A little late post on this but, better late than never. The overwhelming way Jesus taught us to relate to God was as our Father…no other way even comes close. And yet how often do we really think of God as ”our Father in Heaven”?
3. We love God the Father
Through Jesus Christ, God’s Son, – and through him alone as the way, the truth and the life – we come to know and love God as Father. As the Holy Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children, so we cry the words Jesus prayed, ‘Abba, Father’, and we pray the prayer Jesus taught, ‘Our Father’. Our love for Jesus, proved by obeying him, is met by the Father’s love for us as the Father and the Son make their home in us, in mutual giving and receiving of love. This intimate relationship has deep biblical foundations.
A) We love God as the Father of his people. Old Testament Israel knew God as Father, as the one who brought them into existence, carried them and disciplined them, called for their obedience, longed for their love, and exercised compassionate forgiveness and patient enduring love. All these remain true for us as God’s people in Christ in our relationship with our Father God.
B) We love God as the Father, who so loved the world that he gave his only Son for our salvation. How great the Father’s love for us that we should be called the children of God. How immeasurable the love of the Father who did not spare his only Son, but gave him up for us all. This love of the Father in giving the Son was mirrored by the self-giving love of the Son. There was complete harmony of will in the work of atonement that the Father and the Son accomplished at the cross, through the eternal Spirit. The Father loved the world and gave his Son; ‘the Son of God loved me and gave himself for me.’ This unity of Father and Son, affirmed by Jesus himself, is echoed in Paul’s most repeated greeting of ‘grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins…according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.’
C) We love God as the Father whose character we reflect and whose care we trust. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus repeatedly points to our heavenly Father as the model or focus for our action. We are to be peacemakers, as sons of God. We are to do good deeds, so that our Father receives the praise. We are to love our enemies in reflection of God’s Fatherly love. We are to practise our giving, praying and fasting for our Father’s eyes only. We are to forgive others as our Father forgives us. We are to have no anxiety but trust in our Father’s provision. With such behaviour flowing from Christian character, we do the will of our Father in heaven, within the kingdom of God.
We confess that we have often neglected the truth of the Fatherhood of God and deprived ourselves of the riches of our relationship with him. We commit ourselves afresh to come to the Father through Jesus the Son: to receive and respond to his Fatherly love; to live in obedience under his Fatherly discipline; to reflect his Fatherly character in all our behaviour and attitudes; and to trust in his Fatherly provision in whatever circumstances he leads us.