Seeing Through God's Eyes

Apparently my perspective about my Brazilian permanent resident status is distinctively my own. In an unceremonious moment this summer, my Brazilian resident ID card is scheduled to expire. My viewpoint is that not only is it in Brazil’s economic interest for them to extend my permanent visa indefinitely, but I want to maintain the flexibility of being able to visit or immigrate to Brazil at will.
Brazil’s perception is different. If I am not living in Brazil when my ID card expires, the relationship is terminated regardless of what I might think. When it comes to governments and individuals, the nation unilaterally determines its policies toward foreigners.
When it comes to having a relationship with God, the crux of the matter revolves around who God perceives as his own, not the audacious claims we might make. Scripture reveals God unilaterally and consistently employing his same principle for determining whom he claims as his own.
God viewed Abram and his descendants as belonging to him because through his mercy he had chosen them by promising to Abram: “I will establish my covenant … to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”/1 Later, recalling the covenant God had extended by grace to Israel on Mt. Sinai as well as its renewal on the eastern bank of the Jordan River, the prophet Ezekiel announced God’s perspective toward Israel: “I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, and you became mine.”/2 Similarly, speaking through Jeremiah, God reminded Israel that in order for him to perceive them as his people required her to fulfill the conditions of the covenant./3 Looking forward to the future from that prophetic stance, God similarly foretold of a new covenant through which he would promise: “I will be their God and they will be my people. … I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”/4 Jesus was fully aware his death would establish this new covenant./5 In his death Jesus created God’s new covenant making it possible for all the peoples of the world to belong to God and to be saved./6
When the Bible is scoured asking the question, “who does God recognize as belonging to him,” the biblical framework of covenant clearly and cleanly arises out of the text. For us to avoid theologically misconstruing who God recognizes as his own, the discussion must be grounded upon God’s call to humanity through covenant. Whatever principles might be involved in becoming a child of God today are totally dependent upon this larger framework of covenant.
Our task involves understanding and responding to the covenant God offers to us through Christ. It is not our place to determine or define the principles by which God chooses to save us.
(Part 2 in a series)
1/ Genesis 17:7
2/ Ezekiel 16:8; Exodus 19:5,6; Deuteronomy 29:12,13
3/ Jeremiah 11:3,4
4/ Jeremiah 31:31,33,34
5/ Matthew 26:28
6/ Hebrews 9:15 (8:8-12); Ephesians 2:12-13

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