August 30, 2018 • Life for Leaders
Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
In the last couple of days, we’ve seen that God promises to give us an astounding inheritance. When the Lord creates the new heaven and the new earth, he will entrust us with it, much as he once did with the first heaven and the first earth. We will become co-owners of all things with God, if you will, called to steward all things for good. This is, indeed, an amazing inheritance.
But there is even better news in Revelation 21:7. God promises not only to give us a glorious inheritance but also to enter into a deep, intimate, covenant relationship with us. God says, “Those who are victorious will inherit all things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.” Did you catch that? “I will be their God and they will be my children.” What exquisite news!
In this relational promise we hear echoes of Old Testament passages in which God establishes his covenant with humankind. In Genesis 17:7, for example, the Lord said to Abraham, “I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.” Similarly, the Lord said to David about his son Solomon, “I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son” (2 Samuel 7:13-14). Now, in Revelation 21, these promises are applied to God’s people in Christ. The time will come when we will experience the full reality of our covenant relationship with God. And this, I propose, is even better than the inheritance.
My grandfather, Poppy, was one of my very best friends. I spent literally thousands of hours with him, usually in his workshop behind the garage. Poppy, professionally a civil engineer, was an expert in the use of all kinds of tools, and he had all kinds of tools. With these Poppy could build or fix almost anything.
When Poppy died, I inherited many of his tools. I still have them and I still use them. They are some of my prized possessions, not just because they are useful, but mainly because they remind me of Poppy and our friendship. I’m grateful to have inherited his tools. But I am infinitely more grateful for the relationship I had with my grandfather. (The photo above shows part of Poppy’s workshop and some of his tools.)
Similarly, one day we will receive an astounding inheritance from the Lord. That’s great. But far greater is the fact that we will know him face to face. We will experience God’s love as never before. We will live forever in the assurance and joy of God’s love. What could be better than this?
Something to Think About:
As I wrote about my relationship with Poppy, did you think of any similar relationship in your life?
When you think of knowing God more deeply and intimately, what thoughts come to mind? What feelings?
What helps you to know God intimately today?
Gracious God, thank you for this awesome promise! Thank you for the fact that you are our God right now, and we are your children. And thank you for the promise that one day we will experience this relationship in a whole, new way. Thank you for claiming us, loving us, saving us, and adopting us as your children. May we live today in light of this truth and in the hope of our future with you. Amen.
This post was originally published on April 21, 2016.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
Abraham’s Faithfulness Contrasted with the Faithlessness of Babel (Genesis 12:1-3)
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.