June 23, 2017

God planned before time began

Endless space is a challenge to my imagination. So is eternity. The best I can come up with for eternity is that time no longer exists and all events are in the ‘now’ rather than past, present, or future. But that too is a challenge because we are bound in time.

God is eternal. His Word speaks of Him knowing the future as if it is the present. He does His work with the knowledge of its need and outcome before He even begins.

For instance, Jesus speaks of “the King” who will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matthew 25:34)

Other New Testament passages say that God has chosen us in Christ “before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Ephesians 1:4) and that God’s “works were finished from the foundation of the world.” (Hebrews 4:3)

This boggles my mind. We humans make our plans, but not with the same knowledge and certainty as God. Even Jesus “was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times” for our sake (1 Peter 1:20)

As for salvation, God also sees the end before the beginning. He declares that “the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.” (Revelation 17:8)

To me that is marvel enough, yet this verse gets even more personal:

“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Before I was born, before my sinful nature manifested itself in sinful self-rule, God sent Jesus to die for those sins, to die for me. He knew. He created a plan to cover it all.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:17–21)

This is the good news, the greatest marvel of all. God is not just out there doing His thing — He lives in my heart, governs and cares for my life, AND gives me a task of great and grave importance in His kingdom: I live on earth to represent Christ, to act as an ambassador on His behalf and a messenger of good news. His plan was formed in ages past, in eternity.

“This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time (1 Timothy 2:3–6) . . . . For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:10)

This good news is for everyone. It applies even to those who reject it, yet for those who believe, it becomes our incredible hope. God’s grace has appeared bringing salvation for all people. Those who are saved are trained by grace “to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:11–14)

Lord Jesus Christ, the scope of what You have done overwhelms me. Day by day You remind me of what You purposed to do before the world began and how You have carried out that plan. Despite the choice of allowing sin into Your created world, and despite our selfish resistance to You, You devised a way to rescue us with new life, faith, and the privilege of being born again into Your kingdom, into Your family. You made me Your child and Your servant, even Your ambassador. What a wonder You are!

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