“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.” – 1 John 4:9.
God the Father can be intimidating. He can be seen as creator, ruler, and enforcer. He can be seen as a stern dad who warns about making too much noise, obeying the rules, and going through the proper channels. He gets angry. But what do I do with verses like Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4:7-8) We can’t talk about God the father without talking about love.
We know He’s a Father because He’s always had a Son. Long before the earth was created or any rules had been set, God was Father. God the Father is not simply a creator, because there was a time before He made creation. And He’s not just a lawgiver, because there was a time when He hadn’t made any laws. But He has always been a Father and He’s always been loving His Son. [Jesus prayed] “Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!” (John 17:24)
The Father loves us as Jesus reminds us in John 16 “Then you will ask in my name. I’m not saying I will ask the Father on your behalf, for the Father himself loves you dearly because you love me and believe that I came from God.’ (John 16:26-27)
Our view of God the Father should not be a distant distributor of blessings and curses, rather He should be seen as a Father, looking on His beloved children, with open arms. Think of some loving parents that you know. Do they let their children do exactly as they please? Of course not. If their child crawls towards the fire, they’ll warn him and pull him away. They will hold him and look after him and set limits for him too. In the same way, (but without any flaws) the Father disciplines us because He loves us and wants to keep us safe. He’s loving; because He’s just. And He’s just; because He’s loving.
The unconditional love of an earthly father gives us a wonderful start. But the unconditional love of a heavenly Father changes everything.
There is no better father than God. He formed us and knows us. He provides for us, loves us unconditionally, and longs for a real, life-giving relationship with us. He runs out to meet us in our sin, clothes us with a new identity, and restores to us the abundant life He has always planned for us.
- How have you recognized God’s love in these areas over the last few weeks?
- We return the Father’s love with the knowledge that our Heavenly Father already loves us. How does this understanding change how we approach our walk with God?