[CF Devotionals] 2006-09-02 - Basic Beliefs

Part 3 ~ Based on The Apostle's Creed ~ God the Father, Continued

What else does it mean, that God is our Father?

  • It means that we can expect suffering:
    Romans 8:15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

    Some people have the idea that if someone is suffering, that means they are out of God's will. Actually that's bad theology. We have been told several times in the Scriptures that we can EXPECT suffering. In part, this is simply because we live in a fallen world, and only Heaven will be without any suffering.

    And sometimes the paradoxical truth is that we suffer BECAUSE we are in God's will. If you are suffering, of course it's always good to examine your conscience and pray that God will reveal any unrepented sin. But suffering is not always - not even usually - because of sin.

    Sadly there are false teachers out there that promise that if you just have enough faith, you will be materially prosperous, all family problems will disappear magically with no doctors or support groups needed, you will be cured of all illnesses here on Earth etc. The latter doesn't even make logical sense, if you follow it through-why would we need Heaven if no one ever died? At any rate, Jesus never promised us no suffering.

    And if you are suffering, remember that you are in good company. Look at the "roll call" of just a few of your comrades: Christ, Paul (What he endured makes most of our "suffering" seem light by comparison) and Job (whose friends were corrected in their false assumption his suffering was punishment) - to name a few.

    God allows suffering and uses it (a la Romans 8:28) to teach us, to mold us, and so that we can be a blessing to others who suffer.

  • Having God as our Father also means that we have the ultimate role model for our behavior.
    Ephesians 5: 1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

    We are to imitate God. Now those are "big shoes to fill!" An all-encompassing rule of thumb would be to live a life of love.

    1 John 3:10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

    What should that look like? While it may be an overused cliche in American society - there really is merit to thinking "what would Jesus do?" If your answer lines up with what the Scriptures say about Christ - that is your loving response.

  • And it means that we will one day be like Christ.
    1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

This life is only a blip on the radar screen of eternity, and that reminder can help us retain or recover a sense of perspective here.

To be continued. Next week, we will look at the phrase "Maker of Heaven and Earth."

Comments or Questions,
Jan

[email jan] cfdevpray@juno.com
http://www.cfdevotionals.org

In the near future, you should be able to find previous installments of this series at CFDevotionals' Special Series link. Meanwhile, for previous installments, please go to the following link. http://www.cfdevontionals.org/links/authjan.htm

All Scripture passages in this devotional are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB)