The Surprising Connection Between God’s Fatherhood and Eschatology

What does the concept of God’s fatherhood have to do with eschatology?

Though the connection isn’t immediately apparent, it’s real. And grasping its significance can change the way we think about our spiritual identity, how we live the Christian life, and, most of all, our relationship with our heavenly Father.

Embracing God as FatherIn Embracing God as Father: Christian Identity in the Family of God, Daniel Bush and Noel S. Due reflect on the profound love God the Father demonstrated by giving his Son Jesus for our sins. They explore the freedom, joy, and peace that comes to those who bask in the Father’s love for them, and the transformative power of embracing our status as God’s sons and daughters.

Along the way, Daniel and Noel find a surprising connection between God’s fatherhood and God’s eternal plan for the universe. They describe how creation’s story begins and ends with the fatherhood of God.

The end of history is oriented to the Father because it has been so since the beginning. Paul declared to the philosophers of Athens, “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:24–25). And quoting one of their own ancient poets he tells them we’re all “his offspring,” that “in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). We were brought into being for the purpose of knowing and enjoying the Creator as our Father.

Of course, with the entrance of sin, not every human being is a son or daughter in the way they were created to be.

We’ve fallen away from the truth of our original blessedness. The knowledge of God as Father has been lost through sin, corruption, and rebellion (Rom 1:18–32) with the result that we’ve turned in on ourselves, seeking to meet our own desires at the expense of others. . . . No wonder we’re trapped in a cycle of complaining, grumbling, fighting, and forcing! Strife on a global scale has its origin in the loss of the knowledge of God our Father. Yet the truth of the matter is that only in the recovery of that knowledge, only in a wholly dependent relationship with God the Father through his Son, are we whole and our desires met.

However, the world fails to see this. Human beings constantly look to things other than God’s fatherhood to find their identity, worth, joy, and satisfaction.

[The world] doesn’t see God’s free initiative to enter into the world in Jesus to restore our knowledge of his love for us and in that love to define who we are and to heal our ‘self-esteem’ from its ultimate bankruptcy. The world thinks it defines itself—that it gives itself meaning, hope, and security. As it goes about defining, making, and securing itself, it’s actually about the business of destroying itself.

Embracing-God-as Father

This is where God’s ultimate plan for Creation comes into play. Humanity cannot “self-define”—that is, name and define its own reasons for existence and purpose. As the creator of humanity, God alone provides that meaning.

He gives us the deepest meaning and the highest honor of being his own children. And so the end of human history has the beginning—God and his purposes for creation—as its aim.

Ultimately, all of Creation is moving toward “one glorious end”—the revelation of God’s children to all creation. Understanding our eternal trajectory can change how we live day to day.

In the end, the Father’s children shall be revealed and all creation will rejoice and be glorified (Rom 8:18–25). If you really reflect on this it will be a breath of fresh air, a sigh of relief. You can relax, rest, and trust him with each and every aspect of your life, every circumstance, for everything is moving towards this glorious end. God the Father is the goal to which things are headed (Eph 1:3–14), and he desires that we know him as this end for ourselves. Oh, that we would not search out other “chief ends,” but that we would begin now to glorify him by finding our highest enjoyment in him, in who he is for us!

Daniel and Noel further explain how the Christian’s understanding of God as Father is intimately tied to his or her eternal destiny.

In 1 Corinthians 15:20–28, Paul addresses the destiny and glory of humanity and also the whole creation. All things are now subject to the risen Jesus. While in the first Adam, the creation came into chaotic disharmony and dislocation, in the last Adam, all is set right. In presenting this finished work to the Father, Jesus does what the first Adam was created to do, but failed. In presenting us to the Father, we find our hope secured by Jesus’ person and work, outside of ourselves and on our behalf. Jesus is himself the fulfillment of God’s promises, and in him our dignity and destiny is fully sealed.

Not only can understanding God’s fatherhood change how you think of your relationship with God, it can change the way you approach parenthood.

by Tyler Smith

Influence by Example

Titus 2:1-8

The fathers in the Old Testament serve as a warning to modern dads about the impact of a parent’s example. Many godly men were fatherhood failures, and their children paid a hefty price. Jacob’s sons imitated his conniving and manipulative behavior. King David neglected discipline, and as a result, several of his sons were involved in despicable activities. His heir, Solomon, was an equally poor father, whose son was instrumental in splitting the kingdom.

In spite of their faith, Jacob, David, and Solomon provided a negative role model for their children. Unfortunately, biblical examples of poor fathers outnumber the good. But the gospels mention a man whose sons reflect well on their dad’s parenting skills. No specific details are given to describe how Zebedee brought up the disciples James and John, but he is significant because he did what many Christians try to do today: raise children who follow God. Zebedee’s training prepared his sons for a life of intimate fellowship with the Messiah. It’s a reasonable assumption that he modeled discipline, respect for authority, and persistence, because his sons demonstrated those traits while following Jesus Christ.

Your children will reflect the traits they observe in you. Living in your presence every day, your kids see past any façade that might fool the rest of the world. They monitor your attitude about vocational work and household chores. Little ears pick up on how you talk about others, and little eyes watch your response to difficult circumstances. What kind of example do your children see?

Upward Way

“And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19)

The hymn “Higher Ground” acknowledges the difficulties of the Christian life. But we press on, ever striving for the goal. A Christian must be habitually “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before” (Philippians 3:13). And so it is in the hymn.

I’m pressing on the upward way,
New heights I’m gaining every day;
Still praying as I’m onward bound,
“Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.”

All faithful warriors must remember that they are fighting for the King. “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:4). Many successful soldiers in the Lord’s army may be gaining new victories each day, although in the bigger picture these may go unrecognized by others and sometimes even by the individual soldier. But these efforts and soldiers will be commended by the One for whom we are fighting.

Our endeavors must always be bathed in prayer as we seek to gain His favor. Our supplication must be “Lord, grant me victory over any sin which besets me. Provide me favor today as I press on in your service. Give me opportunity to teach your Word to those in need. Give me fruit which lasts for eternity.” An earnest plea that touches God’s heart has great power, and we can look forward to seeing it work mightily. As the hymn teaches, we can expect Him to plant our feet on higher ground. JDM

We See God Too Small

I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. —Psalm 69:30

Worship rises or falls in any church altogether depending upon the attitude we take toward God, whether we see God big or whether we see Him little. Most of us see God too small; our God is too little. David said, “O magnify the LORD with me” (Psalm 34:3), and “magnify” doesn’t mean to make God big. You can’t make God big. But you can see Him big.

Worship, I say, rises or falls with our concept of God; that is why I do not believe in these half-converted cowboys who call God the Man Upstairs. I do not think they worship at all because their concept of God is unworthy of God and unworthy of them. And if there is one terrible disease in the Church of Christ, it is that we do not see God as great as He is. We’re too familiar with God.

Sovereign God, expand my vision of You today. Give me some grasp of Your majesty and declare to me Your glory. Then draw me to my knees in awe and reverential worship. Amen.

The Whole Universe Is Alive with God’s Life

Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son: and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Galatians 4:7

What God in His sovereignty may yet do on a world scale I do not claim to know; but what He will do for the plain man or woman who seeks His face I believe I do know and can tell others.

Let any person turn to God in earnest, let him begin to exercise himself unto godliness, let him seek to develop his powers of spiritual receptivity by trust and obedience and humility, and the results will exceed anything he may have hoped in his leaner and weaker days!

Any man who by repentance and a sincere return to God will break himself out of the mold in which he has been held, and is willing to go to the Bible itself for his spiritual standards, will be delighted with what he finds there.

Let us say it again: The universal Presence is a fact. God is here!

The whole universe is alive with God’s life, and He is no strange or foreign God, but the familiar Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose love has for these thousands of years enfolded the sinful race of men.

Always He is trying to get our attention, to reveal Himself to us, to communicate with us! We have within us the ability to know Him in increasing degree as our receptivity becomes more perfect by faith and love and practice.

Our Wills Must Surrender

His servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness. ROMANS 6:16

The Christian doctrine of obedience to God and to His will is now largely neglected in modern religious circles, and many in our own congregations seem to feel that our obligation to obey has been discharged by the act of believing on Jesus Christ at the beginning of our Christian lives.

We need to remember that “the will is the seat of true religion in the soul.” Nothing genuine has been done in a man or woman’s life until his or her will has been surrendered in active obedience. It was disobedience that brought about the ruin of the race. It is the obedience of faith that brings us back again into the divine favor!

It needs to be said that a world of confusion results from trying to believe without obeying!

A mere passive surrender may be no surrender at all. Any real submission to the will of God must include willingness to take orders from Him from that time on.

I keep wondering whether the Lord’s ministers will again give to obedience the place of prominence it occupies in the Scriptures.

Lord, I pray that our churches will be moved to call their people to an intentional, active obedience of faith and that individuals, prompted by Your Spirit, will respond with great humility.