For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NASB)
In a few weeks time we celebrate the birth of a son. A baby born away from home in a stranger's barn. Parents, loving yet mystified by what they knew was really happening. The Son of God coming to earth as a man.
This birth was long anticipated but when it happened it was not what many people had expected. The Saviour King, born to poor parents, not in a palace but in a stable in some remote village.
This child had been prophesied about throughout the scriptures. He was expected, but was he welcome? Isaiah sees the birth of this child as the coming of the Son of God. This Son would be the light of the world, (something John writes about in his gospel) and would bring freedom to the captives. This Son was going to transform the world.
As we have inherited the sonship of Jesus, is it too much to assume that something of this prophetic mantle is also for us?
We are in Christ. We are heirs to all the promises given to Abraham. We are loved by the Father in the same way that Jesus is loved.
In Romans 8, we read that all creation is waiting in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. Sons and daughters are free and they take that freedom wherever they go. As we live in our eternal sonship, change will automatically happen around us. It excites me to think what that might be like.
For the creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:19-21 NIV)
Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24 NASB)
At the end of Jesus' earthly ministry, we are given a glimpse of his eternal relationship with his Father. He has completed everything his Father sent him to do and he has the assurance that he is now returning to his Father. He is returning to the place of intimacy, to his Father's side. As he prays, he shows us what that relationship is like. From before the beginning of time, before the clock started ticking in Genesis 1, he was the son of God. He was a son and he was loved.
Yes, we know Jesus as the King of kings, the Messiah, the teacher, the healer, the prophet. But Jesus only knew himself as the son. He came as a son, he lived and died as a son and he rose from the dead as a son. He went back to his Father as a son. Before the creation of the world he was the eternal son of God.
We can see this same prophetic identity is for us. As Christians, we were chosen before the foundation of the world in order that we might receive the full rights of sonship. The gift of salvation, which we receive, is to bring us into sonship. Not a relationship we should compare to our imperfect human relationships, but one we should compare to the eternal sonship of Jesus.
From before the creation of the world we were chosen to be eternal sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father.
".... just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to receive the full rights of sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:4-5 NASB)
“And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16 NIV)
As I have travelled in Africa and across Europe, I have met people with all sorts of backgrounds, upbringings and education. But what has struck me is that no one is prevented from coming to the Father. It is not dependent on education or where we fit into society. Whether we are poor or rich, whether we are highly educated or have only a simple understanding, we can all know that God is a Father to us. All it requires is a childlike understanding and simplicity of faith. I really believe that no one is barred from experiencing the Father’s love and from knowing, in the depth of their heart, that they are his son or daughter.
I also know that there is no formula or switch we can flick to make us suddenly receive this extravagant love.
I believe this revelation is for everyone. The fulness of God’s goodness and love have not yet been revealed to the world. As we love one another as he has loved us, the world will start to see who he is. As we let him build the church, and take over our programmes and activities, the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. As we are revealed as the free sons of God, creation (including the people who are a part of it) will come into the same freedom. As we begin to enjoy the wide open pastures, people around us will be set free from their own captivity.
As we live in love we allow its transforming power to change our hearts. John encourages us to “live in love” (John 15:9), not to come in and go out as it suits us, but to dwell there permanently. It is only as we live in love that we can come to know and rely on the love that God has for us (1 John 4:16).
The power of God’s love will transform us and will keep on transforming us as long as we let it. God wants us to know who he really is. He does not want to stay shrouded in mystery and he certainly does not want to be known as distant or angry. He wants to reveal himself to us as he is.
God is a Father. He has always been a Father and he wants to be a Father to YOU!
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36 NIV)
I wonder what picture the word ‘freedom’ conjures up in your mind? For some it may be the film “Braveheart” and the longing in William Wallace’s heart for a free Scotland. For others it may be a desire to escape somewhere on your own without any responsibility or worry. Whatever picture we have in our minds freedom is something we all long for.
Freedom is quite difficult to define. Many people will say it is about having the right to do as you please but it is bigger than that. Freedom is not doing as we please but being totally uninhibited in the life that God has planned for us. Freedom has boundaries which are there to protect rather than restrict us. A train appears to be limited by the railway track but it is the track that provides its very means of freedom. The train can go nowhere without the track. A car would not be able to move freely on a railway track as the rails would inhibit its movement. A car needs a road, a train needs the rails. Freedom does not mean we have to be in control. Instead it means that we are able to hand control over to God, who ultimately is the only one able to fulfil all our desires.
Jesus knew what it was to be free. He was not bound by the restrictions of humanity. Although he had stepped into humanity his life was a richness of extra-human activity in which miracles became the norm. On one of his first public appearances he turned water into a very generous quantity of excellent wine. He fed over 5,000 with just five loaves of bread and two small fish. He walked on water. He could turn a disastrous night’s fishing into a bumper catch. He could pay his taxes by finding a coin in a fish’s mouth. He healed the lame, the lepers and the blind. He told simple stories that confused the wise and set the listening heart totally free. But true freedom goes beyond the miraculous. It is freedom from bondage to addiction and performance and from the need to be ‘right’. It’s freedom to forgive and love others whatever the cost. It’s freedom from fear, selfish anger and the need to retaliate.
As we learn to live as the children of God we will understand more clearly what it means to be true citizens of the heavenly kingdom here on earth. When we start to leave our orphan ways behind and allow our lives to be filled with Father’s love, we will leave a life of slavery and bondage and enter into the glorious freedom of the sons of God.
His Kingdom is our inheritance and it is a life of freedom!
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.