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Set-apartedness

February 22, 2016

God set Israel apart from all the nations of the world to be a nation that was His own special treasure. Before giving them the law God told the nation He had chosen them for Himself. They were a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. (Exodus 19:6) Israel was unique from all the rest of the world.  The commands God gave were to to show the world that Israel was uniquely set apart for God. Today the church is God’s set apart community to show His glory to the world.

The peculiarity of the church is its uniqueness. No longer does God have a geopolitical entity. He has a multinational, multicultural organism that is not joined together because of geography or genealogy but because of Jesus. The believer is called out of the peoples of the world to glorify God. The church is the covenant communion of God’s chosen people. The churches membership is a royal priesthood. Believers are made kings and priests to our God. Access to God is no longer limited. We no longer have to go through sacrifices, rituals or priests. We go boldly to the throne of grace because Jesus has opened the way for all Christians to go directly to the Father. The church is a set apart people. The church is a special people purchased as God’s own unique possession. The church is a nation of people holy to God. When Peter says Christians are a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” he is not communicating four separate ideas. He is teaching one great concept that communicates the entirety of the church’s set apartedness to God. The church is God’s own special creation, unlike anything else in the world. Just like God called out and created Israel so God called out and created the church. Because the church is set apart to God it must act differently.

The holy nature of the church is why its purpose, methods, goals and ministries must be defined and limited by the Bible. Man did not come up with the idea of the church. Individuals may have banded to gather to start a church in a specific community. Each local church is a unique gathering of Christians, with particular gifts, abilities and opportunities. Despite the individual features of every local church, no church has the luxury of holding a meeting to devise its purpose. No church has the freedom to create its goals. The church has a God defined reason for existence. That reason eternally existed in the mind of God, and He has communicated that reason to His church. The church has been called out of the world to accomplish God’s Divine purposes. As a people set apart by God for Himself, we must do that which He has set us apart to accomplish. If we do not, if we act like every human institution in the world, we might as well not even exist. When we go out to do what God designs, then the church validates its existence by showing God’s glory to the onlooking world.

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