John 17:24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they maybehold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. (NKJ)

Jesus Christ is God’s love-gift to the world, and believers are the Father’s love-gift to Jesus Christ.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Himshould not perish but have everlasting life. (NKJ)

It is Christ who commits the believer to the Father for safe-keeping, so that the believer’s security rests upon the Father’s faithfulness to His Son Jesus Christ” (Scofield Reference Bible, p. 1139)


One of the Apostle’s threefold divisions of humanity is the “Uncircumcision” with reference to unregenerate Gentiles, “the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands” with reference to Israel, and “the circumcision made without hands” with reference to Christians.

Ephesians 2:11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands-- (NKJ)

Colossians 2:11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting
off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, (NKJ)

However, the important truth that the believer has been circumcised with a circumcision made without hands and wholly apart from the flesh, is the grace position which is now in view. In the Colossians passage (2:11), the believer’s spiritual circumcision is said to be the “putting off the body of sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.” Two closely related words occur in this passage, namely, body and flesh. The physical body does not commit sin except as it is dominated by the flesh - which flesh includes the soul and spirit, and manifests that fallen nature which all possess, saved and unsaved alike. The physical body is not put off in a literal sense, but, being the instrument or sphere of sin’s manifestation, the flesh with its “body of sin” may be annulled (Romans 6:6), or rendered inoperative for the time being.

Romans 6:6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. (NKJ)

As the sin nature was judged by Christ in His death, so the believer, because of his vital place in Christ, partakes of that “putting off” which Christ accomplished, and which fell as a circumcision upon Him and becomes a spiritual circumcision to the one for whom Christ substituted. It is a circumcision made “without hands.” To stand thus before God as one whose sin nature, or flesh, has been judged and for whom a way of deliverance from the dominion of the flesh has been secured, is a position which grace has provided, and is blessed indeed.


In his First Epistle, Peter declares that the believers form a holy priesthood (2:5) and a royal priesthood (2:9), and their royalty is again asserted by John when in Revelation 1:6 (R.V.) they are titled “a kingdom . . . priests, or according to another reading (A.V.), “kings and priests.”

1 Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (NKJ)

1 Peter 2:9 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; (NKJ)

Revelation 1:6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion
forever and ever. Amen. (NKJ)

Revelation 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and
dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (KJV)

Revelation 1:6 and he made us (to be) a kingdom, (to be) priests unto his God and Father; to him (be) the
glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (ASV)

Revelation 1:6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. (NIV)

The truth that Christ is a king-priest is reflected here. The believer derives all his positions and possessions from Christ. The child of God is therefore a priest now because of his relation to Christ the High Priest, and he will yet reign with Christ a thousand years - when Christ takes His earthly throne.

Revelation 5:10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” (NKJ)

2 Timothy 2:12 If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, he also will deny us. (NKJ)

Priesthood has passed through certain well-defined stages or aspects. The patriarchs were priests over their households. Later, to Israel was offered the privilege of becoming a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6); but it was conditional and Israel failed in the realization of this blessing, and the priesthood was restricted to one tribe or family.

Exodus 19:6 ‘And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (NKJ)

On a grace basis, in which God undertakes through the merit of His Son, in the New Testament is introduced the true and final realization of a kingdom of priests. Every saved person in the present age is a priest unto God. The Old Testament priest is the type of the New Testament priest. Israel had a priesthood; the Church is a priesthood.
To be a priest unto God with the certainty of a kingly reign is a position to which the one who believes on Christ is brought through the saving grace of God.


All three of these designations (1 Peter 2:9) refer to one and the same general idea, namely, that the company of believers of this age - individuals called out from the Jews and Gentiles alike - are different from the unsaved Jew and Gentile to the extent to which thirty-three stupendous miracles transform them. They are a “generation”, not in the sense that they are restricted to one span of human life, but in the sense that they are the offspring of God. They are a “nation” in the sense that they are separate, a distinct grouping among all the peoples of the earth. They are a “peculiar people” in the sense that they are born of God and are therefore not of this world. They are not enjoined to try to be peculiar; any people in this world who are citizens of heaven, perfected in Christ, and appointed to live in the power of and to the glory of God, cannot but be peculiar.

These three designations represent permanent positions to which the believer has been brought and they, likewise, make a large contribution to the sum total of all the riches of divine grace.

