Many Christian articles on a wide range of topics.
Preaching and Teaching the Word of God. Also real life
stories about witnessing and other related topics.
Local and Worldwide news events religious or otherwise which are impacting the
A resource guide of links with descriptions of
content from various websites for Christians and Non-Christians alike.
Letters on a wide range of subject matter that do not pertain
directly to this website. All those other letters that do pertain to this
site are kept personal and are not posted unless under special circumstances.
A collection of links in this site that are
listed by topic rather than from new to old. News Items are not featured
in the topical listing.
A collection of authors contained in this site
True Israel of God
Part Seven and Eight
The True Israel of God
by L. R. Shelton
We have given Scriptural proof that the true
Israel of God consists not in Abraham's seed after the flesh: "For these are not
the children of God" (Rom 9:8), but consists in the children of the promise
given to Abraham through the true Seed who is Christ. "Know ye therefore that
they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the
Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen [Gentiles] through
faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all
nations be blessed. So then they which are of faith are blessed with faithful
Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises
made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy
seed which is Christ. ..therefore there is neither Jew nor Greek [Gentile],
there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all
one in Christ Jesus, and if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and
heirs according to the promise" (Gal 3:29). Now the question is asked: When did
God give Abraham these promises that the nations of the earth would be blessed
through him, that his spiritual seed would be Christ and that those who by faith
in Him would be heirs with Him of the same promises?
To answer this: let us go back to Genesis, the book of beginnings and listen as
God speaks to Abraham. When we read the Scriptural account of the life of
Abraham we find that there were four promises made to him by God Himself. They
were: (1) the promise to make the descendants of Abraham into a great nation,
(2) the promise of a great posterity, (3) the promise that Abraham's descendants
would inherit the land of Canaan and (4) above all, the promise of the Messiah.
Let us look at each one of these and see how they were fulfilled, especially
that last one concerning the promise of the Messiah and how we by faith in Him
have the fulfillment of this promise as the spiritual seed of Abraham.
First: the promise to make the descendants of Abraham into a great nation. "Now
the LORD said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy father's house, unto a land that I
will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation and I will bless thee,
and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing" (Gen 12:1-2). Was God
faithful to perform that which He had spoken? Yes, some 400 years after His
covenant with Abraham this promise was fulfilled. God had shown Abraham in Gen
15:13-14 that there would be a 400 year delay, but the time came when it was
fulfilled. Also the Lord confirmed the promise to Jacob, Abraham's grandson: He
said, "I am God, the God of thy father; fear not to go down into Egypt; for I
will there make of thee a great nation" (Gen 46:3).
This great promise was fulfilled under the leadership of Moses as the Israelites
came forth out of bondage in Egypt, and under Joshua as they achieved their
mighty victories in the land of Canaan. In Deut 2:25 we read that Moses
testified that God caused the other nations to respect the greatness of Israel.
In exhorting the Israelites to obedience to the God of Abraham, Moses said:
"Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is
there so great who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all
things that we call upon him for" (Deut 4:6-7).
If you would read chapters 8-12 of Joshua, you would find that they testify to
the unmistakable greatness of the nation of Israel as it marched triumphantly
through the land of Canaan; end king David, looking back on those victories many
years later, was moved to cry out to the Lord: "What one nation in the earth is
like thy people Israel, whom God went to redeem to be his own people, to make
thee a name of greatness and terribleness, by driving out nations from before
thy people?" ( 1Chr 17:21)
We see then that this first promise to Abraham was fulfilled, for God had made
of Abraham's physical seed a great nation which reached its zenith of power,
strength and glory under the reigns of David and Solomon.
The second promise made to Abraham was the promise of a great posterity, that
his descendants would be too numerous to count: God said,"And I will make thy
seed as the dust of the earth.: so that if a man can number the dust of the
earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered" (Gen 13:16). "Look now toward
heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto
him, so shall thy seed be" (15:5). "As the sand which is upon the sea shore so
shall thy seed be" (22:17).
