What if that applies to God as well?
In this morning's Daily Office readings, it struck me once again that God has faith in us even though God doesn't know how we are going to respond.
God's faith in us is a gift from God freely given to us without God knowing what we will do with it. Our response will show in how we act, our "works." To see what I'm getting at, read this nugget from Ephesians 2:1-10:
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God -- not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life."
There is a lot packed into those few words. Let me reflect a little on what I hear in these words. Faith comes through Grace, or God's power, and Grace is God's alone. That means faith itself is a gift, starting with God's faith in us. God choses us not because of our "works" or anything we do to deserve it, but because God has faith in us even though God doesn't know what we are going to do with that gift. A gift is not a gift if it has strings attached, and neither is this gift of faith by grace.
God is not sure what we will do with this gift, but God has faith that we will somehow respond with our own. The works that we do are signs of our response by living by faith -- "our way of life" -- even though we don't know the final outcome of our works.
Living in faith means acting in the knowledge of our salvation that is ours that came before we knew it was ours. Rather than seeing salvation as a reward for our works, it is the other way around: We show our response to God for our salvation by our works.
What if everyone in the whole world is saved but they just don't know it yet? What would the world look like if they did? How would they act?
Artwork above: The Hand of God the Father from the Church of Saint Clement in Taüll, Artist Unknown (ca. 1123); National Museum of Catalan Art, Barcelona