The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers. . . . Know, therefore, that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people. Deut 7:6-8; 9:6
Dear Father, I've been thinking about our future life in the new heaven and new earth a lot lately. The more aware I am of my brokenness and the brokenness all around me, the more I long for the amazing future you've promised your children.
Indeed, the more I ponder images of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:1-22:6), the more I experience "doxological overload." A life devoid of chaos and evil and a world permeated with goodness and grace has never looked so good. However, I need to be reminded all the time that our present relationship with and our coming life in heaven, are ours by inheritance, not wage---it's what you freely give us, nothing that we could ever earn. Eternal Hallelujahs we shout!
Forgive us when we're still tempted to believe there's something we can do to make you love us. Forgive us when we think there's something we can do to make you to regret you chose us and make you renege on your promises. Our arrogance and unbelief have infected every cell of our being.
We're your treasured people because you chose to make us your treasure. We didn't choose you. Apart from the gospel we'd still be hating you, rebelling against you and trying our best to ignore you. But you set your love upon us in eternity and revealed this great affection when you sent Jesus to be our Redeemer. And we wouldn't love Jesus unless you'd given us a new heart by the Spirit and the faith we need to receive eternal life.
The only reason we'll enjoy life in the ultimate land---the new heaven and new earth---is because of the righteousness of Jesus. Apart from Jesus' righteousness, we have none. We're still a stubborn people, in desperate need of more and more grace. Our stubbornness is seen most clearly in our refusal to believe the gospel; in the ways we still give our hearts to other gods and saviors; and in our multiplied failures to love each other as Jesus loves us. We need the gospel of your grace, everyday and every hour.
Father, we are thrilled and grateful to affirm, that by the same grace you justified us, you're sanctifying us---you're making us like Jesus. From beginning to end, this whole journey is by grace alone to your glory alone. You will complete the good work you began in us.
Until the Day Jesus returns to finish making all things new, we'll seek to give you the praise you deserve and the obedience of love. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus' beautiful and bountiful name.