John 3:16-17 (NKJV) 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
In John 17:3, Jesus defined eternal life as knowing God and Jesus whom he sent. We have seen that in the context Jesus was speaking of God as the Father. Eternal life is the new life that Paul wrote about in Romans. 6. It is the abundant life that Jesus spoke of in John 10:10. We can access the kind of life that we will enjoy for eternity while we live here on earth. To do so we must know the Father.
During the Father’s Day service at our church we sang songs about how good the Father is. We heard some testimonies about the goodness of God in the lives of some of his children. All of that is both wonderful and appropriate. However, if we want to know the Father we must know him by his Word. John 1:1 tells us that the Word and God are one.
We started by looking at Genesis 1:26. We found that God is a Father who wanted his children. He said, “Let us make man in our image and our likeness.” The hope of any real father is that his children will be an extension of his own life. That is why the Father God created. Although there are many wonderful things in this thought the one that is most important is that God wanted us. God wanted me. God wanted you. Every person is a wanted child.
John 3:16 is generally considered the most read and beloved scripture in the bible. What does this verse reveal about our Father? I was the youngest of seven children but by 15 years. The brother closest to me in age was 15 when I was born and the oldest was 25. My older brothers and sister gave my parents a terrible time growing up. By the time I came along my parents were very different people. Because I had the benefit of parents who had experience raising children, they did things very differently with me.
I was the “good kid” of the family. We were catholic so the idea of being born again was something they knew nothing about. When I came home and told them I got “saved” by mother asked, “From what?” I was not the one that needed saving in their mind. I was only 14 and had not done anything terrible but we all need to be saved from our nature if not our deeds. The point is that my parents thought they had a good child.
Think of how the Father could have felt about Jesus. The whole human race was rebellious. Look at how Paul describes them.
Romans 3:10-18 (NKJV) 10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; 11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” 13 “Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; “The poison of asps is under their lips”; 14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways; 17 And the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
The picture of God’s family is pretty grim. It had gotten so bad in Genesis 6 that he had to send the flood to preserve the few that still believed in him. It was almost as bad in Paul’s day but God had sent a different kind of solution. He sent his only begotten son.
Let us digress a bit and allow God to think as we might think. By the time I grew up, I know that my parents would not have sacrificed me for my siblings. I was the child who made them proud. They were the ones that shamed and angered them. I would not say that my parents disowned my brothers and sister, but they expected nothing from them either. When they got older I was the one who took care of them. My wife nursed my mother when she came towards the end of life. None of my siblings were around.
I do not mean to judge them. They had their lives and there were probably many things I did not know. I simply point out that my parent’s perspective could have been God’s. He had a son who was perfect in every way. He was so much in the image and likeness of God that Paul calls him the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col. 2:9.) Yet in this verse we see that God gave his perfect child to save all those who were imperfect. Many who did not want to know him. Most who rejected him. Still he gave his only perfect son for us.
What kind of Father is God? He is a Father who will never abandon his family. He did not abandon them when they were far off from him and he will not abandon us now. Look at this powerful verse in Romans 5.
Romans 5:6-9 (NKJV) 6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
As we consider our failures we need to remember that God will never abandon us. As we go through trials in life we need to be assured that he will never abandon us. Even when we sin he will not abandon us. We are not the target of wrath. He will not support our sin. He cannot protect us from all of the consequences of sin. However, he will not abandon us.
Just as the father of the prodigal son in Luke 15 was there waiting for his son to return, our Father is waiting for us to “come to our senses” and repent. As soon as we do, he is there with a robe of righteousness, a ring of authority and shoes for our feet. We often miss the significance of the shoes in this story. Servants might go without shoes but never the son of a house. The Father wanted this foolish boy to know without doubt that his father had not abandoned him. Neither will you Father God abandon you.
In the story, the father says to the older son, “Don’t you know that all I have is yours?” The older son could not understand the love of the father. We often cannot process how God could love us when we have been wrong. Nevertheless, he does. There is another lesson in what the father told the older son. When the younger son came home, he had nothing except the love of His father. His part of the inheritance was gone. The older brother could help him or not.
There are times when we walk away from the Father’s ways. We do things that bring problems into our lives. The wages of sin is death. The wage is not always physical death but it is always a door for spiritual death, the nature of Satan, to come into our lives. Some consequences cannot be undone by God. The prodigal son’s inheritance was gone. When we find our selves in that position we think that the Father has left us.
Sin separates us from God. I do not believe that the sins we commit in the normal flow of life send us to hell. I do believe that they create a blockage between us and God. However, God never forsakes us. He never abandons us. He does all he can to protect us and he calls us home. When we repent, he is right there.
Remember: Your Father gave the one perfect child he had just so he could get to you. He will not abandon you now that he has you.