16 August 2013

God Set Apart His Chosen People To Render Him True Worship And True Religion





THIS is a continuation of our study of the History of Religion according to the Bible.  We have learned that men have deviated from the rules or commandments of God, and as a result, their right to serve and deify God was forfeited.  According to the Bible, they have all gone astray and there is none that does good.  This is a sad picture of mankind because all men have turned away from God, but, in spite of man’s undoing, God’s compassionate love remains for all men.  So He has an invitation for all men and for all sinners, all those who have been separated from Him.  And this invitation of God projects His unending love for mankind.

What is God’s invitation after all men sinned and separated from Him?  What is this invitation?  In Malachi 3:7, this is recorded:

“Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them.  Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.” (KJV) That is the standing invitation of God for all sinners.  He says, “Return unto me, and I will return unto you”. 

God wants us to be restored to that pure religion He has established.  Men have gone astray and turned away from the rules and ordinances of God which should be the basis for serving Him.  So He wants us to go back to Him and be tied again to Him by means of His ordinances or rules.  We see, therefore, that God’s love for man persists.  I repeat, in spite of man’s undoing, God calls unto all sinners to be restored to Him.
But, what should be known by all people who want to go back to God?  What rule was laid down by God for people to know so that they or we could all properly go back to Him?  In Psalms 4:3, this is what the Bible says:

“But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the Lord will hear when I call unto him.” (Ibid.) 

That is the rule prescribed by God which all of us must know.  All must subscribe to the rule laid down by God.  What is the rule?  What is the principle?  It is the principle of election.  The Bible says, “God sets apart the godly for Himself.”  It is not simply calling upon God.  Man must first be set apart by God.  And once you are set apart by God, your relationship with God is fully established.  Only then could you have that right and privilege to call upon God and be assured of being answered by God.  For the Bible says, “God sets apart the godly for Himself, and He will hear when I call upon Him.  This must be known by the world.  We must dispense with the idea and the concept which is widely spread, that it is enough that man calls upon God and believe in God.  That’s wrong.  That is unscriptural.  We must remember that all men have gone astray.  But in spite of this, God said “Return to me and I will return to you.”
But, what should be known by all people who want to go back to God?  What rule was laid down by God for people to know so that they or we could all properly go back to Him?  In Psalms 4:3, this is what the Bible says:

“But know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the Lord will hear when I call unto him.” (Ibid.)

When did this setting apart of men chosen by God start?  In Genesis 4:25-25, this is recorded:

“And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, Whom Cain slew.  And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.” (Ibid.)

When did this setting apart of men chosen by God for Himself begin?  That was at the time of Seth.  You will notice what the Bible says, when Seth was set apart, men began to call upon God.  We learn by this teaching of the Scripture that it is necessary for a man to be included in the pattern set by God and that pattern is you have to be set apart by God as we learned in the example of Seth.  Seth, then, had the true religion established by God.  His race or his generation had that exclusive right to deify and serve God.

But did the generation of Seth remain faithful to the true religion given to them by God?  This is the record of the Bible.  In Genesis 6:1-2: “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.” (Ibid.)  We see here that there is a mixture of the chosen by God and those that were not chosen by God or elected by God.  Those that were chosen by God were called the sons of God.  And those that were not embraced by the call of God were called the sons of men.  The Bible further says that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men or those who were not chosen by God, were fair and they took wives for themselves.  There was, therefore, a mixture—an inter-marriage. What was the decree for God regarding the sin of the race or the descendants of Seth?  This is what the Bible says: Genesis 6:5,7:

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of heart was only evil continually.  And the Lord said , I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” (Ibid.)

That was God’s decree.  He had to blot out all living things.  In other words, everything must be obliterated. Why? Because of the sin committed by the people or the chosen of God—the descendants of Seth.
In pursuance of God’s purpose to continue setting apart of his possession, what did He do before he blotted out the ancient world?  Genesis 6:8 says:

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord so that God chose Noah and he was given the true religion. What was the command or rule given to Noah, he being chosen by God?  Verses 13-14 of the same chapter: “And God said unto Noah, the end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.  Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.” (Ibid.) Noah, therefore was given the true religion to observe.  His descendants must keep this faithfully.  That is the purpose of God in order to be within the scope of election or setting apart by God.  Before blotting out mankind at that time, Noah was told to build an ark which was then the only means by which man could be saved from that flood. Who were saved when God brought a deluge in the ancient world?  This is the testimony of Apostle Peter:

“And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eight person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.” (II Pet. 2:5, Ibid.)

