For by grace you have
been saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves;
it is the gift of God.
Ephesians 2:8 WEB

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Our God in the Heights

Our Father in Heaven

Someone has to be in charge and we couldn’t hope for a more loving, joyful or completely competent Being to take the reins. God our Father has never failed to love or to govern wisely—it is impossible for Him to make a mistake or commit a moral failure in anyone’s life. Both Jesus and the Holy Spirit apparently defer to the Father’s leadership to say nothing of the unnumbered hosts who serve Him night and day. Yet, Satan rebelled, as did the entire kingdom of darkness and they have seduced humanity into thinking that their Enemy is somehow our enemy… Let’s set the record straight!

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17 ESV
 

First Things First

Trying to understand the issues raised by God’s sovereignty, righteousness and judgment can be difficult and troubling, if we don't begin at the beginning. The first thing to establish as Our Father in Heaven : The Goodness of Our Sovereign Fatheran unalterable FACT is our Father’s essential and unchanging Goodness, made gloriously visible to us in both Creation and Redemption. Many of us have tried to go about it the other way.That only spreads confusiion!

We may accept that our Father in heaven is the sovereign Ruler and final Judge, but then cannot figure out how to reconcile the awful state of the world (and our lives) with the idea of God being completely good. (For help with this see Truth or Consequences). How can a good God allow this or that? Is He not as interested in justice as we are? Is He well-meaning, but negligent, incompetent, or powerless? Does He play favorites? Doesn’t He care? Turn this all the way around! First, be certain of His goodness, then work at understanding His way of being sovereign and just.
 

The Ultimate Good

Perhaps you’ve noticed that there is a smear campaign being waged on planet earth against our God. His very Name is the favorite first half of the most common swear word uttered by an exasperated and bedeviled humanity. Profaning God’s Name, even cursing God, is but the tip of the iceberg. All of us were born “in the dark”—blinded by the god of this world (through Adam’s sin) from knowing our glorious Lord.[1] Into that fateful darkness the whispered lies of the enemy stain our Father as the cause of our ills, rather than their only Cure. To this day Adam’s children run from their Creator in fear and shame, hiding their true selves behind fig leaves, while casting about for fresh ways to accuse God of their calamities.[2]

Jesus came, among other things, to set the record straight. He used every waking moment to reveal the Father in all His infinite and matchless Goodness. He didn’t come as a front man for some dubious Enterprise unworthy of our trust. No, in everything that He did He Himself declared that He was only seeking to do what the Father desired to be done.[3] Jesus' entire life was such an unequaled display of goodness that even enemies of Christianity “can find no fault” in Him. In this we cannot help but see Jesus as our champion—one of us who got it right and rose to every occasion, showing forth the true goodness we know we are capable of achieving. That’s not how Jesus saw it:

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.”  Mark 10:17-18 ESV
 

This seems like an appropriate question, the kind most teachers love, yet Jesus turns it against the questioner. Why? Jesus knows our hearts: we habitually think too much of our goodness and too little of God’s. The gift of eternal life flows to humanity entirely from God’s goodness, not because of our own.[4] We cannot earn or deserve the gift. Even Jesus is not “doing” something “good” to inherit eternal life for Himself. So the question cannot be phrased, what must I do to deserve it (for that is impossible), but how can I believe in God’s goodness (that I might receive it)? Faith enables us to receive what God desires to give.[5] But we have such a terrible time trusting God! That’s why Jesus said on another occasion that the real work we should be doing is to “believe in him whom he has sent.”[6] Believing in Jesus opens the way for us to believe in God and His goodness.  

Once we see God’s goodness towards us by the light of the gospel, we see so much else with growing clarity. Our Father in heaven created everything good. Therefore, all that is not good in our lives or in our world, cannot be God’s doing. Everything not good is either the direct result of our own sins and sinfulness (and those of others), or the indirect result of having let the enemy and his evil kingdom loose on the planet we were meant to subdue. God in His goodness is saving us anyway. Why? Because in His goodness He loves us with a ceaseless, unending purity of heart. He is love.[7] There is no darkness in Him, not even a “shadow” of turning off the mark of His own perfect, uncreated goodness.[8]
 

I. Our Father’s Goodness in Creation

The whole creation proclaims the glory of God as Creator. Creation was so good that even God joined in the angelic chorus, declaring, day after day, that what He was creating was good. Once Adam and Eve were brought forth, God’s creative activity reached the highest level: “very good.”[9] We see by this that our Father can be lavish in His works and economical with His words. The thing we don’t want to miss is the absolute miracle of it all. God created everything good—from the standpoint of Perfection Himself—and He created all that stunning goodness out of nothing at all! His Word alone brought everything into existence, including time and space.

This should astonish us more that it does. We have grown up with the obvious reality of creation surrounding us. We accept it as a given. Not only that, it is hard for us to imagine sheer unbounded nothingness and timelessness, creatures as we are of time and space. Though we have been made in His image with “creativity” and imagination being among our likenesses, there is not a one among us who can either imagine or create anything without having something to go by or work upon. God is “very good” as a Creator and His goodness infuses all that He has created—leaving nothing out.

