Being truly blessed is not based on a person's place of origin nor on what status in life he has. Rather, it is a matter of divine election.
NO MATTER HOW GREAT or small a particular nation may be, its people usually feel that they have something that makes them distinct. This is why individuals from every walk of life, whether they be from a small island colony or a recognized superpower of the world, feel a sense of pride and patriotism. One thing is for sure: every group of people considers their being distinct as a blessing or as something special according to one’s own standards.
On who are truly blessed, the Holy Bible is the sole authority—and this is not based on where a person originates from or even what his status in life may be. Rather, it is a matter of divine election:
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.” (Ps. 33:12 New King James Version)
The divine election
One has to be chosen or elected by God for him or her to be counted among the people of His “nation” or the people who are truly special in the Lord’s sight. Those chosen by God are the ones who can rightfully call Him Lord.
What is promised to those who, by virtue of their divine calling, belong to God? The Bible further states:
“Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (II Pet. 1:10–11 nkjv).
Thus, the chosen ones of God and of Christ are fortunate indeed! Their inheritance is the everlasting kingdom of the Lord.
Some people might find this matter about being elected by God offending and others may insist that any given nation or group of people is as good as the others. But biblically speaking, there is a difference between the chosen people of God and those who are not. Notice the statement of Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:12:
“That at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” (nkjv)
Thus, not all people are under the grace of God and not all people have the hope to receive His promised salvation. As written in the Bible, only those who have that covenant with Him are entitled to such great blessing.
The nation of God in these last days
The looming question now is, “Who are God’s chosen people in these last days?” What is the distinctive trait of those who truly belong to God, according to the Holy Scriptures? The apostles stated:
“And you also became God’s people when you heard the true message, the Good News that brought you salvation. You believed in Christ, and God put his stamp of ownership on you by giving you the Holy Spirit he had promised.” (Eph. 1:13 Good News Bible)
Thus, the people who belong to God are sealed with His stamp of ownership, the Holy Spirit. Because of this, Apostle Paul says they are known or recognized by God (Gal. 4:9). To be sealed with the Holy Spirit, one has to hear and firmly believe in the true gospel preached by God’s messengers or those whom He sent (Rom. 10:14–15).
In these last days, the one whom God used as His instrument, who would seal those whom He recognizes as His chosen people, is the “angel” or “messenger” spoken of (mentioned) in Revelation 7:2–3:
“Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, ‘Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.’” (nkjv)
Through the instrumentality of the “other angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God” who would preach the true gospel in these last days, those who believe would receive God’s Holy Spirit in their hearts as a mark or stamp of His ownership (II Cor. 1:21–22).
Notice that this prophesied angel (or “messenger” according to the Young’s Literal Translation of Revelation 7:2) would come from the “East.” The members of the Church Of Christ in these last days believe that the prophecy concerning the angel or messenger of God in this verse was fulfilled in the person of Brother Felix Y. Manalo. He began his preaching function in the Philippines, a country located in the Far East. This messenger of God was instrumental in the re-emergence of the true Church Of Christ in these last days which is, according to Christ, are His “other sheep” or those whom He acknowledged would be called in the future (John 10:16, Easy-to-Read Version).
Brother Felix Y. Manalo preached about the indispensability of the true Church Of Christ for the attainment of God’s grace of salvation. Becoming a true member of this Church, thus, entitles one to be sealed with the Holy Spirit and have the assurance of receiving God’s blessed reward.
An invitation to all
Christ invites all people from all walks of life to enter His Church. He declared:
“I am the door; anyone who comes into the fold through me will be safe …” (John 10:9 Revised English Bible, emphasis ours)
So, no matter what a person’s background may be or wherever he or she may have originated from, Christ encourages everyone to enter through Him in order to be saved. Where can we find those who have accepted His call? They are in the fold or flock which, according to the teachings of the apostles, is none other than the Church Of Christ:
“Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood.”
(Acts 20:28 Lamsa Translation)
What did Christ mandate so that His invitation would be extended to all nations? The following is recorded in Matthew 28:19–20:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you …” (nkjv)
Therefore, baptism into the body or the Church is required by the Savior
(I Cor. 12:13; Col. 1:18). And as Christ promised, those who hear the gospel, believe in it, and are baptized will be saved (Mark 16:15–16).
In order to be counted among those truly fortunate, all people are being invited to join the Church Of Christ. As the blessed nation of God in these last days, the members of the Church Of Christ may not be the most affluent or prominent people in this world, but without a doubt they are truly the blessed ones because, as Apostle Paul proudly declared: “Our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20 nkjv).
This article was originally published in the Pasugo: God’s Message magazine.