Living In The Father's House!
(This is a re-post of a blog I did several years ago. Happy Fathers’ Day to all you Dads!)
John 2:16, “And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.”
John 14:2, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
God is called “Father” 15 times in the Old Testament and 245 times in the New Testament. One hundred of these references are found in John’s gospel and the name is used 51 times in John. 13-17! Both Fatherhood and Sonship are manifest and modeled by Jesus.
Of all the names and titles of God, none is more precious, promising and currently politically incorrect, as is the term “Father.” Radical feminist want to replace the Heavenly Father with the Earth Mother. Many Bible printing companies are now producing gender inclusive translations that refuse to acknowledge God as Father and the Sons of God as His only children. We are told that the concepts of a Father God, of fatherhood, and all fathers in general have had its day, and that we must get away from patriarchal societies and back to matriarchal ones.
Muslims are commanded to rebuke anyone who dares call God their Father. According to Jesus, God is our Father, yet the Quran very specifically denies that Allah is a father (Sura 112.1-4). In fact, in Sura 5.18, the Quran tells Muslims to rebuke Jews and Christians for calling God their loving Father because humans are just things that God has created.
Despite vehement, vociferous, and sometimes violent protest against the concept of the Fatherhood of God, the reality is that there is a “Father-shaped” vacuum in the heart of us all. I believe this is God-arranged. God has so fixed us that we cannot ever find all that we are looking for and need in a human father. Because of this, we must come to understand that God in Heaven has so programmed life that until we come into a personal relationship with Him as our Father through the Lord Jesus Christ, we will forever be searching for a human father or father-figure to meet needs that only God can meet.
J.I. Packer asks, “What is a Christian? The question can be answered in many ways, but the richest answer I know is that a Christian is one who has God as Father. “Father” is the Christian name for God.”
Dr. Packer enlarges upon the above statement: “I have heard it seriously argued that the thought of divine fatherhood can mean nothing to those whose human father was inadequate, lacking wisdom, affection or both, nor to those many more whose misfortune it was to have a fatherless upbringing.
“This is silly. For, in the first place, it is just not true to suggest that in the realm of personal relations positive concepts cannot be formed by contrast — which is the suggestion implicit here. Many young people get married with a resolve not to make the mess of marriage that they saw their parents make: can this not be a positive ideal? Of course it can. Similarly, the thought of our Maker becoming our perfect parent — faithful in love and care, generous and thoughtful, interested in all we do, respecting our individuality, skillful in training us, wise in guidance, always available, helping us to find ourselves in maturity, integrity and uprightness — is a thought which can have meaning for everybody, whether we come to it by saying, “I had a wonderful father, and I see that God is like that, only more so,” or by saying, “My father disappointed me here, and here, and here, but God, praise his name, will be very different,” or even by saying, “I have never known what it is to have a father on earth, but thank God I now have one in heaven.”
God’s design and desire is not to remain aloof and remote from His world, or to simply run it by His omnipotence, but to relate to the people in it in by intimate, personal and manifest presence whereby He ultimately makes their heart His home. The fact that the infinite God became an infant in Jesus and dwelt among us is proof positive of this. The angel of the Lord said to Joseph that the child supernaturally conceived in Mary’s womb would be called Immanuel, which means “God with us”! The Bible closes with the assurance of God forever present with His people in Revelation 21:3: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
God isn’t interested in us realizing the Blessings of His Promises without enjoying the Beauty of His Presence! Man’s very reason for being was to be a house for God; to live in His presence, enjoy His company; to hear His voice, to catch His heart, reciprocate His love, and to be awed at His majesty and glory, and reveal His presence to those who have never met Him.
The good news of the gospel does not start at the cross of Jesus, or with the gifts of the Spirit, but with the Father who so loved the world that He gave us His Son by the power of His Spirit. The heart of the gospel is not that man can have his soul saved, or his body healed, and his church revived, but that he can glorify the Father and enjoy Him forever. The Christian gospel is essentially a Father movement whereby the forgiveness of sins and the regenerating work of the Spirit give us confident, continuous access to the Father and His House — which is with His forever sons and daughters in His Family!