We know that without the shadow of a doubt God fulfilled this promise as His
Word confirms. Listen to king Solomon praying: "O LORD God, let thy promise unto
David my father be established: for thou hast made me king over a people like
the dust of the earth in multitude" (2Chr 1:9) Moses said to Israel: "The LORD
your God hath multiplied you, and behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven
for multitude" (Deut 1:10). And the writer of Hebrews agreed that the promise
had been fulfilled: "Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as
dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude" (Heb 11:12).
And then finally we read that during the reign of Solomon: "Judah and Israel
were as many as the sand which is by the sea in multitude" (1Kgs 4:20); and
Hebrews affirms there sprang from Abraham descendants as innumerable "as the
sand which is by the sea shore" (11:12). So we see then that this promise was
also fulfilled for God surely made the physical seed of Abraham as the dust of
the earth, as the sand of the sea, and as the stars of heaven for multitude. Now
the third thing promised to Abraham was that his descendants would inherit the
land of Canean. God repeated this promise many times: "Unto thy seed will I give
this land" (Gen 12:7); "Lift up shine eyes, and look from the place where thou
art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which
thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever"(Gen 13:14-15); "I
am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land
to inherit it...to thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto
the great river, the river Euphrates" (Gen 15:7,18); "I will give unto thee, and
to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of
Canaan, for an everlasting possession" (Gen 17:8). Was God faithful to perform
that which He had spoken?
Yes, hundreds of years later the descendants of Abraham went on to possess in
peace all the land which the Lord had promised to them: "And the LORD gave unto
Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they
possessed it, and dwelt therein, and the Lord gave them rest round about,
according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of
all their enemies before them; the Lord delivered all their enemies into their
hand. There failed not ought of any good thing which the Lord had spoken unto
the house of Israel; all came to pass" (Josh 21:43-45).
Did the land they ruled really reach all the way from Egypt to the river
Euphrates as promised by God in Gen 15:18? "Solomon reigned over all kingdoms
from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt" 1
Kings 4:21. Was that river the Euphrates? Solomon "had dominion over all the
region on this side the river, from Tiphsah" (1Kgs 4:24). Tiphsah was located on
the Euphrates in Mesopotamia.
Why are we raising these questions? Because it is proclaimed by some today that
God did not keep His promise to Israel at that time, and they did not rule over
all the land; and therefore He must give Christ an earthly reign so these
promises may be fulfilled. But these have already been fulfilled and God has
kept His Word.
Now the fourth promise made to Abraham was the promise of the Messiah. This
greatest of all the promises was not expressed to Abraham, or to Isaac or
Israel, in those terms, but the true meaning of God's Word has long ago been
shown to us. God said to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob or Israel: "In thy seed
shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Gen 22:18, 26:4, 28:14). And the
apostle Paul was shown by divine revelation the identity of the Seed in whom all
the nations of the earth were to be blessed: "Now to Abraham and his seed were
the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to
thy seed, which is Christ" (Gal 3:16). This is the greatest of all the promises,
that Abraham would bless the nations through his seed, Christ.
Has that promise been fulfilled? "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" (Gal 4:4); "For
God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Yes,
Christ came to redeem His people from their sins. He came as "the seed of David
according to the flesh" (Rom 1:3), and in Him "all the promises of God are yea,
and in him amen, unto the glory of God" (2Cor 1:20). These promises are all
spiritual promises made to Abraham's seed, Christ, and to us; and we are
therefore heirs of these promises, and rightly called: "the true Israel of God."
"And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen [Gentile]
through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall
all nations be blessed. So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful
Abraham" (Gal 3:8-9). We find here then that the only way of blessing is to be a
spiritual seed of Abraham and not a physical seed, for the blessing came through
Christ only by the gospel; and this is the promise which God has given to us.
The only way in which we can be partakers of the promises is by the new birth:
or as Peter puts it, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious
promises that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having
escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2Pet 1:4).
