Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Fathering of God, Part 5

My wife and I lived in Oregon for several years and developed a friendship with an older couple from our church. We enjoyed the time spent with them at their home. What we did not expect is just how much our dog “Max” was to enjoy these visits. They had chickens, dogs and Nubian goats. For some reason our dog immediately loved these goats and they loved him. He would recognize the property and get very excited when we arrived and the first thing he did was bolt from the car to go greet them. This was a very unlikely but wonderful bond between these animals. And it was instructive for us too.  

As God “fathers” us he draws people of very diverse backgrounds and worldly interests into unlikely abiding fellowship and deepening commitment to love and care for one another. This is a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit. This is evidence of the Kingdom of God being present on earth.

As God “fathers” us he leads us to care for one another and to be fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, and friends to one another. This means exhorting one another to do what is right and avoid sin (see Hebrews 12:14-17). It also means that we willingly share our sorrows, grief and pain so that other believers can become agents of healing in Jesus’ Name. And it means encouraging each other to do those things (practices) that will lead to being holy and spiritually healthy with God.

As God “fathers” us he gives us true identity as royal sons and daughters together in the family of God. Together we learn to live out the teachings of Jesus. Together we learn to listen to the Holy Spirit as he guides into all truth. Together we learn to exercise spiritual authority and to wield the delegated authority of the Kingdom to bring spiritual freedom to people.

For to us it is of the greatest importance to be happy (whatever form that takes for us). God, however, has little interest in our being happy if that means we do not desire to be holy above all else. For making us progressively holy from the inside out (character to outward behavior) is the end for which we were created and recreated in Christ. All of God’s fathering is aimed at his so we can live in God’s radical freedom—just as our Lord did when we walked as one of us on earth.

In order for us to appreciate and understand what kind of character God desires to form in us it is essential to have an accurate understanding of who God is. One’s perception of God will either inhibit or foster an openness of heart to the Father. With this in mind, I end this blog series with listing (not exhaustive) of key images of God’s self-presentation through Scripture. May the truth move us to worship, adore, love and receive all the good gifts of the Father, in accordance with the Lord’s promise, through the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

God is Self-existent and not to be thought of as a creature (Exodus 3:13-15; Deuteronomy 4:15-20)

God employed multiple metaphors to describe himself and actions in relationship to human beings:
o   Creator and Redeemer (Deuteronomy 4:32-40; Psalm 34:15-22; Isaiah 45:18-19; 2 Corinthians 4:5-6; Revelation 4:11)
o   Father to People of Israel and individuals (Deuteronomy 32:1-6; Psalm 68:5-6; 103:8-14; Isaiah 63:15-16; Malachi 2:10)
o   Mighty Rock and Strength (Genesis 49:24; Psalm 18:2; Proverbs 18:10)
o   God who takes “mothering” role towards own people (Deuteronomy 32:10-14, 18; Isaiah 66:13; Psalm 132; Luke 13:34)

God’s actions flow from his eternal Being and character as he has covenanted to relate to his creatures (Exodus 2:23-25; Psalm 25:8-10; Isaiah 43; Jeremiah 31:31-37; 33:14-26; Matthew 26:26-29; Hebrews 13:20-21)

The Lord Jesus primarily understood his own relation to God as uniquely to his Father and that his disciples relate spiritually to God as Father through him (Luke 2:48-49; Matthew 11:25-30; John 14:8-14; Galatians 4:1-7; 1 Peter 1:17-21)

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