GOD has always had a people in the earth who are separate from the world in general. This is first clearly seen when the LORD saved Noah and his family in the Ark while the rest of the world was destroyed. It is seen again when the LORD called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees. Then once more when the LORD loved Jacob and set his people apart from the other tribes of the earth, and called them the nation of Israel. HE gave it even more emphasis when HE committed the oracles of GOD unto them and gave them a covenant of law on Mount Sinai.
Then HE clearly set forth that HE has a people which is even separate from the nation of Israel. The nation of Israel, in reality, was but a foreshadow and type of that people which HE has loved from before the foundation of the world. Even as Paul says, “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” (Rom 9:6-8)
The LORD has a people which HE calls a “remnant”, these HE has separated from the world for no other reason than that HE has loved them with an everlasting love. “Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved” (Rom 9:27) Paul goes on to explain that from the nation of Israel as well as all nations upon the earth the LORD will indeed call HIS people according to HIS free and sovereign grace. “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” (Rom 11:5-6)
In order to demonstrate HIS specific love for that remnant which HE has been pleased to save in JESUS CHRIST, the LORD has introduced the principle of “separation” into the earth. There can be no mixture of the precious and the vile in the kingdom of GOD. To this end we see HIS rejection of Cain’s offering and the reception of Abel’s. Abel merely returned that which the LORD had increased him with, as a blood sacrifice. Cain’s offering was that of the fruit of his labor. Cain grew angry that the LORD had pleasure in Abel’s offering and slew him out of jealousy. This is demonstrated time and again throughout the scripture as the children of the flesh persecute the children of the promise, over the principle of grace. This is the offence of the cross.
This is most clearly demonstrated in the birth of Abraham’s two sons, Ishmael and Isaac. Ishmael was Abraham’s son by his wife’s servant. Isaac was the son of promise given to Abraham through his wife Sarah, when she was well past child bearing. Isaac was a miracle of grace, whereas Ishmael was the result of Abraham’s corrupt flesh. “But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.” (Gal 4:29)
The LORD manifested this “separation” when HE gave to the nation of Israel a set of strict dietary and customary laws which they were to abide by. This was given to no other nation in order that HE might show that HE put a difference between, that nation which was the apple of HIS eye and all of the other nations in the earth. Yet this was but a type and foreshadow of that true separation which HE has brought in for HIS true “nation” of kings and priests.
The temporary nature of the covenant of law is seen by the fact that the LORD revealed to Peter (before he went to Cornelius’ house) that HE had cleansed those “meats” that were unclean according to the law. There is no outside, compelling reason why the LORD forbade the Israelites the use of certain meats while allowing others except that HE would so order it to demonstrate the principle of separation to that nation, and ultimately the world. There is a twofold lesson in Peter’s vision. One is that CHRIST has fulfilled all requirements of the law for the sons of GOD. The other is that, an entrance into the kingdom of heaven is based upon HIS free grace alone and not by natural birth, religious affiliation, or obedience unto a code. National Israel was bound by a covenant of works (the law of Moses) whereas the True Israel is bound by a covenant of grace.
There can be no mixture of grace and works in this kingdom. The covenant of law is established on this principle; do this and live. There is no room for error in it, nor can anything less than perfection be of any value at all. It is weak in the flesh. The soul that sinneth shall die. The covenant of grace, however, is established upon a completely different principle. The LORD JESUS has undertaken the complete redemption and sanctification of HIS people. HE has completed the work in their behalf and does presently indwell those whom HE calls; working in them both to will and to do of HIS good pleasure.
“For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.” (Heb 7:18-19) It was necessary that the LORD JESUS fulfill the law in its jot and tittle since, the law demanded perfection but ministered no aid to poor, guilty sinners. “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Gal 4:4-7)
In the establishment of HIS kingdom in the earth our REDEEMER KING has separated forever between that which is precious and that which is vile, that which is of the law of fleshly works and that which is purely by grace alone. “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Heb 10:9-14)
There are many (according to Paul) who go about preaching a message which is part grace and part works. (see I Tim.1:3-8) They tell us that men are justified by the work of CHRIST in their behalf but it is necessary for men to supply their own works in order that they might be sanctified. They are quick to load the sons of GOD with various requirements which they believe the law still demands from them. These include (but are not limited to) the observance of times, seasons, and holy days as well as abstentions from various meats and practices. “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” (Gal 4:21)
To cling to the law is to despise the grace of CHRIST and HIS perfect fulfillment of it. The operation of grace wrought by the power of the SPIRIT of GOD constrains the sons of GOD by a completely different principle than that of the Law. Paul said, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.” (1Cor 6:12-13)mam