The Mastermind: The Father
In previous writings, it has been stated that there is often a present difficulty concerning the doctrine of the Godhead. The difficulty, again, isn't so much identifying the three persons but differentiating between the three. Each person of the Godhead possesses a unique role in the life of a Christian. Just as that was with Jesus, it is the case with the Father. The Father remains equal with Christ and the Spirit and yet is distinctive. This distinctive nature is demonstrated in His role as it relates to planning, providing, and pardoning.
First, let's address the Father's distinctive role in planning. Scripture tells us, in Ephesians 1:4, that the Father has chosen the Christian from before the foundations of the world, before the words, "Let there be light," were spoken. This is not the only time this language is employed to speak of the Christian or the redemptive plan of Christianity - a faith purchased in Jesus Christ. This language is used in Revelation 13:8, speaking of Christ as the "Lamb slain before the foundations of the world." This explicitly tells us of two things planned, and implicitly a third: The people (Christians); The plan (Jesus Christ); The place (The church - implicit). What we find in the New Testament is the unfolding of the mystery of Christ (Eph 3:1-6). This is the plan the prophets prophesied concerning, and the angels longed to see (1 Pet 1:10-12). So when we think of the Father and how He participates in our salvation, we should see Him as the planner.
Second, let's address the Father's distinctive role in providing. In Matthew 6, Jesus spends time teaching about worry. We worry about the things we need physically. Jesus tells us this is vain, not only because we cannot help ourselves in this respect (Matt 6:27), but also because worries never cease (Matt 6:34). We have a Father that supplies those who seek first His kingdom (Matt 6:33). Jesus assured us in this context that our Father cares for the birds. Yet, we are of greater value to Him (Matt 6:26). He ensures us further, the Father clothes the fields even greater than He did Solomon, and yet we remain of greater value than the fields themselves (Matt 6:28-30). God is the caretaker of His people, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When we look to Psalm 23, The Shepherd Psalm, we see this three-fold care depicted. The first two verses help us see an image of the Father providing for us physically. Green fields and still waters have us, the sheep, proclaiming "I shall not want," that is, "I am filled. I am blessed. I have no further need." Verses 3 and 4 help us to see spiritual care. Restoration and direction are the blessings of the Father's hand. James reminds us in James 1:17 that the Father is the giver of "every good and perfect gift…". The idea of a perfect gift is a gift that perfects us! These are gifts that encourage growth (Js 1:2-4) but also gifts that restore and direct. The Father is a restorer, Psalm 32:5, "…you forgave the iniquity of my sin." The Father is also a director, 2 Samuel 22:29, "For you are my lamp, O LORD, and my God lightens my darkness."… Psalm 119:105, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." The Father is also there to care for us emotionally. We see this, returning to Psalm 23, in the 4th verse. Even though we are in the midst of conflict, we have no reason to fear. We do not fear because He is with us; step by step, we are at the side of the Shepherd. We do not fear because He protects us, "your rod and staff, they comfort me." We are in His hand, and no one can reach in and pluck us out (Jn 10:28-30). The Father is there when His sheep cry for help. Psalm 34:15, "The eyes of the LORD are towards the righteous and His ears towards their cry."… Psalm 34:19, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers Him out of them all." 1 Peter 5:7, "casting your anxieties on Him, BECAUSE HE CARES FOR YOU." He cares for you. He provides for you. Physically? Yes. Spiritually? Yes. Emotionally? Yes.
Third, let's address the Father's distinctive role in pardoning. So often, when we think of pardon or forgiveness of sins, we think of this work in connection to Jesus Christ. This is for good reason, but we must recognize the Father has a part. The Father sought reconciliation, just as He did in the days of Isaiah (Is 1:18). He desires all men to come to the knowledge of salvation and be saved (1 Tim 2:4). Well, that requires Him being ready to pardon. Here is what is beautiful about the Father and pardon. Not only is He willing to forgive, but He is so ready that He already provided the means! He loved us so much that He made the sacrifice for us (Jn 1:29, 3:16; 1 Jn 4:10). He is so invested in pardoning that even when we've made contact with the blood (Heb 10:22; 1 Pet 1:2; Acts 22:16), became children of His (Gal 3:27, 4:4-5), and then transgressed He provides a means of cleansing, the same blood of Calvary (1 Jn 1:9). The Son has His part in pardon - no doubt - but remember the Father initiated and paid for the pardoning with His own Son.
Thank the Father for who He is. We have been so richly blessed just by His nature. Not only do we get to enjoy the benefits of His planning, but we also get to be made whole by His provisions and be of one body and spirit with Him by His work of pardoning. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!" (1 Pet 1:3).