Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome. More specifically today’s passage is found in the ninth chapter of this New Testament book. “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the end. For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son. And not only this; but when Rebeca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Romans 9:1-13).
“What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, or the same lumpe to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destructioN: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God. Esaias also crieth 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. And as Easais said before, Except the Lord of Saboath had let us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrah. What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed n or after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. 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. For they stumbled at the stumblingstone; as it is written, Behold, I lay in Simon a stumblingstone and rock of offense: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Romans 9:14-33).
When you come to the ninth chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome you will find him transitioning to a section that seems somewhat historical in nature. Within the ninth chapter of this epistle you will find the apostle Paul turning and directing his attention to the nation of Israel and to the people who were called and chosen aforetime by the living and eternal God. It is absolutely undeniable and unmistakable when reading the words present in this passage of Scripture that the apostle Paul sought to appeal directly unto the history of the children of Israel to demonstrate the incredible truth regarding election. The words which are found in this passage of Scripture speak to the reality and concept of calling and elections as the nation and people of Israel were indeed called and chosen by the eternal and living God centuries earlier when He called Abraham out of the land of Ur of the Chaldeans. The living and eternal God had not only called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldeans but had even called him out of Haran after his father had died within that land. The living and eternal God had called Abraham forth from his country, from his kindred and from his father’s house and journey unto a land which He Himself would show Him. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for if you want to truly understand the election and calling of the living God there is a great need to recognize and pay close attention to the words which are recorded for us in the Old Testament book of Genesis. In fact I would dare say that if you want to truly understand the calling, the choosing and the election of the children of Israel there is a great need to turn and direct your attention to specific chapters within this Old Testament book such as the twelfth, fifteenth and seventeenth chapters.
If you turn and direct your attention to the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Genesis you will find the eternal and living God calling and choosing Abraham from Ur of the Chaldeans and calling him forth unto a land that He would indeed show him. It is absolutely necessary and imperative we recognize and understand this for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful reality surrounding the calling and choosing of the nation and people of Israel in Abraham. Before the children of Israel would be brought forth as a nation within the earth they would be a seed which was present in the midst of Abraham. If you want to truly understand the history of the nation of Israel you must needs recognize that from him would be the seed that would bring forth Isaac. From Isaac there would be a seed that would bring forth twin boys—Jacob and Esau. Scripture makes it perfectly clear that Jacob was called and chosen in and according to the living God and was ordained to himself be a patriarch. From Jacob would come forth the seed that would bring forth twelve sons which would produce ten of the twelve tribes of the nation of Israel. With the exception of Levi and Joseph the ten other sons of Jacob would indeed become the nation and children of Israel which was present in the midst of the earth. What’s more is that with this being said we must needs recognize that although Joseph himself didn’t have a tribe that was named after him he would become father to two sons which were present in the midst of the land of Egypt. Joseph’s two sons would be called Ephraim and Manasseh and it would be those two sons who would grow up and become the final two tribes of the nation of Israel. From Abraham would come Isaac, from Isaac would come Jacob, from Jacob would come twelve sons—ten of which would become ten of the twelve tribes of Israel—and from Joseph would come Ephraim and Manasseh who would be the remaining two tribes of the nation and people of Israel.
It is with this in mind I find it necessary to call and draw your attention to the absolutely wonderful truths which are found in the Old Testament book of Genesis—truths which began within the twelfth chapter when the LORD first appeared to and called Abraham. If you want to truly understand the history of the nation and people of Israel there is a great need to recognize and pay attention to these passages of Scripture as they bring us face to face with the calling and choosing of Abraham—and not only the calling and choosing of Abraham but also how in Abraham the nations of the earth would be blessed. It is indeed true the nations of the earth would and will be blessed through Abraham, however, we must also recognize and acknowledge that the nation which would come forth from his loins would be that nation which would indeed that nation which experienced the continued blessing and favor of the living God. It would be the nation of Israel that would ultimately come forth from the loins of Abraham that would be the called and the chosen according to the election of the living God that they might be a peculiar people before and unto Him in the midst of the earth. With this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the Old Testament book of Genesis beginning with the twelfth chapter:
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house 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 the families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came. And Abraham passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of MOreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builder he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builder an altar unto the LORD, and called upon the name of the LORD. And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south” (Genesis 12:1-9).
“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, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can. Number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee. Then Abraham removed his tent, and came and dwelt in the plain of Mamre, which is in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the LORD” (Genesis 13:14-18).
“After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless,a nd the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give this land to inherit. And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtle dove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. And when the fowls came down upon the carcasses, Abram drove them away. And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and lo, an horro of great darkness fell upon him. And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces IN the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I give this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: the Kenites, and the Perizzites, and the REphaims, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites and the Jebusites” (Genesis 15:1-21).
