June 9 – A City In A Better Country

“But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”- Hebrews 11:16 (ESV)

Our verse today records a promise that God made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and many others in the Scriptures. He promised that He was “not ashamed to be called their God.” Wouldn’t we want very much for God to say the same to us; “I am not ashamed to be called your God?” This possibility is surrounded by one reason before and one reason after. Take the one after, first: “…for he has prepared for them a city.” This first reason is that God has worked for us by doing something for us. He made us a city — the heavenly city “whose designer and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10). It is not the other way around. Now, consider the reason he gives in the front. It goes like this: “They desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God.” The word “Therefore” signals that a reason has just been given for why God is not ashamed to be called our God. The reason is we desire a better country — a better country than the earthly one we live in. We desire a heavenly one where God is.

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November 25 – Before the Beginning Began

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” Ephesians 1:3-4 (ESV)

Three times in this letter to the believers in Ephesus, Paul uses the term “heavenly places.” The heavenly places are not often on our mind and yet as this letter tells us, this is where our real treasures are in Christ. We have received not one spiritual blessing but all spiritual blessings. God our Father has blessed us with riches promised and untold, particularly spiritual ones. The knowledge of God, the forgiveness of sins, righteousness, eternal life are spiritual riches and blessings which no human reason or method has revealed to us, but only by the revelation of the Holy Spirit these promises are made known. Paul says that it was determined by God choice, by His eternal decree made before the foundation of the world. God chose us so that our sinful life might be wiped away by the sacrifice of his Son Jesus. All because of His love for us, He chose us, and not because of any goodness we produce through our actions, thoughts or words, we will and do stand before Him blameless and holy. It has been planned this way by God and there is no other way but by believing in Jesus.

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