Messiah who would fulfill perfectly that which they only foreshadowed. The big point in all this is God’s choosing out a person, as He has chosen a people to be His own possession from among all the people of the world (Exodus 19:5, 6).

All the people of the world, however, are reluctant to repent and believe the word of God. As stated by Paul in his letter to the Romans an unsaved, unregenerate man is not capable of pleasing God. “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Romans 8:6- 8)

Only a regenerate man can set his mind on the Spirit; the rest of the world, as born in the line of Adam and from his seed are spiritually dead, and set their minds on the things of the flesh, (Colossians 2:13).  Therefore, when God calls out an individual man or woman to be saved, they must first be born again, given the new life of God, so that, they can repent and believe.

The present day average Evangelical Church has the process backwards, as if man were born free as to his nature and will,  but that is not the case. The very first of the ten commandments has this prerequisite written into it. “I am the Lord your God, who called you out of the land of slavery, and out of the house of bondage, you shall have no other gods before Me.”

At the outset of the first commandment is God’s calling, which must precede all that God expects from men. Apart from Me you can do nothing, Jesus said, and that is exactly what He meant.  To borrow from Luther, that nothing is not some small something.

In conclusion, the Bible dovetails perfectly from the Old to the New Testaments as it transitions from a chosen nation that is one by virtue of bloodline, to a Church that is comprised of people from every nation as they individually choose to follow Christ. The mass of people in Israel rebelled against God in the wilderness and died there. So it was during Israel’s entire history.

The Church is only different when there is proper accountability among the brethren who understand this individual calling that manifests itself in repentance, faith, and obedience. Otherwise the church is no church at all. Whom God chooses He calls, and whom He calls they are made holy. The word holy has the same root meaning as to call out. God is holy in that He is different and set apart from the rest of His creation. God’s people are holy when they are set apart from the world and to Him.

Consider the following verses as they, with the rest of the New Testament set forth the unique calling, choosing, and gifting of God’s people, beginning with the gift of the Holy Spirit Himself.

Paul begins the first epistle of the New Testament with his calling, and the people to whom he writes. Romans 1:1 “Called as an apostle, set apart for the Gospel of God…” 1:6 (“…among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ;”

So also to the church at Corinth. 1 Corinthians 1:2 “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus…” Sanctify is to set apart and make holy.

Paul made clear the agent of calling when writing to the Galatians “Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead), and all the brethren who are with me. To the churches of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age…” (Galatians 1:1-4). Churches or ekklesia refers to the local assemblies of believers in Galatia. From the verb form literally means called out and as commonly used in the Greco-Roman vernacular referred to citizens who were called out from their homes to be publicly assembled or gathered to discuss or carry out affairs of state.

The purpose of God’s calling is to be holy and blameless. “…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.” (Ephesians 1:4). To be holy one must be rescued from this present evil age.

Following Korah’s rebellion in which the people said it was Moses and Aaron’s fault that the people died, God set apart Aaron before the eyes of all the people by making his rod to bud. In the hands of Aaron a rod cut off from the rest of the tree became alive. God distinguishes His people by spiritual life. The church or the person is no more God’s because they say so, or because they use the name Christian or Hebrew, but because God imparts in them His own life and truth.

Old Testament or New the distinguishing mark of the Israelite or Christian is the presence of Christ, who lives in our heart, and gives light to a new perspective, a new love, and a willingness to give only God the glory. An unregenerate man could never become such a light, certainly not by the act of his own unregenerate will.  I know that I am saved, and I know that apart from His life giving presence and choosing me that could never have happened.  Praise His name!

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