Jun 1, 2012

How God's Future Influences Our Behavior Today

The LORD God proclaims: Enough, princes of Israel! Turn aside from violence and oppression. Establish justice and righteousness. Cease your evictions of my people! This is what the LORD God says.

Christians believe that one day God will establish a new heaven and a new earth. In this age to come, God will wipe away every tear. His peace will cover the earth and his justice will be established from shore to shore.

But how might this vision of the future influence our behavior today? Ezekiel 45 offers a salient example. In this passage, Ezekiel sees a vision of the future, when Israel is fully what God intends it to be. In this vision, the Lord says, "[My] princes will no longer oppress my people" (45:8).

In the next verse, the Lord turns to the present time, speaking through Ezekiel to the current leaders of Israel: "Enough, princes of Israel! Turn aside from violence and oppression. Establish justice and righteousness. Cease your evictions of my people!" (45:9). God is saying to the leaders: Live now according to the vision of the future. Act now in a way consistent with what will be in the age to come.

Similarly, when we as Christians glimpse the age yet to come, we don't simply sit and yearn for that time. Rather, we begin now to live what we will someday become. We claim the truth that since we are in Christ, we begin to live in the new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). This does not mean that we, by our efforts, will usher in the kingdom of God. God alone will bring the fullness of his kingdom in his time. Yet, we have the opportunity and calling to live today in light of the future, to establish his justice and righteousness in our slice of the world. Thus, God's future directs us, shapes us, and inspires us as we live each day.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: In what ways does the future, as revealed in Scripture, guide your behavior today? How might you live differently if you were to take seriously the biblical vision of the age to come?

PRAYER: Almighty God, may I live today in light of your future. May my actions be shaped by the world that is yet to come. May I strive to establish your justice and righteousness where you have given me opportunity and authority.

O God, may your kingdom come! May your will be done today on earth, as it is in heaven. Amen.
 

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