The People of God
Every kingdom has citizens, and the kingdom of God is no different. Who, then, are citizens in God’s kingdom? Who are God’s people?
The people of God comprise all who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. These people are not a part of God’s kingdom because of their intellect, power, or any other external factor, but simply and only because God has chosen to love them and so has given them the gift of faith in His Son. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for assuming that they were members of God’s family because of their lineage: “If you were Abraham’s children,” He said, “you would be doing the works Abraham did” (John 8:39). And what did Abraham do? He trusted in the promises of God; he “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” (Galatians 3:6).
We are full members of God’s family, then, not because of something we do but by the work of God’s Spirit in convicting our hearts, causing us to believe, and leading us to repentance. We don’t need to undergo the ritual requirements of Jewish law or be physical descendants of Abraham to be included among God’s people. In Romans 2:29, Paul essentially asks, Who are the children of Abraham? The answer is: anyone who undergoes “circumcision … of the heart, by the Spirit.”
As we consider these truths, we may wonder whether Paul thought there was any benefit in being a Jew. Paul explained that there was actually a phenomenal advantage, because the Jews were the first to receive God’s promises, giving them a unique opportunity to understand the signs that pointed forward to fulfillment in Christ (Romans 3:1-2). But that understanding itself does not make anyone a citizen of God’s kingdom. That is open to, and reserved for, those who become subjects of its King. Whether we are Jews or Gentiles—whatever our background, wherever we were born, and however we were raised—God offers salvation to all who come to faith in Christ. Our citizenship in God’s kingdom is not tied to ethnicity or externals but to humble, childlike faith in the Messiah.
The world is full of people struggling to find where they fit or striving to maintain their position in a company, society, friendship circle, or even their own family. God does not ask you to struggle or to strive but simply to enjoy. If you belong to God’s people by faith in Jesus, then you have been rescued by His name, you have been freed from shame, and you are part of His people. It is here that you fit, here that you find your home.
One in Christ
11Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,4 but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by5 the Spirit.
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