|- Ray & Doris Prinzing -
"But you are a chosen Race, a Royal Priesthood, a holy Nation, a People for a purpose; that ye may declare the Perfections of Him who called you from darkness into His wonderful light." [1 Peter 2:9, Diaglott trans.].
In the sovereign operation of the Spirit of God upon mankind, there is the apprehending of those whom He chooses to become part of His specific workings for this day. In every age He has selected those whom He wills, drawing them out and beyond the normal course of this ; world's living, and placing within them a Divine Call, a sense of destiny which must be fulfilled. This inworking of His grace results in the formation of a "new creation species" which become part of that "first fruits" for the demonstration of His love and salvation for all mankind. It is clearly written, "In Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order." [1 Cor. 15:22-23]. Hence this divine selectivity is a vital part of the outworking of His own purpose, not for the excluding of all men from His salvation, but rather for the consummation of that plan, as they become instruments through whom His grace and mercy are revealed to others.
It is significant that the Greek word for "church" being "ekklesia," literally means THE CALLED OUT, and bespeaks of the Spirit's calling out of the world a people for Himself, through whom He purposes to move in this hour, and whom He would prepare to become His instruments for coming ages. The calling out, and coming out, is indeed a process, its degrees of intensity measured by the amount of revelation which God imparts for that hour. Volumes of books are written on this, as the call is emphasized and people are challenged to hear the Voice of God. However, not only are we called out of something, namely the world, and its selfish pursuits, but we are also called INTO something, to become a vital, integral part of God's purpose, absorbed into its function, and necessary to its fruition.
In the phrase of our text, "a people FOR a purpose," the word "for" is the Greek word "eis" meaning INTO, and signifies that forward action of God taking a people and leading them onward, preparing them, purifying them, until they become merged into ONE with His purpose and its reality.
The Lord of hosts hath sworn, saying, "Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, shall it stand: ―For the Lord of Hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul? And His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back." [Isaiah 14-24, 27].
Paul refers to God's plan for the ages, as "a purpose of the ages which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord." [Ephesians 3:11, Young's Literal]. It is a purpose which is immutable, unalterable, and shall be fulfilled in every degree, indeed, "Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." [Matthew 5:18].
Yet in His manifold wisdom and wise design, He chooses to call and use a people in the outworking of this purpose, and there is a unique and pecular inworking of His grace and mercy in these apprehended ones." And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, TO THEM WHO ARE THE CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE." [Romans 8:28].
We are called, not at random, without point or without meaning, but ACCORDING TO PURPOSE. God draws forth His remnant from among men in relationship to His own sovereign purpose, and then He merges them into one with that purpose according as He works out its fulfillment. The very timing of an individual's call, the method and means used to make one aware of that call, and the processes used to fulfill that call within, are all in glorious harmony with His purpose.
"Being marked out beforehand ACCORDING TO PURPOSE of all things inworked according to the counsel of the will of Himself, into us to be unto the praise of the glory of Himself, who have foretrusted in the Christ." [Ephesians 1:11-12, free translation].
God is making known unto His "called out ones" the mystery of His will. He desires us to understand what He is accomplishing in all of the processes of daily life. He is doing this as He INWORKS HIS WILL INTO US. Revelations of the will of God are not to be held at arm's length, toyed with as interesting theology , but to be inworked in us, until our life becomes the expression and personification of that will and purpose. We are called according to purpose, and will be manifested according to purpose as God works out all things after the counsel of His own will in us.
Yet, let it be clear, while we are dealing with a "people" who are brought into this purpose, the central focal point is always CHRIST HIMSELF, for He is both the "Alpha" and the "Omega", and our life is only of value to, and in the purpose, according as we become ONE IN CHRIST. It is only as we become one in The Christ of the Purpose, that we also share in fullest measure of that purpose. From the Centre to the utmost outreach of the Circumference, the manifestation is to be of HIS LIFE, and the pureness of His truth.
"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world ( ages) began." [2 Timothy 1:9].
The purpose is IN CHRIST, and now He is calling INTO that purpose a people, who become one with Him. The grace for its inworking and outworking is freely given us through Christ, being fully provided before the ages began. God knew exactly what it would take for its accomplishment, and He made full provision ere the purpose began its evolvment and outworking.
