“Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” – Hebrews 11:16
From my point of view, this single sentence has to be one of the most outrageous in all of the Bible.
To take into consideration those the author of Hebrews is writing about (Abraham & his family), as well as considering those he is writing to (Jewish Christians) and considering His word given to us today, to say such a thing makes no sense. That is, unless it is understood by faith.
Isn’t this the whole point of all the author has been saying and will continue to say throughout chapter 11 of Hebrews: That only by faith can we understand, embrace and live in the light of God’s glorious grace and promises to us.
But, for my own heart at least, the grace of this verse hits somewhere deeper.
Maybe it’s my deep knowledge of my own sin. Maybe it’s the insight into the wrestlings of my mind. Maybe it’s the awareness of my own doubts. With all that swirling in my heart, and then to hear that the God of the Universe, the One who is gloriously powerful and majestically holy is not ashamed to attach Himself to me? Can grace say something more outrageous? More beautiful?
Yet this is a key part of the good news of Jesus Christ to sinners like us. That the Son of God, the Word Himself would take on the flesh of mankind, humbling Himself to our station, and allow Himself to be mocked, marred and murdered to purchase our pardon, so that we would forever be bound together with Him in a glorious union. This is grace, the kind of grace that produces faith, the kind of faith that looks for what is unseen, the kind of unseen realities that our hearts truly long for. A home prepared for us by this God-man where we can dwell in the forever security of God’s presence.
This is what our God has done and will do. This is who our God is. The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob. The God of all those who are called according to His purposes.
What can a truth like this do to sin-wrecked souls like ours?
It is transforming, it is renewing, it firms us up in times of temptation, it draws us to true repentance, it draws us to worship Him, individually and corporately, it gives us a sweet joy as we live in His presence, it marks our evangelism and our zeal to see the gospel go to every nation, tribe and tongue. In short, it causes our very hearts to burn within us.
May we take a renewed hope and rekindled praise in our God…yes, OUR God. We are His and He is ours!
Good news, indeed!