By Jennifer Hudson Taylor
In the last message, we discussed how the promise of God's Spiritual Salvation is for everyone, but not everyone will receive it, because there is the condition that they must choose to believe and accept it.
If this is the case, why does the Bible refer to the Israelites as God's chosen people?
This is because God had to choose a family of people to whom His son would be born in the flesh. It could have been the Arabs, Asians, Africans, Indians, Celtics, Saxons, Anglicans, etc. It had to be one of these or another group that I missed listing, but for some reason, God chose the Israelites. So what does this mean for everyone else--the Gentiles? If you are not born an Israelite, you are considered a Gentile. This is where spiritual adoption takes place through God's salvation and it is meant for everyone.
Does this mean that the Israelites do not need salvation? No.
Before the birth of Christ, Israelites were saved by keeping the commandments God had given them through Moses and the prophets. If they kept and obeyed these commandments, repented, and sacrificed the blood of clean animals as told, they were forgiven and saved. Gentiles did not know to do these things because they believed other religions and were not taught the laws of Moses and the prophets. The Old Testament had to become history, so it could be rewritten through the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ into the New Testament. By believing in Christ as the Son of God as the one time sacrifice for all mankind, Israelites and Gentiles could be saved. This Old Testament promise is fulfilled in the New Testament and is continuously being fulfilled today.
The father of the Israelites was Abraham, born as Abram. Even Abraham had to be adopted by God. He was renamed and afterward Abraham referred to God as the Father. God created us, loves us, raises us, and guides us by teaching us His ways and the difference between good and evil.
In choosing Abram, God made His first personal promise to Abram, which extends to us Gentiles through the Spiritual Adoption that God gave us through Christ Jesus. The following passage shows the beginning of how this happened and continues to happen today.
“Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3)
Why did Abram have to leave his family? Because Abram was being adopted as a child of God. He needed to learn God's ways and get to know Him without the constant temptation of his family's ways and religion luring him back to the man he once was. He needed to first grow strong in the Lord so he could resist these old familiar ways and influences from his childhood. Abram had to be reborn into Abraham to make the adoption complete.
"No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I shall make nations of you, and kings shall come from you." (Genesis 17:5-6)
In order to fulfill the promise of "and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed," God had to make a way for the Gentiles to be adopted as well.
"But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, 'Abba, Father!'" (Galatians 4:4-6)
This is why God is known as the Heavenly Father to those who accept His word as the truth and willingly follow his Son, Jesus Christ.
"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!" (1 John 3:1)
As His children, we not only have the promise of spiritual and eternal blessings, but we have His provision as well. Here is one promise that we must cling to while here on earth:
"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:9-11).
Since we are adopted children, we can go to our Heavenly Father and request good blessings and in our life and for those we love. As our earthly fathers may sometimes say "no," God has the right to also say "no," but keep in mind that He will often say "yes!"
If you missed the first two posts on God's Faith Promises, below are the links:
~ Three Kinds of Promises from God
~ Nothing Can Separate Us From God's Love
~ Spiritual Salvation