“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of mantis nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And. Ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, ever man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant. And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son Al’s of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and aid in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? And shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall be beget, and I will make him a great nation. But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at his set time in the next. Year. And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham” (Genesis 17:1-22).
“And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; seeing tha tAbraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, and to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD” (Genesis 18:16-22).
It is absolutely necessary for us to recognize and pay attention to the words which are found within these passages of Scripture for within them we are indeed brought face to face with the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding Abraham and his being called forth from Ur of the Chaldeans and from Haran unto a land which the living and eternal God would show him. Abraham would indeed be called forth from Ur of the Chaldeans and was indeed chosen in and of the LORD that Abraham might become a great nation within the earth. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely astonishing truth that any discussion regarding the children and people of Israel must needs begin with Abraham for it would be in Abraham the nation and children of Israel would indeed even be blessed. It would be through Abraham the children of Israel would indeed be blessed and would become a great nation within the earth. Oh there is something incredibly unique about the words and language that is found within these passages of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the living and eternal God choosing Abraham in Himself that he might indeed become a mighty nation and a mighty people in the midst of the earth. The living and eternal God chose Abraham in Himself that from Abraham he might indeed become a great and powerful nation in the midst of the earth—a nation that would be given the covenant, the promises, the tabernacle, the ordinances, the statutes, the commands, the sacrifices and the like. In fact this is precisely what the apostle Paul was writing and speaking of in the ninth chapter of the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome for the apostle Paul sought to demonstrate how the nation and children of Israel were indeed called and chosen by the eternal and living God to be a peculiar and chosen people before Him in the earth.
Any study of the nation and history of Israel must needs begin with the living and eternal God and His calling and choosing Abraham in Himself to become a great and mighty nation which was present in the earth. It is absolutely impossible to have a discussion about the nation and people of Israel and not at the same time have a conversation about the nation and people of Israel without beginning first at and with Abraham. It would be Abraham who was indeed called forth from Ur of the Chaldeans and would indeed be called unto a land unto which the living and eternal God would indeed show him. What’s more is that the narrative of Abraham continues with the LORD declaring that of him would come a great nation that would be a mighty people in the midst of the earth. The LORD would declare that from Abraham’s own loins would indeed come one who would be given the promises and the blessings of the living and eternal God. Although Ishmael would indeed be born unto Abraham the living and eternal God would cause Sarah to conceive that she might bring forth a son—a son whose name would be called Isaac. It would be Isaac who would indeed be the heir of Abraham—the heir of the promise, the heir of faith and the heir of blessing. It would be Isaac who would be born unto Abraham and Sarah in their old age and it would be Isaac who would indeed continue the pattern of blessing in the earth—and not only the pattern of blessing in the earth but also the pattern of covenant. Just as surely as the living and eternal God had blessed Abraham and entered into covenant with him so also would the living and eternal God enter into covenant with Isaac and would bless him just as he had blessed his father.
It is having said this I now invite you to consider the following words which are found in the fourth chapters of the New Testament epistles written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome as well as unto the churches which were at Galatia. Moreover I would also like to call and draw your attention to the following words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament epistle written by James. Within each of these epistles you will find incredibly powerful language concerning Abraham and how the living and eternal God chose Abraham from among the nations of the earth that He might make him a great and powerful nation in the midst of the earth. I am absolutely convinced that if you want to truly understand the words which are found in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome—specifically those words which are found in the ninth chapter—there is a great need to consider the following words which are found in these three chapters in these New Testament epistles. Consider if you will the following words found in each of these passages beginning to read with and from the fourth chapter of the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome:
“What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the ward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD will not impute sin. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? For we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? When he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: and the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, (As it is written, I have made thee a father of mention nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, tghat it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:1-25).
Consider the following words which are found in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the churches which were in Galatia beginning with the first verse of the third chapter:
“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the llesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? If it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Curse is every one that congtinueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hang with on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not. And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise” (Galatians 3:1-18).
“Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governor until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: but when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. 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? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain” (Galatians 4:1-11).
“Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all. Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? For I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you. My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you” (Galatians 4:12-20).
“Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bond maid, the other by a free woman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freeway man was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travaileth not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free” (Galatians 4:21-31).
Consider now the following words which are found in the second chapter of the New Testament epistle which was written by James and the words which he spoke concerning faith, works and the narrative and example of Abraham who was indeed the father of faith and all those who believed:
“What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of oyu say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man it’s justified, and not b faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also” (James 2:14-26).
