I am very excited to return to the loaded questions I threw out at the conclusion of Chasing Identity Part 5, Humility and Self-Consciousness.
Why do I exist in the first place? And to what am I restored?
These two questions ultimately have the same answer, but I decided to break it up, sort of Alpha and Omega style—with a creation focused discussion in Part 6, and more of an eschatological discussion in today’s offering, part 8.
In parts 6 and 7, I gave a rough sketch of how I came to the conclusion that it was God’s desire, when he designed humanity, to enjoy a unique and intimate relationship with each individual. This is a wonderful and humbling truth. And amazingly, the Bible is actually quite a bit more specific about God’s intentions for us. When it comes to answering the question, to what are we restored?, God’s word offers some absolutely mind-blowing glimpses into our destiny.
We are the cherished and longed for Bride of God.
A husband/wife relationship between God and his people is a major motif of Scripture (Isa 54:5; Rev 19:7). God likens himself to a bridegroom who has promised and bound himself to his bride. He offers himself to us in vulnerability, longing for us to accept his love—and to love him back (Isa 54:10). We are the beautiful object of his desire (Eph 5:27). He is passionate and jealous for our hearts (Exodus 34:14; James 4:5). He eagerly anticipates the day when he can bring us home to live with him forever (John 14:3). And the celebration that occurs when we are finally united with him is called the Marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:9)!
We are heirs with Christ.
As the only begotten of the Father, Jesus is the only human who was conceived by God—he has a unique identity as the son of God and as the pre-existent “second person” of the trinity. But he became one of us in order to secure our adoption as sons and daughters of God—in order to restore us to the relationship and position that God always intended for us (Ephesians 1:5). That is one reason he is called the firstborn among many (Romans 8:29)—we inherit what he inherits (Rom 8:17; Rev 3:21). We are brought into God’s intimate family circle. We are invested in and delighted in as beloved and favored children. We are lavished with the honors, privileges and responsibilities of the king’s heirs. We will rule and reign with him over his creation.
I don’t believe my imagination does justice to the significance of these truths. In fact, I know it doesn’t.
Ephesians 2:6 tells me that I will spend eternity discovering the richness and beauty of God’s intentions for me.
The Biblical description of the life I inherit with Christ is no kind of impersonal, ethereal existence of monotonous mass worship. It is active and interactive. It is a family, a community, a government—with roles, relationships, and responsibilities. It is serving with creativity, joy and fulfillment. It is process and discovery. It is reciprocity of love, affection, and appreciation. God intends for us to be with him, to participate with him, and to continue enjoying, exploring, and governing his creation. This is His desire for every person. This is what we were made for – and this is what we are restored to through Christ.
That is who I am. That is my identity—heir with Christ and the passionately longed for bride of God.
Amazing, just amazing.