|Posted on June 6, 2019 at 10:40 AM|
As Father’s Day approaches, I’ve been thinking of our heavenly Father and the perfect Father-Son relationship that comprises the bulk of his revelation of himself to humanity. It always has amazed me that God chose to give us his final and clearest revelation of himself through his Son, Jesus. If we want to know what God is like we must examine his only begotten son. But even more amazing is the fact that he also reveals himself to us by his relationship with his son. This multidimensional revelation of God in relation to his son is one of the greatest displays of his character as pure love.
The apostle John writes about this revelation saying, “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God…” (1 John 3: 1). The fact that we are included in this most intimate and loving relationship between a father and his child is simply astounding. Whatever else God chooses to reveal about himself must be understood and experienced within this loving context of him being our Father in heaven. Is God righteous, just, holy and omnipotent? Of course, he is. Is he the omniscient Judge of all the earth, sovereign Creator of the universe? Certainly. And he is our heavenly Father!
In choosing to reveal himself by this father-son relationship clearly our Father does not want a relationship based on fear, but a relationship based on faith working itself out in love. He does not want compliant children who are afraid of his wrath but obedient children who serve him in love. This requires an image of God most of us find totally opposite to the image we first developed in our formative years. It is said that our image of God is formed in the first five years by the relationship we had with our earthly father. If our earthly father was abusive, then our image of God is an angry and hostile. If our earthly father was absent, then our natural image of God is distant and uncaring.
The natural image of God formed in our early childhood has a subtle, but enduring, effect on our adult relationship with him. Even in the case of a loving earthly father it is likely that our natural image of God will be distorted since there are no perfect fathers. This is one reason that God chose to reveal himself through the relationship with his son, Jesus, and tells us that we are his children as well. When we explore that relationship between Jesus and our Heavenly Father, we are really looking at our own relationship with God. Because of our union with Christ we may identify ourselves fully as God’s beloved child in whom he is well pleased regardless of the natural image we have struggled with throughout our lives.
Learning to challenge our natural image of God by faith in this final revelation is the key to a healthy life as the child of God in this world. Regardless of our early childhood experiences with our earthly fathers, our relationship with our heavenly Father satisfies our deepest needs so that we are able to forgive them. Realizing who our heavenly Father is allows us to let our “old man” off the hook and go on with our lives.