Is He God the Father or more like some religious Godfather to you? It seems to me that most people like and even love Jesus, but they have no grid, or worse, have a scary view of God the Father.
Jesus is seen as the peace loving lamb-God-man in flowing robes and blues eyes with a beckoning “come unto Me…” look on His face. But the Father…that’s another story! He’s this Old Testament angry curmudgeon in the clouds with lightning bolts in His hands ready to “blow thine enemies to tiny bits” (a little Monty Python Holy Grail image thrown in). He’s the standoffish father that only tolerates us because Jesus is holding Him back on our behalf. No, Papa! Remember My blood! As Dr. Andrew Farley points out, as long as the Father keeps His “Jesus glasses” on we’re okay, but if He ever takes them off…we’re toast! But what does Scripture actually say about our heavenly Father?
First, I think that the biblical definition of “father” is instructive.
The Greek word for father is pater. It means “generator or male ancestor…the founder of the family, progenitor (source) of a people. Metaphorically speaking, the originator or transmitter of anything, author. One who has infused his own spirit into others, actuates and governs their minds. God is called Father of Christians, those who through Christ no longer dread Him as a stern judge of sinners, but revere Him as their reconciled and loving Father.” (Unfortunately, that last bit is foreign to a lot of Christians.)
Here are twelve wonderful truths about our Papa God!
TRUTH #1: Your heavenly Father is NOT mad at you! (It’s the devil who’s mad at you.) I love the art but can we just jettison this angry Medieval religious image of our heavenly Father and realize once and for all that Jesus took all of God’s “mad” for us?
There is a strange term for this in the New Testament, it’s “propitiation” (Rom.3:25; Heb.2:17; 1 Jn.2:2; 4:10). It means “the turning away of wrath by an offering. In relation to soteriology, propitiation means placating or satisfying the wrath of God by the atoning sacrifice of Christ.” (Charles C. Ryrie (1999-01-11). “Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth” Moody Publishers.)
Welcome to the New Testament!
“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He (the Father) loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)
TRUTH #2: The source of love comes from the Father. God is love (1 Jn.4:8), therefore, Love is a Person. Jesus’ love for you is the Father’s love for you. Jesus loves us exactly the same way that the Father loves Jesus (Jn.15:9). Furthermore, Love loved us first (1 Jn.4:19); so we can’t even love God without first receiving His love. And we cannot love others except to love them with His love.
TRUTH #3: The Father loves YOU the SAME as His Son, Jesus! How much do you think that the Father loves Jesus? He loves you exactly the same! (Jn.17:23). As Mike Bickle has pointed out, God loves us the same way God loves God!
TRUTH #4: The Father values you the SAME as He values Jesus! (Jn.3:16) As Bill Johnson has pointed out, if the value of something is what one is willing to pay for it, and the Father paid Jesus for you, how much are YOU worth to your heavenly Father? Selah.
TRUTH #5: Everything that is good comes from our heavenly Father. (James 1:17). Since “father” means the source or generator of something, the Father is the source of all good things! This also means that there is nothing good in this life, or the next, that does not come from the Father’s heart first.
TRUTH #6: It’s the Father’s love that displaces our “orphan” fear. (1 Jn.4:18) The opposite of love is not hate; it’s fear. And religious orphans live as though separated from the Father (“God is up there, I am down here”), hoping they will go to heaven when they die, living with a fear of God, full of shame and self-condemnation that keeps them from encountering His love in a deep and personal way. It’s His experiential, transforming love that breaks through this orphan mindset.
TRUTH #7: It’s the Father who gives us a sense of belonging, who puts us in His family. (Eph.3:14-15; Ps.68:6) God is not about doctrines as much as He’s about relationship. Because of Jesus, we belong to the biggest, richest, and most loving family in the universe! One that exist both in heaven and on the earth. Our Father is a Family God!
TRUTH #8: Freedom and blessing is the Father’s idea! He is the One who blessed us with every spiritual blessing (Eph.1:3). It was the Father’s will that we might be delivered from the evil effects of this world we live in (Gal.1:3-4).
TRUTH #9: The Father loves all people so much that He’s willing to wait until the last possible moment to give everyone a chance to know Him. (2 Pet.3:8-9) Think about it. God’s will is that everyone in the whole world be saved. Not that everyone will accept His offer but, nonetheless, He’s willing to wait thousands of years for it to happen! For He honors you and I so much that He gives us free-will. That is reckless, outrageous love!
TRUTH #10: The Father wants to be our Daddy, our Papa! “Abba Father” is a term of endearment. It is the Father’s will to bring us from dutiful religious slavery into intimate sonship (Rom.8:15). It was the Father who adopted us and made us full partners with Christ in His family business (Gal.4:6-7).
TRUTH #11: The Father wants us to know that we are His inheritance and that, as sons, we inherit ALL that is His! (Lk.12:32; Eph.1:18). Because we are sons, we are co-heirs with Christ in all that the Father has. How much does Father God have? How big is His Kingdom? It’s all yours! Don’t be like the Prodigal son’s older orphan-hearted brother, believe Him when He says, “All that I have is yours.” (Lk.15:31)
TRUTH #12: It was the Father who placed us in Christ in heavenly places, so WE are at His right hand too! It was the Father who is “rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Eph.2:4-6) The Father was answering Jesus’ prayer to make us one in Him (Jn.17:21). Whether you realize it or not, if you are in Christ the “real you” is seated at your heavenly Father’s right hand in heaven right now. Selah.
Is this your image of your heavenly Father?