By Ps. T. Motsepe
We live in societies that consistently grapple with one form of crisis or another, identity crisis, mid-life crisis, etc. The reason most of the time is simply that the centre figures that are supposed to allay this crises from us are seldom there. One of those key figures in our lives is a Father. Our security, identity, and belonging stem from the time of fathers we had and the families they created.
The greatest privilege and comfort in all this confusion is that God, the heavenly Father, has not let us exclusively to the care of other humans. He is there to father us in a manner only he can.
God has through the Lord Jesus Christ, having put our faith him, granted a NOT GUILTY verdict upon every one of our sins and transgressions. He has thus justified us. As God justifies us He also adopts us into His family according to His own divine plan.
“He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance to his pleasure and will.” Ephesians 1:5)
“For those that God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the first born amongst many brothers” Romans 8:29
“Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers” (Heb 2:11, read John 20:17)
“Dear friends, now we are children of God” 1 John 3: 2a
1. WE ARE NOW MEMBERS IN GOD’S FAMILY.
John tells that when we received him and believed in his name, he gave us the honor and the privilege we never had before, “he gave (us) the right to become children of God. (John 1:12)
As a result we have and should exercise the rights that other people outside Christ do not have. As children of the King we have royal rights and privileges that cannot be enjoyed by the rest of the King’s people (or creation).
“Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, and by him we cry “Abba Father”. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in hi his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 14-17)
– We are children of Abraham (Children of the promise). [Romans 9:7-8, Galatians 4:28&31, 1 Peter 3:6]
– Sons of God through faith (Galatians 3:23-26)
Ephesians 1:4b-5a in love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:11a in him we were also chosen.
John 1:12-13 yet to all who received him, to all who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, but born of God.
Romans 8:15a For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of son ship.
Galatians 4:4b-5 God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.
2 Corinthians 6:18a I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters.
2. FATHER TO THE FATHERLESS AND DEFENDER OF WIDOWS
Psalm 68:5a-b An father to the fatherless, a defender of widows.
Deuteronomy 10:18a He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow.
Psalm 146:9a The LORD … sustains the fatherless and the widow.
Psalms 68:6a God sets the lonely in families.
3. COVENANT-KEEPING FATHER
Isaiah 54:10 “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
Isaiah 61:8b-9 In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed.See also Luke 15:11-31 for the story of the prodigal son clearly depicting God’s amazing love and grace in keeping covenant with His children.
4. REWARDING FATHER
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Matthew 6:3-4 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then you’re Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Matthew 10:41-42 Anyone who receives a prophet because he Is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.
Matthew 5:12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Ephesians 6:7-8 serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.
5. PRAYER-ANSWERING FATHER
Luke 11:9-13 So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and To him who knocks, the door will be opened.Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
James 4:2d you do not have, because you do not ask God.
John 14:13-14 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, So that the Son may bring glory to the Father.You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
John 16:23-24 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
6. GIVING FATHER
Matthew 6:25-33 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? … Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 34:9-10 Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
Matthew 7:11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
7. FORGIVING AND REDEEMING FATHER
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Luke 15:21-24 the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”
But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have A feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” So they began to celebrate.
Matthew 6:14 for if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.Jesus’ prayer at Calvary is a dramatic demonstration of God’s forgiveness!
8. DISCIPLINING FATHER
Hebrews 12:7-11 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Proverbs 3:11-12 My son, do not despise the LORD’S discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.God’s discipline as Father produces righteousness, peace and joy. Psalm 66:18 indicates God’s silence as His discipline. If you are not hearing God, ask yourself: Did you obey what He last said to you?
9. LOVING FATHER
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
1John 3:1 how great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
1John 3:6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
Romans 8:35-39 who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Psalm 33:12-19 But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.
We are the “apple of His eye” (Deuteronomy 32:10, Psalm 17:8, Zechariah 2:8), His treasured possession (Exodus 19:5). At the end of the world His sons and daughters will be His inheritance: a bride (Revelation 21:9-10) for His son for all eternity.
HOW DO WE KNOW THAT WE ARE GOD’S CHILDREN?
The Holy Spirit testifies to our spirit(s) that we are. (Romans 8:16)
Our adoption will be complete when we receive new bodies and are ‘fully’ like the Son of God in appearance. (Romans 8:23, 1 John 3:2-3)
Adoption, therefore, is an act of God whereby he makes us members of his family.
WHAT ABOUT THOSE WHO REJECT JESUS?
The Bible describes them in different phrases:
– Children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3)
– Sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2; 5:6
– Of the devil (John 8:42-44, 1 John 3:8-10)
THE BENEFITS OF ADOPTION
Adoption has to do with our relationship with God as a Father, thus in adoption we are given many of the greatest blessings that we know for all eternity. These blessings that we get, God as the Giver, is under no obligation to give us. We need to remember that! We deserve hell yet by grace he gives us “his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires”. (2 Peter 1:4)
OUR RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES:–
The Creator of all things, God, is our Father (Matt 6:9, The Father heart of God: 1 John 3:1, Psalm 103:13-14, Matthew 6:32, Matthew 7:11, Luke 11:13, Galatians 4;7)
Angels minister to us and serve us (Hebrews 1:14 cf Psalm 34:7)
We have treasures in heaven (1 Peter1:4)
We are going to reign/ rule with Christ over the new heavens and new earth. (Revelation 2:26, 3:21
We will judge the world and angels (1 Corinthians 6:2-3)
Our sins are forgiven
Our names are written in the Book of life. (Luke 10:20, Phillipians 4:3, Revelation 21:27)
We have authority (power) over the devil and demons. (Luke 10:19, Mark 16:17
We are led by the Spirit. (Romans 8:14)
We have the fruit of the Spirit (character) that can only be developed in Christ
God disciplines us as His children (Hebrews 12:5-6, Proverbs 3:11-12)
We can share in both Christ’s sufferings and glory (Luke 24:26, Romans 8:17, Phillipians 3:10, 1Peter 4:12-19)
Live in purity (1 John 3:2, 1 Peter 1:14-16)
As brothers and sisters treat one another with love (Romans 1:13, 8:12, Matthew 12:50, James 2:15)
Imitate our Father (Ephesians 5:1)Walk in love etc. just to mention a few.