Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Experiencing the Fatherhood of God - The Foundation of Intimacy

Experiencing the Fatherhood of God

A few posts ago, I said the following :
Kierkegaard is describing an "instantaneous moment of inner attitude".

In these posts on the Fatherhood of God, my desire is to attempt to dissect the anatomy of this instantaneous moment of inner attitude or the experience of the Fatherhood of God.

My strong belief about Kierkegaard is that he greatly missed the mark in his description of the experience of faith. Though this post is not about Kierkegaard, I will make one mention of his description. Kierkegaard in a desire to make faith difficult described faith as irrational. His text was on Abraham and Isaac. Kierkegaard was saying that Abraham's faith in sacrificing Isaac was irrational and that therefore true faith is the leap against reason into blind trust. (What an jerk!!!) Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac was not the faith that was credited to Abraham as righteousness!!

The point of the Abraham story was to teach Abraham that God provides the sacrifice and that it is not man that provides the sacrifice to God.. The story was the method God used to teach Abraham that true religion was not like the Babylonian religion of human sacrifice. Therefore, the name of the hill where Abraham sacrificed the lamb, which God provided, is called, "God will provide." The whole lesson is to show that we do not need to appease God because God fulfills all righteousness and all judgment Himself. It is no coincidence that the place where Abraham sacrificed the lamb in the stead of his firstborn son was the same hill where Jesus Christ was sacrificed for the sins of the world.

So, needless to say, Kierkegaard missed the gospel in his reading of the story. Abraham's faith that was credited to him as righteousness was in Genesis 15, which was before Isaac was even born. This justifying faith was the faith that God would provide a miracle in giving Abraham an heir.

BUT...The reason I bring up Kierkegaard is that I believe he was onto something in trying to describe the anatomy of the subjective experience of faith. So too, I feel the key to bringing people into affection for God that in turn leads to a beautiful life is to help them experience God for themselves.

Yesterday, in my post, I talked about having an experience of being "the Father's favorite". This of course is not the proper language because to be someone's favorite, you would have to be able to say "God loves me more than He loves you". Which is obviously not correct. But nonetheless, even if the language isn't perfect the experience is a quite bibilcal one.

The experience of being a "favorite" is an experience of intimacy. The extent to which God is aware of us is infinite. He know all about us. When we experience the Fatherhood of God, we have the experience of a person knowing every detail of our life. He knows us perfectly and loves us perfectly. In human relations, such intimacy is reserved for only very revered and valued relationships like a best friend or a spouse or a favorite child.

The first attribute I would mention then that is embedded in the experience of the Fatherhood of God is the experience of His intimate knowledge of all our doing.

How Does God See You?
In preaching Galatians 3 this past weekend, I made the following point. The text is Galatians 3:26-27
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

The second greatest experience in life after knowing God is having a child. I remember the birth of my first child very clearly. I was in the delivery room and, after the nurse cleaned our baby girl and wrapped here in a blanket, she gave her to her father, me. I held my little girl in my arms. Immediately, as I looked down at this new creation, awe and wonder welled up in my heart. I was immediately filled with affection. This fire had a source in light. As I looked down, I couldn't believe it. In this little child, I could see me. She looked like my wife and I. My attributes are in the child. It is an awesome experience, and it produces a deep longing and love and affection. It is a stunning experience to the new parent.

Well, when God looks down on us, who have become part of the new creation, God sees Himself. For through faith, we have all been baptized and clothed with Christ. It is no longer us who live but Christ lives in us. God sees Jesus. God sees His moral attributes in us. In the same way that my experience of my child filled my heart with affection so too God is filled with deep love for His image in us through Christ. God's glory is in us. God's moral beauty is in us.

Do you experience this love from the Fatherhood of God? Do you know God's unconditional affection for you? This experience is not based on sentiment. This experience is founded on the Biblical faith. This experience finds its root in a conservative reading of scripture. Here is part one of the anatomy of experiencing the Fatherhood of God.

God Bless,

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