When we think of God the Father, we think, first of all, of His love - His Fatherly love for us.
We read about this in the Scriptures: “As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:13).
Jesus speaks to us of the Father’s love. With His attention firmly fixed on His Father’s House, in which there are many heavenly mansions, Jesus says to us, “Let not your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1).
Jesus speaks to us of His loving, heavenly Father, so that we might have peace - “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you” (John 14:27).
His peace is not an uneasy peace like the pact of peace which exists between nations who are ready for war - a negotiated agreement not to use weapons of mass destruction.
The peace which Jesus gives is divine peace, the peace of God.
Concerning this peace, Jesus says, “not as the world gives, do I give to you” (John 14:27).
It is only Jesus who can truly say to us, “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27),
No world leader can truly speak these words to our hearts.
When politicians speak of peace, we know very well that the history of our world continues to be a history of nations rising up against nations.
When Jesus speaks of peace, we know that He gives to us a heavenly peace, a peace which does not belong to this passing world, a peace which endures.
Jesus can truly give to us the peace of which he speaks since He alone is the One who fully reveals to us the Father’s heart of love.
When Jesus speaks of the Father, He does not speak only of the love of God. He speaks also of the holiness of God.
In His great prayer in John 17, Jesus addresses the Father in this way: “Holy Father” (v. 11).
In the prayer which He taught His disciples, Jesus placed His first emphasis on the holiness of God the Father: “Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name”.
When we say, “God is love”, we must recognize that He is a special kind of love.
- God is holy love.
When we say that God is holy love, we are saying that His love is characterized by holiness.
- There is no human love which can compare with His love: “Love divine, all loves excelling.”
- His love is greater than anything we could ever imagine: “O perfect love, all human thought transcending.”
- God is wholly love.
When we say that God is wholly love, we are saying that He is fully love.
There is, in God, a wholeness of love, a fullness of love.
If we want to find out what love is, the best place to look for an example of love is God.
How do we look at God?
Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).
If we want to see what God the Father is like, we must look at Jesus.
As we look at Jesus’ life and death, we discover that God the Father is a God whose heart is filled with both holiness and love.
We see this beautiful combination of holiness and love in Jesus’ dealings with the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11),
We know how the scribes and Pharisees reacted to the woman caught in adultery.
Their hearts and minds were filled with one thing only: condemnation.
Jesus, on the other hand, responded to the woman with compassion: “Neither do I condemn you” (John 8:11).
This compassion was not mere sentimentalism.
This was compassion without compromise - “Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again” (John 8:11).
- We see, in Jesus’ action, the Father’s heart of holy love.
- We hear, in Jesus’ words, the Father’s voice of holy love.
At the cross, we also see thtis wonderful blending together of the holiness of God and the love of God,
we see Jesus bearing the world’s sin. He takes our sin. he receives our penalty. for sins which He had not committed, Jesus took the punishment.
When Jesus cried out to the Father, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”, He was acknowledging the holiness of God.
If sin was to be forgiven, sin had to be punished. If sinners were to rejoice in the forgiving love of God, the Saviour had to bear the pain of being forsaken by His Father, as the divine judgment was pronounced on the sin of the world.
The Cross was, for Jesus, a bitter cup, a deeply painful experience. the pain was not, however, merely physical pain. it was the pain felt by love. Jesus experienced an indescribable depth of pain, precisely because He loved us. He looked at the nails which held Him to the Cross, and He knew that these nails had been put there by the hands of man, the hands of those whom He loved.
Despite His pain, Jesus did not stop loving us. Revealing the Father’s own heart of love towards us, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
As Jesus suffered pain on the Cross. it was not the nails which held Him there. It was love - love for you, love for me, love for every one of us.
Let us never forget Jesus who suffered and died for us. In Jesus, we see God the Father, who is, at one and the same time, the holy Father and the loving Father. As we rejoice in divine love, let us never forget that God is perfectly holy.
It is precisely this holiness which brings home to our hearts two things we must never forget - the seriousness of our sin and the wonder of God’s love, grace and mercy.
At the Cross, we learn of God’s love and so we are bold to approach the holy God with confidence and with a real sense of privilege that God should love us, the sinners who sent His Son to the Cross.