Now that I am in the mindset of reading Scripture in light of all that became new when Jesus initiated the New Covenant, the discoveries have been eye-popping. For example, have you ever thought about what changed in our connection with God as our Father when the arrival, death, and resurrection of Jesus put the New Covenant into action?
In the entire Old Testament, God is referred to as Father seven times. In the New Testament, God is identified as our Father over 150 times! And even one of those seven Old Testament references is looking ahead to our New Covenant relationship. “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace” (Is 9:6).
Moving to the New Testament, God’s expanded relationship to us as our Father is just one more of the incredible provisions of the New Covenant. And God, our Father, does not leave us to wonder about what this father – child connection looks like. Throughout the New Testament, God explains what and how His specific Father attributes play out in our lives. This explanation is so critical because on an intellectual level it is easy to accept that once we receive Christ, God becomes our Father. But do we really embrace all that “God is my Father” entails? Do we, on an emotional and spiritual level, accept and explore and cling to all that being God’s child includes?
For example, do you believe that the seed of the God of the Universe actually lives inside you, His child? (I Jn 3:9). Do you believe that God is a good Father who trains us for our own benefit? (Heb 12:5-11). Do you believe that our heavenly Father showers us with good gifts? (Mt 7:9-11, James 1:17). Do you believe that God, your Father, does not tempt you to sin? (James 1:13-15).
As we begin to grasp the idea that God is our Father, it is easy to evaluate that relationship through the lens of our experience with our earthly father. We often ascribe attributes to God that we saw – for good or for bad – in our natural father. But we must, through the power of the Spirit, cast those limitations of our heavenly Father aside. We must see God for who He truly is – just as He has revealed Himself – through the lens of His Word.
If your childhood experience was with an emotionally distant or stern or angry father, you may have some distance to travel in recognizing all that is good and loving in God, your Father. May I encourage you? Ask Him to open your heart to the truth of the Father that we see described in Scripture. Over the next several posts, we will explore what the Father looks like. And we will see that God is a good Father who always draws near, never pulls away. God is not the distant, cold, arms-crossed, frowning Father. No, God is the holy, compassionate, tender, loving, kind, righteous, warrior Father who is on your side; revealing His glory through His children.