We know that Jesus Christ is the embodiment of the WILL and PURPOSE of God, and He came forth as the living expression among men of that WILL. Then the heavens received Him "until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." [Acts 3:21]. Now we again await His coming, and a further revelation of our Lord, and of the execution of His purpose. Why has there been such a long span of time between Christ's first coming, and the revelation which we now so eagerly await? Why have the heavens held Him so long? Why tarry the wheels of His chariot? So desperately we long for the establishment of His kingdom of righteousness in the earth. Ah, restraining measures hold the check on iniquity, so that it cannot completely run over the cup, and be dwelt with, and all things continue to groan beneath the bondage of vanity, "until he may BECOME FROM THE MIDST." [2 Thess. 2:7, Clementson]. There is a company of people, God's apprehended first fruits which must be called, processed, and become one in Christ, the composite body of which The Christ is the Head, which must become from the midst, before the furtherance of God's purpose can unfold.
"Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world." [Acts 15:18]. The very Greek word given for "purpose" means A SETTING FORTH, and bespeaks of that deliberate counsel which is to be executed. There is a company, gathered out of all generations, and joined unto Christ, which shall be the manifest expression of His image, character, nature, who shall carry to fulfillment all of His counsel and will. God knows every detail of the work to be wrought by His co-labourers, and He chooses by His election of grace those previously marked out according to His foreknowledge, who shall come INTO PURPOSE at their appointed time, to move onward in harmony with the fulfilling of that purpose.
A man once wrote, "All the purpose of God is bound up in the revelation of that purpose. That is why the enemy would seek to prevent that revelation from coming through, as if he could prevent or hinder the outworking of that purpose." Thank God, the enemy cannot disannul God's plan. But it does make us realize the need to be alert to the Spirit, to hear the call, and yield to the preparations so that we might become a part of His working in this hour.
A people into a purpose! So many wander through their whole natural life with no aim, no purpose for living, no understanding as to the why for this long and burdensome preparation process, this schooling time. It is a season of probation, of being trained and developed-and that, with respect to the ages to come and the progressive unfolding of God's purpose, and our being an integral part of its outworkings.
"I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. He hath made everything beautiful in his time: also He hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end." [Eccl. 3:10-11].
Moffatt translation: "I have watched the interests that God sets the sons of men to labour at; He assigned each to its proper time, but for the mind of man He has appointed mystery, that man may never fathom God's own purpose from beginning to end."
Amplified translation: "He also hath planted eternity in men's heart and mind (a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun, but only God can satisfy), yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end."
There is no need to comment at length on the travail, for we have it on every hand, pressure upon pressure, labours and cares. But it is essential that we realize God has a purpose in it for us, that we might be EXERCISED, trained, developed, processed with a view to our being apart of His greater purpose which encompasses the ages. He has assigned to man his task, with each age containing its own peculiar problems. Our forefathers, with their horse and buggy never had to face the frustrations of jammed freeways which become one giant parking lot for an hour at a time, while both car motors and men's tempers become hot and boil over. Yet it is true that every generation had their own special burdens to bear, while GOD used these situations for the training and development of His people.
Furthermore, inherent in the heart and mind is an undefinable purpose, a sense of destiny which nothing under the sun can satisfy, though man goes searching into all kinds of programs and works. It is a purpose that only God can satisfy, and only the revelations imparted by the Spirit of God can cause us to understand what He is doing.
"Yet to us God has unveiled and revealed them by and through His Spirit, for the holy Spirit searches diligently, exploring and examining everything, even sounding the profound and bottomless things of God― the divine counsels and things hidden and beyond man's scrutiny. For what person perceives (knows and understands) what passes through a man's thoughts except the man's own spirit within him. Just so no one discerns (comes to know and comprehend) the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God." [1 Corinthians 2 ;10-11, Amplified].
