2 Tim 1:8, “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.”
In this verse, 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. On Good Friday, we remember that our entry into heaven was secured at a high price. Jesus, God himself, had to die so that we might be forgiven of our sin. Yet if our thinking were just to stop there, i.e. that we are now forgiven and so 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!
I wonder if there is another religion with the thought or teaching that God can be addressed as Father. Some religions think of a deity that is very powerful that can destroy them anytime. So when they approach their deity, they do so out of craven fear and trembling. They pray asking that their god will not harm them or hurt them in any way. Some others may teach that god can be manipulated. So if they make the right offerings and sacrifices and mumble the right words to please him, they can manipulate him to get what they want. Even in the Old Testament, I think the Israelites never addressed God as father. God was acknowledged as the Lord of Hosts, the Almighty One, etc 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". He is a God who has compassion for his children. Do we get the picture here? A tender-hearted God who always has the interests of his children in his heart, a God 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”. Our omnipotent God cares for us and is also our Heavenly Father. Therefore, as children of an omnipotent God, who cares for us, we can have confidence to live for him. So then let us be what we are, children of an all-powerful God, and live for him alone.