1Pet 2:9-10 (KJV) – But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:Which in time past [were] not a people, but [are] now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
In this verse, we find a wonderful truth that applies to the people of God. Note the six-fold description of those who have received His gracious salvation:
- “a chosen generation” – We have been chosen by Him, based upon His love, to be holy and without blame before Him and to be adopted into His family (Eph 1:4-5)
- “a royal priesthood”- We have been granted the privilege of being given access to the throne of grace to find grace and help in time of need (Heb 4:14-16)
- “a holy nation”- We have been made given His law in our minds and hearts, graciously given forgiveness, we have been made new creatures in Him, and given citizenship into His spiritual nation (the Israel of God). (Gals 6:14-16, Heb 8:10-12)
- “peculiar people” – He has purchased and purified us so that we might be used of Him (Titus 2:13-14)
- “the people of God” – We are no longer strangers but now members of His family and citizens of His city (Roms 9:25-26, Eph 2:17-19)
- Those who “have now obtained mercy”- We who were separated from Him due to our sin, was forgiven, and brought into communion and joint-heirship with Him. (Eph 2:4-9)
Do you notice how in all of the above there is shared a basic principle? It is the principle of separation. In every case, God’s workings in our lives resulted in us being separated from the lost world. In every case, He worked in a special way as He “called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”.
Although this separation was a divine act of God, based solely upon His grace, the aspect of separation goes much further. In this study, we will be examining the mandate that God has given to His people to live lives of separation FROM the sin of this world TO His divine service. Our calling to separation will clearly display, to all mankind, that we are the people of God.
In other words, because He has already separated us from the world, we are to live lives that reflect that separation to others.
1Thess 4:7 (KJV) For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
1Cor 15:33-34 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak [this] to your shame.
Lev 20:7-8 Matt 11:28-30 John 14:21-24 1Cor 1:1-2
2Cor 6:13-18 1Thess 4:7 Heb 12:1-3 1Pet 1:13-16
1 Pet 2:9-10 1 John 5:3 Jude 1:4
Probably the clearest phrase that expresses our need of living lives of separation is “Be ye holy for I am holy”. This phrase and those that closely relate are found in Lev 20:7-8…
“Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I [am] the LORD your God.And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I [am] the LORD which sanctify you.”
(see also Lev 11:43-47, and Lev 19:1-10).
In these verses, we find the Lord, speaking to the physical nation in Israel, instructing them to live lives of separation by keeping the moral, civil and ceremonial laws which He had given to them. By keeping these laws, they would be outwardly declaring to the other nations that they were owned by Jehovah and therefore, were willingly submissive to His authority. He had set them apart as His own “I am the Lord which sanctify you”, therefore they were to live lives that proclaimed this separation to others “Sanctify yourselves…”
At this point, you are probably saying…. “So what does this have to do with me? I am certainly not a citizen of the OT nation of Israel, nor am I responsible to keep His OT national and ceremonial laws.” I would have to agree with you on both points. However, in spite of those differences, we will find that these texts, based upon Peter’s writings, do directly affect us after all…
1 Pet 1:13-16Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
Here, as Peter writes, he clearly refers to the OT verses that command separation of the physical Israelites. He is speaking to those who those who will receive “grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” and “obedient children”. In these verses, He is clearly referring to those who are NT believers. What is our responsibility in New Testament times? They are the same responsibilities as the Israelites of old… to live lives of separation from the world. In doing so, we will be declaring to those around us that we are a children of the Holy God, Jehovah. We are members of His family and are willingly submissive to His will for our lives.
We are taught this principle in 2Cor 6:13-18 (KJV)…
Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto [my] children,) be ye also enlarged.Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Also we see this in Heb 8:7-13 (KJV)…
“… Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:… I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.In that he saith, A new [covenant], he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old [is] ready to vanish away.
As part of God’s new covenant He has made with all believers (the Israel of God – Gals 6:14-18). He has given us the laws of God in our hearts and minds. In other words, for those who are saved, He gives to us a knowledge (in our minds) and a desire to obey (in our hearts) His commands and do what is pleasing in His sight.
For those who are true believers, we are no longer under the bondage and obligation to keep His commands perfectly to escape eternal torment. We have been saved and granted His righteousness, we are now free from the law of sin and death.
However, we now DESIRE to do His will not out of necessity for our salvation, but out of appreciation, love and desire to obey His will. When we are made into a new creature, we no longer are enslaved to His law as a merciless slave master, but are now children of God whose privilege it is to serve our Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord…
We see in 1 John 5:3 …
For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
Also in John 14:21-24…
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
It is because of these two facts (we have been separated from the world and separated to God by an act of His grace AND we are to separate ourselves from the wickedness in this world) that we are given the title “saint”. The title saint is used both in the Old Testament and the New Testaments to refer to those have exercised their faith in the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.
What does the title “Saint” mean?
In Old Testament we find the words for “saint” come from two prime roots:
- qadash which carries with it the basic idea of being “prepared for use by separation”.
- chacad means being “faithful, kind and Godly”
In the New Testament we find the word saint being translated from one word:
- hagios which means “to be set apart through cleanness”
Based on the above, what is the basic meaning of “saint”?
We can see that a saint is simply “One that is prepared for God’s use by being made separate from the filth of sin of this world”. He is one that is characterized as “Faithful to God, kind to others and, as such, is an image of God in this world.
1Cor 1:1-2 – … to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called [to be] saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
BECAUSE we have been separated BY Him in an act of GRACE,… THEN we are called to be separated TO Him in an act of LOVE and GRATITUDE.
This is what being a saint is all about.
For those who have been made separate to His service by His wondrous grace….
Let us reflect on the writings of the author of Hebrews, who tells us in Heb 12:1-3….
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”
For those who have yet to be separated from the bondage of sin ….
Understand that all that is required for you to come to Him in a spirit of repentance and faith casting your sin upon Him. Matt 11:28-30…..
Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.
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