I am also reminded of the words which we find in the New Testament epistle written unto the Hebrews which is found in the New Testament just before the epistle written by James. In the eleventh chapter of the epistle written unto the Hebrews we will find a powerful demonstration and manifestation of faith within the earth. It would be very easy to read this particular chapter and conclude the author sought to define faith and how that was and might have been his primary focus. It’s important to recognize and realize that the author spent only a fraction of the time within this epistle actually defining faith as compared to spending a considerable amount of time showing how faith is demonstrated and manifested in the earth. The author would indeed declare that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen and would declare that without faith it is impossible to believe God. The author of this epistle would declare that those who believe must believe that God is and that He is rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for the author would appeal to the lives of countless saints and forerunners mentioned in the Old Testament and during the days of the Old Covenant to demonstrate this manifestation of faith within the earth. What’s more is that in this passage of Scripture we find the author referencing individuals such as Noah, Enoch, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and the like. With this in mind I Invite you to consider the following words which are found in this particular chapter and that which is written concerning faith as well as concerning those to whom the promises were indeed and were in fact given:
“By faith Abraham, when he 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. Bt faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked fo ra city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed,a nd was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them a far 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. By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the dwarfing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones. By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasure in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. Through faith he kept the passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by day land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the species with peace” (Hebrews 11:8-31).
It is now time we return to the ninth chapter of the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints which were at Rome for it is here where the apostle Paul begins writing concerning the Jews. Despite the fact that there is not distinction between the Jews and Gentiles the apostle Paul sets forth to describe the Jewish people and the nation which was given unto them by the eternal and living God. Beginning with the first and opening verse of this chapter the apostle Paul declared his great heaviness and sorrow for the children of Israel. The apostle Paul would appeal to the truth in Christ, to his conscience, to the Holy Spirit bearing witness with him and that he lied not when he declared he had continual sorrow within his heart. Not only this but the apostle Paul would go on to write how he wished that he himself were accursed from Christ for his brethren—his kinsmen according to the flesh—who were Israelites to whom pertained the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises and whose are the fathers and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came. The apostle Paul is here beginning to describe the sheer and utter rejection of Christ and the Messiah by the children of Israel when He came unto them. The apostle Paul clearly sets forth within this passage of Scripture the tremendous rejection of the children of Israel toward the Messiah and the Christ when He was manifested among them. In all reality this is in alignment with the words which are found in the first chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John as well as the words which are found in the fifty-third chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah. Consider if you will the following words which are found first in the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah and then the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John:
“Who hath believed our report? And to whom the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her sherarers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? For he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he strikcen. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of man, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:1-12).
Consider now the following words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John beginning with the first verse of the first chapter:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not; He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God. And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. NO man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18).
If you continue reading the words which are found in the ninth chapter you will find the apostle Paul writing and declare they are not all Israel which are Israel neither because they are the seed of Abraham are they all children. The apostle Paul would write and rehearse the word which was spoken unto Abraham when declaring that it would be in Isaac his seed would be called—that is those which were children of the flesh are not the children of God. Thea pestle Paul writes how the children of the promise are counted for the seed and this was the word of promise—namely, “At this time will I come and Sara shall have a son.” Moreover the apostle Paul appeals to Rebekah when he would write of how she had conceived by Isaac and brought forth two male children—Jacob and Esau. With this being said the apostle Paul goes on to write and speak of election for he would speak of how when the children were not even born nor even conceived within the womb nor had done any good or evil—but that the purpose of God according to election might stand not of works but of Him which calls—it was said unto Rebekah that the elder would serve the younger. This is something we must needs recognize and understand when reading the words found within this passage of Scripture for what we find here is powerful language concerning the calling and election of the living God which is indeed without repentance. The living and eternal God calls whom He will call and chooses whom He will choose and we must needs recognize and understand that many are called but few are chosen. This is precisely what Jesus would declare when speaking unto the crowds and multitudes for he would declare that the first would be last and the last would be first. Moreover Jesus would also declare that many were called but few were chosen. Not only this but Jesus would declare unto His disciples and followers that many would profess and confess in that day saying “Lord, Lord” and yet He would look upon them and command them to depart from Him and from His presence for they were workers of iniquity.
I am absolutely convinced that if we want to truly understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture we must needs consider the word and language which our Lord had spoken of concerning “many’—and not only concerning “many” but also concerning “the first and the last” as well as “many being called but only few are chosen.” There is a great need for us to recognize and pay attention to the words which are found here in these passages of Scripture for they help us to truly understand the reality and concept behind the calling and election. If you want to truly understand that which is presented in this passage of Scripture one must needs look back to the words which Jesus spoke concerning the many, concerning the first who would be last and the last who would be first, and even many who are called but only few who are chosen. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the New Testament gospel narratives concerning these principles which our Lord displayed and presented unto those who would walk with and follow Him:
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:13-23).
