At the centre of the Bible is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 24:27). There is no meaningful or biblical Christianity apart from him. He is the Alpha and the Omega; the Great High Priest; our Chief Shepherd; the Lamb of God; the Lion of the Tribe of Judah; the Rock of Ages; the Way, Truth and the Life. He is both the rescuing Saviour and reigning Lord God. But before we get carried away with the infinite glory of Christ, let us divert our attention to his Father. Father’s Day undoubtedly generates mixed feelings linked to our earthly experience. This is why reflecting on the inexpressible love of our heavenly Father is necessary.
A love that is free and unconditional
1 Peter 1:2 reads, “According to the foreknowledge of God the Father”. Written to believers in exile due to persecution, 1 Peter is an encouraging epistle to all Christians, foreigners and sojourners in this world. Peter wants his readers to understand that salvation is a work of the Trinitarian God: Father, Son and Spirit. The Father’s foreknowledge is not general awareness but decisive action. Our salvation is not something novel in God’s mind, the result of faith. For God determined to bring about our salvation through faith before time. The Father’s love was not only demonstrated while we were still sinners, though that is true (Romans 5:8), it was demonstrated in eternity. God chooses to place his love on us. It is wonderful grace. This should not cause us to search for a list of God’s elect. It is meant to make us rejoice and be assured of God’s eternal love for us.
The Father pursues his prodigal children
Isaiah 52:13-53:12 is one of the most famous passages in Isaiah, possibly the Old Testament. It is a song praising God’s suffering servant, Jesus Christ. Yet the suffering servant triumphs not because he defeated his enemies in an open contest for personal benefit but because he gave his life for others. But we rarely reflect on the Father’s love for his wayward children when we come to this passage.
In the midst of sin, the Father promised a gracious love that saves errand and rebellious sinners.
The context is informative. The nation of Israel rejected God and Israel had split into two kingdoms. Because of her idolatry, Israel had already been exiled at this time. Now the prophet talks to the remaining part of the kingdom, Judah. He exhorted them to remain faithful to God. Note the Father’s compassion and longsuffering. Despite their rejection of him, the Father expressed forgiveness towards his people. His divine love does more merely ache; it acts. God intervenes on their behalf. About 800 years later, the suffering servant was indeed oppressed, afflicted, and rejected, and all this was the will of the Father to crush him. In the midst of sin, the Father promised a gracious love that saves errand and rebellious sinners.
The cross and the Father
What about Calvary? Have you ever imagined how the Father had to restrain all of heaven as the Son suffered? We can imagine the entire angelic host desperate to intervene, as their Lord faced death alone. Yet we can also rightly imagine the Father’s voice answering them, ‘I have intended this from the beginning.’ As the Son cries, ‘my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ the Father’s will is accomplished (Luke 22:42). The incomparable cost, endured by the Son and the pain of loss experienced by the Father was for us. As God demonstrates his terrifying glory and judges sin we also see his glorious removal of sin from us. The words of a well known chorus express this clearly: How great the pain of searing lossThe Father turns His face away, / As wounds which mar the Chosen One / Bring many sons to glory.
As the Son cries, ‘my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ the Father’s will is accomplished (Luke 22:42). The incomparable cost, endured by the Son and the pain of loss experienced by the Father was for us.
Our heavenly Father cares
Are you anxious and worried that you will not make it tomorrow? Are you wondering if God really cares about you, if he is aware of your struggles? Is the economic crisis too heavy to bear? Know that the heavenly Father cares. If you have read this far you know this to be true. If he provides for the birds of the air, we are infinitely more valuable to him (Matthew 6:25-34). “He who did not spare the Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32; see 1 Peter 1:3-9). This is sometimes hard to perceive and even harder to believe. But the love of God is not ultimately demonstrated in our circumstances but the work of Christ. Therefore we must work hard, pray always and desire to be content. Of course, we must never stop seeking God our Father (Matthew 6:33).
God has demonstrated his love for us
Some are still looking for signs today! They protest saying, ‘I will only believe if God comes down right now and reveals himself to me’! But God has already done that dear reader. About 2000 years ago He has personally revealed Himself through Jesus Christ. While people were in sin, and consequently you too, the heavenly Father demonstrated His love to you in that while you are still a sinner, Christ actually died for you (Romans 5:8). You might have an earthly father whom you do not aspire and to be like, but know that our heavenly Father is good and perfect.
We worship the Father
The idea of the heavenly Father is so familiar we often fail to give it enough consideration. But Jesus was clear: you can only know the Father through him. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also” (John 14:6-7). Jesus gives eternal life, and the aim of this life is to know the Father personally. “This is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3; 20:30-31). God’s love should motivate us to hear, delight in and accept the gospel, so that we worship God with all our mind, heart, and strength as long as it is called today.