Where then did evil come from? The Bible simply states of the evil one that “iniquity was found in him.”[10] The one “creative” act of the enemy was to invent something that had never existed before: evil. Even so, God had previously created something so radically good that it allowed the opportunity for evil to enter into existence: freedom. Apparently, with God freedom is so important that the risk of its misuse—by the angels and by us—had to be allowed. As terrible as the suffering and tragedies are that cover the earth, it would have been far worse had we not been given freedom. Just imagine how tremendous it will be for ourselves and all of creation when our true liberty is restored. This is what God is after.

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Romans 8:20-21 NKJV
 

II. Our Father’s Goodness in Redemption

Salvation begins as a colossal work of restoration.[11] We lost our relationship with God; this is restored through faith in Christ. We lost the capacity to reveal His true Image; this is restored through our growth into Christ-likeness. We lost our freedom to live in joy, peace and creativity; this is restored though the Holy Spirit’s anointing and presence. But God is not simply taking us “back to the Garden” by restoring what was lost. He has added in an entirely new dimension. Where Adam and Eve walked with God reflecting His glory, we now have God living in us, leading us towards our ultimate glorification in Him. God’s goodness as a Redeemer, goes beyond His goodness as Creator.

It is one thing to create good out of nothing. It is another thing entirely to bring good out of evil. We cannot do either. We certainly cannot create out of nothing and we have been stymied countless times at trying to make up for the evil we do. Yet, this is exactly what God intends to do; indeed, He is already doing it. All of creation and all of redeemed humanity will somehow wind up in better shape than if the fall had never happened. That is a mind-numbing thought. But if we could just believe it, what a heart-exhilarating truth it would be.

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 WEB
 

It is as simple as this. In His love for us and for His Son, the Father is not about to let anything the devil (and our own sins) has done to diminish the joy of heaven and of the earth’s restoration. God’s goodness as a Redeemer means that He will pursue the curse wherever it has gone and reverse its punishing effects with a greater good.[12] The dark passage that the earth and the redeemed are being forced to go through due to our Fall will be more than worth it—beyond compare!

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18 ESV
 

In our individual faith-journeys towards that promised future it will make all the difference in the world if we fight to believe that God is able to do what He says. Every set back, every weakness, every sin will be overturned by a work of God that transforms all that is placed into His hands. As we yield our lives to him and cast our cares on Him, He will work all things towards that greater good He is determined to bring us in this life and the next.

How can God, who is only and entirely good, bring good out of evil? Our Father in heaven brought the greatest good, our salvation, out of the greatest evil, the judicial murder of the only truly sinless human. At the cross Jesus not only died for our sins, He was made to be sin. He became one with every sin that has ever defaced creation, then absorbed the dreadful punishment sin deserved. By raising Jesus from the dead, God has proven to us He has the ability and the right to reverse the effect of every sin anyone has ever sinned. He not only is good, He is good at what He does. What seems impossible to us, He can do for everyone who is “in Christ” through faith.[13]  
 

More to Explore about the Father

The Father: His Heart of Love   We are told that God is love, so it should not surprise us that everything traces back to love. By love we were created. In love the Father set out to save us through the sacrifice of His Son. In love He is equipping us to take part in the Rescue. In love we are all being drawn towards an eternity of bliss. How is it then that we can have such messed up ideas about our Father’s attitude towards us? And how can we get them mended? This link goes to our “healing” site—healingstreamsusa.org.           

The Father as "Seen" in Scripture  The Lord told Moses that no one could see Him and live. Fortunately, it seems that God is able to break His own rules, or else He meant something by this one that we don’t fully understand. The truth is that many people have seen God “face to face” with no negative side effects. These close encounters with our heavenly Father give us tantalizing pictures of the One who sits on the Throne. 
 

Scriptures on God Our Father

At that time Jesus declared, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Matthew 11:25-27 ESV

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, 'And they will all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.” John 6:44-47 ESV

“I and the Father are one." John 10:30 ESV


Scriptures and Foot Notes

[1]   And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 ESV
[2]   Adam’s accusation against Eve for giving him the fruit carried a veiled accusation against God for having given Even to him in the first place: The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." Genesis 3:12 ESV
[3]   So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise." John 5:19 ESV
[4]   As it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." Romans 3:10-12 ESV
[5]   For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
[6]   "Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal." Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." John 6:27-29 ESV

[7]   So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 1 John 4:16 ESV
[8]   Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17 ESV
[9]   And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Genesis 1:31 ESV
[10]   Although Isaiah 14:12-14 points to pride as the instigating iniquity, this passage simply declares its discovery: "You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.  You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.” Ezekiel 28:14-15 NKJV
[11]   Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved! Psalms 80:7 ESV
[12]   Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double. Zechariah 9:12 ESV
[13]   In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. Ephesians 1:7-10 ESV