The Word That Changed Everything
Articles - Grace
by Lyn Packer
As we all know, Jesus did some amazing things, both in His life and in His death. One of those things was to reintroduce a reality that had not existed since the fall of mankind – a loving close relationship with God.
With one word He proclaimed the end of religion and the restoration of relationship. He changed forever the way man would see God (if they really looked). That word is at the core of the good news – no, it's not the word 'forgiveness' or even the word 'grace'; it's the word 'Abba' - 'father'. It may not sound like much of a revolution-starting word when you first hear it but that word 'father' changed everything and it assaulted every religious belief in existence, both outside and inside Israel.
The good news
You see the good news isn't just about forgiveness and becoming clean enough to go to heaven one day – the good news is good because it says we were created for love and for love's sake. The word 'father' changes everything because it reveals man's reason for being created – to be loved by the Father, loved with 100% pure, untainted, undiluted love and goodness.
Jesus revealed God as the Father and in doing so He changed forever the way mankind would relate to God. The good news really is good news! The good news is that we are loved no matter what we've done, or will yet do, and that we can have a loving relationship with the Father.
God always wanted a family. We think God can somehow stand alone; but He can't - love must have an object of that love; someone to give itself to. The Father loves you because He is love and He created you to pour that love out on. His original plan was for mankind to not just be one of his creations but to be one with Him, part of the family of the trinity.
When mankind fell they lost that close relationship and God had to give them the law, which became their judge, and as a result mankind became confused about God. Over time the devil twisted their beliefs and they came to believe that God was a judgmental, hard to please God, despite being told time and time again that He was good. In fact many in the Church today still have as one of their core beliefs that God is a hard judge and taskmaster.
Luke 16:16 tells us that until John came the law and the prophets were preached, then along came Jesus and said it's time to relate to God in the way He originally intended.
The law and the prophets could not reveal the Father, but yet Jesus revealed the Father. In fact He said "If you have seen me you have seen the father," John 14:9. Why couldn't the law and prophets reveal Him as Father? Because it takes a son or a daughter to reveal a Father; in a son you see what the father is like. In fact without a son or daughter you can never actually know in reality what a father is like. A child is a living testimony to the personality, love and character of a father; without a child all you have is the theory of what a father should be like.
God is love and He is loving
God is love; we know this in our minds, but somehow we can still think that He is not all loving. But how much does it take before pure love and goodness becomes tainted and impure? Even one drop of unkindness or bad intent would defile it and it would no longer be true pure love. And if God had one drop of unkindness or bad intent He would stop being love. That's a big mindset shift right there. What is our concept of God and His love? Do we think His love is 100% good or do we somehow believe there is something else mixed in there somehow – a little bit of judgment, harshness or bad intent? If so, then our idea of God is wrong and we need to ask Him to reveal to us the truth about who He is. If our God is harsh, judgmental and has some bad intent then we will never fully put our trust in Him or allow ourselves to truly believe His love, and we will stay in religion instead of loving relationship. We will spend our life trying to please Him instead of trusting Him.
Scripture tells us this in Eph 1:3-6 "Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son."
Experience His love
Not only does He want to lavish His love on us, He wants the experiential knowledge of that love to be the very foundation of our lives and everything we do a result of it. Eph 3:17 "...that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love…may comprehend what is the breadth, length, height and depth and to know the love of God that surpasses understanding, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."
1John 4:8 …God is love.
God is love and God is good, so everything He does and speaks is saturated in His love and goodness. A friend of ours, Paul Ellis, said this in an article on the goodness of God; "Jesus wouldn't be Jesus, except that God is good. The gospel wouldn't be good news, except that God is good. We would not be forgiven, redeemed, justified, healed, blessed, or anything, except that God is good. All of these gifts are only good, because the One who gives them is good (Mark 10:18)."
1John 4:16 "...and we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him." He calls us to dwell (to stay, - in a given place, state, relation or expectancy, to live, make our home in, be relaxed in, be comfortable in, find an expression of ourselves in) in His love. Have another read of that meaning…are you totally relaxed in, at home and comfortable in His love, have you found the true expression of who you are? It's only in His love that you can do that. You will never find the true expression of who you are unless you find it in His love.
