Watching one-year-olds open presents promises a humor all of its own: unaware of the gift inside and enthralled with the wrapping paper and ribbon that surround it, it never occurs to the little tykes to open the box! Senses ablaze at the sights, sounds and feel of colorful paper shredded at will, there they sit in first-birthday seventh-heaven. It’s all perfectly predictable, yet we laugh just the same. But what if this pattern never changed as they grew up and knew better? What if those we love never opened life’s boxes to see what lay inside them—crayons, dolls, and games; dresses, basketballs, and jeans; gift cards, car keys, and heirlooms? Think of their joy missed; think of our hopes dashed.
To the Ephesians, Paul wrote, “you … were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation.”1 The same can be said of all who believe in Him: We live in Jesus forever. Yet being saved from eternal separation from God is only the beginning of greater things. To the church in Rome, Paul spoke of a gift far beyond our imagination: “For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.”2 Paul is talking about us! As we hold the rich-textured paper and ribbons of salvation, God knows the gift that awaits us deeper inside the box, the gift of His glory—His splendor, His brilliance, everything He shares with us, for we are His heirs, the “many brothers and sisters” of his Son and “co-heirs with Christ.”3
Glory itself is a difficult concept to grasp, as is our transformation into the likeness of the Son who is “the radiance of God’s glory, the exact representation of his being.”4 Over the coming weeks we will continue to open up the wonderful gift of glory, all the while celebrating the God who delights in giving us His all.
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15)
1 Ephesians 1:13
2 Romans 8:29, 30 NLT
3 Romans 8:17
4 Hebrews 1:3