For God so loved his only begotten Son, that he gave him a people...
robin aylor 03/22/2018
There is a gift God once gave to someone he loves more than any other...
I’d like to talk about this gift and the object of that gift. I suspect one might assume I’m referring to …the gift of God when he so loved the world and gave his only Son. (John 3:16) or the free gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus. (see Romans 6:23)
Yes, that is a part of it, fits perfectly with and is dependent on it but that’s not what I’m primarily speaking of. The Bible tells of another gift given before that.
What if you heard someone say: For God so loved his only begotten Son that he gave him a people as a gift? What would you think about that? You’re misquoting the Bible! That’s not what Gods word says… right?… or does it???
Well, you’re right in that the phrase is not a quote or a Bible verse but the Bible talks about a people given to the Son by the Father in the New Testament and we see it in the shadows throughout the Old Testament.
In John 17 Jesus is praying to his Father before he goes to the Cross. Here many times Jesus speaks past tense that the Father gave him a gift of a people. Here's a few clips from John 17:
John 17:6 …“the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me,…
9 …for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.
11 …keep them in your name, which you have given me,…
24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
So right off we see Gods Son as the object of this gift of love. Jesus is the primary and fundamental recipient of the gift. It is a gift from God the Father to God the Son and God is glorifying himself within the Trinity.
But where’s Waldo? Or rather, where is this gift of a people... and who are they?
Consider how that in the beginning, God, who is spirit, created a people in his own image. I take that to mean they had a spiritual heart made for fellowship and in fellowship with God.
But some would say that God failed in this creation. Why? Because Adam and Eve rebelled in sin and their heart took on a distorted image of God. All their descendants were born with that contorted view. Would these who were broken by sin and who have no value in themselves... are they all to be a precious gift to the Son of God!!! We will see.
Then, God raised up a people from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; Israel… who he would call his own, and yet as a whole they too failed him over and over. Psalm 78 tells us of great and magnificent things God did for them and then in verse 17 it says: Yet they sinned still more against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
Did Israel’s failure make God a failure?
And in Jeremiah 13:11 …I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the LORD, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen.
Note he labored for his own glory, that they might give him praise… and yet the image of God upon their heart remained distorted. This people did not seem to have a heart for God.
Reflect on Psalm 106:7 which says: …they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love, but rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.
So like Adam, they rebelled… But we notice something else in the next verse:
8 Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power.
Gods name and glory takes precedence!
And he continues to speak, not as a failure but as though his word is sure and true… as thought these godly people called Israel who are in His image exist or will exist… but still, where are they?
Over and over in the Old Testament God continues to defend his name, word and reputation demonstrating and proclaiming his glory, while the nation Israel gets to share with the many benefits of receiving his love and mercy. But, still the primary root of their benefit is in and for God to be glorified.
Again, one may ask: where are the changed hearts?
And what about Israel? Weren’t they his own people? Yet Jesus who was an Israelite told some of Israel, like the Pharisees, that they were of their father the devil! So as a people group, the nation that was called Israel was not that people with an un-distorted image and a heart for God.
Did God fail with Israel? Paul answers with clairity:
Romans 9:6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, 7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.
So there are two Israel's; one of the flesh and one of promise through faith. These are the gift.
And then in Isaiah 43 we seem to hear God calling them out:
Isaiah 43:6 I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
So we get a clue: they will come from the ends of the earth.
Now in the same chapter God gives some astounding words!
Isaiah 43:25 “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.
So primarily and fundamentally, God does not forgive his peoples sins for their sake but for his own glory. Therefore we are not the center of the universe! It’s not all about us! It’s all about God and yet we are the beneficiaries of his tremendous love… first to himself within the Trinity and then as he shares with us. John 17 makes this clear.
And now looking back to John 17 Jesus also says some of these gifted people would be born in the future…
20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
And so God calls them out not only from the ends of the earth but throughout the span of time.
The next day, Jesus would go to the Cross to redeem a sinful people… a people with a distorted image of God… a people previously given to him by the Father. But would these keep his word? Would these finally have a heart for him?
John 17:6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.
There it is… these people are the ones! They have kept his word.
And eternal life is gifted to this gift of a people. We share in Gods glory for eternity.
John 17:2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
As we read earlier in Isaiah this forgiveness unto eternal life is for Gods glory!
So, from what we have seen in the scripture, I believe God has kept his word to each people group we spoke of today 100% for his own name sake.
But the group that he chose as a people with a heart for him were not the entire race of creation begat by Adam and Eve, nor were they the whole of Israel or the Jewish race. But they were chosen out of those groups.
God reached down through future time and chose a people to gift his Son for his glory.
Ephesians 1:11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
Again he chose us and gave us spiritual eyes and light to see his beauty. He quickened us to find our delight in him and believe his promises for his own glory and we are beneficiaries.
And so today, Gods reputation remains perfectly spotless! Through Jesus we are newly created in the image of God as his people with a heart for God given to the Son.
When we focus on Jesus dying for us, what it actually does is magnify God, and it is in his awesomeness that he shares his mercy and glory with us.
There's a praise song out that is so beautiful until the last line which causes me to cringe. Maybe you've felt it too. If the author means this in a different context which I do not see, or if they want to comment I hope they will. Here it is:
Like a rose trampled on the ground, You took the fall, And thought of me, Above all.
That is wrong. It was for his own glory; he thought of himself above all. He was defending his own word and name and reputation when he redeemed the gift of a people with distorted images of him. As in all of the Bible, so here also in Gods flawless glorifying love for himself we become the beneficiaries of that perfect love. Amen!
What makes the Gospel valuable to you and me is not our worth but Gods.
Finally, as a Christian we can trust God in that this broken world, full of trials and suffering works for Gods glory. But when we keep asking ourselves how is God going to get me out of this or that… how is he going to deliver me from whatever I am going through. We are looking at it all wrong. Its not about my name or my defense or my glory.
A better way is to say I cant wait to see how God is going to defend his own name and reputation. I trust that God is going to bring me through this for his glory. He will glorify himself when I am persecuted for righteousness and he will lead me to repentance when I sin. He will do it for his glory.
And so, through every trial and tribulation… through every Red Sea and every Goliath… we proclaim in agreement with God: He is glorious!
We stand back and watch with joy as he defends his own reputation and shows himself glorious to the world!
You will do it Lord! You will do it Lord! It is all about You!
For those who do not know Christ, I pray the Lord will grant you to be pleased in the Lord, in his supreme glory proclaimed by his death, burial and resurrection; and in so doing to delight in his amazing love for you as you find your hope in him.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
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AfrikaansAlbanianArabicArmenianAzerbaijaniBasqueBelarusianBengaliBosnianBulgarianCatalanCebuanoChichewaChinese (Simplified)Chinese (Traditional)CroatianCzechDanishDutchEnglishEsperantoEstonianFilipinoFinnishFrenchGalicianGeorgianGermanGreekGujaratiHaitian CreoleHausaHebrewHindiHmongHungarianIcelandicIgboIndonesianIrishItalianJapaneseJavaneseKannadaKazakhKhmerKoreanLaoLatinLatvianLithuanianMacedonianMalagasyMalayMalayalamMalteseMaoriMarathiMongolianMyanmar (Burmese)NepaliNorwegianPersianPolishPortuguesePunjabiRomanianRussianSerbianSesothoSinhalaSlovakSlovenianSomaliSpanishSundaneseSwahiliSwedishTajikTamilTeluguThaiTurkishUkrainianUrduUzbekVietnameseWelshYiddishYorubaZulu
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