Past and Future
For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. Romans 9:6-8
As we near twelve months of enduring the many challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, many are now looking to the future. They long for a day when they can return to their beloved activities. From large family gatherings to dinner out for two, many are counting the days until they can engage in a favorite experience that they have missed out on over the last year. The Scriptures provide us two things that we should not take for granted during these difficult days – a past and a future.
In his letter to the Roman church, a group of primarily Gentile Christians, St. Paul carefully crafts the argument that through faith in Christ, the Gentiles are the true Israel. Being adopted as God’s children or grafted into the true vine means that they have the promise of a bright future. This future is more than just going to movies and restaurants, but being in the presence of the risen Christ and His true descendants in the perfect bliss of paradise. Our future is so much more than just a long anticipated celebration that lasts for a few moments, but the marriage feast of the Lamb in His Kingdom that has no end. Part of what sustains in the midst of our present suffering is the certainty of the eternal glory that awaits us in the future.
We are also sustained by knowing our past. Since we are adopted as sons and daughters of God, Israel’s history becomes our history. As the Holy Scriptures are opened for us and by us, we find in them a wonderful testimony to the faithfulness of God shown to His chosen people. The history of the patriarchs and the pilgrims, the kings and the exiles, is our past and reminds us of how God has sustained His people through the centuries and so many difficult times before. God has truly been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Therefore, we face this present time strengthened by our knowledge of our past as God preserves His people, but also full of hope for the future as we await that which has been promised to us through faith in Christ. Thanks be to God for our past and future and His sustaining us in the present!
Prayer – O Father, by the working of Your Spirit, You have adopted as children of promise, strengthen our faith as we remember Your faithfulness in the past and as we look forward to the fulfilment of all that you have promised us in the resurrection on the last day; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan