So, we’ve seen that God’s reign is one of self-sharing, self-giving, sacrifice for His people. Isn’t that great! He’s not a cosmic overlord simply looking for slaves. Isn’t He so good!? To review, check out the previous posts in this series:
Let me take all this just one step further. We could look at all this and say, “Hmm, the God of the Bible, at his core, is a self-giving God. That’s awesome. So, he’s willing to be merciful. It’s in his nature, sort of like a benevolent King, handing out bread, who is good and kind.” We’ve sinned, but he’s merciful, so he forgives.
But, does King Jesus just say, “I think you guys are OK people, so I’ll die so that you can go to heaven…I’ll forgive you”? OR “You’re not too good, but I’m gracious, so you’re forgiven”? Does he want to just give us heaven? Does He just want to be nice to us? Absolutely not! He wants to give us HIMSELF! And He wants us FOR Himself. The Gospel is much less about what God wants to save us from, though that’s part of it, and it’s much more about what He’s saving us for!!! For Himself. He wants us to be with HIM! Look again at John 17.
Jesus says that the FATHER loves us: 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
JESUS wants to be with us: 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.
Remember, the King isn’t just throwing bread around, in fact, the King is seeking a Bride! We are called the betrothed of Christ. Paul says in Ephesians that earthly marriage was given by God to point to Jesus and the Church. If you are a GUY, listen…MEN, we have to get over ourselves, we are the Bride. There’s nothing sexual about this marriage. Here’s THOMAS GOODWIN unpacking Christ’s love for the Church:
It is as if he had said, “The truth is, I cannot live without you, I shall never rest till I have you with me, so we may never part again. Heaven shall not hold me, nor my Father, if I don’t have you with me because my heart is so set upon you; and if I have any glory, you shall have part of it.”
Wow! Can you believe it? Is there a sweeter word than this, “I want them to be with me.”
We do not have a contract God, lobbing demands from a distance, seeing how much work, sweat, and sacrifice he can squeeze out of us. We don’t even have just a nice God who’s willing to overlook offenses. No, we have a King that came and was pressed out, under the judgment of His Loving Father IN ORDER TO BE WITH US. Oh, what a King! And friends, he loves you. His heart is warm towards you. It overflows with affection and tenderness for you. So, how ought we to respond?
We should love him. What more could you want from a King? If you are a Christian, how long have you lived under the weight of thinking that you still owe God something, that he’s still expecting something from you? Perhaps you wake up in the morning and think, “Oh, I better pray and read my Bible so that God will be pleased with me.” It’s SOOOO easy for us to slip into this YOYO mentality that His love depends on how well I’m doing. He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not. No no no no no no no no. You can’t do it for Jesus. Jesus has already done it for you. It is finished. Your CHAMPION has won! He’s secured the victory, and just like the Israelite army did when David beat Goliath, you simply get to enjoy being IN Christ, sharing in HIS victory.
And, if you are NOT a Christian, and you’re reading this. Oh, friend, look at Jesus. All this, he’s done for you. Could you find a better Savior, a better King, a better friend than Christ? Did you think that perhaps you have to get your life straightened out, and only then maybe Jesus would accept you? Friend, look to Jesus…trust in His victory. Would you simply receive “His life for yours?”
Either way, listen again as he says it: “I cannot live without you, I shall never rest till I have you with me, so we may never part again. Heaven shall not hold me, nor my Father, if I don’t have you with me because my heart is so set upon you”