When the scripture says you’re a chosen generation, do we really know what our identity is? It’s special to be chosen by God to to be part of his kingdom. God has chosen us through salvation by believing the truth.
I Peter2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
God wants us to be saved, but it’s our choice whether we’re saved or not. Whosoever will may come to God (John 3:16). Some don’t choose to be saved. God chooses those who choose him. It’s vitally important to keep God first in our life.
II Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
We’re a royal priesthood and need to offer sacrifices. God wants us to offer the sacrifice of praise continually, 24-7 daily. We sacrifice our way, ideas, thoughts – so we bring all under control of Christ and can offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving continually. If you have trouble offering the sacrifice of thanksgiving, make a list of how God has abundantly blessed you.
Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
Part of our identity as God’s chosen people is we’re a holy people – not partly sinner and partly righteous. God said “Be ye holy, for I am holy” (I Peter 1:15-16). The modern teaching that you can’t live without sin is a lie of the devil, who has tricked many people to think they can get by living in a way God isn’t pleased with. Sister Edith said she was do glad to get rid of the load of sin when she was saved. She was religious when she came to church. The preacher read “Let the wicked forsake his way” (Isaiah 55:7), but she said that doesn’t pertain to me because I’m not wicked. By the end of the service, God revealed that she was wicked because she had bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, and bad attitudes in her heart. She went home and thought about what she really wanted. She made a list of what she could do if she was just religious and in the end she would go to hell. If she really served God with all her heart, she probably wouldn’t have any friends but she would get the truth, not be lied to, and go to heaven. She counted the cost to figure out what she wanted to do. She has never been sorry for choosing to obey the truth. She didn’t want people lying to her and wanted to be what God wanted her to be. When she repented, God gave her peace, joy, and happiness in her heart that is still there today.
Another part of our identity is that God has a peculiar people, not strange, but special to him because we belong to him. We’re bought with a price and we’re not our own (I Corinthians 6:19-20). We abstain from fleshly lusts because of our identity that we belong to God, as a holy nation and peculiar people. We’re strangers and pilgrims in the world so we need to keep our eyes focused on our goal of heaven. A song says, “This world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through, My treasures are laid up, Somewhere beyond the blue.” We don’t feel at home in this world with the turmoil, protests, riots, and ideas that are totally foreign to God’s people. God wants us as pilgrims and strangers to be totally different from the way the world is. Pilgrim means we’re passing through a temporary place to another place. Strangers live for an extended time in a place that isn’t their own. God wants us to live like strangers and pilgrims in not being attached to things of the world.
I Peter 2:10-12 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
The enemy wants to get our mind disturbed by things in the world. In Bible times when the enemy invaded a country, the king would cut off their thumbs and let them go. That way they couldn’t hold a gun or fight properly. The devil wants to cut off our thumbs so we can’t fight effectively. He wants our attitude and demeanor to change so we don’t keep our mind on God. God wants us to be totally separate from the world and not part of sinful things.
Ephesians 2:1-6 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
Abraham was a stranger and pilgrim in the land. He lived in tents and didn’t have a permanent place.
Hebrews 11:8-10 By faith Abraham…was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles…For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Hebrews 11:13-16 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
Abraham sought a heavenly city in the future. He was 75 years old when he left Ur which was a trade center. He was prosperous, well educated, had many flocks and herds, and 318 servants as he left Ur. The people of Ur believed the moon was god. Abraham’s understanding of astronomy made him realize the moon rotated around and obeyed the earth, so it couldn’t be God. God saw the attitude of his heart and spoke to Abraham. When God told him to go to a place he would show, Abraham had no map but completely relied on God to guide him. It was 560 miles northwest to Canaan. God said Abraham would be a blessing to others. Serving God isn’t about us but of blessing and helping others.
Genesis 12:1-4 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country…unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken…Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.
When God rescued Lot from an enemy, the king wanted to give Abraham a reward. He wouldn’t take it. He didn’t want people to think the king made him rich. Abraham was the first to give a tithe to Melchisedec and shared what God blessed him with from the battle. When Abraham and Lot’s men quarreled, Abraham gave Lot first choice of the land. He didn’t want any strife because they were brethren. God promised to make Abraham’s seed like the number of all the dust.
Genesis 13:14-16 And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it…I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth…if a man can number the dust…
Abraham was willing to obey God without question. Obedience is very important now. Waiting is not wasted time. God is testing what’s in our heart and working to accomplish his vision in our life. True faith obeys and waits for God to fulfill his promises in his time. He wants us to completely depend on him, to listen, to seek him, be willing to sacrifice.
Genesis 22:1-3 And it came to pass…God did tempt Abraham…And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest…and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning…took two of his young men with him, and Isaac…and went unto the place…
God wants us to be fully persuaded he knows what he’s doing. Abraham had complete confidence God spoke to him and was called a friend of God. To be God’s friend takes obedience, and sacrificing our way so we can praise and thank him.
James 2:21-24 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac…upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?…Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and…called the Friend of God. Ye see…that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)