THE TRUE PEOPLE OF GOD?
Who are the true people of God? Some say that those who are Jews, the physical descendants of Abraham, are by nature God's true people. Roman Catholicism says that those who follow the pope and worship Mary are God's true people. The Russelites, Jehovah Witnesses, say that they alone are God's true people. The Campbellites, the Church of Christ, claim that they are God's true people. And many Baptists, those who are themselves "Landmark Baptists", say that only those who are Baptists are the Lord's true people. But what does the Word of God say? Does the Bible lay down any clear marks by which we may determine who God's true people are? Am I one of God's true people? Are you?
Yes, the Word of God clearly identifies God's true people in many ways. They are not identified as men and women of a particular race, or of a particular church or denomination, or even of certain doctrinal persuasions. The true people of God, those to whom the promises of Holy Scripture are given, those who are truly born of God and heirs to eternal life, are identified by spiritual marks, the marks of true faith and love. And in Philippians the third chapters verse three, the Apostle Paul gives us three clear marks of identification by which we may determine whether or not we belong to the household of faith. He says, "We are the circumcision", or we are God's true people, "which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh".
First, the Apostle tells us that God's true people are those men and women, who "WORSHIP GOD IN THE SPIRIT". They are not idolaters. The people of God do not worship idols of Buddha, or idols of Mary, or idols representing Christ. Their worship is not the physical worship of religious ritualism, but the spiritual worship of the heart. Our Lord said, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in Spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). The object of our worship is the infinite, eternal God in the Trinity of his blessed Persons. We worship God as he is revealed in Holy Scripture. The manner of our worship is spiritual. We worship by the power, leadership, and direction of the Holy Spirit. Our worship is an act of the heart. It is spiritual.
Second, Paul tells us that God's true people are those who "REJOICE IN CHRIST JESUS". That word "rejoice" means to trust with joy. Those who are born of God willfully and gladly trust Jesus Christ, the Son of God, with all their hearts. We trust his righteousness as our only righteousness. We trust his blood as our only atonement. We trust Christ himself as our only Savior, his power, his grace, his intercession, and his faithfulness. We recognize that our only acceptance before God is in Christ our Substitute. We rest our souls upon him with confident joy.
And, third, Paul tells us that God's true people "HAVE NO CONFIDENCE IN THE FLESH". We place no confidence in ourselves before God. We do not, in anyway, trust who we are, what we have experienced, or what we have done for our acceptance with God. We rest our souls entirely upon Christ.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frames
But wholly lean on Jesus' name:
On Christ, the Solid Rock, I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
Are you one of God's true people? If you "worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh", you are. God has made you one of His own. AMEN.