For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying,
“I will proclaim Your name to My brethren,
In the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.” (Hebrews 2:11-12)
In the previous post a question was raised: God may be a lavish Father to Christ, but is He such a Father to us as fallen sinners? For the believer, Scripture’s answer to this question is a resounding, “Yes.”
Jesus sees Himself, as described in the magnificent prophecy of Psalm 22, standing in the assembly of the redeemed, arm-in-arm with those He has sanctified. He sees Himself as one of us and calls us brothers.
Recall, too, what Romans 8 says:
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (verses 14-17)
Is God such a Father to us as He is to Christ? Yes. That’s exactly what Paul is saying, and that is exactly what the writer of Hebrews is saying.
Consider also this astounding statement that Peter makes:
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature. (2 Peter 1:2-4)
When you became a Christian, you became a partaker of the divine nature. When you were saved, you became one with the Lord Jesus. His life is imputed to you. God sees you as one with His Son, as one with Himself, as the equal recipient of all that His fatherhood and its benediction may mean. When Jesus talks about His Father, He isn’t just talking for Himself; He’s talking for you and for me.
As a concrete image of this, look to Luke 15. I believe, without a doubt, that the story of the prodigal son is the single greatest statement that ever came from Jesus’ mouth on the character of God. Frankly, the story is less a story about a prodigal son and more a story about a loving father. It is the greatest single statement on the fatherhood of God and its character ever made by our Lord. Jesus sums up the fatherhood of God in a non-theological, practical way that illuminates everything the New Testament says about God.
A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.” So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.
Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. … But when he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.’”
So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.”
But the father said to his slaves, “Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:11-14, 17-24)
Do you want to know what God is like? That’s what God is like.
When I was very young, I heard a speaker say, “How anxious is God for you to come to Him? So anxious that He kisses you and embraces you with love when He hears the ‘s’ of ‘sorry.’ That’s how anxious.”
The pagans may crawl to a temple in fear, the religions of the world may shudder at the thought of their god heaping judgment, and systems of man-made religion may worry that God is angry with them; but Jesus says, “He ran in compassion and fell on his neck and kissed him.” That’s God.
People will say, “Oh, but I’ve sinned in my life. I’m so afraid God won’t accept me.” Not the God that Jesus talked about. He’ll accept you. In fact, He’ll run and embrace you before you utter a word. The Father loves His children. He can see in the worst sinner, the vilest sinner, something glorious and magnificent. He wants to set His affection on us and make us one with Himself, and He wants to love, bless, give authority to, and honor us.
No wonder Jesus told us to have faith in God. That’s the kind of God we can have faith in.
This post is based on a sermon Dr. MacArthur preached in 1979, titled “Jesus’ View of the Father.”
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