Weekly Wisdoms for the week of November 21, 2022
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, the authors of Scripture use the images of a father and his child, a husband and his wife, and a friend and his companion to describe the relationship between God and his people.
According to Genesis 1 and 2, when God created the first human being, Adam, God breathed into him the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). In a very profound sense, Adam was a son of God (see Luke 3:38). In Jesus' parable of the prodigal son, the son takes his inheritance and runs away from his father because he is seeking joy and pleasure in a very different lifestyle. Similarly, Adam inherited a beautiful paradise, but by trying to become like God (Genesis 3:5), Adam rejected the Father who breathed life into him.
In addition to using father and son language to describe God and his people, Scripture uses the language of marriage: Just as a marriage is commenced in vows so also the relationship between God and his people is sanctified in covenantal vows. God made a covenant with the nation of Israel: "I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people" (Leviticus 26:12). God remained faithful, but his people cheated on him; they slept with the gods of other nations such that the Lord sent prophets to call back his adulterous people: "'Return, faithless people,' declares the Lord, 'for I am your husband'" (Jeremiah 3:14). (See also Isaiah 54:5-6; Jeremiah 3:20; 31:32; Ezekiel 16:32.)
But God, in his great love and unswerving commitment to his covenant, did not give up on the child who rejected him, the wife who cheated on him, and the friend who betrayed him. God could not overlook our sins, but instead sent his son, Jesus, to absorb God's wrath against all those who had rejected and betrayed him. While we were still sinners and enemies, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
Through Christ's death, you, by faith, can be adopted as a child of God (Romans 8:14-17, James 4:4-5). Because of Christ's work on the Cross, the Father can celebrate "for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found" (Luke 15:24).
As God's adopted children from every race, ethnicity, society, and people-group, we are his people. Just as a husband and wife are united and become one flesh, so also, we, God's people, will be united with Christ in a new marriage covenant when he returns (Ephesians 5:31-32, Revelation 19:6-9).
Finally, because Christ, through his obedient life and sacrificial death, absorbed the wrath of God, you, if you have placed your faith in Christ, are no longer an enemy of God. You have an entirely new identity. Now, instead of being an enemy, you are, like Abraham, a friend of God (James 2:23).
What good news! The wonderful grace that defines Christianity is all about being pursued and adopted by the Father we rejected, being forgiven by the husband we cheated on, and being embraced by the Friend we betrayed. And when we think about this amazing grace, there is no room for anything but completely unavoidable rejoicing.
It can be easy to compromise one's inner life in hopes of maintaining a good outer life. While there is certainly nothing wrong with a good outer life, we can't allow our reputation with others to become more important than our reputation with God -- He desires to be the most important thing in every person's life.
King David knew the importance of putting God first in order to maintain a good inner life. In Psalm 27:4, he wrote, One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life. David made God -- and spending time in God's presence -- the one thing he wanted. For David, his inner life was more important than his outer life.
1 Peter 3:4 says that your beauty should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.
While it is by no means wrong to have a good outer life and to look good outwardly, God values inner beauty much more. That's because your outer life is your reputation with people, but your inner life is your reputation with God.
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All scripture quotations are in italics. Some portions of scripture have been placed in bold by the author for emphasis.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION©. NIV©. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
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