The People of God (John 3:3)
Like the numbers seven and ten, the number twelve is also one of the Bible’s perfect numbers. It suggest completeness.
In the Old Testament, there were twelve sons of Jacob and consequently twelve tribes of Israel, which represented the whole people of God. To be a member of God’s chosen people one had to be a Jew or Jewish proselyte. All others were outside of Israel’s covenant with God and under God’s condemnation.
In the New Testament, Jesus chose twelve apostles through whom He would give birth to His church, which represents the whole people of God within the world today. To be a member of God’s elect today one has to be a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. It makes no difference whether one is a Jew or Gentile; all that matters is that you believe in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:28). All who do so are members of God’s covenant community—the church. All who don’t are outside of God’s covenant community and under God’s condemnation (John 3:18).
There is no middle road when it comes to the people of God. You are either in or out. You are either a saint or an “ain’t.” What determines your inclusion or exclusion from God’s chosen people is whether or not you’ve put your trust in Jesus Christ for your salvation.
It doesn’t matter how good a person you perceive yourself to be. It doesn’t matter how good a life you think you’re living. It doesn’t matter how many good deeds you can recall performing. The only thing that matters is whether of not you’ve trusted Christ and been spiritually born again. If you have, yours is the kingdom of Heaven. If you haven’t, you’ll never see it. You’re a stranger to the covenant people of God and unknown by the Christ who you refuse to genuinely acknowledge (Matthew 7:23).