When I look at the Gospel, I often see the aspects that reflect my own gain. Right relationship with God. Eternal life. Character. But this text shows me something profound, something that far exceeds my own understanding and capacity. From a young age, I understood that God forgave my sin. Of course, I failed to grasp the full implications of that, and still do. But, in this text, I saw that he redeemed me “from all lawlessness” and purified me “for himself.” For himself?
He purified me for his gain. For his sake. For his enjoyment. Why? Because he loves me. He loves you. And enjoyment precedes love. In fact, enjoyment informs and intensifies love. Empty of enjoyment, love fades to the dullness of duty. But he had it from the beginning. So much so, he created us. He made us to need and love him, for his joy, our joy, and our good.
He also calls the elect “a people for his own possession.” He wanted us. In the same way a husband and wife possess each other and join as one body, so Christ joins himself to his church. But what is possession? What is the significance of this mystery? An ownership, a control, an authority of command, sure. But a paradox exists within the seeming confines of possession. By possessing us, we possess him. He inherits children, we inherit a Father.
Furthermore, note the element of justice within possession. The greater possesses the lesser to give to the lesser what remained out of reach forever. That which has reaches out to that which has not.
That is justice. That is love. That is grace. That is the Gospel. The Gospel is not just for us. The Gospel is for Him. It is not just for our joy. It is for His.