“A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14).
Stand with me for a moment on this precipice as we look across a vast valley to a distant City on a Hill. It’s twilight time, and the lights of the City fill the evening sky. What we do not know from here is that we are not looking at one City, but actually Five. The combined glow of their united lights look as though it is one great city in the distance.
The five magnificent municipalities we see filling the distant sky with their inviting lights are the City of Love, of Mercy, of Goodness, of Favor and the City of Grace. Each is distinct from the other, yet all have open commerce between them. The inhabitants in this happy Metropolis come and go without restriction – and the lives they live are legendary.
Let me give you what the tourism brochure says about each of the Five Cities:
The City of the Love of God is immeasurable – none can determine it length, its breadth, its height, or its width. The Love of God is “greater far than pen or tongue could ever tell. It goes beyond the highest star and reaches to the lowest hell.” The residents live secure and productive lives. The glow of this City calls out to all around the world: Come as you are! God loves YOU – even if you do not love Him in return. His Love never fails.
The City of the Mercy of God is breathtakingly beautiful. God’s tender mercies are over all His works – given freely to all; especially to those who ask for it. But even to those who do not ask, God’s Mercy is shown in great supply. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed. He makes the sun to shine on the just and the unjust; He gives rain to the wicked, and to the righteous. His compassions fail not; they are new every morning.
The City of the Goodness of God extends it resplendent influence throughout all the earth, bringing untold blessings to every fallen child of Adam. “Why do good things happen to bad people?” we ask. Because God is good all the time; and all the time, God is good. It is the Goodness of God that brings us to repentance. No man or woman will have a claim that he or she may lay against God on the Day of Judgement – for He has been forever good to each one of us throughout the days of our sojourn in this world.
The City of the Favor of God is a place of unique blessings, which ebb and flow like the tide; there are seasons of great advance in which one may seem invincible on their God-appointed mission. And then there are setbacks and downturns, in which it would seem that even God Himself has turned His back. Yet, while His Favor may seem diminished – His Love and Mercy are always present. And even when things seem to be tuned upside down, God is nevertheless working all things together for our good. Even in the stillness He is yet favoring us with blessings.
The City of the Grace of God is the Crown Jewel of all God’s greatness. It holds within itself the full supply of everything we need to excel and triumph in all things. We are journeying to this place called Grace. Yes, it is true that we see and experience Love, Mercy, Goodness, and Favor all together within the incomprehensible gift of Grace – but, we must no longer view these as being Grace. Grace is something much, much more than this.
And Grace stands alone.
And this is the purpose of our journey; to arrive at a Place called Grace, where we will stand amazed in the Presence of Jesus – thanking Him for His “unspeakable gift!”