We have become a fatherless society. OK, maybe too strong of a statement and not universal, but the enemy has been attacking fatherhood from the very beginning. Since the fall we have given the enemy all kinds of opportunity to destroy the family unit, especially the father-child relationship. God’s design is perfect but our perception can be really messed up.
God’s plan wasn’t to be a Master or Lord or King but instead wanted to be our Father. He formed us in the garden with His hands. He molded us from the dust of the ground like forming a statue from clay. He pressed and squeezed us into the shape of a man and then breathed His very life into us. We became a living creature, a breathing creation, the image of God. This relationship was in its very nature a Father and child bond. He formed us, made us, conceived us and we were His children by definition. God tells us that He still “forms us in the womb”, “formed us before the foundations of the Earth”, “knows the plans He has for us before we were conceived”, and many more similar expressions. We are still His children today. This was always His plan. When we ate from the wrong tree everything changed on our side of the relationship. His position has remained the same. We hid from Him in the garden. He never moved away from us. Our desires to be independent (as if we never had a Father) have defined the relationship and have given us a warped perspective of Him. For example when offered freedom we wanted law.
Under the law a relationship is base on rule keeping and obligations to agreements. It’s no more than a relationship with an employer or a business partner. Add a huge dose of self-induced condemnation and you have a master slave relationship. Rules now are for survival. These conditionals of relationship are no longer obligations based on agreements but instead become the “or else” of our very existence. We become slaves to a Master. Our Master may watch over us and protect us but we think we are property to him. He may be our Lord but that title brings him recognition and comfort but doesn’t endear Him to us outside of a corporate protection. Now add wealth and layers of management in the form of priests and assistants to priests and family lines of priests and my “Lord” may become my King but is still my Master. He may be a guardian of sorts but all the responsibility for relationship is on my side. If I don’t do…then I don’t get. If I don’t do right…then I get wrong. Punishment and provision are expressions of relationship. Food and shelter are necessities of property.
I know this is a very distorted view but this is the wisdom of man. When we ate from the wrong tree this way of thinking became our reality. We hid from our Father and loving creator. We refused a personal relationship at the base of the mountain and instead chose servitude. We could have been heirs of promise like Abraham but chose kingdoms of men. Now add a constitution or contract of impossible conditions (Law) and we have an unstable isotope approaching critical mass. Our insistence on law and rule keeping and performance metrics defines our relationships on every level. We are the best judges and revel in our ability to discriminate good from evil disregarding the fact that Jesus said it wasn’t our job. We are in constant conflict inside as we judge and try our best and give it all and work and work and live in our own little world and battle with our own selfishness… all because we don’t know we have a Father who loves us. We haven’t been told the truth of a Father of Grace and a Savior from self. When you add up all this dysfunction you can’t help but agree with Paul:
Rom 7:24 I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? 25 The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different. (The Message)
Then he says this:
Rom 8 1-2 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death (The Message).
Jesus is our King, no doubt. God is our Master, without question. Jesus is our Lord, unequivocally stated. But above all else…God is our Father.
Jesus was the first to refer to God as His Father. It is easy to get caught up in a doctrinal debate about the authenticity of an immaculately conceived child of God born of a virgin. That is important for sure. The greater truth however is that what Jesus did, how He walked this Earth, His relationship with God the Father is our model today. We are now His sons and daughters. We have been His children all along but now because of what Jesus accomplished there are no more excuses to not believe. There are no more lies from the enemy that have any merit. We are God’s righteousness in Jesus. We are reconciled to our Father. We are justified by Him in any court. Our cry today isn’t “please forgive me Master for offenses I have made against you and please place me back in your good graces.” This is our cry today:
Rom 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!” (ESV)
Rom 8:15-17 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! (The Message).
We cry out to God and thank Him and praise Him and glorify Him for who He is. We fall at the feet of Jesus in tears of joy for all that He has done. We come boldly into the throne room and walk right up to our Father and declare His goodness. We get to sit in His lap, rest against His chest and feel His heartbeat against our cheek. We are done being subjects and instead are princes. We move from slaves to royal priests. We no longer fear His wrath but revel in His joy. His countenance is framed by a continuous smile when He looks at me. I may make mistakes. I may choose poorly. I am likely deceived often by the father of all lies. On occasion I may pick the world over relationship. Still it doesn’t affect this Father-Child relationship I have available to me today. Over time I will choose Him over all else…He is that good. He is an awesome Dad and He loves me the most. He has the capacity to call each of us His favorite. That is our Father in Heaven.
Master – as a guide
Lord – as a protector
King – as a victor
Father – my Pappa…my Abba…my Daddy!