As a young boy at Christmas time, my attention was immediately captured when my parents finally laid the wrapped presents around the tree. I would quietly survey the bounty, looking for my name on the packages. I’d give each present a little shake, trying to determine which one was socks and which one was Legos.
Fortunately, for us Christians, the gifts that God has for his children are not concealed in wrapping paper. They are clearly expressed in the Bible. I wonder, however, how much we really understand about our inheritance in Christ.
There are a couple verses from the Bible I recently read that got me thinking about this.
The second part of Hebrews 11:6 says “anyone who comes to [God] must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”
Yes! I like rewards! Let’s see… I could use prosperity, health, a raise, good friends…
I don’t want to diminish the ways that God blesses us physically, but I am drawn to the words God spoke to Abraham in Genesis 15:1 “After these things the word of Yahweh came to Abram in a vision, saying, "Don't be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward."
Physical and material blessings are nice, but the real treasure is God Himself – He is our reward!
Physical and material blessings are nice, but the real treasure is God Himself – He is our reward! The real treasure that Abraham received wasn’t land, wealth, or a new son – it was in relationship with God. He is the source of peace, strength, and joy! Galatians 3:14 tells us how we receive the same reward that Abraham received: “in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
The greatest reward that God could promise us is the indwelling Spirit of Himself. In ages past, this promise was wrapped in mystery – just like the presents under the Christmas tree. Colossians 1:26-27 explains: “God willed to make known among the nations the riches of the glory of this mystery which has been hidden from ages and generations but now has been revealed to his saints. It is Christ in you the hope of glory.”
I know that I don’t always realize how great a reward God is to me. I may see Him as a “handy blessing” to help me on my way. But, do I see God as the focus of my journey? Is He the pearl of great price that I’d be willing to sell all that I have to obtain?
Imagine that you were on a cosmic game show and that you won the grand prize. You are entitled to a large sum of cash, a vacation, fast cars, and a dream home. Or, you can have what’s in the mystery box that is coming down the aisle. The box contains an old scroll with a promise written in crimson script. It contains the same promise given to Aaron the priest in Numbers 18:20: “The LORD said to Aaron, "You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites.”
Which prize would you choose? I know what the right Christian answer is. Compare the answer you just gave to a list of your top prayer requests. Do you find yourself seeking God mostly for physical blessings? Or do you seek Him primarily for more of Him?
When we get to heaven, we will finally gain a better understanding of how awesome our inheritance in Christ is. We will find that the greatest joy is not in our heavenly mansion, nor in deepened relationships with other believers, nor in streets paved in gold. Heaven will be the greatest place imaginable because God will be there in indescribable fullness.
I believe we will receive more of God when we get to heaven because we will realize all the more how much we need Him – and in this need we will seek Him more – and God will respond to us by revealing more and more of Himself.
You might wonder, “Why will we need Him more when we get to heaven? Won’t we be saved already?” You really don’t know what your true reward is if you think Christianity is all about being saved from hell. In heaven we will finally have eyes to see God, and in that blinding revelation of Glory we will realize just how awesome and perfect He is, and through that revelation we will cry out to experience more and more of His reality.
But, we don’t have to wait till we get to heaven to seek God and know Him. He is our inheritance and our treasure even now as we walk upon this earth. There may be some rewards in heaven that we won’t yet experience here on earth, but God’s presence isn’t one of them.
Thu, December 2, 2010
by Aaron Kren filed under