The Divine Invitation
Read John 17:22-26
“So that the world may know that you sent me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me”
Throughout the life and ministry of Christ we continually see glimpses into the deep, eternal love relationship enjoy between the Father and the Son. When Christ was baptized by John to inaugurate his public ministry, the Father affirms his deep love and acceptance of Jesus in a public announcement to the world that Jesus is “My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” This is an anthem that is continually reaffirmed throughout the ministry of Christ. Christ describes the love relationship he has with the Father in John 3:35, “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand,” and in 5:20, “For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all things that He Himself is doing.” In his priestly prayer in John 17:24 Christ describes the depth of the love between the father and the son when he states, “You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” In the transfiguration, the Father again affirms his love of Jesus when he again pronounces, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him” (Matthew 17:5).
What is remarkable as we see the unity and mutual love that exists within the trinity is that in our salvation, God not only saved us from the judgment we deserve, but he invites us into this love relationship between the Father and the Son. When Christ came to identify with us, he did so in order that we might be identified with him. In so doing, he desired that we too enjoy this same relationship with the Father. This is the wonder of our salvation. Not just that we are saved from hell and given the joys of heaven, but that we are invited to enjoy and participate in the eternal love relationship existing in the Triune Godhead. In our union with Christ, we become co-heirs with him. We are now adopted as sons through Christ so that we become co- beneficiaries of the relationship shared within the trinity. This is the depth of the riches of his grace which he lavished on us (Eph. 1:7-8). This is the wonder of the relationship we now have. As participants in this love relationship, we do not need to earn God’s approval or acceptance, this is already achieved and guaranteed because of Christ and the approval the Father has given him. Now, instead of trying to gain God’s acceptance, we can learn to enjoy our relationship with him. This is why eternal life is not measured in the scripture from a temporal perspective, but from a relational point of view. Eternal life is not about living forever, it is about living in an eternal relationship with the Father, as Christ points out when he states, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
The tragedy in life is that we spend so much of our time and energy pursuing the approval of others and even the approval of God. We view love conditional and approval something to be earned. With God, the only necessary step is to identify with Christ and accept his offer of salvation and his invitation to become participants in his relationship with the Father. We enter into this relationship because of what he has done, not because of what we must do. It is a gift unearned and undeserved. But the tragedy is many Christians are still trying to earn God’s love and approval rather than enjoying his love. Today, accept his invitation to enter into a loving relationship with the triune God and reflect on what it means that we have become co-heirs with God through Christ and give thanks for his unearned love he has lavished on us.