What Does It Mean To Be The Called
What Does It Mean To Be The Called
First of all I would like to remind everyone that a "remnant" is always smaller than the whole. If you look throughout the Bible, you will find the "remnant" is considerably smaller than the whole. It is written that Satan is the god of this world. He would not be the god of this world unless a goodly portion belonged to him in one way or another. The "remnant" of course belongs to God and are called out from the world.
Now let us go to Romans 11. Paul is talking about the prophet Elijah and quoting from the Old Testament. "I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal." (vs 4). Note in Rom. 9:27, "concerning Israel Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: For He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth." (vs28). Notice this letter is written to the Church in Rome... assuming that all within this Church claim to be Christian. Notice Paul not only quotes the Old Testament to make his point but then continues to say, "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace." (vs 5). Why did he not just say all of you in Rome that are present in this church. Paul makes it quite clear the provisions are in being one of the remnant, "And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." (vs6). Salvation according to the election of grace has come to the gentiles during the time Israel sleeps (vs8-11). This is called the dispensation of God's grace is in fact the prophecy fulfillment of Israel's blindness. The "called out" ones of this time have nothing to do with prophecy of the Old Testament and have nothing to do with the Law. Paul speaking about Israel, "But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law." (Rom. 9:32). The problem: "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." (Rom. 10:3). How many of you are establishing your own righteousness?
Many today have deaf ears. Look at Israel, they sleep... yet they go on daily doing what they think is right before God. How many of you (Christians) daily and weekly go out to do what you think is right also before God. What did Christ say to the Synagogue leaders... what makes you think He would not say the same thing to the church leaders today in all their denominations... that have divided the body of Christ. Why is there division? is Christ divided? If iniquity was at work in Paul's day... surely by now the seeds have taken root and grown into mighty trees that shadow the people. And that shadow is darkness. Those like birds that sit above the trees see the light of day... those below the trees do not. Now look what Vines says, "there is a spiritual "remnant" saved by the gospel from the midst of apostate Israel. While on one sense there has been and is a considerable number, yet, compared with the whole nation, past and present, the "remnant" is small".
In the Old Testament we see that the old world was destroyed except for Noah and those few with him. "Which sometimes were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water" (1 Peter 3:20). Let us also go to Jude, "I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the LORD, having saved the People out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not." (Jude 1:5). These are given for examples. Today in this dispensation of God's grace... this grace all can be saved, if they believe the gospel of God. Then let us also take note of Peter's words, "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God:... what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" (1 Peter 4:17,18). This sounds like a problem to me if the "righteous scarcely be saved".
Maybe people are taking, believing, too likely... maybe what they think as their believing is, is not believing at all... just maybe it is not believing of the heart willingly with total desire. Maybe it is just surface believing, meaning the Bible says... the preacher says... so you say. But did the Word of God divide the soul and spirit asunder? Notice the letters written by Paul giving correction. How even when those of Corinth received, yet remained carnal. What about the letter from Paul to Galatians when he said, "for I stand in doubt of you." (Gal. 4:20). And we know the gospel was preached to them for Paul says, "I preached the gospel unto you at the first" (vs. 13). Let us hear his message to the church of Galatia. "But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage.... I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain." (Gal. 4:9-13). Paul says, "I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you" (vs. 19). What are these beggarly elements? Scripture says, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ;" (Col. 2:8). This philosophy and tradition of men would be a majority not a minority. "Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances... after the commandments and doctrines of men" (Col. 2:20-22). These things "beguile you of your rewards" (Col. 2:18). These things turn you into reprobates.
"But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, Which He shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:4-7). When Paul says "washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Spirit" this was the water baptism (John's baptism) and the laying on of hands, before Israel fell asleep and the mystery revealed to Paul.... telling us the believer's completedness is IN CHRIST, APART FROM ORDINANCES. Your preachers in your churches today have a hand out for your money and in turn preach to you what you want to hear. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Tim. 4:3,4). Paul says to preach the word; be instant in season, and out of season (vs. 2)... do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." (vs. 5). "Full proof of thy ministry"... do you know what that means? Does it mean a church in every city, on every street corner? Does it mean gather all the members you can so you can be the biggest in number? No. The "proof of you" is: "whether ye be obedient in all things" (2 Cor. 2:9). What does Paul say to those who he preached the gospel to? "Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:... manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in the fleshy tables of the heart" (2 Cor. 3:2,3). We are to be living Epistles... this is the proof of a ministry that is working, one that is of God's will.
Let us now go to 1 Corinthians, Scripture says: "Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame." (1 Cor. 15:34). "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58). Seek not your own profit, "but the profit of many, that they may be saved." (1 Cor. 10:33). And the gospel that saves is the one preached by Paul (1 Cor. 15:1,2). And Paul further says, "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain." (1 Cor. 15:1,2). "For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved" (2 Cor. 2:15). "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." (2 Cor. 10:3-6).
"Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again," (2 Cor. 10:7). "For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise." (2 Cor. 10:12). Our measure is according to the cannon "rule" which God hath distributed to us (vs. 13). No one commends himself or approves himself by another.... only the "Lord commendeth." (2 Cor. 10:18). Our hope and our faith are in things not seen... "For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?" (Rom. 8:24). We are justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. (Rom. 5:9). Some of you who command water baptism for good conscience sake... to reinact the death and resurrection of our Lord, do not believe, what the Lord has done at the Cross as being sufficient. You are trying to do something of yourselves. You are commending yourselves for something you have done... foreknowing that God is Spirit and communion between us and Him are by the Holy Spirit. And those of you who command communion what does the Bible say? "And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Rom. 14:23). If you build upon the cross... if you build upon the foundation of Christ of what was accomplished at Calvary... if you try to build upon the shedding of His blood.... what does Scripture say? "Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." (1 Cor. 3:11-15).
There are many antichrists in this world even in John's day and he says: "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." (1 John 2:19). Those who have gone out from them and are not of them will be given a "strong delusion, that they should believe a lie" (2 Thess. 3:11). And they will be fitted with vessels for destruction and be consumed with the spirit of His mouth" (2 Thess. 2:8).
To those who are called according to Paul's gospel (Rom. 2:16; 16:25; 2 Tim. 2:8; 2 Thess. 2:14; Gal. 1:11). Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God even our Father, Which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work." (2 Thess. 2:15-17).