God’s greatest gift to us is himself. Salvation is not an end in itself but a means to getting him. The goal of redemption is summed up in the phrase, “I will be your God and you will be my people.” The work of creation established this dual ownership . The presence of sin destroyed it. The work of reconciliation restored it. Through God’s rescuing work we get God. Our greatest portion is our Creator. He is our inheritance, our hope, our joy, our all.
When God is our God all that he is benefits us. In other words, when we are enemies of God all that he is threatens us. His holiness is a terrifying danger. His power and justice are our death knell. His saving mercy is foreign to us. When we are rescued by him this all changes. His holiness provokes joyful reverence. His justice and power bring comfort and hope. His mercy is welcomed and received.
Every attribute of God can be explored through the lens of how it is a particular gift to us. For example, God’s loyalty is a tremendous benefit to us. It means that he will stick with us through thick and thin. It means he will never leave. It means he will never break a promise to us. It means he will work for our good at great cost to himself.
Gregory of Nyssa, the theologian I mentioned in a recent post, highlighted another attribute of God as a particular gift to us. He thought God’s infinitude should be thought about through the lens of gift. He knew that the God who gives himself to us is boundless, limitless, and inexhaustible. His very nature knows no containment. He can never be explained or fenced. Gregory stated of God that “the one limit of virtue is the absence of a limit.” Phillip Kartialis spells out the implications of this statement.
“God’s boundlessness implied for St. Gregory that discipleship–namely following God—would continue even in the eschatological age. As knowledge of God would grow, so too would the desire leading a person endlessly to pursue God and forever discover new aspects of his boundlessness…that a faithful person will never reach perfection since the insatiable or unquenchable desire for God was understood to be the very fulfillment of that desire.”
In essence, he is saying that God’s boundless nature means never ending newness, joy, knowledge, grace, and love for us as creatures. It means that eternity is not nearly long enough to exhaust the character of God. We will forever explore fresh things about God. We will forever experience new things about him. Our relationship with him will be eternally organic—alive, always growing, developing, and evolving. This makes for an exciting future for the believer. Endless vistas of God’s perfections await the exploration of his people.