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God of love, God of judgement?

March 5th, 2012

This question goes to the very nature and character of God. Why, if God is loving and merciful, is he not be more tolerant and accepting?

The Home Office has a motto, used on its stationery, “creating a free, just and tolerant society” but is it not entirely possible that tolerance can become the enemy of freedom and justice?

Tolerance is regarded as a positive virtue in Western society, yet the word is often still used in a negative sense (e.g. telling someone that their cooking, or company, was “tolerable” is not likely to be seen as a compliment!). Tolerating someone implies that you hold yourself superior to them. You cannot tolerate someone and disagree with them but you can respect someone and disagree with them. The old mediaeval idea of defending someone’s right to disagree with you is much closer to “respect” than “tolerance.”

Justice involves defending what is right and thereby refusing to tolerate what is wrong.

How then can a God of love and compassion also be a God of justice?

In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Mr Darcy tells Elizabeth Bennet that he loves her against his judgement and better character, and is shocked when she is insulted by this. We live in a world where people often project a better image of themselves than they really are and so end up not knowing true love because other people fall in love with the image and not the real them. True love can only exist in the presence of true judgement.

This is also seen in a quotation from a Black Eyed Peas song, “If you’ve never known truth, you’ve never known love.” God’s love is meaningful because God has a true judgement of us – he knows what we’re really like.

To act with compassion is to make a moral judgement about something and be moved in the depths of our being to do something about it. If we are not moved in this way, or don’t act, then we do not have true compassion, only moralism, yet we can’t have true compassion in this sense without the moral judgement. God, who passes judgement on our hearts, also has true compassion for us.

How then is it fair that God must sacrifice his Son in order to have mercy on us?

Mercy always comes at the expense of justice. How then can God be both merciful and just? The answer is that God exercises his mercy through his justice, by fulfilling the law on our behalf and suffering the punishment of his justice on our behalf so that justice can be upheld and mercy extended to us.

But isn’t God’s judgement a massive overreaction to our sin?

There is evidence to indicate that more people are sold into slavery via sex trafficking in modern Britain than were enslaved when the slave trade was “abolished” in the 19th century. Whereas earlier movements fought against treating people as objects, we now live in a society where people are encouraged to treat themselves as objects (e.g. we “market” ourselves). The reason why God is so angry at sin is that sin dehumanises us, destroying our capacity to relate to him and to each other.

What is the appropriate emotional response to sex trafficking? God’s wrath at our sin is the appropriate emotional response to our sin.

Isaiah 42: 1-4. God’s justice is described in terms of repairing bruised reeds and not quenching dimly burning wicks. This passage was written in southern Iraq where the marshes produce strong reeds (strong enough to build houses with, unless bruised) to a Jewish community who were not permitted even to snuff out wicks on the Sabbath (dangerous if you live in a reed house!). God is telling us through this passage that his justice will not discard those who are broken from the outside or exhausted from the inside.

Martin Luther King Jr. challenged the church to return to true radical justice and love from his cell in Birmingham, Alabama. The modern church too needs to regain its compassion.

Michael Ramsden

Author: Categories: General Tags: , ,

God of love, world of suffering

March 5th, 2012

Suffering is a vast subject, which cannot be addressed fully in a short talk like this.

There is a difference between the questions “Why?” (the intellectual question) and “Why me?” (the existential question).

There is a further distinction to be made between moral evil, and physical pain.


Some popular answers to the question of suffering:

1, The naturalistic answer – there is no purpose, that’s just the way it is.

This answers the intellectual question but we are still left with the pain and we have no hope (“We must live with a philosophy of unyielding despair” Bertrand Russell)

2. Karma – suffering as divine payback for things that you have done wrong (either in this life or in a former life) – this philosophy can be used to argue that it is unjust to alleviate suffering.

There is a Christian version of this second teaching (e.g. that the earthquake in Haiti was divine judgement for things that had happened in the past), however, Jesus opposes this view in Luke 13:1-5. He raises both the issue of moral evil and the issue of physical pain but, while not denying that the people who suffered were sinners, refuses to see them as worse sinners than his hearers. While some suffering can be related to our own actions, other suffering isn’t (cf. John 9:2). Jesus’ point is this, unless we repent, we too will perish. We have a finite period of time in which to respond to God in faith and repentance, and we will be held accountable to God as to whether we do this.

