Friday, August 12, 2016

GOD’S PEOPLE

If MY PEOPLE, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2Ch 7:14)


The promise of this verse is dependent upon God’s people—and them only—meeting the conditions set forth for Him to “hear from heaven.”

Because this verse is ubiquitously in print throughout all media, and presented by all manner of people, it is necessary to analyze the true meaning of the verse.

In doing that, it is also necessary that we dissect the meaning of “my people.”

The strict literalist, of course, would limit this verse to the Hebrews of that time. A more modern literalist would extend that verse into today, but again apply it only to Jews of today.

However, 2 Chronicles 7:14 is today most often quoted by Christians attempting to remind fellow believers of their responsibility to help turn this nation of America around.

Is that a legitimate use?

Yes.
Well, almost.

The verse in question contains a qualifier to the phrase “my people.”

The qualifier is added to “my people” as those “who are called by my name;” or, as other translations render it, “people upon whom my name is called.”

It is, indeed, a qualifier—not just an afterthought or explanation—of “my people.”

In grammar, a ‘qualifier’ has the thought of “a word (such as an adjective or adverb) or phrase that describes another word or group of words.”

Those who are called by God’s name are the only ones who qualify as God’s people—“my people.”

You may ask, “Doesn’t this apply to all who name the name of Christ?”

No.

That is the pure-and-simple, cut-and-dried answer to such a question.

No. Not everyone who names the name of Christ are God’s people.

First let’s consider the Seven Sons of Sceva. They were trying to cast out a demon in the name of Jesus. (Acts 19:13-14)

They named the name of Christ, but,—
the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” (Acts 19:15-16)

Poor guys.

They had seen that there was power in the name of Jesus, and they tried to use the name which is above every name (Phil. 2:9), but to no avail. Actually, it was quite costly for them to play around with such power.

They were obviously Loammi—not my people (Hos. 1:9).

Jesus makes it even plainer in Matthew’s account, where He says “Depart from me you workers of iniquity. I never knew you.” (Matt. 7:23)

This is a terrifying verse, but one which most believers think applies to someone else other than themselves.

The ones to whom Jesus referred had prophesied in His name; and in His name had cast out devils; and in His name had done many wonderful works. (Matt. 7:22)

Notice all that they had done in the name of Jesus. These are legitimate “works” of the people of God in this hour. It is something we should all aspire to.

But there is a prerequisite for effectively using the name of Jesus to do the “works of God.” (John 6:28) That requirement is that we believe on Him whom God has sent, namely Jesus. (John 6:29)

It all sounds so simple on the surface, but it is obvious that there is more to it than just saying, “I believe in Jesus.”
Even “the devils believe and tremble.” (James 2:19)
Let us not deceive ourselves in this area.
Not every one that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Mat 7:21)
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (Jas 1:22)
It comes down to that all-important question, “Do You KNOW Him?”

It is not, “Have you accepted Him?”, or “Have you received Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?” Or even, “Have you been born again?”

The issue of truly “knowing Him” is of paramount importance, because they are the ONLY ones who are truly called by His name.

Knowing Him means that He has the rule in your life. (Isa. 63:19)

Therefore, if it is only for those “people upon whom my name is called,” we need to know what that means.

Does that simply refer to the way others view us? As God’s people? Christians?

No.

Paul puts this into its proper perspective when he writes, “But now, after that you have known God, or rather are known of God, …” (Gal 4:9) He shifts to the most important aspect of being “known by God.”

Many may say they know God.

Of how many does God say, “I know her. I know him.”?

Is that you? Are you one of those to whom God would say, “This is my beloved in whom I am well pleased.”?


If not, why not?

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