Under this consideration, commonwealth privilege, or what is better know as “citizenship”, is in view. Writing of the estate of the Ephesians, who were Gentiles before they were saved, the Apostle Paul states that they were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.” Israel’s citizenship, though earthly, was specifically recognized by God as separate from all other peoples. Into this position no Gentile could come except as a proselyte. Thus it is said that the Gentile, being a stranger to Israel’s commonwealth, had not so much as any divine recognition; yet immeasurably removed and heaven-high above even Israel’s commonwealth is the Christian’s citizenship in heaven. Of Christians it is written:

Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, (NKJ)

Luke 10:20 “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (NKJ)

Hebrews 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,
to an innumerable company of angels, (NKJ)

Ephesians 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, (NKJ)

Actual presence in heaven is an assured experience for all who are saved (2 Corinthians 5:8); but citizenship itself - whether realized at the present moment or not – is an abiding position accorded to all who believe.

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. (NKJ)

In truth, the occupation of that citizenship by instant removal from this sphere would be the normal experience for each Christian when he is saved. To remain here after citizenship has been acquired in heaven creates a peculiar situation. In recognition of this abnormal condition, the child of God is styled a “stranger and pilgrim” (1 Peter 2:11; Hebrews 11:13) as related to this world-system.

1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, (NKJ)

1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; (KJV)

Hebrews 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. (NKJ)

In like manner, he is said to be an “ambassador” for Christ:

2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. (NKJ)

To remain here as a witness, a stranger, a pilgrim, and an ambassador is but a momentary experience; the heavenly citizenship will be enjoyed forever. It is a glorious feature of the riches of divine grace.


Closely akin to citizenship and yet more restricted in their extent, are the positions the Christian is said to occupy in the family and household of God. As has been observed, there are various fatherhood relations which God sustains; but none in relation to His creatures is so perfect, so enriching, or so enduring as that which He bears to the household and family of the saints. So great a change has been wrought in the estate of those who are saved respecting their kinship to God, that it is written of them:

Ephesians 2:19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, (NKJ)

With this position an obligation arises which makes claim upon every member of the household. Of this claim the Apostle Paul writes:

Galatians 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity,
let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (NKJ)
In the present human relationship sustained in the world, there is, of necessity, but a limited difference observable between the saved and unsaved; yet those who comprise the household of faith are completely separated unto God, and into that family none could ever enter who sustains no true relation to God as his Father. Human organizations, including the visible church, may include a mixed multitude, but:

2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (NKJ)

2 Timothy 2:20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. (NKJ)

2 Timothy 2:21 Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. (NKJ)

This picture of household relationships does not imply that there are those in the family of God who are not saved; the truth set forth is that not all believers are, in their daily life, as yielded to God as they might be, and that by self-dedication they may be advanced from the position of vessels dishonor - of wood or of earth - to the position and substance of vessels of honor - of gold and of silver.

Like citizenship in heaven, a participation in the household and family of God is a position exalted as high as heaven itself, and honorable to the degree of infinity. Thus there is correspondence with all other features of the riches of divine grace.


A Christian citizenship pertains to a relation to heaven, and as the household pertains to God, so the fellowship of the saints pertains to their relation the one to the other. The fact of this kinship and the obligation it engenders is stressed in the New Testament. The fact of kinship reaches out to incomparable realities. Through the baptism of the Holy Spirit - by which believers are, at the time they are saved, joined to the Lord as members in His Body - an affinity is created which answers the prayer of Christ when He petitioned the Father that the believers might all be one. Being begotten of the same Father, the family tie is of no small import, but to be fellow members in the Body of Christ surpasses all other such conceptions. To be begotton of God results in sonship; but to be in Christ results in a standing as exalted as the standing of
God’s Son. To be partners in this standing added to regeneration’s brotherhood, constitutes that vital relationship for which Christ prayed when He asked:

John 17:21 “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. (NKJ)

A repetition of any statement as it occurs in the Bible is for emphasis. It would seem, however, that, when speaking to His Father, there would be little occasion for reiteration; yet in that one priestly prayer Christ prays four times directly and separately that believers may be “one”, and once that they may be “one” in their relation to the Father and to Himself.

John 17:11 “Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. (NKJ)