What is your perception of God? If you had to describe your Creator, what would you say? For many who don’t know Him, God seems distant. They will say things like, “God, if you’re out there…” But we know that He isn’t far away. He hears our prayers, knows our thoughts, and cares about the smallest details of our lives. He’s a good, good Father, and we are His beloved children.
I often wonder if we struggle to get past the God of the Old Testament. He seems to be quite angry… a lot. We read about judgement and wrath. We see His people suffering the consequences of their choices by being exiled, losing battles, and wandering in the desert for 40 years. This is a picture that many non-believers have of God. You have to love Him and obediently serve Him, or He will send you straight to hell.
Growing up, I had a similar image: To the Father, I was awful, unworthy of salvation, and destined to receive His wrath. I pictured the God of the Old Testament unleashing His anger. Then Jesus came and made things right between me and God, taking God’s wrath for me on the cross.
What’s wrong with this image you ask?
Well for one thing, we have the following verse:
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After making purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. – Hebrews 1:3 (HCSB)
I subconsciously envisioned the Father and the Son with two different personalities. I knew deep down that I was wrong to think this way, but for some reason I couldn’t shake the image of an angry Old Testament Father and a loving New Testament Son. But the truth is that if we have seen the Son, we’ve seen the Father. The love and compassion Jesus showed is an exact representation of our loving and compassionate Father.
For God so loved the world…
The Father loves us deeply and unconditionally. If His love were conditional, the Bible would say “For God so loved the ones that accepted Jesus.” No. It say’s that He loves the world… the whole world… all mankind.
That’s why He wants to adopt all of us. Think about that for a minute. His desire is to adopt every single one of us as His own.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. – Ephesians 1:3-6 (NIV)
The Greek word used in this passage for “adoption to sonship” was actually a legal term. In Roman culture, it referred to the full legal standing of an adopted male heir. The same Greek term is used in Romans 8.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. – Romans 8:15-17 (NIV)
God’s purpose in saving us through the cross goes far beyond the forgiveness of sins. He wants to adopt us. And not just adopt us, but make us legal heirs.
In Christ, we inherit the earth, the kingdom, and eternal life. (Matthew 5:2-11)
As our good, good Father, God desires the very best for our lives.
He longs to have a deep and meaningful relationship with us. He doesn’t want to be distant, He desires to be close – the way the best of fathers would be with their children.
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