Why Did God Set Apart His People?
There are thousands of religions all over the world, but God has chosen a specific group to serve Him and help lead others out of darkness. Who are they?
Announcer: Next, on That’s in the Bible!
Brother Bob Pellien: Jordan wrote to us this question:
If there is really one true church, then why are there so many different religions in the world? (Jordan, San Diego, CA)
Brother Bob: In fact, all of us are one race, the human race.
What’s important is that we are all united and in Christ.
Brother Bob Pellien
Minister of the Gospel
Brother Bob: Hello! I’m Brother Bob Pellien, and thanks for joining us on this episode of That’s in the Bible! Our first question today comes from Julyne in Los Angeles, California. She wrote down this question:
If God loves all man, then why does He have chosen ones to serve Him?
Los Angeles, CA
Brother Bob: Julyne, thank you for your question. And you know, Julyne, you’re right. God so loved the world. In fact, in this very famous quote of our Lord Jesus Christ in John 3:16. He described how He proved His love, which was by giving His only son as a sacrifice.
[On-screen text graphics]
For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.
[John 3:16 Good News Translation]
What does it mean to be set apart and chosen?
Brother Bob: And you’re also right in saying that He has chosen ones. And as you also said, those chosen ones were chosen to serve Him. But you know, Julyne, there’s another reason stated in the Bible, which is recorded by the writings of Apostle Peter in I Peter 2:9-10. It says:
But you are a chosen people, royal priests, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession. You were chosen to tell about the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. At one time you were not a people, but now you are God’s people. In the past you had never received mercy, but now you have received God’s mercy.
[I Peter 2:9-10 New Century Version]
Brother Bob: So, here, Julyne, God shows us yet another reason why He has His chosen, set-apart people. He’s expecting us to lead others out of darkness, and into the light of truth. How are we to do that? By telling others about the wonderful acts of God. And you know, Julyne, here’s how our Lord Jesus Christ described that responsibility—the responsibility of God’s chosen—to be fruitful, to bear fruit. It was worded this way, and quoted in the Book of John, chapter 15. This is the description given there by none other than the Savior Himself:
You did not choose me; I chose you and appointed you to go and bear much fruit, the kind of fruit that endures. And so the Father will give you whatever you ask of him in my name.
[John 15:16 Today’s English Version]
Brother Bob: So here, Jesus described the reason—or one of the additional reasons—for God choosing, Jesus used the term “appointing”—and the purpose was to bear fruit. In fact, to use such terminology as bearing much fruit. And you know, Julyne, regarding that issue of God’s choosing (or in the words of Jesus, “appointing”) people to be fruitful. It’s important to note what the world has done, and the kind of response that God has to it. That’s recorded here in Psalms 4:2-3. It says:
How long will you people insult me? How long will you love what is worthless and go after what is false? Remember that the LORD has chosen the righteous for his own, and he hears me when I call to him.
[Psalms 4:2-3 Today’s English Version]
Brother Bob: Another thing, then, to consider is that the choosing of God was after man’s rebellion. In fact, here described as insults and embracing what is false. And God then chose the righteous to be His very own. The Biblical doctrine concerning God’s choosing righteous for His own is so vitally important.
Does God love everyone?
Brother Bob: We have another question from Nolan in Avon, Connecticut. Let’s hear what Nolan has asked:
What’s God’s idea of unconditional love and does it apply to us or to a specific race of people today?
Brother Bob: Terminology is important also, Nolan, when it comes to your question because, in fact, all of us are of one race—the human race. And although there may be varying ethnicities and nationalities, [all] people are of the human race. And yes, the Bible does record so much about God’s love. God loves all people so much and has proven it. Here is the greatest way God has proven His love for mankind—in the Book of Romans, chapter 5. It’s described—the love of God is described like this, or proven. Let’s say that it’s proven in this way. Verses 8 and 9:
But God has shown us how much he loves us—it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us! By his blood we are now put right with God; how much more, then, will we be saved by him from God’s anger!
[Romans 5:8-9 Today’s English Version]
Brother Bob: And this is the love of God that He gave His son; sacrificed His son as evidence of that love. This is a conditional love, meaning that Is it for a particular race or ethnicity? Is this a love that is extended, but with partiality?
Is it for a particular race or ethnicity?
Is this a love that is extended but with partiality?
Brother Bob: So here’s what Apostle Paul wrote [in] Romans 2:11:
For God shows no partiality.
[Romans 2:11 English Standard Version]
Brother Bob: Very direct answer of the Holy Scriptures. So, Nolan, the Bible shows that God judges all people by the same set of rules, the same set of laws. And in fact, He further categorically stated that fact in a 2:11 of another rendition of the Scriptures here in the Good News Bible, 2:11 is worded like this:
For God judges everyone by the same standard.
