In the Old Testament the High Priest would enter into the Most Holy Place once a year on the Day of Atonement. When he entered the Most Holy Place he would be clothed in new linens and over his heart he wore a breastplate made of precious stones in which the twelve tribes of Israel were inscribed. This was a reminder that he was there to seek atonement with God on behalf of Israel and Israel was precious in the heart of God.
When we come to the New Testament we are introduced to Jesus our Great High Priest who is the living atonement for us. Jesus is our true High Priest and is standing before the real throne of God interceding for us. Though the New Testament doesn’t come right out and say it, I don’t think that it is too far a stretch to believe Jesus, our great High Priest, wears our names upon His chest.
We are precious to God and when he sees us “in Christ” He sees us as perfect and totally acceptable because we are inscribed upon Jesus’ heart. J.I. Packer, many years ago, said this is what it means to be Spirit filled; it is the knowledge that God loves you and finds you more precious than all the jewels that lay under the earth. What changes us is when we understand that God loves us like that, and we long to love God back. The greatest pleasure we can possibly have is to be in love with our savior.
In Luke 10:20 we read these words, “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” The disciples had been sent out to preach and teach and in the course of their ministry evil spirits, demons, and the sick confronted them. To their surprise and wonder they found themselves involved in healing the sick and driving out demons.
When the disciples returned to Jesus after their mission trip they were excited and eager to tell Jesus about all the wonders and healings and victory over demons they had experienced. To their surprise Jesus spoke the words found in Luke 10:20. What was important wasn’t their victory over the demons because maybe next week they wouldn’t be victorious.
The Christian life is a series of ups and downs and where we are victorious today we could stumble tomorrow. What is important for us as Christians is to always remember, “our names are written in heaven.” We have our names written on the heart of Jesus. It is only when we understand how precious we are in the sight of God that we can grow and develop in our relationship with God and with each other.
You and I don’t have to prove our worth to God because we could never be good enough to impress Him. What we are called to do as followers of Jesus is to allow Him to love us unconditionally and save us into the Kingdom of God. The result is we will in return long to love Him back.
Do you believe your name is written on the breastplate of Jesus our great High Priest? Do you believe you are more precious and more deeply loved than you could ever imagine by the God of the Universe? Do you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are not graded on the curve and your performance is not what is required in order for God to love you?
When we can say yes to the above questions we are Spirit filled because it is only the Spirit who can convict us of such amazing love. How wonderful it is for Christians to awake every morning knowing that their lives are not a series of having to obtain victory over every aspect of their lives in order for God to smile upon them. Instead, we arise knowing we are written on the heart of God because of His love and our acceptance of that reality by faith.
Christianity has lost its power in America because we have lost our faith and trust in the love of God. We are no longer filled with joy and wonder at the benevolence and mercy of our loving compassionate God. Instead, we spend our time chasing the same rainbows that our fallen and broken culture chase. We bemoan our situations and conditions and murmur about the lot that life has dished out to us. With these types of attitudes it is no wonder we have a limited impact on a broken world. But, just think what would happen if we really “rejoiced that our names were written in Heaven.”
Brennan Manning is right when he writes, “God loves you as you are, not as you should be, because you will never be what you should be.” God loves you because you are written on His heart, in His hands, in His feet, on His back and in the brow of His head. Your name is written with precious blood over the entire body of our savior. Jesus didn’t die so He could love us; He died because He already loved us.
Live your lives as sons and daughters of the King. Live your lives knowing you are precious in His sight. Live your lives knowing that you are unconditionally loved and adored and then let that love flow from your heart to others. This is being born again, Spirit filled, a disciple of Christ, a believer in Jesus.
This is what it means to be a child of God.