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Three Kinds of Believers

“And now listen, Jacob My servant, Israel whom I have chosen.
This is the word of the Lord your Maker who formed you from the womb;
He will help you: Do not fear; Jacob is My servant;
I have chosen Jeshurun.
-Isaiah 44:1-2

There are three kinds of believers.  There are called people, there are saved people, and there are righteous people.  God loves all three groups.

You might know the story of how God changed Jacob's name to Israel.  Abraham also had his name changed from Abram.  The changing of the name, by God, signifies something that God is doing or has done.

The name Jacob means supplanter, heel-catcher, or seized by the heel.  The original Jacob was born, grabbing his fraternal twin brother's heel.  Supplanter means replacer, displacer, superceder, or one who takes over from another.

Jacob lived up to his name, when he tricked his dad, with the help of his mom, and persuaded his brother, to give him his birthright. Throughout his tumultuous life, Jacob worried that his brother would seek revenge on him.  On the fateful night before the feared confrontation, God came to Jacob, had a wrestling match with him, and changed his name into Israel.

He was told, "You have contended with God", and that is what Israel means, or God contended. Israel also means God triumphant or triumphant with God or who prevails with God.  The manipulator or schemer met his match in God and God touched him and changed his name.

In scripture, we do not hear about the nation of Jacob, but God often refers to Israel as Jacob.  God loves Jacob, but calling Israel 'Jacob', may be saying that there is a problem, in that the people are not saved: still called, but not saved.  Today, we are a people who are supposed to be or have had the opportunity to be saved, yet we do not act saved: in a nut-shell, believers who act sinfully as a life-style.

Perhaps also, God calls Israel Jacob at times, to remind them of where they came from and their need for a transformational experience.  Being born into Israel does not make you a believer, just like having Christian parents does not make a child Christian and attending Church, and even belonging to that group of believers does not make one saved.  Getting saved happens between the individual and God.

The third name here, that signifies the third kind of believer, is Jeshurun.  Jeshurun means upright, or righteous one.  Perhaps Isaiah was trying to get across the idea that God is after not just a called and saved people, but righteous ones.  The saving of people brings them into a transformational relationship, that results in righteous living, through their relationship with God.

God wants the saved people to become the righteous people.  The righteous people are not self-righteous, nor have they somehow earned a place at God's table through their righteousness.  Righteous people are simply people who are in a transformational process with God, and are letting God live through them.

Many people are saved people, but not very righteous people.  This is and has always been a paradox.  We can be called and saved and start becoming righteous, but then lose our salvation and go back to just being called again; because of our willful sin.  Transformation is an inside job, where we continually say yes and make choices to do the right thing and live through God, with God, and in God.

There are three kinds of believers.  There are people who say they are believers, but are not saved.  And then there are believers who have been saved, but are not walking or living an upright or righteous life.  And finally, there are believers, who have recognized the call, been and are being saved, and now are living out God's life or Christ's life in their lives, in righteousness.

Living a righteous life is not a perfect or sinless life.  Part of the righteous life is walking in love and humility.  When we stumble, and stumbling is normal, we receive grace and forgiveness.  Righteous people live in the love from God and love their imperfect selves.  And surprise, righteous people still sin, but when they sin against others and God, they ask for forgiveness.

Righteous people walk in forgiveness, receiving forgiveness and giving forgiveness, often, as a style of life.  Righteous people do not live as being right, over others, but seeking to be in God's rightness, that is filled not only with holiness and truth, but mercy and love.  Righteous people, walk in the light and do expose the sin or unrighteousness of those around them, but it is done with wisdom and in love.

Being an upright person is to be a disciple.  Discipleship is not an event or a certain course in time, but a life-long journey.  Upright people are constantly learning how to live and let God live through them.  They are constantly humbled and in so doing, given grace.

Being upright is not a destination, but a path of living, in an ongoing transformational, learning process.  God has always wanted his people to not just realize they are called or just to begin a salvation process and come to a point of arrival.  But God has always wanted his people to be upright people, living in his righteousness and living that righteousness out in an ongoing journey in love and lovingness; to be a people in the earth who point back to him.


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