by Barry Newton
An unearthly, unchanging, single determination has rifled across diverse cultures and languages revealing God’s perspective and fingerprints.
Whereas humanity predictably and repeatedly has claimed a relationship with the divine based upon our characteristics, such as: ethical and moral qualities, spiritual development, ethnic descent, or organizational continuity or name, God has consistently identified his people based upon an opposing, singular and unexpected principle.
When scripture is scoured to research God’s perspective, a single answer dominates. From Abraham (Genesis 17:7-8) to Israel (Exodus 19:5-6; Deuteronomy 29:12-13) to Christians (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 8:6,10), God’s stance remains the same. In grace, God promises through covenant to enter into relationship with people.
While Christendom readily recognizes that Christ’s blood, which created the new covenant, brings people near to God (Ephesians 2:12-13; Hebrews 10:19-22), tragically the details of how and when people receive these promises have remained muddled.
Valuing one’s own inherited tradition or personal history, as well as building upon unfounded definitions and assumptions, it would appear that the original message has sometimes remained obscured.
Fortunately, the original message emerges when open-mindedness examines all of scripture regarding reception of the two covenant promises from Jesus’ death: 1) a relationship with God, and 2) forgiveness (Hebrews 8:10,12; John 1:12-13).
When does God infuse the spiritually dead with life, giving them a new birth and adopting them as his heirs? God promises to enter into a relationship with people when they rely upon Christ in baptism. (Galatians 3:26-27,29; Titus 3:5; Colossians 2:12-13)
When does God forgive someone’s sins? Forgiveness is granted on the basis of Jesus’ blood, when a person is baptized. (Acts 2:38; 22:16; Hebrews 10:22) Yet, this does not mean that the simple act of baptizing someone, whether young or old, will save them, because baptism is an act of faith. (Colossians 2:12; Acts 8:37)
In plain English, when people trust in Jesus by being baptized, they receive the new covenant’s promises and enter the new covenant as the people of God.
Thus belief or faith describes the necessary response to Jesus. People cannot reject Christ or remain neutral if they wish to become God’s family and be forgiven.
Furthermore, this calling upon the Lord that saves includes both acknowledging Christ and being baptized. (Romans 10:9-10;Acts 22:16) To trust in Christ in this manner describes how a person must trust in Jesus to become a child of God and to be forgiven.
What’s God’s perspective on the people of God principle? Today, God’s people are those whom God has saved through the new covenant, which was created by his Son’s death. They have exhibited faith in his Son through confessing Christ and being baptized.