The tragedy of the story in Genesis chapter 3 is that it always seems to be blamed on God. Adam and his wife had been given very clear instructions on what they should do and more particularly what they shouldn't do. They made a choice, albeit under the deceitful lure of Satan, and they chose to disobey God. It was their choice that led to the action of them taking the fruit from the tree.
Before moving on, let me make one very important point. They were able to make that choice because God, the Father, had given them the priceless gift of free will. In giving that gift God took a risk because it is only the gift of free will which enables us to love. Without it we could not love because love is always a choice, it is in our power to love or not to love. Without that gift we would be programmed to live according to a set of predetermined rules or values.
And so at the end of Genesis 3, Father God has to make the painful decision to drive Adam and Eve out of the garden. Too often we view this as an act of judgement, the punishment for sin and a wrong decision. I would like to ask you to view this not as judgement but rather as a tremendous act of mercy. It was an act, however painful, which prevented them remaining in the garden and being able to eat from the tree of life. The result of which would have been living forever in a fallen, broken state. God knew that was too much for mankind to bear. Death entered the human race to save us from ourselves, or at least to limit the extent of the damage we had caused.
In that moment God did not change, nor did he abandon his plan; the plan he'd had from before the creation of the world. The plan for relationship and family has not been shelved, it continues and is the same plan (the only plan) that the Father has for you and me.
For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:6-7 ESV)
It was mankind that chose to walk away from the Father's plan. We chose a pathway of independence and self-sufficiency. The Father did not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. His plan and desire is the same today as it was in Genesis chapter 1.
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:20-21 ESV)
The only relationship that God has ever wanted to have with you is to be a Father to YOU. He wants to be one with you, fully and totally united with you. Jesus describes that unity on his last evening before he is taken away to the cross. Just as the Father and Son are one, so we can also be one with them: "just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us".
A few verses later (v24), Jesus prays that we may be with him where he is (and that is at the Father's side). As we know, Jesus only said the words he heard his Father say and therefore this desire, expressed by Jesus, is one that is deeply rooted in the Father's heart. This is the relationship the Father desires. He does not want us to be distant, fearing him or living in independence. He is longing for relationship with us where we know that we can be, and indeed are, one with him.
We often talk about being one with one another. That is only something that truly flows out of our oneness with the Father. This is the Heavenly reality and I encourage you to embrace it in your heart today. You and the Father are one, just as the Father and Son are one. This is our sonship.
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:29 NIV)
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV)
Last week I looked at the Father's desire to have a family and how that family was rooted in his heart throughout all of eternity before the clock started ticking in Genesis.
I let my imagination wander and I wonder what God thought his children would be like. I imagine him seeing Jesus and knowing instantly that he wants his family to be just like his son, Jesus. Paul catches hold of this for us and writes that we are being transformed into Jesus' likeness. Of course, if the fall hadn't happened we would always have been like him. But the fall brought a separation which has now been reversed through the death and resurrection of Jesus. We are redeemed back into everything that the Father had always planned for us.
You may look at your life and think it is not very Christ-like. You may be aware of your actions and attitudes and think how far they are from those of Jesus. Well, I have some good news for you! The Father does not see you the way you see yourself. He sees you from the perspective of Heaven. Not only are you like his son Jesus, but you are 'in him' as well.
You and I are in Christ and to me, this means that when God the Father looks at us he sees Jesus.
We live in a fallen world with all its imperfections and weakness but that does not reduce the Heavenly reality in any way. Daily we are becoming more like Jesus. This is our sonship.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6 ESV)
When did our story begin?
I think we often believe it started on the sixth day of creation when God created mankind. Having made a home for us to live in, he then spoke a word and the first human rose from the dust. When we think like this, it means we miss God's eternal perspective as our story very quickly falls into one of sin and separation from God. We miss an important fact.
What we miss is that our story actually began in eternity, long before the clock started ticking in Genesis. Before the world had been created God was thinking about his family, thinking about us! In that timeless period he longed for a people made in his image who would live as sons and daughters to him.
Like any father be wanted a family that would bring him pleasure. I believe that's the desire of earthly parents too, we want to delight and enjoy our children.
We can see the Father's pleasure throughout Scripture. We see the longing for relationship, constantly re-iterating how much we, as his children, bring him pleasure and glory. We are not distant or a far off. He is close to us as he has promised to never leave us but rather to love us with an everlasting love.
God is our Father and always has been.
A Father to YOU is a signpost to the heart of the Perfect Father. When we became Christians we were given the right to become children of God (John 1:12). Sadly, many of us fail to take up that right and instead continue to live as slaves or orphans. But our true destiny is being sons and daughters who have a permanent place in the Father's family. This blog is an encouragement to help you know who God really is and who you really are.