When I was a young teenager, it was not uncommon to find myself assigned the responsibility of entertaining little children while the adults enjoyed some after-dinner conversation. I remember one such occasion quite vividly. I sat down in the living room with a boy, perhaps 3 or 4 years old, whose parents had set out a collection of toys for him to play with. I picked up one of his toys whereupon the lad exclaimed “That’s mine!” and immediately snatched it out of my hand. I knew right then, it was going to be a long night.
I assumed the child had a special fondness for that particular toy, so I picked up a different one. Again, the toy was snatched out of my hand accompanied with another sharp “That’s mine!” rebuke. I replied, “Yes, I know it’s yours. Can I play with it?” He thought about it for a while and finally decided it was okay for me to play with it. This exchange would not have likely been so memorable had it not continued all night long. Every time I would reach toward another toy, he would say “That’s mine!” and I would have to ask him if I could play with it.
In sharp contrast to this, I am becoming more and more in awe of the giving nature of God. His is a very unique and divine manner of giving. What strikes me most, is that what He gives, is truly ours to the uttermost extreme. For example, John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son,” yet all throughout His life, this Son of God refers to Himself as the Son of Man. He knows His Father has given Him to man and He so completely belongs to us, that even His identity reflects that. Isaiah prophesied along these lines as well when he wrote:
“For to us a child is born,Isaiah 9:6
to us a son is given…”
This child was ours even from His birth! So much ours, that the language almost implies it was us who gave birth to Him. But that is surely not the case, for in Psalm 2 God says to Him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you.” He is truly the only begotten of His Father, and yet also He was born unto us.
Consider as well, the implication of this kind of giving in light of the righteousness that is ours by grace through faith in Christ. When God gives, what He has given is considered by Him to be entirely ours. If Christ Himself is ours to such an extent as described above, everything that comes to us through Him, is equally ours. The righteousness that is through faith in Him is now truly our own righteousness. God, who gave His Son to be our Son, gave Him in order to give us His righteousness as Paul writes:
“For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”2 Corinthians 5:21
Consider also the gift of His Spirit. God gives us His Spirit in the same way. So much so, that when the Spirit prays for us according to His will, God considers those prayers our prayers, and answers every one of them. And as if this weren’t enough, God gives us Himself as well saying through the prophet Jeremiah:
“And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”Jeremiah 32:38
God gives Himself to His people and delights that we should call Him “ours.” It should be enough that God would select for Himself a people and take possession of them, but God also gives Himself to those people as their possession. I think we underplay the significance of this when we take this only to mean that God is the God of us. This is certainly true, but He is also our portion, our inheritance, our exceedingly great reward.
It is so natural to consider all my earthly possessions mine: my clothes, my car, my iPad, and the like. The truth is, every time I reach out to grab one of these things, the world says “That’s mine! But you can play with it.” In contrast, Jesus said “My peace I give you” and immediately followed that with “I do not give to you as the world gives.” The gifts we receive from God are more ours than anything else we may be tempted to call our own. As the qualities of all God’s attributes are exceedingly divine, such as His love, His grace, and His mercy; so also is the quality of His giving, so I too can exclaim:
“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”Song of Solomon 6:3