Thoughts gathered by Laura Putney
Maybe you are like me. You’ve had a great home with loving parents that taught you about God and provided all you could ever need. Or maybe you had none of those things. You didn’t grow up knowing about God and didn’t learn about His love. Somewhere along the way you like me decided that you had to earn God’s love and that He was angry and wanted to punish you when you messed up. Yet, God’s Word says differently. With nearly 30 years of church, good Christian teaching, and Christian college behind me, I should have this down by now, but I’m still learning. I’m thankful that He came not to “call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32, NIV). He loves me not because of what I do, but because of Jesus and His work on the cross for me (2 Corinthians 5:19). He chose me before He created the world (Ephesians 1:3-4).
- God the Father Isn’t Out to Get You or Punish You!
As Elyse Fitzpatrick says, “…his work in our lives is never punitive; it is always redemptive. This means that he doesn’t punish us for our sins…he gently and loving frees us from the lies, misconceptions, and idolatries that captivate and enslave our hearts. He never punishes us in wrath because he has no wrath left. Every drop of wrath was all poured out on his Son” (Because He Loves Me, p. 88-89, 2010).
Robert McGee also agrees when he says, “If any sin is so filthy and vile that it makes us less acceptable to Him, then the cross is insufficient. If the cross isn’t sufficient for all sin, then the Bible is in error when it says that he forgave all yours sins (Col. 2:13-15). God took our sins and canceled them by nailing them to Christ’s cross. In this way, God also took away Satan’s power to condemn us for sin. So you see, nothing you will ever do can nullify your reconciliation and make you unacceptable to God” (The Search for Significance, p. 64, 2003).
Ted Dekker also affirms God’s love, “Many Christians secretly hold on to fear because of their view of God, often without realizing it. In their mind, God’s punishment is what they are saved from, but this leaves them with a fear of the Father who would punish them if Jesus had not rescued them from God’s punishment. John is clear, there is no fear in love because fear has to do with punishment and God’s love isn’t about punishment. Without a revelation of the goodness of God, your fear of your Father will keep you from experiencing His presence though nothing can separate you from his love” (The Forgotten Way Study Guide, p. 18, Dekker and Vanderbush, 2016).
- God the Father is Merciful and Gracious.
Psalm 103:8-14 (ESV 2001)
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
He doesn’t call us to perfection and knows we are dust,. But calls us to dependence on himself and his Spirit. Read John 15 about abiding. He chose you!
- God the Father Loves You!
As Ted Dekker writes, “The Father’s love for you is infinite. He’s so proud of you and isn’t disappointed in you” (The Forgotten Way Study Guide, p. 14, Dekker and Vanderbush, 2016).
Romans 8:15, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (ESV, 2001).
Romans 8:38-39, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (ESV 2001).
So, brothers and sisters on the journey, you are not alone. He loves you and He loves me. Join me in praying, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief! Thank you that you are a compassionate and gracious Father. Transform and renew my mind. Take captive the lies that have held me captive and let me walk in your Truth through you and in your power, not my own. Amen!