Are You One of God’s First Responders?
The Bible says this is not God’s world. He is not trying to save the world yet. But He is working with a few. Could you be one of those He has selected for an early opportunity?
On Sept. 11, 2001, when the two hijacked Boeing 767s crashed through the outer walls of the twin towers in New York City, an inferno was created that ultimately killed nearly 3,000 people.
Graphic images showed hundreds of people running away from the collapsing structures through dense smoke and dust. But other pictures showed another smaller group who ran toward the buildings. Scores of men and women, members of the police and fire departments responding to 911 calls, rushed to assist the hundreds desperately trying to escape the catastrophe.
These brave men and women are called first responders! They are the first people to arrive at scenes of danger or disaster. The events of Sept. 11 helped us to more deeply appreciate those who selflessly sacrifice their own safety to try to help others in crisis situations.
A deceived world in crisis
Ever since Adam and Eve chose to listen to Satan (the serpent) and to sin, most people have been victims of the great deceiver. The apostle John tells us the devil has deceived the entire world (Revelation 12:9).
The apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church refers to those “whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Corinthians 4:4). It is a spiritual blindness that God allowed so that He might have mercy on them later.
However, down through history God has selected a few individuals He has used to bear testimony of His truths to a deceived world whose time of salvation would come later. He would remove the veil of blindness from those few.
Down through history God has selected a few individuals He has used to bear testimony of His truths to a deceived world whose time of salvation would come later. Christ spent 3½ years working with a small group of disciples His Father had selected and called. He told them He would build a church, His Church. It would not be a mega-church, but small compared to most (Luke 12:32). This small group of called-out ones was commissioned to preach a message of good news of a better time ahead (Mark 16:15).
That message, the gospel of the Kingdom, included a call to those few God would choose to be a part of the “little flock,” His Church.
God promises that those who are called and stay faithful will receive eternal life as children in His divine family. It is a special calling from the Father not available at this time to everyone (John 6:44, 65). Most will have to wait until a later time for their opportunity for salvation.
“For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39).
Responding to the invitation
That calling would be an invitation to be a part of that Church Christ began on Pentecost, a few weeks following His resurrection. But not all who were invited would see the value of this calling. “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14).
It requires a response, a willingness to turn one’s life around. “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
This calling means more than just changing our beliefs; it involves changing the way we live. “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (1 Peter 1:15). We must seek to follow the example of Jesus Christ, imitating the way He lived His life.
The author of Hebrews speaks of them as the “church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:23). In other places they are referred to as the “firstfruits.”
“These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb” (Revelation 14:4).
They are the first of mankind to respond to God’s call—first responders! “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures” (James 1:18).
Are you being called?
Wouldn’t you like to be among God’s first responders—among the first to respond to God’s calling? You might ask, how does one know if he or she has been called? If what you have been reading on this website is starting to make sense to you, then God may be beginning to work with you.
Then there comes a time when you need to make a decision whether to respond to God or not. Now “the ball is in your court.” To move forward, you will need to turn your life—including your will and goals—toward Christ, His teaching, His example.
“Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:16-18).
The spiritual blindness can be taken away, and one can understand the marvelous light of God’s plan.
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
A full, complete response will lead to repentance, forgiveness through Christ and ultimately sharing in the glory that belongs to the family of God. The future that God has in mind for the “first responders” is beyond our imagination!
“But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him’” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
All that can be yours if you hear God’s call and respond.