Summary: Second in a series in the characteristics of God as our Father. This message deals with His great love.
“Loving Father” Part 2
John clearly intended us to contemplate our intimate relationship with God as a Father and child. The image runs all through his gospel and especially his letter.
I. The Likeness Factor
A. The fact of likeness
God created man in His image at the beginning. Man sinned and a chilling perpetual birth defect passed on to subsequent generations. God is determined to restore a community that reflects His image. The Bible contains the unfolding of that plan. Scripture describes it as an event, a process and a destiny.
a) CREATION IMAGE
Over and over the Bible speaks of God’s creative power. He is the Creator of all things in heaven and earth, seen and unseen. Man is his special creation. God spoke and it happened.
God created man by His powerful. This same image and words related to the original creation are applied to those who become “new creatures in Christ.” Christianity is much more than a set of particular beliefs and behaviors. Becoming a Christian is more than adhering to the “club” rules. It goes beyond joining an organization. You become a Christian or a believer or a child of God by God’s supernatural creative work!
b) BIRH IMAGE
Scripture also employs the image of human birth to explain God’s supernatural work. There is a genetic connection. He shared His divine DNA with us! We share (koinonos) of God’s nature.
Jesus called it “born again”. Scripture calls it “new birth”. Our first birth was into Adam’s race bearing Adam’s image, sharing Adam’s DNA. Our second birth is into Christ’s (the second Adam) race, bearing Christ’s image, sharing Christ’s actual DNA.
c) ADOPTION IMAGE
We are also God’s special chosen children by adoption.
John acknowledged that even though we have been made God’s kids, we don’t always act like God’s kids and we do not perfectly reflect our true nature. For now, we only get a glimpse of what we shall be. Yet God continues to fan the flames of our new nature. Jesus continues to cleanse us and prepare us as His bride (another endearing image).
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Colossians 3:3-4
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 1 John 3:2
II. Unconditional love and acceptance factor
A. Love demonstrated before restoration
God demonstrated His love even before we became his children. The term “foreknew” refers to something beyond “knowing beforehand”. Since God knows everything He knew everyone beforehand. The term “foreknew” indicates the decision to enter into an intimate relationship.
God chose us before we were even born. WE were not only in His mind but in His heart.
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Rom 5:6-8
By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10
We love, because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19
In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:4-6
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ, and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-7
The Greek word translated “love” expresses the results of a decision to relate to another in a sacrificial way based on the passion of the one loving. God so loved the world that He was willing to sacrifice His own son. This love goes beyond sacrifice however. This love also involves an acceptance and desire to enter into intimate relationship. Paul talked about those willing to speak, give, sacrifice and even die but without real love. (1 Cor 13)