We must be born into the spiritual kingdom of God. This work is accomplished
only by the Holy Spirit who plants in our hearts the incorruptible seed of the
Word of God and makes us new creatures in Christ. This He does by calling us
from the grave of sin (Eph 2:1-3), convicting us of the awful sin of unbelief
(John 16:7-11), bringing us by the law to shut our mouths and to stand guilty
before God (Rom 3:19-20), to cry: "God be merciful to me, the sinner" (Luke
18:13), to work in our hearts that godly sorrow which worketh repentance to
salvation (1 Cor 7:10), to shut us up to the faith-way of salvation in Christ
(Gal 3:24) and to reveal Christ in us (Gal 1:16) so that we may say: "I am
crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:
and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of
God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Gal 2:20)
Having brought us to Christ, shown us our guilty, lost condition before God, and
caused us to look away to Christ forever from every false hope, and this by
faith, the Holy Spirit brings us by His Word into the realization that we are
now heirs of God, joint-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17) and have been made to "sit
together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph 2:6). Therefore we rule and
reign with Him upon the earth as a "chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an
holy nation, a peculiar people, that we should show forth the praises of him who
hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light" (1Pet 2:9).
Halleluia! Praise His holy and righteous name for His marvellous grace that "has
made us kings and priests unto God" (Rev 1:6, 20:6) and therefore called
"Blessed" by God Himself.
Let us see how God works by His Spirit in our hearts to bring us to Christ and
translate us from the kingdom of darkness, the kingdom of Satan, into the
kingdom of Christ, thereby making us spiritual children of Abraham, the true
Israel of God.
God's eternal purpose was that both Jew and Gentile would be fellow-heirs
together of the same promises and that they would make up the church, the body
of Christ, the true Israel of God, according to Eph 2:11-22. Now, the question
is: How does He work in our hearts to bring us to Christ, seeing we are by
nature alienated from the life of God? If we are made the true Israel of God in
salvation, and if salvation is a spiritual thing, discerned and understood only
by a spiritual man, then how is all of this going to be done, seeing the natural
man is dead in trespasses and sins? (Eph 2:1). How is such a marvelous work
going to be performed, if man is in such a condition, as we read, "Eye hath not
seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things
which God hath prepared for them that love him" a Cor 2:9)?
How is a man going to believe when he does not know what and whom to believe,
seeing he has no spiritual eyes with which to see his own sinfulness, and the
beauty of the Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ?
How is a man going to repent when he has no knowledge of what to repent of? How
is a man going to flee from the wrath to come when he has no knowledge of his
danger as a criminal before a just and holy God? How is a man going to seek
Christ when he has no idea of how to seek Him or of any need that Christ may
fulfill for him? How is a man going to be constrained to seek light when he has
no knowledge and is in spiritual darkness? How is a man going to love God when
he does not know that he hates Him?
How is a man going to cry after liberty if he does not know he is in bondage?
How can a man exercise a free will in choosing Christ when his will is enslaved
by sin and Satan? How is a man going to seek heaven when he is ignorant that he
is even going to hell? How is a man going to walk in the paths of righteousness
and true holiness when he is satisfied with the paths of self-will,
self-pleasing, self-confidence and self-righteousness?
How is a man going to pick himself up by his boot straps and bring himself to
God, seeing he lies dead in sin? "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the
leopard his spots?" (Jer 13:23). This is the prophet's reasoning: Since an
Ethiopian cannot change his skin, nor a leopard his spots, then neither can you
who are accustomed to doing evil do good without the work of the Holy Spirit in
your hearts and lives! Therefore, how are you going to be made the true Israel
Dear Friend, all of this that I have given you is Scripture. This is the way the
Bible describes our depraved hearts before God. Every man by nature is dead in
trespasses and sins; he can not come to Christ, he will not come to Christ; he
must be brought there by the Spirit of the living God. So, to be made a member
of the body of Christ, to be made a part of the true Israel of God; it must be
wholly and completely a work of God's distinguishing grace based upon the
redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ by His blood-shedding at the cross. And
since you and I by nature, both Jew and Gentile, lie dead in trespasses and sin,
it is of a necessity that the Holy Spirit work in our hearts if we are ever
saved and made the true Israel of God. We read in John 6:63, "It is the spirit
that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing."