“Then answered Peer and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, ow wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first” (Matthew 19:27-30).
“For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire laborers into his vineyard. And when he had agree with the laborers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went about about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and with unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the laborers, and give them their hire, beginning form the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called but few chosen” (Matthew 20:1-16).
“And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fastings are killed, and al things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: and the remnant took his servants and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murders, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:1-14).
IT is quite clear from the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding this reality of many being called but few being chosen. Moreover I would like to call and draw your attention to the reality of the first shall be last and the last shall be first for it brings us face to face with the calling and election of the living God. The children of Israel were indeed those who were called of God first and foremost throughout history when the living and eternal God called and chose them in Abraham. The living and eternal God called and chose the nation and people of Israel while they were yet still in the loins of Abraham and destined them to be a nation that would indeed be blessed. What’s more is that not only would the living and eternal God call the nation and people of Israel through Abraham while they were still in his loins but he also destined and purposed that through all nations they would be blessed. The living and eternal God determined and destined that all who blessed Abraham and his descendants would be blessed while all who cursed Abraham and his descendants would be cursed. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding how Abraham was not only called our of Ur of the Chaldeans as an individual and as a man but the nation and people of Israel were indeed called out of Ur of the Chaldeans being yet still in his loins. Oh there is something truly astonishing when you read the words found in this passage of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the wonderful reality that the nation of Israel was called and chosen according to the election and adoption of the living God as he chose them from among the nations of the earth to be blessed. The living and eternal God deliberately and intentionally chose the nation and people of Israel from among the nations of the earth that they might walk before Him as His holy people and as the apple of His eye.
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in this passage for if you continue reading you will find the apostle Paul then asking if there was unrighteousness with God. The apostle Paul would conclude that there was no unrighteousness in God and would declare how unto Moses that He would have mercy on whom He would have mercy and would have compassion on whom He would have compassion. The apostle Paul goes on to further declare and describe how it is not of him that wills nor of him that runs but God that shows mercy. The apostle Paul would go on to appeal unto that which the scripture says concerning Pharaoh for it was revealed in Scripture that it was for this same purpose that he was raised up that the living God might show His power in Him and that His name might be declared throughout all the earth. The apostle goes on even further to say that he would have mercy on whom he would have mercy and would harden he whom he would harden. This would be followed by an incredibly powerful question which the apostle Paul would last—namely the following: “Nay, but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?” This question would be followed by another question—“Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?” And still even further the apostle Paul asks the following question: “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” Even more the apostle Paul goes on to write how “What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, even those whom He hath called—both Jews and Gentiles.” The apostle Paul deliberately and intentionally asked these question for he was speaking directly unto those who would think to question the divine will, the divine plan, the divine purpose and the divine power of the living God.
It is with this in mind I am reminded of the words which are found in the ninety-seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms. Within this psalm we find an incredibly powerful picture of the sovereignty, the majesty, the might, the power and the authority of the eternal and living God. I find it absolutely necessary to leave you with the following words which are found in the ninety-seventh chapter of the Old Testament book of the Psalms as well as the words which are found in the first and opening chapter of the prophetic book of Malachi. If there is one thing we desperately need within this generation it’s a restored reverence, honor and fear of the eternal and living God. There is a great need for men and women to have a restored sense of the majesty, the splendor, the honor and the glory of the living God and to be those who truly do in fact walk before Him in humility, in surrender and in submission. There is a great need for us to recognize that we were made for the one true and living God to serve Him with reverence and not the other way around. We were made to worship the one true and living and to love the LORD our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our mind and with all our strength. With this in mind I also leave you with the words which are found in the second chapter of the Old Testament book of Psalms. I leave you with these words as an incredibly powerful invitation to be those who commit and devout themselves fully and completely unto the one true and living God and to serve Him without questioning and serve Him without complaining. Oh if there is one thing we must needs recognize it’s that we dare not and ought not be those who walk before the LORD our God questioning His goodness, questioning His will, questioning His grace and questioning His mercy. We must needs be those who truly do walk before the one true and living God in holiness, in purity and righteousness that we might glorify and honor Him in everything we say and do. With this in mind I leave you with the following words found in these passages of Scripture:
“The LORD reigneth, let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. Cloud and darkness are found about him: Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled. The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the LORD of the whole earth. The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory. Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves of idols: worship him, all ye gods. Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O LORD. For thou, Lord, art high above all the earth: thou art exalted far above all gods. Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness” (Psalm 97:1-12).
“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laughter: The LORD shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: Be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Psalm 2:1-12).