God as Father


Not so long ago, a group of people sparked a lengthy discussion in the comments section to one of my posts, “Attacks on God from Within.” Our differing views served as the catalyst for at least three additional posts.

Our basic point of disagreement was on the authority of the Bible and our understanding of God. Their contention (though I realize they were not in accord on all points) was that Jesus actually reveals who God is whereas the Old Testament is sadly out of step, painting him as wrathful and judgmental.

So it dawned on me today. I think I understand where this view of God is coming from. I think of God as my Heavenly Father, and they might too, but our idea of “father” may be colored by our cultural experiences.

Could it be that a generation of Americans who have been raised to think that a parent should not spank; who rarely hear the word “no”; who have, in essence, been spoiled into a worldview of entitlement cannot grasp the concept of a loving Heavenly Father who disciplines and even punishes?

But here’s what the Bible says:

And you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”

It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

– Hebrews 12:5-11

Discipline yields the fruit of righteousness. I wonder what spoiled entitlement yields. Anger toward God, perhaps? Denial of His right to judge? Rejection of His Word as authoritative?

I should have seem the connection sooner, I think.

Published in: on June 4, 2010 at 12:46 pm  Comments (8)  
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