The Biblical narrative is that a loving God created a world which was able to choose to love him (for lifeless love and loveless life are terrible things), and gave the world a moral framework in which to love. Doing whatever you want, whenever you want, however you want is not freedom, it is anarchy. When we violate the moral framework, we have less love and less opportunity. When the moral framework is violated, love is violated (e.g. betrayal). By seeking to break God’s laws, we end up breaking ourselves. We live in a broken world.

Do we doubt God when we witness a disaster on the scale of the Asian tsunami? God promised that such things would happen (cf. Luke 21:25), so they should not cause us to doubt him, but we can be left wondering what it means.

Is it possible that we live in a world where an enemy is at work? An alien intelligence, evil spiritual beings. Not all suffering in the world is our fault. The ancient world saw spiritual activity everywhere. Christ did not come to show spiritual beings to be non-existent but to put them in their place.

The brokenness of the world has broken God’s heart. “Jesus wept” is a polite translation. The original is a word of great outrage and deep emotional pain. But, if this is true, why did God bother to create in the first place?

(1) It is difficult to compare existence and non-existence (what standard are we using?)

(2) We mustn’t think that God created the world (a) out of need (God is not lonely, loving relationships require two or more personal beings, and God has lived in the loving relationship of the Trinity from all eternity) or (b) out of recklessness (God knew that we would rebel and what that would cost him even before he created the world (cf. 1 Peter 1:18-20))

The price that God pays to reconcile us to himself is the highest price that he could have paid.

The message of the cross means that all evil is dealt with and justice will be upheld.

The message of the resurrection means that God is big enough to be able to compensate us for our suffering in a new heaven and a new earth.

Michael Ramsden

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How to Ruin Your Life: Failing Under Pressure

October 7th, 2011

1 Samuel 13

Challenges to faith:


    • No trial is unique but all are common to man.
    • Saul faced terrible opposition from the Philistines.
    • Jesus promised we would have trouble in life – you will face opposition as a Christian because you made a serious enemy when you became one.
    • The devil will find ways to oppose you – the question is: how will we respond?
    • Saul allows the opposition to be the final word on the situation.
    • Our opposition is strong but our God is stronger. Jesus in the boat with his disciples in the storm – Jesus was asleep and it looked like they were all going down, but then Jesus gets up and commands it to stop. The disciples tremble more at the One who controls nature than the power of nature itself.
    • We need to see the Man with the sword drawn (Joshua 5:13-14) when we face opposition. Jesus doesn’t join our side, we’ve joined His.


    • 1 Samuel 13:6-7.
    • A lot of people leave Saul and drop out.
    • Betrayal will happen in some way if you really follow God.
    • This is another reason Saul doesn’t trust God.
    • God doesn’t need for everyone to like us in order to accomplish His work – in fact, we are to be concerned if everyone does like us.
    • 1 Samuel 13:8.


    • Saul is waiting for Samuel and he doesn’t arrive when he thinks he should.
    • Waiting and finding yourself being delayed is hard to face.
    • God has His own ideas about timing. ‘In a little while’ is a phrase used a lot in the Bible – not definitive. God doesn’t allow for Himself to be contained by our own idea of timing.


    • Saul takes an escape route rather than waiting – he takes matters into his own hands.
    • Do you still believe – will you still?
    • It’s not easy to keep going faithfully – it’s easier to lunge for the quick and easy solutions and escape from waiting and trusting in God.
    • Prayer is about humbling yourself under God.
    • If you want to be mature, this is what you have to do.
    • Samuel does eventually turn up – but Saul had already gone ahead and done the offering himself, and he has no sense of regret. In fact, he instead blames Samuel and defends his actions.
    • This is right at the heart of the human condition – like Adam and Eve. Adam blamed Eve and God rather than owning responsibility for his sin and rebellion. We all still do this – we should be careful of our hearts’ natural inclination. It calls for humility.
    • We often take ourselves too seriously and God not enough.
    • You can ruin your life by not listening to anyone or any correction. You need to keep a soft heart.
    • It might be admitting wrong just wasn’t attractive to Saul – he perhaps wasn’t attracted to his idea of what God was like: a hateful, impersonal force who can’t wait to punish those who do wrong.
    • If you see God as revealed in Jesus, your whole perspective will change.
    • Book of Hebrews – written for people going through trials who could think God doesn’t understand or sympathise. He DOES. Turn to Him and give up trying on your own.

