“From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him.” Isaiah 64:4 (ESV)
Isaiah’s words remind us again today of the greatness and love of God and how singular He is in this universe. These words were true in Isaiah’s time nearly 2600 years ago. He declares that since the beginning there has been only one God who would respond to the needs of the human race. And during all these years since Isaiah wrote these words, there has been no other God – although many have tried to create them. God’s judgmental manifestations are unique. No one has witnessed the likes of His awesome works on behalf of His own. In 1 Corinthians* Paul adapts words from this verse to speak of direct revelation of God imparted to His apostles and prophets and pertaining to mysteries hidden from mankind before the birth of the church. What a joy to know that we do have a God who acts on our behalf when we turn to Him. We can trust in the promise that He acts on our behalf. This is the one and only God and He is our God, our heavenly Father who is near us every day.
* “But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—1 Corinthians 2:9
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 (NASB)
While we read and think on this verse let’s be sure to notice that the emphasis is on God and His plans for us. It’s not on what we do for God but on what He does for us. When the verse speaks of our being created by God it really means our being born again – our re-creation because of what Jesus did for us. It is God who makes that happen and makes us His child and gives to us eternal life. That makes us the work of God – we are His workmanship. Good works cannot produce salvation but they are subsequent and the result of what God has empowered⸺they are the fruits and evidences of the salvation he prepared beforehand for each of us. Our sanctification as believers and our good works were ordained before time began (Ephesians 1:3–6). God has a purpose in this and it is that we will do what He gives us to do. We will tend to the work He gives us. Good works in our lives comes after His work in our lives. And all this was prepared and planned in advance. It is God’s plan that comes together for our benefit.
“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.
“He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” 2 Corinthians 5:5 (NASB)
Context is important. The passage in 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 explains what Paul wrote but was made part the previous chapter, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. One fact that we can know and rejoice in is that God has plans for those who have believed and accepted the free gift. We are reminded of this truth in our verse today. God has prepared us for living with Him in heaven. We realize that his plans for us are really beyond our ability to comprehend. Because God knows that, He has given us His Holy Spirit. Paul writes that God has prepared us “for this very thing,” but what is that thing? It is to be covered with a resurrected body and the future glory that God already has prepared for us. To put it differently, God has for us, an existence of which the unspoiled life of Adam and Eve in paradise is a reflection. God has given us the Holy Spirit as a pledge concerning matters that will be revealed in the future. Now we are receiving a taste of the Spirit but in the hereafter we will receive the full allotment that God has in store for us.