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Who are the people of God?

In Genesis, God calls Abram (later Abraham) to leave his homeland to go to a new land God would show him. God promised that He would make Abraham's descendants into a great nation (Genesis 12:2). These descendants became the nation of Israel, the first people of God. Through Jesus, all people who accept Jesus Christ as Lord can be the people of God.

Throughout the Bible, the Jewish people are consistently referred to as the people of God. In Deuteronomy 7:6, after sharing the Ten Commandments and the Law with the Israelites, Moses lets them know that they are the people of God: "For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth" (see also Exodus 19:5–6). God directly speaks and confirms that the Israelites are His people in Old Testament prophecies from both Isaiah and Ezekiel (Isaiah 51:16; Ezekiel 38:14).

When Jesus came, there were questions surrounding the idea of whether or not the salvation He offered was only for the Jews or if non-Jews (Gentiles) could also place their faith in Jesus and become people of God. The Bible confirms that Jesus came to save all of mankind, not just Israel (John 1:12–13; Romans 1:16; 10:12; Galatians 3:28–29).

It doesn't require being of Jewish descent to be the people of God. Anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as Lord becomes a child of God, a member of the people of God: "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy" (1 Peter 2:9–10, emphasis added). The people of God may be from all different ethnic or social-cultural backgrounds—what unites the people of God is that they have all made the choice to follow Jesus rather than the ways of the world. John 10:14–16 says: "I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd." In Jesus, we are one people of God (Ephesians 2:11–22).


Related Truth:

What does being part of the family of God mean?

Why did God choose Israel?

Does the Church replace Israel? Is Israel still part of God's plan?

Are we all children of God, or are only Christians God's children?

Why did God create humanity?


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