Monday, August 11, 2008
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:
1) you live a life worthy enough to get there, or
2) 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 planned for me to be born 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 nine times at the hands of pagans. Nine times! Of course that means they were liberated from their captors nine times, and that must have been exciting. But I wonder at what point an Israelite or two might have thought, “It’s been a while since we’ve been conquered and abused. Think this freedom thing will last much longer?”
Or, God could have arranged for my birth not just in the days of Jonah, but as Jonah. I can imagine Jonah’s wife, now my wife saying, “Ralph? Honey? Are you home? Ralph, did you forget to take out the trash? What’s that fishy smell—it’s overpowering!” But, God being God, I’m sure he knew that the book of Ralph didn’t fit in very well with the books of Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Ralph, Micah, Nahum and Habakkuk.
Can you hear that heavenly conversation? Let’s go with Jonah here, and put Ralph, mmm, later, a lot later. He’ll be a New Covenant baby.
Before making the planet God had already dreamed me up, chosen me and determined I would be His (Ephesians 1:4). And not just His as in the sense of a possession, but His as a much-loved son, now of Him, having been given the new creation grace of royalty. 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. That’s how it is with all of His sons and daughters. 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 second birth, He says, “Ralph, you’ve always been mine, and now you’ll know. This is so fun—I love this part! Wake up now, Ralph! It’s time to receive.”
Can you imagine the smile that lit His face on the day of your new birth?
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 He earned. You wanna talk about 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 start.