Welcome Home

September 1st, 2011

Graham Marsh

Luke 14:1-22

  • Jesus was invited to the meal but it was set up – they invited a sick man to see if Jesus would heal him – which He did
  • The Sabbath is a day for recreation – it is for our benefit
Jesus didn’t mind being with those who were out to get him
  • We often feel uncomfortable around those we don’t have anything in common with – what did Jesus have in common with them?
  • We need to be in these situations – we are called to be salt and light
  • We need to remember our position and be clear headed – Jesus said stop promoting ourselves – don’t put yourself at the top of the table
  • We exist for God’s glory not our own. It is Jesus seated on the throne, not us
  • Don’t take the seat – wait to be offered it
  • To stop being self-centred, look at Jesus
  • Philippians 2:1-5
  • Humility is knowing our place and being thankful we’re even invited
Everyone on the guest list is disadvantaged
  • This is a room full of ordinary people
  • Why is this story in Luke? Because we are all invited and we all arrived in the same way – we were invited by Jesus
  • We have more in common with the London rioters than we do Jesus
  • In humility, we are invited
  • When we’ve been here a while, we forget what it is like to be new.
  • When we go multi-site there will be many who don’t know what to do
Practical Tips
  1. Not everyone knows someone – be inclusive
  2. Not everyone knows where to go – be helpful
  3. Not everyone knows the routine – be accepting
  4. Not everyone knows they’re welcome – be reassuring
  5. Not everyone knows they’re amongst people just like them – be genuine
  6. Not everyone knows Jesus – be Jesus
  • If you are in, remember the cost and how you got there
  • Come to the feast, there is room at the table

Lessons From a 12 Year Old

August 23rd, 2011

Phil Moore

Luke 2:41-47

  • The context: in the Jewish culture of that day, boys were treated as men when they reached the age of 13. Until then they were seen as “nothing”.
  • Jesus is always surprising in the gospels – he acts differently to what we expect. Here we would expect Him to boast about being the Son of God and preach at everyone, but instead He sits and listens.
  • We can learn a lot from the 12 year old Jesus about how to share our faith.
  1. Love like Jesus
    • ‘sitting among the teachers’
    • Jesus was simply spending time with others – not the obvious thing we think of when it comes to sharing our faith.
    • We’re so consumed with communicating the message that we often forget to act like the messenger.
    • Jesus told many parables about people leaving everything and going after the one seemingly insignificant thing (the lost sheep, the lost coin, etc). The parables Jesus told were not meant to be nice stories but were told to surprise us and make us question their seeming ridiculousness.
    • We need to see people as each life that is precious to God. He treasures people – His love is for each person.
    • Sometimes we don’t share Jesus because of fear – but most of the time it’s down to a lack of love.
    • If you genuinely love people, even if you “fail”, God can still use you.
    • Being a smart alec, a self-righteous know-it-all, won’t get you anywhere.
    • Love people and help them.
  2. Ask like Jesus
    • ‘listening to them and asking them questions’
    • Jesus was the last person who needed to ask questions! But questions are the best way to start a conversation about the gospel.
    • Find out about the person you’re with – be quick to listen and slow to speak.
    • We think sharing the gospel is about talking about ourselves.
    • People want to be listened to.
    • Asking questions keeps the conversation going.
    • If you give too much too fast – ramming stuff down people’s throats – they won’t be able to take it; they’ll “vomit” it back up. Prov. 25:16.
    • Questions help you to find out where people are coming from and realise what it is they need to hear.
    • You can’t have a one-size-fits-all message.
    • Ask questions about what people care about.
    • Questions help people realise they need answers.
  3. Share like Jesus
    • ‘Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers’
    • This is where people then start to ask you questions back.
    • The more you ask people about what they believe, the more they’ll ask you about your beliefs.
    • You don’t attack a person – you talk about their beliefs and suggest they may be wrong.
    • People need tour guides not Bible bashers. You see God where other people don’t and you point Him out.

The Lamb of God

August 2nd, 2011
  • Lev 1: 1 God is a speaking God, but we are not always a listening people. In the Old Testament He speaks through Prophets but in the New Testament he speaks to us through the words and teaching of Jesus.
  • The offerings that they bring in this passage are something given to God. The word for offering is ‘corban’ which also means ‘to come near’. We can understand offering as an invitation from God to draw near to him. He is inclusive and anyone can come.
  • The offerings given were animals and the type was determined by money and position. The rich would bring a bull, the not so rich a lamb and the poor a pair of birds.
  • The offerings were burnt and the passage instructs how to bring the offering but what can we learn from this (imagining that the worshipper brings a lamb)?

Burn the Lamb

  • God loves passion in our worship. The worshipper brings an offering to get near to God – is it in our heads every Sunday to draw near to God?
  • God is with us all the time, but it says in James 4:8 ‘Come near to God and he will come near to you’.
  • Offering was expensive, to burn a whole lamb would have been costly the lamb was without blemish or defect; the worshipper chose the best one – what will our worship cost us? Today, the most costly thing tends to be time.
  • There are so many possible distractions on Sundays nowadays that we must make sure that we don’t make church on a Sunday just one of a list of options.
  • Passion for God is not just experienced on Sundays but we experience God’s presence most strongly when we meet with God’s community of people. We should be expectant to meet with God on Sundays in a fresh and exciting way.
  • It will cost us time to be passionate to worship God and to spend time in prayer.
  • The worshipper cuts the lamb and washes it and gets blood on his hands. He is very involved and hands-on, he isn’t just expecting the priest to do it for him. Are we demonstrating that kind of worship?
  • You can be worshipping with your body and your voice but not your heart. Get involved and get engaged.
  • God loves the smell of the burnt offering – the passion of the worshipper is like wonderful perfume to him.

Look to the Lamb

  • Personal offering – the individual wanted to get near to God to get atonement for sin.
  • Genesis 3:21, when Adam and Eve were fallen and ashamed of being naked, God clothed them in animal skins to hide their shame and sin.
  • John the Baptist points to Jesus Christ as the lamb of God who has taken away the sin of the world. Jesus is the lamb who was slaughtered.
  • The OT animal sacrifices foreshadow Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice in the NT. The old system of sacrifice could never wipe out sin for all time. Jesus was given a body of flesh which he laid down for us to wipe out sin in the one perfect sacrifice.
  • The priests in the tabernacle/temple (where offerings were brought) worked for two weeks non-stop to deal with the sacrifices of worshippers.
  • Hebrews 10:11 – after Jesus’ single sacrifice, he is now sat down at the right hand of God. His sacrifice never has to be repeated. It is finished.
  • Stop fretting and being anxious and look to the lamb – we are clean and righteous before God.

Lean on the lamb

  • When worshippers brought lambs to be sacrificed, they would place their hands on the lamb’s head to make atonement.
  • They would lean on the lamb in prayer and confession of sin, and to identify themselves with the animal.
  • It was symbolic of transferring the sin – a slaughter and death took place. Lev 17:11,  the life is in the blood of the lamb. The sinner’s blood is not shed, despite sin but it is the lamb’s blood that is shed.
  • For us, the cost has been paid by Jesus Christ which perfectly fulfils the OT sacrifices. His life was taken, he carried the punishment and has paid the full cost.
  • There is an open invitation to draw near to God but there is only one way – lean on the lamb.
  • We must be careful not to lean on other things; fear, materialism, the world, ideas, ourselves.
  • Be full-on in passionate worship to God. 
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The Challenges & Remedies for a Season of Radical Advance

July 25th, 2011
  • What is a biblical church? It is community on mission. God, the Trinity, is a community on mission.
  • Isaiah 54 – lengthen and strengthen, increase quantity and quality.
  • The Spirit makes us into a community, a family and into a missional people.
  • Jesus was forsaken and overlooked at His most crucial moment of mission. It is hard to get the balance right between community and mission. Emphasis on community leads to frustration; emphasis on mission can lead to people feeling overlooked.
  • Acts 6:1-7.
  • We as CCK are at the stage of advancing in ministry.
  • The people who feel most overlooked are usually those who have been there from the start. Feeling neglected, left out and undervalued.
  • But there is a remedy for the problem – many solutions:

1. Not to abandon mission.

  • We are not a hospital but an ambulance or a hospital ship. We keep moving.

2. Increase honesty.

  • If you really don’t agree with something or if you have a complaint, speak up. Even if you can’t raise the issue in a godly way, raise it anyway.

3. Increase organisation.

  • When a church is large, too little organisation can damage relationships.