[Romans 2:11 Today’s English Version]
Brother Bob: So that there’s no [difference], or partiality. God judges everyone, not by their race or such things as that. God loves His creation of mankind. And what people sometimes pose, Nolan, very similar to your question is, they really want to hone in on race, thinking that God is somehow discriminating between people? Oh, no. Very clearly from these verses that’s not the case. Is there any indication categorically that race has nothing to do with God’s earnest desire to save people? Galatians 3:28:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus what is important to the Lord and is that we are all one in Christ Jesus.
[Galatians 3:28 English Standard Version]
Brother Bob: What is important to the Lord then is that we are all in Christ Jesus.
Once we are in Christ our roots or ethnicity are no longer important
Brother Bob: Once we are in Christ it is no longer important what ethnicity we may have; our roots within.
What’s important is that we are all united in Christ
Brother Bob: What’s important is that we are all united and in Christ. If then, one is outside of Christ, outside of His body, outside of His Church, one needs to enter into it, [to] receive the love of God, which is unconditional for those who are in Christ.
Is there one true Church or many?
Brother Bob: Our last question is from Jordan in San Diego, California. Jordan wrote to us this question:
If there is really one true Church, then why are there so many different religions in the world?
Brother Bob: Jordan, you are right. Let’s ask, with you, this question:
How many churches did the Bible say Jesus built?
Brother Bob: How many churches does the Bible say Jesus built? Did He say, like Jordan, that Jesus built just one, or did He build all of these different religions that are so prevalent in the world nowadays? Let’s take a look at the words of Jesus, Himself. Here in Matthew 16:18, the Bible says:
So I tell you, you are Peter. On this rock I will build my church, and the power of death will not be able to defeat it.
[Matthew 16:18 New Century Version]
Brother Bob: Here, Jordan, the Bible makes clear, in the word, quoting the words of Jesus directly, that ”On this rock I will build my church,…” He did not say, upon this rock I’m going to build a whole bunch of churches; everyone, just pick one, maybe the nearest one near to your house, whatever is convenient, whatever happens to tickle your own fancy, what you like! Well, no! He said very clearly, “I will build my church.” Singular in nature. Why? We’ve cited several times on this broadcast Colossians 1:18:
He is the head of his body, the church;…
[Colossians 1:18a Today’s English Version]
Brother Bob: Because the Church is the very own body of Christ, and he’s the head of it. The head does not have many different bodies, therefore, many different churches. No, the Bible describes it as being one in all things. So, yes, Jordan, you’re correct. The Church built by Jesus is just one. And it has very specific and unique attributes. In Ephesians, chapter 4, the singularity of the Church was further emphasized here, in Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. We’ll read verses 4, 5 and 6, where he described it like this:
There is one body and one Spirit, just as there is one hope to which God has called you. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; there is one God and Father of all people, who is Lord of all, works through all and is in all.
[Ephesians 4:4-6 Today’s English Version]
Brother Bob: So, Jordan, the Bible is clear in its teaching that Jesus built only one Church, and the singularity of the Church was described here.
Brother Bob: That it has one faith, it has one baptism, it is singular in all its elements. And you know, Jordan, you also [mentioned] that, well, you notice that in this world nowadays, there’s not the only one church, when in fact, there’s a multitude of religions out there. And you asked where did they come from? They have their origin in a very common mistake made by so many people. And here’s how Apostle Paul described that mistake, which is at the core of many false religions in the world. In Romans 10, let’s read together [verse] 2 and 3:
I can assure you that they are deeply devoted to God; but their devotion is not based on true knowledge. They have not known the way in which God puts people right with himself, and instead, they have tried to set up their own way; and so they did not submit themselves to God’s way of putting people right.
[Romans 10: 2-3 Today’s English Version]
Brother Bob: Jordan, what was God’s way? He had His son, sent His son, who built one true Church. They didn’t want that way, so what did the Apostle Paul write here about what they did? They made their own way, a different way of putting people right. A different way I’m trying to get people near to God, and saved on the upcoming day of Judgment. They made their own way, their own religion. But, Jesus built just one: His, the Church Of Christ. Be with us here inside the Church Of Christ.
Well, that’s all we have time for today. What you’ve heard is just an introduction to the teachings of the Bible taught here in the Church Of Christ. And we invite you to learn more and join us![On-screen text]
Brother Bob: And if you have questions you’d like answered on this show, email them to us, and we’ll use the guidance of the Holy Scriptures to help you find your answer, the truth, because that’s in the Bible! Thanks for watching. I’m Brother Bob Pellien, and we’ll see you next time.