Time or Eternity? ™

The Fatherhood of God

In Fatherhood on April 4, 2012 at 8:00 am

The revelation of the Fatherhood of God came to mankind through our Lord Jesus Christ. Undoubtedly there had been a belief in the Divine Fatherhood among the races, but as He used the name it became so spiritual, so profound and all-embracing, as to outshine all other use of it, like the sun at noon outshines the morningstar, and to become the foundation of a new idea of God and of a new religion for men.

The reason of this is that, when our Lord speaks of the Father, He is uttering His own deepest experience; is declaring the Father out of the fulness of His own consciousness as the Son. Three things were necessary before the Fatherhood of God could have either supreme spiritual significance or certain authentication. Firstly, an adequate conception of the spiritual and moral perfection of God; secondly, a sense of sinless and complete correspondence to Him; thirdly, an immediate, unbroken, and all-determining experience of complete fellowship with Him, revealing and resting upon mutual kinship. And all this was the characteristic consciousness of our Lord Jesus Christ, and was His alone. Generally speaking, it may be said that the revelation of the Fatherhood of God to and by our Lord was, in the first place, not universal, but personal; not theoretic, but experimental; not natural, but spiritual; not accidental, but all-determinative; not common, but unique.  The great saying, “No one knoweth the Son, save the Father; neither doth any know the Father, save the Son” (Matt. 11:27), is, when we bear in mind the depth of meaning contained in the Hebraic use of the word “knoweth,” conclusive proof of all these statements; and, if it were needful, abundant additional evidence could be given. Whatever else may be bound up with it, according to the unbroken use both of our Lord and of His apostles, ” the Father ” means originally, and above all, ” the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Gospels show as clearly how fundamental this experience of God’s Fatherhood and of His own Sonship was for our Lord. It was original and not acquired; intuitive and not reasoned. Our Lord’s first recorded saying, “Wist ye not that I must be in My Father’s house,” or, “about My Father’s business “ (Luke 2:49), shows that His earliest selfconsciousness was that of Sonship; that already its light illumined all the world for Him, and guided all His thoughts, desires, and deeds. The history of His life is simply the history of the influence and sufficiency of the consciousness of this fatherly and filial relationship. His ministry opened under the inspiration of the testimony, ” Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11). The story of the great temptation which followed is in substance simply the narrative of how our Lord guarded the integrity of this relationship when assailed at every point.

As His ministry drew towards its close and the prospect of death rose up before Him, the transfiguration and the heavenly voice, “This is My beloved Son: hear ye Him” (Mark 9:7 ; Matt. 17:5; Luke 9:35), gave Him a renewed assurance in terms which at once distinguished Him from Moses and Elijah, the greatest servants of the past, and, in so doing, declared His sole authority over His disciples. It was in the light of this relationship that our Lord explained His position in the world and His office for mankind. By it He interpreted the meaning of human life, and transformed the current ideal of the kingdom of God. This conscious fellowship with the Father was His sole and all-sufficient equipment for the work of His life. The guiding principle and power of His life is thus described by Him: “I do nothing of Myself; but as the Father taught Me, I speak I these things” (John 8:28; see also 38 and 19, 20). His unwavering confidence and satisfaction is, ” I do always those things that are pleasing to Him” (John 8:29). When the darkness of unutterable woe—of betrayal, desertion, suffering, and death—gathered round Him—so strangely out of keeping, at first sight, with the fatherly presence and protection of God—He uttered the triumphant assurance, “Ye shall leave Me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me” (John 16:32).

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