“Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel” (Exodus 19:5-6).
In these verses the Lord is proposing His covenant with the children of Israel. Though in one sense the Lord has called them, that calling is not automatically bestowed upon them without their choice. They had to cooperate. Even their deliverance from Egypt involved their cooperation: If they did not do what the Lord said (such as putting the blood on the doorposts), they would not have been delivered. It was that simple.
Here, too, the Lord does not say to them, “Whether you like it or don’t like it — you will be a peculiar treasure unto Me and a nation of priests.” That is not how it works, and that is not what the text says.
Read Exodus 19:5-6, quoted above. How do you understand what the Lord is saying in the context of salvation by faith? Does the command included there to obey the Lord somehow nullify the concept of salvation by grace? How do the following texts help you to understand the answer? Romans 3:19-24; Romans 6:1-2; Romans 7:7; Revelation 14:12.
“We do not earn salvation by our obedience; for salvation is the free gift of God, to be received by faith. But obedience is the fruit of faith.” — Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 61.
Think of what the Lord was willing to do for the nation of Israel: not only did He miraculously deliver them from Egyptian bondage, but He wanted to make them His own treasured possession, a nation of priests. Basing their relationship with Him upon His salvation (both temporal, as from Egyptian slavery, and eternal), the Lord sought to elevate them to a spiritual, intellectual, and moral level that would make them the wonder of the ancient world. All for the purpose of using them to preach the gospel to the nations. All they had to do, in response, was obey.
|In what ways should our personal, one-on-one experience with the Lord reflect that same principle we see here in today’s study?|