The Bible initially refers to Israel as God’s chosen people. God chose Abraham, a man faithful to him, to build a nation from. This chosen nation would demonstrate to the world what it means to live in relationship with God, how to live as God’s people, how God intends his people to bless the world, and as a catalyst from restoration of God’s kingdom and man’s original design.
Israel mostly showed the world how not to be God’s people. The broke God’s law, and chose to follow other gods. They certainly did not act like a redemptive catalyst.
So, God changed plans. Instead of using a nation, he shifted to an international family. Israel is still his chosen people, but they have been put on the back burner, until completes his plan with this family.
- God’s Perspective
God’s plan is to re-establish his kingdom. He chooses to work through a group of people to demonstrate his character, his grace and the rightness of living in relationship with him. His family demonstrates the validity of his plan by voluntarily giving their allegiance to him, undergoing a process of restoration and demonstrating his character – however, imperfectly – in their lives. (“If God’s people are like this, man! Imagine what God must be like!”)
God chooses his people, places his resources and his reputation behind them.
God intends that his plans will be fulfilled by his people in the same way Israel was supposed to fulfill his plans. They will show:
- How to live in relationship with God.
- How to live as God’s people.
- How to bless the world.
- How to jump-start the establishment of God’s kingdom.
- Living My Life
The quick answer, of course, is to practice things that complete the above list. But there are other questions to consider.
There is a question of relevance. Those who are not in God’s family will ask, if I follow this teaching will my life be better? Are these people weird, or are they like me? (Do they have fun? Do they have regular jobs? Do they watch football?) And do people follow Jesus in a way that makes him fit into life, but does not make him distinct in a positive way? Relevance should mean, normal, so anyone can belong, and distinct, to demonstrate it is better.
There is a question of transformation. Does following Jesus make a difference in people’s lives and families? Is the community and culture positively affected? Does the family of Jesus point out the ills and evils of the world, without drawing lines of exclusion and rejection? Transformation should mean the ability to highlight wrong, but working to correct and improve, and attract and welcome.
All the ill’s and evils that are present in today’s world, were present in Jesus’ day. Jesus and his disciples stood out, stood against evil, stood for good, and stood together, and did it in a way that compelled people to give God’s family their admiration, and god their allegiance.
The world should view God’s people, not as a drag and a pain, but as a blessing.