“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. (Eph.3:14-15)
Christianity is really about a relationship between the Ultimate Father and His children. And this Father’s ultimate desire is to lavish His extravagant love upon His children and bring them into His Family business in heaven and on the earth. Redemption, then, is really about this Family God’s plan to get His kids back!
Much to my surprise, here’s what I found out. God is a family God, to be enjoyed more than to be studied. Not that study is bad, mind you. It’s just not how we experience God. Now, you might’ve been led to believe that salvation is mainly about being forgiven so you can go to heaven when you die (and we can study about Him in the meantime). While that is certainly included, salvation is not about being able to go a place as much as it’s about going to a Person. Getting back to my main theme for this blog, this is what Jesus was trying to tell us in John 14:6. He is pointing us to the Father more than to heaven. He came so we could live with Father, like He does, in His house, today and everyday…forever. Actually, Paul the apostle seemed to think we’re seated with Him there right now in heaven (Eph.2:6; Col.3:1-3; Phil.3:20).
A relationship with God is not about a place or a thing, it’s about a reciprocal love relationship between a Father and His adopted children. And salvation is all about restoring this relationship that He has always wanted with you, and was willing to bankrupt heaven for, so we could have a home with Him. You see, you are the “pearl of great price” that the Kingdom merchant paid everything to get when He found you (Mt.13:45-46). I know, you thought it was about you finding the Kingdom of Heaven and paying everything for it (you didn’t really think you could buy heaven, did you?) No, this Ultimate Father, this family God, paid Jesus…for you. You have value to Him.
One more thing. This Family God is not an absentee father. As strange as it may sound, given what the Bible says about God never leaving us, this was a life-changing revelation for me. My biological father was absent for most of my life. He was never bad to me, he just wasn’t there. Whenever I tried to picture God as a Father, my screen went blank. It didn’t bring up any horror stories, or “father wounds”…it just didn’t bring up anything. I was like an orphan. I had no trouble with big brother Jesus or the Holy Spirit, just didn’t know what to do with this “Father in Heaven” thing. So, imagine my surprise when I found out that my Papa God (my translation of “Abba Father”) isn’t like my biological father at all. I remember one of the encounters with Papa God where He took me into a lonely, neglected place in my soul and spoke…to me. Wow! It’s a long story but, basically, He looked into my eyes, smiled and said, “I’m always here for you, son…you can jump in my lap anytime you want to…day or night. I will never reject your overtures toward Me. I will never be absent when you need Me” I was undone. My worship experience has never been the same.
I love my Papa God! I love being His beloved son. I love being in His BIG Family that stretches from heaven to the earth. I love having a home where I belong. And I REALLY love jumping into His lap like a silly little child any time I want to, and I love going places in this world with Him in me. I love how recklessly and lavishly He loves me, believes in me, provides for me, protects me, affirms me, encourages me, makes me giggle, tells me I can do things I never dreamed possible. He is always there for me, and even when I’m not thinking of Him, He is thinking of me. That’s my Dad! He’s a Family God.