Father’s Day is a time of mixed emotions. For many people it is an opportunity to honour and celebrate the gift of a loving father. For others it is a reminder of what they have lost or never had. Jesus offended the religious leaders of his day by telling people that they could pray to God and call him “father”. In fact the word he used, “abba” is more like our modern “Daddy”. It portrays a tender and intimate relationship between a father and his child.
In the opening chapter of the book of Ephesians Paul writes, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” (1:3). He goes on to outline the actions and attitude of God towards us. He takes the first three chapters to unpack what God has done for us, before addressing our response to God’s goodness, grace and mercy.
Paul praises God as he tells us that God has:
- Blessed us (1:3)
- Chosen us to be holy and blameless in his sight (1:4)
- Predestined us in love to be adopted as his children (1:5)
- Redeemed and forgiven us (1:7)
- Informed us of his plans for creation (1:9)
Each of these actions is directly linked to the person of Jesus Christ and flows out of our connection with him.
Not only has God acted to bless us and forgive us He has done so with generosity and grace. This is no reluctant father, honouring a legal obligation or giving in to the begging or demands of his Son or his children. Paul tells us that God’s grace is:
- Complete and comprehensive (1:3)
- Loving in purpose (1:4)
- Freely given (1:6) and
- Lavished upon us (1:8)
God’s “grace filters” mean that when God looks at us “in Christ” he sees us as holy and blameless because he sees us “covered” with the character and nature of Jesus (i.e. his righteousness).