God has a claim on every single person on the face of the earth. It is an absolute claim that applies not only to those now living but to everyone who has ever lived … all the way back to Adam.
The entire human race is God’s by right, as it has been from the day He made man in His own image and breathed into him the breath of life. In fact, that very act of creation is the essence of God’s claim upon us. We are His creatures. He is our Creator. Yet it goes far deeper than that. For the power of God’s claim lies not so much in the fact that He made us, but in the love that motivated Him to do so. That love was pure, selfless and sacrificial, beyond our comprehension. Such love has no human equivalent. Neither the love of the most devoted, self-sacrificing parent for their child, nor that of the most passionate, self-giving lover for their beloved, can compare with the love that motivates God.
He did not create us so that He, being bigger and stronger, could dominate us who are smaller and weaker, bending us to His will. He made us in His image and gave us the gift of His life so that He and we would dwell together forever, in the most perfect love relationship. That has always been God’s purpose – and that is why He claims us as His own. Which also means we are not our own, and never have been. Not that you’d know it by looking at history.
Ever since Adam and Eve decided that the devil’s proposition was more attractive than God’s prohibition, the people of this world have been serial offenders when it comes to breaking the first Commandment…
Ever since Adam and Eve decided that the devil’s proposition was more attractive than God’s prohibition, the people of this world have been serial offenders when it comes to breaking the first Commandment: “You shall have no other gods before me.”
Mankind’s gods have varied greatly throughout history. As cultures, nations and empires have come and gone, our race has worshipped many things: idols of wood and stone; the sun, moon and stars; ancestral and demonic spirits. Add to these the ever-prevalent self-worship, so evident in today’s ‘me generation,’ in which we humans idolise ourselves: our qualities, our achievements, our knowledge, our abilities. Yet the most pervasive gods of all are the false versions of God Himself – many of them woven into the fabric of some religious dogma or philosophy.
What does this plethora of gods tell us? It tells us that man, who was created by God, for God, has a magnet-like attraction to any god …but God. We are the work of His hands, yet for the most part men would rather have gods who are the work of their hands.
Nevertheless, God has never ceased to pursue His claim upon us. Not forcibly or against anyone’s will – because relationship with Him can never be the result of compulsion – but He always seeks opportunities to make Himself known to people whose hearts He can touch.
For many centuries after Adam, God revealed Himself to such people, but they were always in the minority and their responses were often short-lived. Read through the narrative of the Old Testament and you will find more sad stories than happy ones. Even when people turned to God, it was rarely long before they subsequently forsook Him. Yet, one thing that stands out is that whenever anyone – whether just one person or a multitude – responded to God, they experienced the incomparable joy and fulfilment that comes from belonging to Him.
But God, who carries the whole human race on His heart, could never be satisfied with so few when He longed for relationship with so many. Compelled by His love, He did what He should never have needed to do. On top of the claim He already had on us all, He then paid the greatest price ever to redeem our race – to buy back the children of Adam who, like their father, had sold themselves to the devil.
But was it worth it? Why not just accept the reality that, by and large, the people of this world had chosen to be Adam’s children in the worst sense? Like their father, they had habitually rejected God’s claim on them, repeatedly breaking His heart. Why not be done with this world and its people forever, cut His losses, resign Himself to the sorrow and heartbreak, and start over in another place with another race? As the Almighty God, He could have. But as the God of Love, He could not.
You were created by God to live together with Him in a love relationship so intensely personal, so mutually fulfilling, beyond anything you can imagine.
Never has there been a greater redemptive act than the sacrifice of Jesus, the Son of God, for all of mankind. Willingly, He laid down His life to redeem what God had lost. And, because of that, we who were already God’s by creation also became His by redemption – effectively doubling God’s claim on the whole human race. Once that was done, He finally had His people back forever! …Or did He?
No matter how much God wants to be your God or whatever He has done to make it possible, it ultimately depends not on Him but on you. For God will not violate your sovereign will. He gave it to you and you are free to exercise it, either in responding to Him …or refusing Him. However great His love for you, however much He longs for relationship with you, He cannot – He will not – compel you to be His. That choice must always be yours.
You were created by God to live together with Him in a love relationship so intensely personal, so mutually fulfilling, beyond anything you can imagine. That is why He created you. That is why He redeemed you. Through those acts of creation and redemption He has made the way for you to respond to His great love, by giving yourself to Him: fully, freely, completely …forever.