Into His Fatherly Love
God has sent the Spirit of Bis Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6)
By God’s grace,having trusted Christ as our Savior, we who are believers have been brought into the very family of God. He has Covenanter with us to be our God, and we to be His people(Hebrews 8:10). Through Christ He has adopted us as His children and has sent His Holy Spirit to live within us and to testify with our spirit that we are His children. The Holy Spirit bears witness within us to this filial relationship we have with God when He causes us to cry in our hearts, “Abba, Father”(Romans 8:15-16). It was said that in the Jewish household, slaves were not allowed to use the word “Abba” to address the head of the family. It was a word reserved for the children. Paul’s use of that word is intended to convey to us how deeply the Spirit assures us that we are indeed children of the Most High God, now our Heavenly Father.
God loves His children with a very special love, a fatherly love. He calls us His “chosen ones, holy and beloved” (Colossians 3:12). As incredibly as it may seem, He promises to “take great delight in you”(Zephaniah 3:17). On this last verse, Matthew Henry observed, “The great God not only loves His saints, but He loves to love them.” God takes great delight in loving us because we are His very own.
Davis speaks of God’s fatherly love being”as high as the heavens are above the earth”(Psalm 103:11). Just as God’s wisdom, like the height of the heavens, cannot be measured, so God’s love for us cannot be measured. It is not only perfect in its effect, it is infinite in its extent. No calamity that may come upon us, however great it may be, can carry us beyond the pale of God’s fatherly love for us.
One of the great questions we have is the question of being loved. Whether it is a spouse questioning the love of their mate or the child questioning the love of their parents or the parent questioning the love of their children, this question of being loved can often become detrimental to the relationship. When we question the love of those around us, every action, word or deed comes under the microscope. Every failure on their part adds to the question. We might even use the phrase, “If they really loved me, they would…or would not….” When we don’t feel loved or even more so, worthy to be loved, nothing the other person can say or do will ever be enough to convince us that they truly love us. No matter what they do, what they give, how they respond to our every whim or wish, they will never be able to fully convince us of their love. Anything they do that fall even a little short of our expectations becomes another piece of evidence that we are not really loved.
We also find this in our relationship with God. We question His love for us especially at times of adversity or difficulty. We often hear or even say ourselves, “If God really loved me, He would…..” If our relationship with God and even other other humans is based on how well they respond to our needs or demands then we must acknowledge that it may not be based on love.
Let’s reverse the picture for a moment. Before we measure the love of God and others toward us, let us take a moment to consider our love toward them. When we respond in our love, do we always fulfill the expectations of those we love? In other words are we capable of convincing them of our love to the same level we expect them to convince us of their love? The truth is that flawed humanity cannot fully express love. We may try, we may desire and we may act in ways that we believe expresses our love, it in truth if falls short of perfection.
Therefore, love cannot be the summation and critical analysis of action and deeds alone. Love is an intangible expression of the heart. We use the term, “falling in love” to describe these feelings of love. We may not even to explain why this person and not another or why one person will love someone who doesn’t love them. Certainly if love was based on action alone, the unloved could work to make themselves loved. Unfortunately there are those who feel unloved and in vain attempt to get someone to love them.
When we consider our relationship with God, it is solely based on love. That love begins with God and is expressed toward us first. Salvation for the most part is our love response to the love of God. The Bible has a lot to say about love and it’s expressions.
First, we are told that God is the author of love.
“Beloved, let us [unselfishly] love and seek the best for one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves [others] is born of God and knows God [through personal experience]. The one who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love. [He is the originator of love, and it is an enduring attribute of His nature.] By this the love of God was displayed in us, in that God has sent His [One and] only begotten Son [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind] 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 [that is, the atoning sacrifice, and the satisfying offering] for our sins [fulfilling God’s requirement for justice against sin and placating His wrath]. Beloved, if God so loved us [in this incredible way], we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. But if we love one another [with unselfish concern], God abides in us, and His love [the love that is His essence abides in us and] is completed and perfected in us.
1 John 4:7-12
From the Garden to present day, Satan has called to question this love of God toward us. Yet we read that again and again God has shown His love toward us. Consider that well-known verse of John 3:16-17:
16 “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him.
God does not love us as some created object. His love for us is the love of a father for His children and He wishes our love for Him to be the love of a child for his father. I have been blessed over the years to have the Holy Spirit reveal great truths of God’s Word, but the greatest thing that God has made known to me is that He unreservedly loves me. He loves me not due to my performance or lack thereof. He loves me not because of my actions, either good or bad. He loves me not because I serve Him or work for Him. He loves me because. His love is incomprehensible, and unmerited and the depths of it cannot be reached. His love is overwhelming, consistent, faithful and never changing. His love is not fickle and He never “falls out of love.” No wonder Paul uses the phrase: “We cry, ‘Abba, Father’” when he writes of this incredible invitation to us to be adopted into the family of God.
“For all who are allowing themselves to be led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading again to fear [of God’s judgment], but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons [the Spirit producing sonship] by which we [joyfully] cry, “ Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies and confirms together with our spirit [assuring us] that we [believers] are children of God. And if [we are His] children, [then we are His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His spiritual blessing and inheritance], if indeed we share in His suffering so that we may also share in His glory. For I consider [from the standpoint of faith] that the sufferings of the present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us!”
Listen closely to John’s words concerning this love of God toward us and it’s outcome.
“See what an incredible quality of love the Father has shown to us, that we would [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are! For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, we are [even here and] now children of God, and it is not yet made clear what we will be [after His coming]. We know that when He comes and is revealed, we will [as His children] be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is [in all His glory].”
1 John 3:1-2
So to any and all who may wonder whether they are loved, may I encourage you today. The God of heaven and earth has declared His love for you and demonstrated it powerfully through the cross, the crucifixion and the resurrection. Should you be going through a time of adversity, should your heart wonder and Satan whisper that God has forgotten you, point your heart toward the cross and sing:
“Jesus loves me this I know, For the Bible tells me so.”
Sing with all your heart:
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
For the Bible tells me so!
Dr. John Thompson