Thursday, September 9, 2010

God is our Heavenly Father

So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.” 2 Tim 1:8, 9

Paul exhorts Timothy not to be ashamed of witnessing or suffering for the Gospel. Perhaps this is a good time to try and understand what the Gospel really means to us. Every year, we remember Good Friday. We know that our entry into heaven was secured at a high price. Yet if our thinking was just to stop there, that we are now forgiven and that we are going to heaven, I think we are missing the point. Because the other aspect of our salvation tells us that we are also God’s children. That is what we are told in John 1:12 “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Children of God – what an awesome thought! Is there another faith where we can find the thought or teaching that God can be addressed as Father? Even in the Old Testament I think the Israelites never dared addressed God as father. Yes - God was addressed as the Lord of Hosts, the Almighty One but never as a heavenly Father. Yet that was how God himself perceived his relationship withy those who accepted him, even the Israelites. In Jeremiah we learnt of how the Jews were conquered and exiled. God, speaking through Jeremiah, promised to restore them and then he said these words, (Jer 31:20) “Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him," declares the LORD. He is a God who has compassion for his children. He is a tender-hearted God who has the interests of his children in his heart always. He is always filled with compassion for his children. That is why when Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them to pray, his opening words were “Our Father” We are the children of a God who cares for us. And because we are the children of a God who cares for us and lives for us we therefore we can have confidence to live for him.

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