Friday, August 10, 2007

Love At The Start

“…In love (5) He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—” (Ephesians 1:5)

Knowing what you must about the shortness of this life and the length of the one to come, which would you prefer:

• you live a life worthy enough to get there;

• God lives a life worthy enough to get you there.

It amazes me and stretches my mind that God destined me to live under the terms of the second covenant and not the first. He could have purposed and planted me in Jeremiah’s day, when most of God’s people only flirted with Him…and discovered too late the results of their pretended relationship. Or, he could have brought me onto the stage during the happy days of the Judges, when the disobedient Israelites went in and out of captivity at the hands of filthy pagans nine times.

Hmm. It’s been several months now since we’ve been conquered and made prisoners for pagans. Any enemy nearby who might be sizing us up? Might as well get ready to be over-run…

Or, God could have ushered me forth not just in the days of Jonah, but as Jonah. “Honey? Are you home? Jonah, did you forget to take out the trash? What’s that fishy smell—it’s overpowering!”

But, no. Before making the planet God had already dreamed me up, chosen me and determined I would be His. And not just His as in belonging to Him, but His as in the sense of a much-loved son, with everything in keeping with the royalty of my Father. He wiped out my natural birth—made it as having never even happened—gave me a second birth, and thinks of me and treats me as if I was always one of His. In a sense, I always was.

And He liked dreaming and choosing and determining me! It gave Him pleasure. It wasn’t just God’s will, as in moving the pieces of a puzzle toward a satisfying fit, it pleased Him to do it. Isn’t it great to think that you give Him pleasure? I can see a smile on His face as, on the day of my new birth, He says, “Ralph, you’ve always been mine, and now you’ll know. This is so fun!”

That’s the glory of the New Covenant. He didn’t make the binding agreement with me, determining our fellowship or relationship on the basis of my performance. He made it with Jesus, and gave me all of the benefits due Him. Now that’s a benefits package.

Next time you wonder if God loves you, or if His love ever wavers with you, remember how determined He was at the first.

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