Did you hear that? - "the flesh profiteth nothing." He is not a Jew who is one
outwardly, but he who is one inwardly whose heart has been circumcised by the
Spirit of God (Rom 2:28-29) The flesh has no part in the work of God. "That
which is born of flesh is flesh" (John 3:6). Therefore, for us to be saved, we
must be born again by the instrument of the Word in the hands of the Holy
Spirit, for "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." All fleshly activities
amount to nothing where the regeneration of dead sinners is concerned. We must
be born into the kingdom of God. Neither the logical arguments advanced by the
mind, nor hypnotic powers brought to bear upon the will, nor touching appeals
made to the emotions, nor beautiful music and hearty singing to catch the ear,
nor sensuous trappings to draw the eye, are of the slightest avail in stirring
dead sinners. It is not the choir, nor the soloist, nor the preacher, but the
Spirit that quickens.
The Holy Spirit finds you and I wedded to our natural stock: wedded to our
lusts, wedded to our pride, wedded to our self-righteousness, wedded to our
self-sufficiency, and He must, by the law of God, cut us off from the natural
stock and graft us by faith into Christ, into the good olive tree, and thereby
make us one with Him, and therefore the true Israel of God.
When the Holy Spirit comes to us He finds us "rich and increased with goods and
in need of nothing" (Rev 3:17). So therefore, He has to bring the law of God
into our hearts and begin to convince us of sin, righteousness and of judgment,
and show us that we are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked
before God, destitute of any righteousness that God will accept.
Again, the Holy Spirit must convince us that though we pray and seek the
knowledge of the Bible, and strictly observe the Lord's day and attend the
gospel ministry, and even though our neighbors see a great change in us
outwardly, yet, if we have not been broken from our doings and our duties laying
at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ emptied of all self, we are still attached
to the natural olive tree and have not been completely cut away and grafted into
Christ and thereby becoming the true Israel of God.
You see, dear friend, the soul that God saves and makes his child must come to
know somewhat of its own emptiness and of its own nothingness before God (Mat
Now let me ask you a question. If indeed, as the pretribulationists and the
premillennialists say, that the Holy Spirit is going to go up at the secret
rapture of the church; I pray ask you who is going to do this work in the hearts
of all those so-called millions who are supposed to be saved during the
tribulation and in the millennium (if there was one)? Who is going to work that
work of salvation in them when it takes the power of God's Spirit to do it? The
answer to that question is that this is the day of grace; now is the accepted
time; now is the day of salvation: there will be no hope after Christ comes for
any yet lost. There will be no second chance, for when Christ comes the second
time, the door of salvation will be shut forever (Mat 25:10). Let us go further.
The Holy Spirit in breaking off and cutting from the natural tree, must show the
sinner that he is a transgressor from the womb, that he came into the world a
guilty creature; and that in the time of his ignorance and ever since his birth,
he has been guilty of many actual sins, and if those sins are not covered by the
blood of Christ, they will cause him to perish for ever.
Again, the Holy Spirit must show the soul that, for all he does, he is a
"sinner" still, that his best labors are an abomination in the sight of God and
that his own righteousness is as filthy rags in the sight of God. My friend,
even though you do your best, the best that you can, you are still a sinner, and
even your best labors are still works of darkness in the eyes of God. You still
abide under the curse of God, under God's holy and righteous law: "Cursed is
every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the
law to do them" (Gal 3:10). No matter what you do, you cannot satisfy the
demands of God's holy law. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God"
(Rom 3:23). Has the Holy Spirit thus dealt with your soul?
Again, the Holy Spirit must show you that God will not accept part from you and
part from Christ. Salvation must be all of Christ; you must be engrafted into
Him by His work alone; wholly by the work of God's Holy Spirit. We find like
Jonah did in the belly of the whale, that "salvation is of the Lord." And it is
only by the operation of the Holy Spirit of God that any of us are made the true
Israel of God.
Again, the Holy Spirit must show you that saving faith is a gift. We receive it
from above. The faith of the natural man is not the faith of God's elect. This
surely strips us at the feet of Christ, knowing for the first time in our lives
that we are at the mercy of another, guilty, lost, ruined, undone and helpless.
