Loving Father or Ogre?

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May 10, 2013 by Nate

Many view God as nothing more than an angry father, seeking to withhold his love until we prove ourselves worthy. The great ogre in the sky, longing to squash us the first chance he gets.  Sometimes, even his children think of him in this way.

The Bible, however, presents us with a different story.  The Scriptures tell us that if we are in Christ, if we have turned from our sins, and trusted Christ alone to make us right with God, then we are His beloved children. The Apostle Paul says it like this in Galatians 4:

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”

Do you see how glorious this is?  Because of Christ’s work on our behalf, we are no longer slaves, but sons and daughters of God!  We now approach God as children, much loved.  The Apostle says similar things in Romans 8:15:

“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father’“

and Ephesians 1:3-6:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

This isn’t limited to the teaching of the Apostle Paul. The other writers of Scripture speak in the same way.  Jesus also taught us that we have a Father who loves us, and longs to give grace and mercy.

Remember the Parable of the Prodigal Son(s) in Luke 15?  How does the Father approach both sons?  The younger one went and partied like a rock star, squandering his inheritance.  Upon realizing the foolishness of his decisions, he heads back home to his Father, in hopes that he can work for him as a slave.  This loving Father sees him in the distance, but doesn’t wait for him; he runs embraces and kisses him.  He then tells the servants to get the party ready, because his son, who was dead, is now alive!  The other son sees this and is appalled by his Fathers love and grace to his younger brother.  How does the Father treat the older brother?  He begs him to come experience His grace too.

You see, this is the portrait of God the Father we see in the Scriptures.  He is not an ogre, who wants to make us suffer, and earn his love, but a loving and gracious Father, who longs to love and forgive, embrace and kiss us.  He is a God who rejoices over his children (Zephaniah 3:17).  In Christ, the Father’s smile is upon you, forever.

I don’t know how you grew up, but our fathers make a world of difference.  If you are a Christian, maybe this is still hard to believe for you, because you didn’t have your father’s smile, approval, grace and love.  Maybe you didn’t even have a father.  But Jesus says you do now.  Trust Him.  In Jesus, you have a Father who loves you more than you can even imagine…believe this.

If you don’t know Christ, he says that we are like the son(s) in Luke 15.  We have sinned against the great God of heaven, and we have squandered all the gifts he has given us.  We are dead.  But, if we will turn to Christ in faith for the forgiveness of our sins, we will be his adopted sons and daughters, and he will lavish his love and grace upon us for eternity.  We will receive eternal life, and like the younger son, our Father will throw a party, because these once dead sons and daughters are now alive!

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