History is marked by repeated reactions on the part of God. We have devoted a whole book to show something of these specific reactions (God’s Reactions to Man’s Defections), but it is necessary to mention it here in special relation to the Purpose. We have seen that God’s method and instrument in this matter has been an elect people. Election particularly relates to purpose; it is not willy-nilly, nor arbitrary. To fail in the matter of purpose is to nullify the election and to lose not essentially salvation, but certainly the inheritance, i.e., that specific inheritance connected with the vocation.
The Old Testament representation of this is Israel. The nation was “an elect nation” for a particular purpose. The whole nation was called according to that purpose. When the body as a whole lost its vocational character it was rejected and sent into exile. The vocation was recovered in a Remnant. This Remnant was a rebuke and example to the whole. When eventually and ultimately Israel the nation forfeited their vocation among the nations by rejecting the very One who was to justify both their election and their existence, they were rejected and lost their place among the nations, as for the last nearly two thousand years.
The Church as the eternally elect body then came in in relation to a far greater and higher purpose than that related to Israel. Let it be emphasized that the existence of the Church is bound up with purpose. Failure here will mean spiritual Babylon, i.e., confusion, bondage, weakness, and frustration. But God reacts in a Remnant – “Overcomers”; and throughout history a thin red line of faithful and true witnesses, individual and corporate, is traceable when the general state has been decadent.
It is very instructive to note the way of the Spirit in His movements to recover this government of purpose. The movements and their features are all so consistent and harmonious with the object.