“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar [purchased] people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
In contrast to those who have been appointed to be offended at Christ, are those individuals who make up a chosen [spiritual] generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a peculiar, or blood bought people. If a person were to ask, “How did I come to be chosen and made a member of a blood bought people?” the divine response is found in Ephesians 2:8. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”
Without this biblical perspective, a person might be tempted to answer differently and say, “One day I made a decision for Christ, and was regenerated.” Or a person might respond, “I was born in a Christian country and had Christian parents, and so grew up as a Christian.” Again, a person might argue and say, “I was baptized, and thus I was made a Christian and a member of the church.” Still someone else might answer, “I have lived a good life since my youth, and believe my good works shall save me.”
If the ground of one’s salvation remains a reliance upon decisional regeneration, family heritage, free will, water baptism, church membership or good works, then there is no room for grace, for in some way the soul has found a way to merit the righteousness of God. But what saith the Scripture?
“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: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).
“For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17).
I plead with you, do not put your trust, your confidence, or your weight upon any of these broken reeds. Put your trust in Christ alone. From his early boyhood, John Paton wanted to be a missionary. Before studying theology and medicine, Paton served for ten years as a Glasgow City Missionary. After graduation, he was ordained, and set sail for the New Hebrides as a Presbyterian missionary.
Three months after arriving on the island of Tanna, Paton’s young wife died, followed by their five-week-old son. For three more years, Paton labored alone among the hostile islanders, ignoring their threats, seeking to make Christ known to them, before escaping with his life. Later, he returned and spent fifteen years on another island. Paton was working one day in his home on the translation of John’s Gospel—puzzling over John’s favorite expression pisteuo eis, to “believe in” or to “trust in” Jesus Christ, a phrase which occurs first in John 1:12. “How can I translate it?” Paton wondered.
The islanders were cannibals; nobody trusted anybody else. There was no word for “trust” in their language. His native servant came in. “What am I doing?” Paton asked him. “Sitting at your desk,” the man replied. Paton then raised both feet off the floor and sat back on his chair. “What am I doing now?” In reply, Paton’s servant used a verb which means “to lean your whole weight upon.” That’s the phrase Paton used throughout John’s Gospel to translate to “believe in.”
There is a universal call to salvation as per Revelation 22:17. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
This divine call is a genuine offer of the gospel to all without distinction. But the question is not is the gospel sincerely, and universally offered, it is. The question is this, “Who will avail themselves of the divine provision, and drink of the living waters?” To that inquiry there can only be one conclusion. In addition to the universal call of the gospel, there is a secret, effectual call, which is heard by those whom the Father has given to the Son, and are designated His “sheep.” Jesus put the matter this way. John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and my Father are one.”
Have not all men been given to the Son? Jesus plainly taught, “No.” “Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. 25 Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you” (John 10:24-26).
When the Jews who questioned Christ, heard Jesus say He and the Father were one, the Jews were angry, and sought to kill Christ. “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Abandoning the matter of the call to salvation, the Jews wanted to argue a secondary religious matter leading to murder, and a feeling of doing “God’s work” (John 10:31).
Such is the same reaction today. Individuals would rather argue over secondary doctrinal issues than fall down before Christ, and plead for forgiveness, and mercy. In this matter the doctrine of the divine call is confirmed. Even when told plainly of their eternal danger, and status, the heart of the unbeliever is so hard it does not comprehend or care. Yet it remains religious and self-righteous, even to the point of committing murder in the name of defending the honor of God. “Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? 33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God” (John 10:32-33).
The question comes, “Have you heard the voice of the Shepherd calling your name?” “Has God called you personally, out of darkness into his marvellous light?” If not why not come to Jesus now, at this very moment.
Why not pray, and on bended knees say, “Lord Jesus, I have heard the gospel. I realize no decision of mine, no baptism, no church membership, no good work, no religious heritage can save me. Only Jesus can save, and right now I trust Him and Him alone as my Lord and Savior. Father, forgive me for my sin. I have heard the voice of Jesus calling to me saying, ‘Come unto me and I will give thee rest.’ Now I come. Thank you for calling me out of darkness into the marvelous light of the gospel. Amen.”
“While we pray and while we plead,
While you see your soul’s deep need,
While our Father calls you home,
Will you not, my brother, come?
Why not now? Why not now?
Why not come to Jesus now?
Why not now? Why not now?
Why not come to Jesus now?
You have wandered far away;
Do not risk another day;
Do not turn from God your face,
But today accept His grace.
In the world you’ve failed to find
Aught of peace for troubled mind;
Come to Christ, on Him believe,
Peace and joy you shall receive.
Come to Christ, confession make;
Come to Christ, and pardon take;
Trust in Him from day to day,
He will keep you all the way.”
Daniel W. Whittle, 1891