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Who are God’s people?

May 7, 2007

A few days ago I blogged about who God is. I have been continuing to think about that subject and about what knowing who God is means in my life. Yesterday I learned about a YouTube.com challenge that was issued a few months ago for people to publicly deny God and the Holy Spirit. It was painful to watch some of those videos.

After watching those videos I also heard a teaching on Peter’s profession of faith from Matthew 16:13-20. Here was a man that had been spending time face to face with the Son of God, and even he could struggle to understand and accept who God was. It was only after Peter professed, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” that Christ told him what his identity was with God. Later Peter went on to deny Christ, not once but three times, and yet Peter became one of the most influential leaders of Christian history. Was he one of God’s people? Did he believe in Christ? Did he have times of doubt, struggle, and denial? I believe the answer to all of those is yes.

There have been debates for centuries about who God’s people are. Are they those from Israel? Are they Jews? Are they the descendents of Isaac or Ishmael? Are they the people who believe in Jesus? Are they the people who truly live like they believe in Jesus and obey his teachings? Are they the people who attend Christian churches? Are they the people who are saved because they “confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead.” (Romans 10:9)?

There are references to God’s people all the way back in the earliest parts of the Old Testament, and those references continue to the very last verse in the Bible. “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.” Revelation 22:21 I don’t know if we will ever be able to answer the question fully about who God’s people are because ultimately that is between each person and God. When we try to determine if someone is real or authentic in their walk with God we are making judgments toward them and are possibly destroying unity with others, things that God clearly speaks against. I do think there are times we can look at others though and see that they are living as God’s people, such as those people who made videos denying his existence.

I think the more important question is what does it mean to be God’s people? It means that the people are chosen, owned, selected, claimed. It means that God identifies people as belonging to him, and he publicly shares that with others. It means God has possession of those people. He is willing to go to great lengths to tell the people of his care for them. Have you ever been in a relationship with someone who tells you they value you and calls you friend but they don’t want to share it with others? Have you be been in a relationship with someone who values you so much they want to tell everyone about you and how special you are? Those relationships leave us with very different feelings. God tells his people that he made them, cherishes them, wants relationship with them, wants to bless them, and loves them in spite of every fault they have.

There are people who deny the existence of God, but that doesn’t change who God is or how he cares about them. It doesn’t change the fact that God has chosen people and given each of us the chance to choose him in return.

I am certain that God wants me, loves me, and will do just about anything to convince me of that. He knows everything about me, every stupid, ugly, selfish, horrible thing about me and he still wants to tell everyone how special I am and that he loves me. Now the choice is up to you and me. Do we want to be someone that is chosen, owned, selected, and claimed by God? Do we want to belong to him? Am I one of “God’s people”? If that means he is able to call me his and treat me like someone he owns, cares for, and cherishes, then I want to be called one of God’s people!

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