Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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From a sermon at Grandma’s house by Preacher Clark, early 1969.
Old Meeting Reel 2, CD 5, Track 3
As I have often said, what any man claims means nothing, even if he says that what he is claiming is based on the Bible. Preacher Clark often pointed out to the saints around him that God’s people are not to call themselves holy, but that if they live according to the precepts of Christ, people watching them will call them holy. He often quoted Isaiah’s description of God’s people: “And they shall call them the holy people” (62:12).
Earlier in Isaiah (48:2), God mocks His people’s confident claims of holiness, explaining to them a few verses later, “Thou art obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew, and your brow brass.” Now, God could have just said, “You people are hard-headed!”, but one notices throughout the Scriptures that God exhibits the qualities of a master poet both in His expressions of approval and, as here in these verses from Isaiah, in His expressions of indignation.
The point is that no matter what we call ourselves, God is the only one who can call us what we really are. He may use others to get His message to us, and He often does, but one thing is absolutely clear: God has not left it up to us to judge ourselves.