His love is what releases us to be truly us - no masks, no pretending and no shame. God is love and His language is love – love demonstrated, love spoken… God loves us, we love Him; it's a glorious cycle. It's not once around the cycle, hop off you've had your ride but a cycle of ever deepening revelation, of ever deepening wonder, discovery and love.
God has no ulterior motives
God has no ulterior motives, no agendas except to love, because that's who He is - God is love. Love is not just something He does; it's who He is! He doesn't love you because He wants something from you. He is not looking for servants, He is not expecting people to try hard to please Him and He is not looking even for obedient children. He is looking for someone to lavish His love on. Yes we will work and we will obey, but those are the result of knowing His love, not the means of gaining it!
God's pleasure and delight is - when our hope in His unfailing love. Psalm 147:11 "the Lord delights in those who… put their hope in his unfailing love."
Hope in His love
Hope is not some wishy-washy, airy-fairy concept. True hope is not wishful thinking, it is the confident joy-filled expectation of God's goodness being poured out on you! Your hope and trust in God's love is one of the greatest things that you can give Him; it delights Him! God wants you to really know that He is good, through and through.
Hope involves trust and what we are hoping and trusting in is . . . His unfailing love. God's love is not up one day and down the next; He never withdraws it, no matter what we do or don't do. His love is not like man's love. His love is unconditional, full of grace and compassion, rich and full, lacking nothing! Psalm 145:8 says, "The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love."
God is love and everything He does is motivated by love. Many of us have had earthly fathers who were absent emotionally, even if they were there in person, or they abused us or maybe demanded perfection of us. Earthly fathers have let so many of us down, but we cannot afford to judge God by what our experiences tell us a father is like. I used to, and because of my relationship with my Dad I didn't want to know God as Father – in my mind fathers weren't nice; they abused their children. Thankfully those hurts were healed and I was set free from those lies and now my relationship with Abba, Daddy God, is so precious to me.
God is not an abusive Dad
God will never abuse you. He does not even demand perfection from you. We have read some verses like 1 Pet 1:15,16 as commands that tell us we have to try and become something, but I think they are really statements that tell us that we get to be like He is. In fact He makes you perfect, righteous and holy in Him at salvation and you get to learn and grow up into the full expression of that wholeness (holiness) through His love (Eph 5:27, Col 1:22).
By the way, God will never use sickness and pain to discipline His children. That is a lie the devil has infiltrated the church with and unfortunately many have fallen for it. I can remember talking to a woman one day who had a broken leg; she actually told me that God had broken her leg because she wasn't being obedient and spending the time with Him that He wanted. Another person I met believed that the stroke she had suffered was because she had done something wrong and displeased God. These were Christians, not unbelievers! What have we let the devil do to our view of who God is? God's love and His actions are pure, kind and good, not some twisted, sick perversion of love.
God has chosen us as His special treasure, not because of who we are but because of who He is. His love cuts away our performance-oriented mentality. God does not want to treat you like a servant/slave but as a son/daughter. He'll let you be a servant if you insist, but it's not what He wants from the relationship. And if you insist in seeing Him as master and not Daddy, Abba Father, you will miss out on so much.
You are a son or daughter of your heavenly Father, the one who is love and who is good through and through. There are no hidden agendas in His love. We now live under a new and everlasting covenant based on God's promise that He will never stop loving us, or doing good to us (Rom 8:38,39; Jer 32:40)!
God is love; your Daddy is love; and Daddy loves you with an everlasting 100% pure, unfailing love! Revel in His love; soak it up! You are not being greedy, you are not being somehow less spiritually mature by trusting and knowing His love, by reveling in it. In fact, knowing His love is a mark of maturing in childlike faith and trust. Enjoy it - go on, really enjoy it. There are no catches here, no tricks, just pure undefiled love and He wants you to be set free by it, make your home in it, to be comfortable in it and to find the full expression of who you are in it.