For today’s devotional, I would like to share something my current theological mentor, Graham Cooke, recently wrote. I have only added the actual Scripture passages Graham reference from John 3:16-17 and Colossians 1:19-20, both of which are my own translation of those passages.
When God hears the world, He hears something different than we do because He listens to the secret of our hearts.
God doesn’t listen to the image that we present. He doesn’t pay attention to the things that we say to bolster our confidence or make ourselves look good. He is so much better than that.
Jesus, who ever lives to make intercession for us, listens to different things.
He listens to the longings behind the words; He hears the hunger. He listens to the cries in people’s hearts, the unspoken prayers that people don’t really think are prayers at all, except that they are. In His grace and mercy, He hears beyond our pain and desires for all of us to experience who He really is.
Beloved, I wonder what we’re listening to? Do we hear the way He does? Do we have the same responses of kindness, goodness and mercy that are like His?
I wonder sometimes what we’re listening to when we listen to the world. We get fooled so easily, and can often miss the desperation and the cries of people who have yet to encounter His goodness.
That’s who the church is meant to be: an expression of the Kingdom of God and His goodness.
The Kingdom that Jesus prayed would manifest on earth the same as it is in heaven.
The church is a redeemed community in a reconciled society.
Jesus died for everyone (John 3:16-17 – “For, in the same way, God loved the world, so that He gave His only unique Son, in order that everyone who believes in Him should not perish but should have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world that He should judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him,” Colossians 1:19-20 – “…because He was well pleased to have all the fullness dwell in Him and through ‘Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross, through Him, whether the things are upon the earth or things in the heavens.”). At the cross, everyone was reconciled – but it takes the action of salvation to convert reconciliation into redemption.
It’s like getting a credit card in the mail. All the rights and privileges of it are yours IF you call in and activate them.
Salvation changes our status from reconciled to being the redeemed in whom the Spirit of God now lives.
As ambassadors of the Kingdom, the church gets to tell the world:
Hey, listen, I don’t quite know what you think about God, but this is what He thinks about you. You’re reconciled to Him. A way has been made open to you, and while you’re making up your mind about that, let’s get your body healed. Let’s bring some favor into your life. Let’s pray for you and your family so you can taste and see that the Lord is good.
Our job is not to complain about the world, nor judge it. We are here primarily to be God’s visual aid to the earth of who God really is and reflect the culture of heaven here on the earth.
Romans 2:4 invites us to not forget the lens through which we see everyone we meet.
Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
The amazing, outrageous, never-changing goodness of God is the nature of the Kingdom and therefore, our delight to represent as the Church.