Sunday, August 10, 2008

Only two kinds of people

The world is made up of only two kinds of people: those who think the world is made up of two kinds of people, and those who don't. That's a quotable quote from a sage whose name I no longer remember.

Yesterday, I heard a similar line from a preacher who gave a very serious message. In Gen 12, God calls out Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees to a land where He would show him, to make his name great and to bless the whole world through him, to bless those who bless Abraham, to curse those who curse him.

That means two kinds of people: those called out and those not called out, those who bless Abraham and those who curse him, those blessed through him and those who are not.

Spiritually, it has always been two kinds of people from the very beginning. In Gen 4, we see Abel and Cain giving offerings to God. Cain offers 'fruit of the ground' and Abel offers the 'firstlings of his flock'. God accepts Abel's sacrifice, and rejects Cain's.

Two kinds of people: those whose worship God accepts, and those whose worship He rejects.

In Exodus, we see God giving his law to the Israelites then declaring them a special people. Paul in Rom 3 argues that they were not special because of anything, but simply because they were the depositories of the 'oracles of God'.

Two kinds of people: those to whom were committed the oracles of God, and those to whom they were supposed to be examples. Jews, Gentiles. Paul breaks it down even further in Rom 1 and Rom 2 into the circumcised and the uncircumcised.

Yet we know that God rejected Israel when the nation proved too stiff-necked and rebellious. God then called out the Gentiles and made them like the new Israel. According to Paul, He grafted Gentiles into the branches He had cut off.

Again, two kinds of people; first, those chosen to be the depositories of God's oracles, those not chosen; those rejected, those accepted; those grafted in, those cut off.

According to Ellen G White, "Seventh-day Adventists have been chosen by God as a peculiar people, separate from the world. By the great cleaver of truth He has cut them out from the quarry of the world, and brought them into connection with Himself. He has made them His representatives, and has called them to be ambassadors for Him in the last work of salvation. The greatest wealth of truth ever entrusted to mortals, the most solemn and fearful warnings ever sent by God to man, have been committed to them to be given to the world; and in the accomplishment of this work our publishing houses are among the most effective agencies. . . ."

Again, two kinds of people:
those chosen by God as a peculiar people separate from the world, and those in the world.

Are Jews better than other people? Put another way, are Gentiles worse than Jews? Incidentally, Paul asks the very same question in Rom 3, the passage linked above. Today, one might ask, are people of my church better than those in other churches? One might ask, are Seventh-day Adventists better than other Christians?

(In response to that question, the preacher made a startling statement, whose import I'll discuss in the next post, including the church where Christ would have most likely been a member).

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