Peculiar restrictions were placed upon Israel and were to affect her separation in righteousness from the rest of the world at that time. Heathen nations could see the obvious difference in Israel and their peoples and know that the God of Israel was not just a tribal god or figment of a superstitious imagination, but rather that He was a holy and righteous Sovereign. Israel was to be a light in the gross darkness of ignorance and superstition if willing to harken unto God and live as He directed. Today, the true Church is to fulfill those functions. To be the “called-out ones” of the New Testament (Covenant), we find this command penned: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18). This promise corresponds with the prayer of our Saviour that we should “…not of the world…” but neither should we be “…of the world…” (John 17:15-16).We who compose the Church are still in the world physically but spiritually we cannot belong to a realm of unrighteousness. Jesus prayed: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (John 17:17). And truly His word will set us apart from those who disobey it if we adhere to it.
The glorious truth of what the Church is becomes more personal with this declaration made by the Apostle Peter: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
We will discuss the commission to evangelize; the need to provide fellowship; the preservation of the divine ordinances; the establishment of a community for the gifts of the Spirit and the offices in which to abound; but all of these functions and reasons for existence remain subsidiary to the greater purpose, that of being the “called out ones” of God.
These truths might well be summarized by the inspiring words that tell us: “For it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:13-15).