This update is from this week’s meeting of ASK Daegu, with a reading from Isaiah 56. Each member contributed something to the message that follows. We pray that our group encourages you in the same way that it encouraged all of us.
Chosen. Blessed. Favored. Children. Called. Saved. These words possess the potential of being a blessing or a curse to the world in the hands of sinful man. While a place in the presence of God is defined by such terms, claiming those terms without understanding their context or purpose makes them a weapon of condemnation both for the speaker and the listener. In the hands of religion and not the Gospel of Jesus, these terms establish boundaries and divisions, separating people between the “ins” and the “outs.” Or in other words, the “citizens of God” and the “foreigners to God,” implying that God’s presence is limited to only those who claim, in word alone, to know Him.
Are Christians chosen? Yes. However, that word chosen must find its way back to Genesis 1:26 when God “chose” to created mankind in His very image. Therefore, to reduce the meaning of “chosen” to Christians in your vicinity, church or part of the world is to completely deny the will and purpose of God to bring ALL people of ALL nations back into his presence.
Are Christians blessed? Yes. However, the nature of being blessed must never be confined to the material world. Blessings from God can certainly take on a material nature, however, the blessedness of a Christian is most powerfully found in the nature of being “chosen.” Being blessed as a Christian is not expressed merely in “Christian” terms. Our blessedness was forged in the dust of Genesis, where without God we had no life. However, our blessedness is made complete in the coming of Jesus Christ and his willingness to offer us life once again where we had none. More than any material gift or physical blessing, the blessed nature of life is the truest and most universal gift of God.
Are Christians favored? Yes. Following God undoubtedly produces an increase of his presence and therefore a “favored” existence. However, being favored has nothing to do with success, status, safety, security or honor in the eyes of the world. The favored nature of a Christian is simply the truth that God’s eye is on you, and is content in your reliance and love for him. Being favored is only true if it first arises from a nature of humility to know that we receive God’s favor and have not earned or deserved it.
Are Christians children? Yes. However, not privileged children. We are his children as much as our neighbor that professes no faith in Jesus. It is our responsibility to shun our sinful desires to offer that person anything but Jesus, who illuminates the fact that they are also loved, blessed, favored and a child of God that is being called back into their father’s presence to live and have life.
Are Christians called? Yes. Christians are most certainly called. However, we are called to follow Jesus. And following Jesus always means having an eye and a heart for those that have not yet understood the love of God. We are called not to control or to impose our will. We are called to sacrifice control of our own lives and release God’s will to heal and save those in this world.
Are Christians saved? Yes. Christians are saved, but only in our willingness to admit that were it not for Christ’s love, life and death, we would be without hope and without life as God designed us to have. Being saved is not that we put ourselves in a place where God could finish our work and ultimately save us. Being saved is knowing that in the moment of certain death, the hand of God intervened and offered life where there was none. Therefore, being saved is the grace given to a foreigner who knows that, in defiance of logic and beyond rational explanation, he is now admitted with complete access to a life and kingdom that he does not deserve and has not earned. Therefore, we must see that all Christians were foreigners at heart in order to understand the saving grace now offered to us through the gospel of Jesus Christ.