Posted on November 11, 2019 by Dawn Rutan Categories: Blog Posts
“I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to Me, declares the Lord, that they might be for Me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen” (Jeremiah 13:11b ESV).
The last few words of that verse are
convicting. Because they didn’t listen, the Israelites were exiled
from the Promised Land for many years. Though they were still God’s
people, they were not bringing Him praise and glory through their
actions, words, and worship. Interestingly, the New Testament authors
use similar phrasing regarding who we are as Christians:
“[Christ] gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14).
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
We belong to God and we bear His name.
We are meant to represent Him through purity, good works, proclaiming
His Word, and glorifying Him. We are to walk in His light so that we
may stand out from this dark world. But are we doing any better than
Judah and Israel were back in Jeremiah’s time? Do we show ourselves
to be “set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready
for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:20)?
Living in the Bible belt, I know a lot
of nice, moral people, but the number of people who are clearly
living for the glory of God is a lot lower. People can mistakenly
assume that someone who is kind and decent must be Christian. We may
also believe that someone who attends church functions on a regular
basis is therefore a Christian, but that may not be true either. The
ESV Bible titles Romans 12:9-21 “Marks of the True Christian,”
but even in that list of instructions there is little that could not
be imitated by non-Christians. Consider the following verses
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12).
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (1 Peter 1:14-15).
“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12).
“But whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked” (1 John 2:5-6).
“If we add to our churches by becoming worldly or by taking in people who have never been born again, or if we add to our churches by accommodating the life of the Christian to the life of the people of the world, our increase is nothing at all” (ch. 7).
I fear that there are many people
sitting in church pews or listed on church rolls who have no idea
what it really means to be a Christian. They may call themselves
Christians, but they do not truly bear the name of Christ by living
for His glory and praise. They have no desire for holiness or for the
kingdom of God, but think that being a nice person is all the witness
they need to give.
Let’s make sure we truly belong to
“Examine yourselves, to see
whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize
this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? –unless indeed
you fail to meet the test!” (2 Corinthians 13:5).