If it were not for the grace and power of God the Holy Spirit we would be lost
and lost for ever.
This is why I praise the Lord. Oh, I praise Him. I was a religionist, lost and
going to hell, without hope and without God. But God, the Holy Spirit, came and
wooed me and won me and brought me to Christ and worked in my heart by stripping
me down at His feet and letting me see that I couldn't believe Him. I didn't
know what true saving faith was. It wasn't the faith that I could work up, but
it was the faith that God gives.
You see, this is where the Holy Spirit has been bringing the poor lost sinner
all the while, to a state of poverty of spirit, nothing in himself, all in
Christ. It is here that He gives faith to lay hold of Christ as the poor
sinner's Lord, Savior and Deliverer. It is right here, in this way, that he is
engrafted into the True Vine, the Lord Jesus Christ, by faith, and thereby made
the true Israel of God. We are born into the kingdom of God by the Spirit of God
and it is by the operation of the Spirit that we are cut off from the old
natural stump, the old natural tree, and contrary to nature, are grafted into
Christ, the good Olive Tree. If we were cut off from the natural and grafted
into the natural, we could only bring forth that which we always brought forth,
sin. But we are taken out, cut completely away from the old stock, and grafted
in against nature, into the true vine, the Lord Jesus Christ and His life begins
to flow in us.
Listen! Christ lays hold of a sinner and draws him to Himself;
for by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body who is Christ. Therefore, as
the Holy Spirit, communicates to the repenting, believing sinner His faith, the
faith of the Son of God, He thereby enables the soul to lay hold of the Lord
Jesus Christ. He comes to our hearts as the sealing Spirit and abides in the
believing soul and thereby makes Christ precious and real to the heart and soul
of that poor sinner.
Listen now! Having grafted the sinner into Christ, the poor soul now gets a
ravishing sight of Christ. He sees His excellency; he sees His beauty; he sees
His glory as being revealed in the gospel, and he sees in Christ a full,
suitable, willing Savior. The sinner receives a new heart and a new nature to
enjoy, trust and delight in this Blessed Savior, to honor and to commune with
Him and to hold Him by faith, so that he can not let Him go. Why? Because he has
been engraved upon the very palms of the hands of Christ, and by His stripes he
has been healed from the hurt of sin.
Again the Holy Spirit in giving faith furnishes the sinner with the feet to come
to Christ and heart to receive Him. What the sinner could not do by nature, he
can do by grace, God "makes us willing in the day of his power." The soul that
once tried all remedies for his sin-sick soul, now finds in Christ his life, for
he has been engrafted into the branch through which flows all of the life-giving
sap from the root. Christ is the root, trunk and the branch, and we are one in
Him and for this I praise Him and rejoice in what He has done for my never-dying
Truly then the soul that has been grafted into Christ is spoken of as being
"married" to Christ, bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. He is spoken of as
being a member of His body, and our body becoming His temple, the temple or
dwelling place of His Spirit, and he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.
We have been made one in Him. The soul redeemed by the grace of God and made the
true Israel of God can now say: My beloved is mine and I am His; His life is my
life; His inheritance is my inheritance; His name has become my name; His
character, my character; His righteousness, my righteousness; His glory, my
glory; His standing in heaven, my standing.
Now as the true Israel of God, the saved soul looks for a new heaven and a new
earth wherein dwelleth righteousness and where God will be all in all manifested
unto us in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We shall follow the Lamb whither
soever He goeth and rejoice in Him throughout eternity that ever He elected us,
called us, justified us: and glorified us in Himself. I praise Him for letting
me see and know the scope of His eternal purpose, that is, that all things would
head up in the Lord Jesus Christ; and that He would take dead, vile, wretched,
hell-deserving sinners, both Jew and Gentile, who deserve nothing but to be cast
out of His presence forever, and make them His very own. He graciously gives
them a new heart and a new nature, and calls them His heirs, His children, and
this work is performed by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy
Spirit. These blood-washed ones will be with Him forever to behold His glory and
sing His praises throughout eternity with Christ, their Lord and Savior, ruling