His Glory for Eternity
so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
– Ephesians 2:7
While there are many things we do not know about the coming eternity with God, there are also many things we do know. One of those is that God’s glory will shine brightly in the redemption of His people. Our inheritance as the adopted sons of God will show the immeasurable riches of His grace.
When a boy is young, he lives to please his father. And, if his father is good and wise, the father praises his son. As the son ages he no longer depends on the praise of his father. Instead, he begins to desire to bring praise to his father. His actions are no longer to garner his dad’s approval but to garner a greater reputation for his dad.
This is a picture of our eternity with God in heaven. We, of course, love to be told “well done, good and faithful servant.” And we will, someday, hear those wonderful words as we enter our eternity with God. But, as we grow in our sonship we will grow in our desire for our father to receive all the glory that is due Him. We will long for His glory to be shown out for all it is worth.
And, this will be our great delight for eternity. We will long to bring glory to God for His immense love. Because He deserves it, that glory will redound on Him more and more as the days of eternity go on. There is no greater delight for a son than to bring praise to his father. And this will be our eternal joy.
God's Love Compels Us
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
– 1 John 4:10-11
Over and again, God tells us that His love preceded our love. We didn’t love Him first. We were rescued by the blood of Christ and given new hearts, and then we loved Him back. This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Since we know God has done such a thing for us, we ought to be compelled to love others in a similar manner. Here, the Apostle tells us that we ought to love “one another.” He is talking about the church loving the other members of the church. It is similar to what Jesus says in John 13:35, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Our love for the people beside us in the pews ought to flow out of our knowledge of the great love God has for us. We ought to be willing to bear with another, forgive one another, and admonish one another. This love should be evident to any who know us.
This sort of love is supernatural. It is not a camaraderie like the Kiwanis or Lions Club. It is not a sorority or fraternity of similar minds. It is a diverse group of people put into an adopted family and set on a mission by the King of Heaven and Earth. Our fellowship is unnatural in the world. When people see that sort of fellowship they take note and wonder. Let us love one another with the supernatural love of God.
While We Were Sinners
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
– Romans 5:6-8
Did God foresee faith in us when He saved us? No, Scripture is very clear. God loved us before the foundation of the world. God made us alive together with Christ while we were still dead in our sins. Christ didn’t die for the righteous but for sinners.
Remember, when we were outside of Christ we were not just innocent bystanders. We were opposed to God, enemies of God, sinners in every sense of the word. There was no reason that God should have saved us. There was no reason God should have loved us. Like the Hebrews in Egypt, the only reason that God loved us while we were sinners was because of His great love and His promise to save sinners.
That is the beauty of the cross. There, God showed us His love. Jesus demonstrated it, personally, by His death on the cross. It is mindboggling that God became man. It is beyond mindboggling that He became man in order to die for sinners who hated Him.
Not only opening our eyes to the knowledge of Him, God also opens our eyes to the knowledge of ourselves. He gives us a greater view of the depth of the love He has for us. The Son suffered the weight of the eternal wrath of God for us on the cross. What an incredible love He has!
Why God Loves
It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you…but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers…
– Deuteronomy 7:7-8
When we look at how God rescued the Hebrews out of the hands of the Egyptians, it can be tempting to think that the Hebrews had something the Egyptians didn’t. Maybe they were more holy. Maybe they were nicer.
But the reality is much more unbelievable. God didn’t choose the Hebrews over the Egyptians because of something He saw in the people themselves. God chose the Hebrews over the Egyptians because He had decided to love them and had promised—400 years earlier—to save them.
When Moses was delivering his farewell sermon to the Hebrews he told them, explicitly, that God had rescued them because God loved them. And God kept his oath of promise because of that great love.
We can be tempted to think of ourselves like the Hebrews. Because we love God now and we desire to please Him, we might think God knew we’d make a good Christian because He saw our future self.
But, that is decidedly not the case. God didn’t look at what we might become and pluck us out of the sea of sinners. Instead, God plucked us out of the sea of sinners because of His love. He saved us and molded us into Christ-followers for His own sake. And we ought to always remember that truth as we shine His light into the world.
that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
– Ephesians 3:17-19
Many people consider God’s love easy to understand. After all, they think, he’s just an extremely kind and benevolent being who overlooks our faults. These thoughts are, however, very wrong.
To know and comprehend the love of God requires the Spirit’s help. Why is that? Part of it has to do with our inability to know ourselves. We tend to think of ourselves as mostly good with a little bit of bad. But the truth is much worse and much harder to believe. We are “crooked deep down,” as Derek Webb sang.
John Calvin says this, “Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.” Here it is especially true – in order to comprehend the love of God we must have a true sense of our own unlovability. God’s love isn’t some sort of mushy, over-looking-offense love. God’s love is found in the death of Christ.
When we look at the cross, we see God’s love and how unbelievable it truly is. Our sin was so terrible and such an affront to God that the Only Begotten Son had to die to redeem us. We were not mostly good and some bad. We were rotten all the way down. We needed a redemptive love that could go beneath that rottenness to make us completely new.