How many persons were saved during the great deluge?  There were only eight persons.  Who were these persons?  They were Noah and his wife, daughter and sons–in-law.  So only eight persons then were given the right to practice the true religion.  Why is it that out of the teeming population of the world then, only eight were saved?  The Bible teaches us that only those that were included in the process of election or setting apart by God are within that saving grace of God.  Is it not dependent upon the preponderance of number?  No.  This is man’s way because man says majority always rules.  They say that it is the rule of democracy.  Now, this is not the way of God.  With God, if you are included in His process of election or setting apart then you are embraced by the saving grace and gift of God. Because only eight listened to the voice of salvation at that time, only those eight persons were saved. But the descendants of Noah remain faithful to the religion given to them by God?  This is the testimony of the Bible.  In Genesis 9:1, it is stated:

“And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth.” (Ibid.)

That was the command of God to Noah’s descendants. Did they uphold God’s commandment for them?  Genesis 11:1-4, states:

“And the whole earth was of one language, and one speech.  And it came to pass, as they journeyed fron the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.  And they said one to another.  Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly.  And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.  And they said, Go to, let us build a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.” (Ibid.)

That was a plain violation of God’s commandment to them.  It was a rebellion defying the will of God. What was dome by God, therefore, because of this transgression of Noah’s descendants?  Genesis 11: 5-8 answers us:

“And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.  And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.  Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 

They were scattered by God.  God’s will must remain.  His design must prevail, not that of man.  He must be sovereign. Man must be subservient to the will of God. We can notice that God always establishes religion even if man turns away from Him. So who was set apart by God after Noah’s race turned away from God?  In Genesis 12:1-3, this is stated:

“Now the Lord has said unto Abram, get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Ibid.)

Who was set apart by God after Noah’s race or descendants turned away from God?  What distinctive privilege was given to Abraham?  Genesis 17:7 says: “And I will established my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” (Ibid.).  What exclusive right was given by God to Abraham?  The right to deify God. And this covenant established by God transcends up to the end of the ages. To whom did God confirm His covenant to Abraham, that is to deify Him?  In Psalms 105:9-10, this is written:

“Which covenant he made with Abraham, and his oath unto Isaac; and confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant:” (Ibid.)

To whom did God confirm His covenant which He instituted or established with Abraham?  To Isaac, to Jacob and down to Israel.  It was Israel, therefore, who enjoyed the true religion laid down by God.  They were the only ones that had the right to serve and worship God.
What was commanded by God to Israel for them to be able to keep their right of election?  Deuteronomy 6:4-7 says:

“Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God will all thine heart, and with thy soul, and with all thy might.  And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (Ibid.)

What was commanded by God to Israel for them to be able to keep the right of that election?  They were commanded to teach religion to their children.  Their religion must therefore be practiced throughout all generations of this world. But how did the people of Israel break the covenant of God to Abraham?  Psalms 106:35-40, says:

“But were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works.  And they served their idols: Which were a snare unto them.  Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils, and shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan: and the land was polluted with blood.  Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a whoring with their own inventions.  Therefore was the wrath of the Lord kindled against his people, insomuch that he abhorred his own inheritance.” (Ibid.)

That was the faith of Israel.  In spite of its election,  Israel rebelled against the ordinances and rule of God.  So, the wrath of God was kindled against that chosen nation.  It too turned away from God. However, God’s standing policy of election continued in the Christian era.

What lesson should we learn to save us from turning away from God as what the Israelites did?  Jeremiah 13:16, says:

“Give glory to the Lord your God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look for light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.” (Ibid.)

We are admonished by God to glorify the Lord before he brings darkness unto us. Since the very beginning, God’s policy of election continues. He set apart people who should practice true religion to deify Him properly. But, time and again, these chosen people have turned away from Him.  However, God’s standing policy of election continues in the Christian era. Thus, we are admonished to be part of God’s standing policy of election, or to be part of the true religion, of the true worship of God.

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