Summary: Third in a series on the characteristics of God as our father. This message particularly deals with his protection.
John encouraged his readers to take the time to contemplate the awesomeness of the eternal God of the universe inviting sinful creatures of earth to be His children. “Behold”, “see”, “know”.
Scripture employs the image of God as our heavenly Father. We are taking the time to explore the wonder of that image and the details of what kind of Father He is. There is any number of characteristics that would make the perfect father. We will explore a select few.
I. The Likeness Factor
We are God’s children by supernatural creative work of God, second birth, and adoption. Upon genuine belief, God instills us with His nature; His seed. We become a new creature by God’s work in us. His work makes us His children. Certain aspects of that work are instantaneously accomplished at belief. There are other aspects however that are a work in progress.
We have been transformed. We are being transformed.
Every one of those called by God will be like Him.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
Every child carries a parent’s DNA. Scripture indicates we carry God’s DNA. We were made in His image. We were reborn with His seed and will ultimately completely bear His likeness.
Some Practical implications of this truth
God’s DNA provides the basis for a godly walk.
We are genetically connected to Jesus (brother)
We are genetically connected to each other.
II. Unconditional love and acceptance factor
Although our discussion of the chief characteristics we long for in a father is not in any kind of preferential order, this characteristic would appear at or near the top if it was. Every person longs for unconditional love and acceptance. We live in a performance based culture. Early on, we learned acceptance requires performance. The longing to be loved for who we are not what we do or don’t do hit a wall over and over. The Scripture talks about the love of God; a father’s love for His child; a savior’s love for His fallen brothers, a Creator’s love for His creation. It was a love determined before time and demonstrated at the right time. Rom 5:6-8
This unconditional love is a decision to relate to another in a sacrificial way based on the passion of the one loving to care for and enter into intimate relationship with another. The demonstration of God’s love only increases after we become His children and its manifestation will extend through eternity. Last week we learned that God loves us with the same intensity as He loves His own Son. John 17:23
An increased understanding of God’s love dissolves fear and increases confidence. His love is constant. His love moves Him to move toward us at all times. Our sin does not diminish His love. Our works do not increase His love. Nothing we do alters His love because it is a love based on His character and choice not our conduct. He chastises us when we sin and cheers us when we succeed but His unfailing love for us never changes. Everything He does flows out of His passion for us and desire to relate to us. Luke recorded three parables of Jesus illustrating how God relates to those who sin. Whether we wander off or get lost in the busyness of life or deliberately walk away, God’s love makes our restoration a priority. He persistently pursues our restoration and passionately embraces us when we turn back to Him. We must eradicate from our thinking the image of a cross-armed angry father frustrated and bent on a punishment intended to make us pay for our disobedience rather than loving correction intended to motivate and instill holiness.
God’s love ALWAYS places His glory and our ultimate good at the center of His actions.
Whatever He does, however it may seem to us, always flows from a heart of love and care for His chosen children.
Just how secure is this love???
Are there lapse times? One day we get love, the next wrath. One moment acceptance, the next rejection and alienation. Are there divine moods? Is there a point where God says, “Enough! I am through with you!”
God inspired Paul to write one of the most endearing declarations of His love for us ever.
Paul, who had furiously and callously slaughtered or imprisoned precious followers of Christ, embraced this truth at the very core of his being. This remarkable affirmation of God’s great love follows the equally powerful revelation of the process God orchestrates to restore us to perfect relationship with Him. Those He foreknew, He predestined to be like His son followed by a specific call, justification and ultimate glorification. Paul followed this significant statement of God’s saving work with a string of seven gripping questions highlighting the enormity of His love for us.