Summary: To help us understand the love the Father has for us so we will receive it (become adopted as a child in the family), return it, and share it (with our children).
I remember the pastor of our church sharing one time that becoming a father was the greatest help for his theology, that is, for his understanding of God. He knew up here [pointing to head] that God loved him, but when he had a child he began to understand more in here [heart] that God has the same kind of unconditional love for us that he as a parent has for his child. Interestingly his child didn’t do anything to deserve his love, as a father (or mother) he simply loves them for who they are, his child. While, children are capable of showing great acts of unconditional love, we know they can also be demanding, selfish, want things their way, and sometimes like to test their parent’s boundaries and rules. Children certainly don’t earn our love either. I’m here to tell you, crying, eating, sleeping, and messing diapers aren’t exactly marks of earning any rewards, yet we as parents love them and provide for their needs. Since Elizabeth’s birth last month I now understand what he meant, the love a parent has for a child is abstract until you yourself are a parent. It’s like God has given us something instinctual, built into our DNA when it comes to loving our children.
The Bible says God is love (1 Jo. 4:8), and we are created in his image (Gen. 1:27). We are created to love like him. Our love for our children is a reflection of God’s love for us. In fact we could say our love is only a shadow of God’s because he loves all of his creation, every person.
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us”
The Father loves us, and he lavishes his love on us. The funny thing is we didn’t do anything to deserve his love. In fact it is quite the opposite, while we have a great capacity to love, we are often demanding, selfish, we want things our way, and sometimes we test God’s boundaries and rules. Notice how little things change from our childhood. We don’t deserve God’s love, the Bible says we deserve God’s wrath and punishment for rebellion against God, our self-centeredness, our pride, our bending and breaking of God’s rules (sin) (Rom. 1:18; 2:5, 8). God is unlike any earthly parent because he is perfectly, pure, holy, and just. Neither can we earn the Father’s love. There is no amount of good works or good deeds we can do which will cover our mistakes. Rather we are told in the Bible that like a father or mother, God loves us in spite of our mistakes. God loves us for who we are right now, he will not love us any more or any less. You are the apple of God’s eye. If God has a refrigerator, all our pictures are on it (I guess it would have to be a pretty big refrigerator).
It’s good to remind ourselves that God created all of us for the purpose of loving us. In fact, God planned us from the beginning of time. Listen to David’s words in Psalm 139:
Psalm 139:13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous-- and how well I know it. 15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. 16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. 17 How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable! 18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up in the morning, you are still with me!
Although the word “love” doesn’t appear in these verses, does this sound like a heavenly Father who loves us? God purposely planned your life out before he ever formed the earth, well before we were a glint in our parent’s eye. Then when the time came he formed us and fashioned us in the womb (Ps. 119:73; Job 10:8; Is. 49:5). We are not here by accident. We are God’s idea. In fact, David reminds us God continues to think about us all the time. 17 “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable! 18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!” He didn’t just create us and leave us. He is still with us now, he has been with us our whole life whether we have been aware of him or not.
1. Demonstrations of the Father’s Love