Good good Father

I just downloaded a popular Christian song on my iPad. And decided to use the title of that song, as the title of this article. We do have a good good Father in heaven but the average Christian has some glaring misconceptions regarding our Father in heaven, and the love He has for us. Many Christians view our Father as a sugar daddy in heaven who is ready to showers us with material blessings. But the blessings a Christian receives in the New Testament are spiritual, Eph 1:3.

Acts 3:25-26 KJVS
[25] Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. [26] Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

The transition in my mind in understand that we are being blessed with spiritual blessings rather than material blessings took considerable time. I live with moderate,and at times severe chronic pain, due to a spinal cord injury and four fused vertebrae in my neck. A large segment of organized Christianity does not teach that we are blessed with spiritual blessings, and early on following my injury the health and prosperity doctrines offered me hope of relief from pain and weakness. I have prayed, nearly on a daily basis, for healing of this condition for over 30 years. Even visited the San Marcos Healing Rooms a couple of times when wintering over with my sister Barb in Vista California. To be honest I have experienced periods of disappointment, depression, anger and bitterness towards God because I have not been healed and the long duration of this injury. Which has hardened my heart. The washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost, Titus 3:5, has frequently washed these negative emotions from my heart. Over the last 15 years of reading and studying scripture, I have come to a deeper understanding of the methodology God uses in saving the body of Christ by grace. Or as Acts 3:26 phrases it “turning away every one of you from his iniquities”. Apostle Peter said at the Jerusalem council that through grace our hearts are purified by faith, Acts 15:9&11. Apostle Paul told the members of the Philippians church something, which at first glance would seem unrelated to what Peter said.

Philippians 2:12-13 KJVS
[12] Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. [13] For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Since God, through Jesus Christ, is going to turn us away from our iniquities, there is a method that He uses which emerges from scripture. Ultimately this method involves purifying the heart on one hand and on the other hand eradicating the sin nature, the flesh, within us. Our Lord Jesus pointed out that the source of sin is the heart.

Mark 7:21-23 KJVS
[21] For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, [22] Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: [23] All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Patterns of sinful behavior are hard to change not only because of the deceitful nature of sin, He 3:12&13. But also because the flesh is too weak to follow the laws of God, Ro 8:3, and the laws of God are based on love, Ro 13:10. As such, it is necessary to have the indwelling of the Holy Ghost to effect change in a believers heart.

John 17:23 KJVS
[23] I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Scripture points to the fact that justification and sanctification are a ongoing process in a believers life. Both are dependent upon maturity. Both are by grace, and it is by grace we are saved through faith, Eph 2:8&9. We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Christ once for all, He 10:10, and the offering of his body, whose body we are, Eph 5:30, takes place on the altar outside the camp.

Hebrews 13:9-14 KJVS
[9] Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. [10] We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. [11] For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. [12] Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. [13] Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. [14] For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

As you see, the altar outside the camp is instrumental in establishing the heart by grace. And that altar is the place of sanctification, the place where the old man is destroyed, Ro 6:6. Sanctification is as much about the heart as justification is. We are justified by grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Ro 3:24. So it is pretty hard to separate justification and sanctification because they both are by grace. I wrote a previous article based on the following verses.

Hebrews 3:8-10 KJVS
[8] Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: [9] When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. [10] Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.

God’s ways are to temper us in the furnace of suffering, affliction and for some persecution. Maturity and steadfastness can only gain by being challenged with adversity. We can only acquire obedience to the will of God and cease from sin through suffering, 1 Pe 4:1&2. From my perspective, the suffering and frustration of living with a spinal cord injury for all thirty plus years, has been necessary in purifying my heart through faith in Jesus Christ. And also bringing me to obedience to God’s will by ceasing to sin. After all, it is God that works in me the will to do His good pleasure, Php 2:13, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. The same God who also chastises me to partake of his holiness and acquire the fruit of righteousness, He 12:10&11. I often wonder if this long arduous ordeal I have gone through for 30 years plus has been really necessary. But then I only need to be honest and look back on the condition of my heart in times past. Which should be no surprise since the word of God has shown me.

Hebrews 4:12-13 KJVS
[12] For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. [13] Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

I can only hope I am near the finish of the race, He 12:1, which has been set before me and soon receive the crown of life, Ja 1:12. But I know that God will bring me to a state of maturity far exceeding anything I could have achieved on my own. So as one of the lyrics of the song states, He is perfect in all of His way. He is a good good Father.