One of the first amazing revelations in coming to understand even a small measure of God's purpose is that of "time." Not until our minds are projected beyond the bondage and limitations of time can we understand the purpose of God. Because God's plan of the ages goes beyond the scope of our threescore years and ten, it is not limited to finite degrees of time. These measures were given to man, for man's inworkings and to enable us to grapple with the problems which arise for our development. We cannot forecast what shall happen one hour from now, we can only live moment by moment as He gives us breath. And if we even learn to project ahead-to plan for this year and next, it is enwrapped with the knowledge that many changes could intervene. For man it becomes both a trial and a blessing. We know that "it came to pass," and though the testing is severe, it cannot last forever. But it is this very tyranny of change and decay, while it brings us release from some things, it also prevents us from planning too far in advance with utmost certainty.
Praise God, HE is not subject to the bondages of time, and HE CHANGES NOT, therefore He can will to do a certain thing and see it carried through to perfection, though the time is long, and the ages pass in their courses. And, it is becoming one in Him which brings us into that more abundant life where we also can partake of that age-abiding purpose and see it brought into fulfillment, to the praise and glory of our God.
While it is true that God is daily working out His purpose, even in our own personal lives, yet it is also true that He is not limited to this present span of our natural life-time, but these days are a measure of time that He uses to prepare us for His purpose, and we must be able to see beyond our threescore and ten years, if we would begin to comprehend His purpose. But He placed this blindness upon our hearts and minds, so that the natural man could not figure out His purpose, and thus we are required to yield to the inworkings of His Spirit, and seek for HIS MIND if we would know of these things. Verily, He hath hidden them from the wise and prudent of this world, and revealed them unto those who are becoming His new creation in Christ Jesus.
How man has tried to find inner satisfaction for this inherent sense of destiny which dwells in his bosom. Men have blazed trails across oceans, they have pushed through wilderness territories, and they have soared out into yonder space. Seeking, ever seeking-what? To find an answer for that quest of spirit which reaches out for reality and satisfaction, which nothing under the sun, but only God can satisfy. Not until we have returned back into God, out of Whom we came, will we ever be fully satisfied. But like a "homing pigeon" lost in a storm, there is ever that sense of urgency within that we must somehow find our way home again.
And it is written that God Himself hath marked out the boundaries of our habitations, and determined the times before appointed, "That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from everyone of us: for in Him we live, and move, and have our being." [Acts 17:27-28].
Christ is the bridge across the great span of time, HE links us to the Father and home. He still remains "the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me." [John 14:6]. Only as we come into Him do we find the central focal point of the purpose of the ages. And in His life alone do we come into the reality of its fulfillment.
"Also, I find, whatever God may do shall stand, unchanged; nothing can be added to it, nothing can be taken from it. So God orders things, that man may stand in awe of Him." [Eccl. 3:14, Moffatt]. The more the Spirit of God reveals to us of His sovereignty, and we see the scope of His power and operation, His divine control of the interplay of good and evil, the more we do stand in awe of Him, and bow low before Him to worship Him for all His ways.
For all the mystery of His will and purpose, yet we praise God for "the riches of His grace; which He causes to abound into us in all wisdom and intelligence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Himself." [Eph. 1:7-9, Interlinear].
Yes, there are those apprehended ones in whom God is unfolding the mystery of His will, they are the first fruits of His grace, a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for a purpose―that ye may declare the perfections of Him who hath called you out of darkness, into His marvellous light.
There is to be a declaration, a telling out, a shewing forth. It is interesting that the Greek word given for "declare" in our text scripture has only been used once in the New Testament, it is ek-aggello. Ek-means OUT OF, and aggello means angel, or literally MESSENGER. Because the message and the messenger become one, all that proceeds from the messenger, be it a message in words, or a life expressed, it is to declare the perfections of HIM who hath wrought in them so great a salvation. We are to become HIS DISPLAY messengers, living manifestations of His perfections, of His excellencies, of His virtues, etc. It is not only a telling forth, giving voice, but it is a living manifestation, and the Amplified translation gives, "that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him...."
What a high, holy, heavenly calling! "He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace in kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus." [Ephesians 2:7, Amplified]. So vast, so marvelous are the wonders of His grace, it will require the ages to come to continue to unfold these wonders, and He hath purposed that there should be a people through whom He would give this demonstration.
"Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest and every tree therein: for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified Himself in Israel. Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer, and He that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by Myself; that frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; that confirmeth the word of His servant, and performeth the counsel of His messengers." [Isaiah 44:23-26].
What a beautiful passage of scripture, and what a promise to be yet fulfilled. He who brought forth the creation of the heavens and the earth, and who daily ruleth in the affairs of men, to frustrate the ungodly, and turn upside-down the devices of men, has purposed to bring forth His own servants, His messengers, and then to the amazement of all who behold, HE WILL PERFORM THEIR WORD, AND CONFIRM THEIR MESSAGE. Because these servants have become so one in His will, so surrendered and complete in Him, they will actually be HIS demonstration in the earth of His truth and rightness.
When the world beholds "the work of Mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify My name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel. They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine." [Isaiah 29:23-24].
"What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation? That the Lord hath founded Zion, and the poor of His people shall trust "in it." [Isaiah14:32]. Questions― questions―questions! What is it all about? Where is the God of miracles? What is God doing in this hour? There is but one answer to be carried back to those who ask, and that is, our God is NOW working in a firstfruits people, His messenger company, and when He has completed His process in them, they shall be the living declaration of what it is all about. The answer will be clear, personified in full view of those who desire to know. The Lord is "founding Zion," His people in whom He will dwell, and to whom others can come to receive of His bountiful grace.
Yes, they ask it, from every corner of the nation, and the globe, the question comes again and again, where can we go and find fellowship and life? where is the message of truth? where can we receive something to satisfy the cry within? Where are the answers to the needs of our homes, families, circumstances and situations which are so perplexing?
I know that the time is long, and we have waited and waited-but let our hearts be encouraged, God Himself is founding Zion, He is preparing His people through whom salvation shall be ministered. And when they say, "Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem." [Isaiah 2:3]. This is referring to more than some organized system in a specific geographical location, they mean they are going to a man or woman of God in whom they see the demonstration of the Kingdom of God. They will search out those in whom His Spirit dwells in full power and victory, and from whose mouth flows the wisdom and knowledge which comes from the mind of God.
A people with a purpose, to BECOME HIS MESSENGERS, His declaration, His demonstration of the fulness of redemption. Our purpose is to BECOME, "As many as received Him, to them gave He power (the right, the privilege) to become the sons of God." [John 1:12]. The purpose is not all wrapped up in a DOING, but in a BEING, until ''as He is, so are we in this world." [1 John 4:17]. That we might become a relevation of the Father to the World, to reveal the love of His heart, and to shew forth His salvation to all men.
"When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels (MESSENGERS) with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory." [Matthew 25:31].
"Lo, comes the Lord in holy myriads of Himself." [Jude 14, Literal] .
Out of each generation God has been gathering His elect, His firstfruits, to become His messengers. Paul knew this, and when he was giving charge to Timothy, he wrote, "I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect messengers, that thou observe these things...." [1 Timothy 5:21].
Many have already been gathered to that company, "the heavenly Jerusalem, an innumerable company of messengers, the general assembly and out-ca1led of the firstborn, which are written in heaven...." [Hebrews 12 :22-23]. And in view of this tremendous calling to share this purpose with them, we are charged to walk carefully in this present life, surrendered to become the will of God, to become so purified and purged of all self will, that we might be able to shew forth the perfections of Him who hath called us out of darkness and into His marvellous light.
A PEOPLE WITH A PURPOSE
Not a random, casual process,
Accidental drifting by,
But a predetermined counsel
That our God doth verify.
Not a mishap, unconsidered,
But His sovereign will alone
Marks the path of its fulfillment,
Undergirded by His throne.
Pure design of glorious purpose,
Through all ages it shall stand,
For the God of love who willed it
Holds its courses in His hand.
Purpose joined to His election,
While He chooses by His grace,
Not of works, but of His calling,
Chosen sons of Israel's race.
Known from past time's beginning,
Are the works that shall be wrought
Through His vessels filled with mercy,
Fully disciplined and taught
They shall manifest His image,
Character that's tried and true,
Messengers of His perfections,
While He maketh all things new.
Lo, a people with a purpose―
To display His love divine,
Living messages of glory,
This the calling that is thine.
Writings in This Series: