13: A Father’s Heart

There is a strange trend of splitting the “god of the Old Testament, and the god of the New Testament”, as if they are two different beings. That’s really quite ridiculous, God is God, he is unchangeable and always has been and always will be, that’s simply the definition of God. This splitting mentality paints a picture of the Old Testament god as only angry and wrathful, and the New Testament god as peaceful and loving. The problem is neither of those pictures is complete on its own. To begin with you cannot split Old and New Testament, even those titles are inaccurate Scripture is one complete, unified book and it speaks of God both holy and merciful, just and gracious, righteously angry and loving in every book. The God of Israel spoken of in the pages of Genesis through Malachi is the very same God who hung on a tree because of his great love for us. God is repeatedly referred to as “Father” in scripture, and if we think of good examples of fathers (not those who abuse their role or don’t fulfill it at all), they adore their children, they discipline out of love and they serve their children in humility and grace, and God is the perfect father, better then the very best example we have in earthly fathers. God’s heart has always been to redeem his people, to restore us to holiness to be in relationship with him, that’s exactly what he created us for. The images of a wrathful God in the Old Testament (and Jesus has some pretty big moments of wrath too) are because of his holiness, it is not a testy, unfair wrath, but a just and right response to wrong. God is perfect, sinless, and our sin deserves wrath, we deserve punishment. People are horrible. We do awful things, and we don’t do good things, and if we do they are motivated out of pride not righteousness, and ultimately we removed the one true God from his rightful place as, well, God, and replaced him with ourselves. God has every right to be angry with us, to give us over to the death we’ve chosen. But…and that “but” is so huge, God didn’t leave us there. The heart of God is love, in fact God IS love, he is the definition of perfect love, and because of that beautiful love he sent his only Son to rescue us from our own depravity, to restore us to holiness so that we could be in relationship with him. Mercy cannot exist without justice, and God is so just, and so unbelievably merciful. The Father’s heart is love, and that baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, destined to die, is the ultimate expression of that great love. So as we celebrate the birth of Jesus the gift of our salvation, we need to remember that Father who gave him to us in the first place.
And lets not even pretend that I can adequately explain the Trinity; that could be a series in and of itself, and certainly not one that I can tackle.

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