4. Increase number of leaders.

  • The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.
  • Raising up leaders is the most missional thing we can do.
  • God will only give you the harvest when you have enough leaders to care for those He brings – you won’t catch any more fish if you don’t increase the fishermen.
  • 2 Kings 4 – increase of pots.
  • How? Strategy of trebling everything.
  • We’re not just trying to pastor those we have but the city we’re in.
  • Mission must shape the way we do church, not the other way around.
  • Mission creates more community and community fuels mission.
  • In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. We often discount people because we think they don’t know enough to lead – but they are more useful than we think.

1. Increase responsibility.

  • Are you merely involved or are you committed?
  • The church is a local missionary organisation.
  • The key? Keep saying yes, and when you say no say it with a clear conscience. God will promote you.

2. Increase faith.

  • Have faith for one another because of what God can do.
  • Romans 15:16.
  • Have faith for CCK – faith moves the arm of God to break open Brighton. Have individual faith for it.
  • Have faith for giving.

3. Increase Spirit.

  • Be led by the Spirit for leading and pastoring people – ask Him to prompt you when someone needs special care or encouragement. All it takes is a call/text/email.

4. Increase hospitality.

  • Hospitality is huge in the Bible – it is seen as almost a requirement of Christians, certainly of elders.
  • Be hospitable in your home and in your spirit – being welcoming and friendly with your whole self. Give yourself completely. Be accepting and vulnerable.
  • Where we meet for church is like our lounge – you can relax, be at home, say hi to those who also “live” there. And people who are new you welcome in, love them, make an effort.
  • Arrive to church early to be there to welcome people.
  • God has been hospitable to us, now we show it to others.

5. Increase playing to gift.

  • Use people’s gifting – maximise on what people are gifted to do.


Some final points:

  • Give your elders freedom to make radical decisions.
  • Some of us will go by staying.
  • The real work of church is not merely launching new sites but loving those who don’t know Jesus in that area.
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Meet the Brightonians

July 25th, 2011

Acts 19: 1-41

  • Ephesus is very similar to Brighton

Group 1: God aware but no real connection

  • They had an awareness of God the Father but no the rest of the Trinity
  • Galatians 4:4-6
  • We need to know all the members of the Trinity
  • If we don’t know Jesus we are like Christian-robots
  • We need to know God as our Father through Jesus making us co-heirs
  • Without the holy Spirit following God can feel really heavy

Group 2: Intrigued but resistant

  • God makes sure we have ample time to give our lives to him
  • When God shows up he shines into our hearts – if it is ice it melts toward him, but if it is clay it hardens

Group 3: Church as it should be

In it for the long haul…:

In a stategic hub

  • Brighton is very subversive – so is following Jesus
  • CCK: church is a blend of a mature Proverbs 31 wife and the beloved in Song of Soloman > keep buring on this city, keep focussed

Accessible vibe

  • We need to engage the Holy Spirit and show God’s power
  • Need good worship at an accessible length
  • Argue persuasively
  • 33% of world church attendance is male – need to be accessible to men

Group 4: The Ghostbusters

  • Don’t go near the spiritual realm – it will harm you
  • The only spiritual realm we should venture in to is in the Holy Spirit

Group 5: Thoroughly Converted

  • Physically and whole-heartedly following Jesus

Group 6: The Money Lovers

  • Money is a big counter-god
  • Paul says we must excel at giving
  • Luke 16 – if we can’t be trusted with giving away unrighteous money, God won’t trust us with greater spiritual gifts and responsibilities
  • There will be a devaluation – when we die we leave money here. Store up riches in heaven
  • God discipline: giving at least 10% of our earnings first – live off 90%
  • Money – kill or be killed – keep giving!
  • Newfrontiers – it is fruitful ground
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June 22nd, 2011

Ephesians 6:1-4

  • Some people don’t have good fathers – we must look to God and see that He isn’t just better than most, He is the perfect Father

Fathering is a leadership role

  • 1 Corinthians 11:3 – God has given men authority over the home – they must not abuse this position
  • Fathers must place themselves completely under Jesus

A Father’s Vulnerable Area

  • vs 4: it would have been very counter-cultural when it was written
  • Father’s must take their children’s feelings into consideration
  • Some things that provoke children are: sarcasm, perfectionism and harsh discipline

Four Keys to Being a More Effective Father:

1) Looking forward and keeping the bigger picture in mind

  • Psalm 127:4 – children are like arrows in a warrior’s hand
  • The ultimate goal is changing a rough stick into a sharp arrow – raising Jesus-like figures ready to be sent out

2) Looking backward and remembering what you were like

  • Remembering how you were will give you grace towards your children
  • Remember the authority styles you had – you might not have liked them but may be coping them

3) Looking inward and looking at yourself

  • This is relevant to everyone – not just fathers
  • Be a credible leader – check how you are doing in:

- your understanding of grace
- your walk with God
- dealing with authority
- resolving conflict
- controlling your tongue
- attitude towards money and possessions
- fighting temptation
- commitment to the local church

4) Looking upward to God and living by faith and not by sight

  • 2 Corinthians 5:7
  • Areas where we can walk by faith include investing time when other influences seem strong in your child’s life and remembering past victories
  • Have faith when things are tough at home – we have the gift of prayer and the power to say “no” to Satan. Talk in tongues and remind God of prophecies not yet fulfilled
  • Even if you do all this there are no guarnantees
  • When children grow up they make their own decisions and this sometimes means walking away from God – God wants to remove the blanket of shame you have

Great fathers lead with:

  • Grace

Bring children up with tenderness, care and love. They have an emotional tank that you need to keep filling up

  • Discipline

This is not about punishment, it is about training. Deep down, children want boundaries.

God fathers us with grace and discipline – Hebrews 12:4-11



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God as a Father

June 20th, 2011

John 14:1-11

We see the Father in the Son

The God of the Bible is one God in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus wanted to make clear that, although he is not the Father, that we can see the character of the Father through him, that he shows the family likeness. (see Colossians 1:15)

Like Phillip, we can often fail to see the Father. It is not that God is hiding from us, but, that that we are so busy looking over Jesus’ shoulder looking for the Father that we fail to see the Father in Jesus, as though God becoming a man were too obvious for us. Are we trying to “crack the code” of who God is, or are we seeing the Father in the person of Jesus?

We know the Father through the Son

If we want to know what someone is like, we spend time listening to them. The wisdom of a father is a wonderful thing. We have a whole book of fatherly wisdom in the Bible.

Furthermore, Jesus reveals to us that the Father is personal. This can be quite difficult for us. In the Facebook age many people have more communication with others than before but fewer personal relationships. This struggle with personal relationships can be seen in the following common ideas about God/spirituality which we often encounter:

1. God is a force rather than a person

2. God is not an authority involved in people’s lives

3. We should maintain independence from God, tuning into him when needed.

Even some Christians can keep God at arm’s length, so as to make him convenient. True relationships are often inconvenient but they are more important than anything else in the world.

We can identify that a love is not genuine if it is (1) limited, (2) controlling or (3) detached.

(1) In Jesus we know a God who is not limited in his involvement with us, who became a man, kneeling down, as it were, to put himself on a level with us.

(2) In Jesus, we see that the Father’s love is not controlling. Jesus came not to be served but to serve, associating himself with the poor and broken.

(3) In Jesus, we see that the Father’s love is not detached. Jesus made himself vulnerable, looking at the crowds with compassion and weeping at the tomb of Lazarus.

Our relationships with our earthly fathers often influence our view of God as a father. No earthly father is perfect, even those who are good, and, sadly, many fathers are absent or abusive. We can look at the fatherhood of God through the lens of our own earthly fathers.

However, from Ephesians 3:14-15 we can see that the true picture is the other way round. Our earthly fathers, instead of providing us with an image of God’s fatherhood, are instead a broken reflection of his eternal fatherhood. God is the original father.

We come to the Father through the Son

In Luke 3:21-22 we see how God affirmed his Son through an audible voice at the start of his earthly ministry. It is as if God were saying, “That’s my boy!” and this affirmation echoes throughout Jesus life of service and sacrifice. Jesus shows his obedience to his Father’s will by bearing the weight of our sins on his shoulders. Even here the Father is saying, “That’s my boy!” at his Son’s sacrificial obedience.

At the end, the Son is abandoned by the Father. The worst suffering of the cross is that the Son suffers the loss of the Father and the Father the loss of the Son. The Father’s love is greater than we can understand, he did not spare his only Son but gave him up for us that we too can become sons and daughters of the Father.

Through Jesus, we can be rescued into God’s family. Our separation from God is dealt with at the cross and we can know the Father.

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