Tomorrow is father's day and while I don't get to excited about this holiday normally, I had a conversation today that revealed to me the stark contrast between us as human fathers and our Heavenly Father.
Today I had a conversation about His grace and love toward us and how we are all equal before Him and receive His love, grace and mercy equally.
One of participants in the conversation essentially said that wasn't possible unless we made the choice to receive forgiveness.
And to counter that point, I used the example of that this person would give his life for his son if needed. He agreed with me on this point and then I said, suppose your son committed a grievous sin against you and hurt you terribly. But because of your great love for him, you forgive him straight away. However, the son has fled far away and never speaks to you again. The question is, does he still have your forgiveness.
His answer was of course he still has my forgiveness but not his inheritance. Which essentially means the son no longer deserves his father's inheritance.
This is completely normal from a human perspective. Do good, get good, do bad, get bad.
But God, (two of my favorite words) sees it a bit differently.
Instead, He says you don't deserve either forgiveness or inheritance but because I love you so much, you get both. Not because you did good, or because you love me but because I love you!
Imagine the surprise of this man's son upon learning of his father's death after many years and receiving his inheritance in spite of his ill will toward his father. He is so moved by his fathers love toward him and his incredible blessing upon him that he no longer lives in regret or shame for what he did to the father nor does he retain any hatred for his father. Instead he is overwhelmed by the demonstration of his father's love and mercy. He resolves to live his life as a reflection of his father's goodness and gives credit and honor to him for the incredible inheritance he has received from his father.
This is the true picture of our Heavenly Father. He has given to us even when we don't deserve it, even when we reject Him, even when we mock Him or His ambassadors. He is good and full of grace and mercy to every one of us.
The gospel is this, He has given to us, removed all our sins, freed us from all religions that demand performance in any way shape or form and given us a life of peace, love and joy.
What more do we need from Him in order to live the life He's called us to. We respond out of gratitude for what He's done, not out of fear of punishment. Why? Because He has already punished our sins in the body of His only Son Jesus. We get off scot free.
This means we get to stop telling people the are going to hell if they don't do exactly as we say and instead we get to them they are free! Now that is good news! His goodness draws them to repentance, not the threat of hell. Forgiveness and inheritance!