The Heavenly Father is so intrinsic to the Bible that we often forget to search out His wonderful person and character. He is holy without a single mar, but love without a moment of forgetfulness. He is Sovereign but never imposes Himself. His tender concern for every living soul is without question and He even knocks softly at each heart’s door. It is now reported that six million Islam followers are turning to Christ yearly because of a sovereign work of the Father’s love. His Spirit is drawing them under the radar of the terrorist-dominated Muslim government.
A story that Jesus Christ declared in the Gospels presents the perfect picture of our Father God. It is the story of the Prodigal Son but it is also a portrait of the Heavenly Father. This Father had two sons, who clearly revealed His earthly kingdom. One was a faithful, disciplined son and the other was a selfish, young man determined to find his own niche in life only to be utterly disappointed. Let’s look at the Father’s beautiful character in this lifelike drama. It is the second son that provides us with this great insight.
This undisciplined son actually began the story as he demanded his freedom. (Luke 15:12). The father never argued for the son to change his mind. This is the basic premise of Holy Scripture. Man has a choice of free will that was given by the Father Himself. It’s like He said, “I want your love, your worship, but I want it freely, not by constraint.” Nothing describes the “Love of God” more than His open heart towards His creation. He actually loves us in our failures as profoundly as He loves us in our obedience.
When the son began his journey away from his Father, he was given every benefit of the Father’s love. His entire departure was overshadowed with sufficiency. Whatever sin was going to cost this undisciplined son had to come from his own failures and not from the Father’s revenge. He “took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living”(Luke 15:13b).
The only thing that chased the son was the “Father’s love.” He could not forget how much his Father loved him. Nothing describes our Father better than the love that never forgets. It is evident that this young man wasted all the benefits the Father had given him. He had left the Father’s house with a song, a knapsack — gold was hidden in secret places of the knapsack, and a healthy, well-fed body. How could he forget?
When the wages of sin had taken its normal course, this young man remembered. Sin always leaves a mess. “And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger?”(Luke 15:16-17).
Grace always reminds us of what the Father’s family enjoys. Grace is the unmerited favor of God. We never need to earn His grace because it is freely given. This grace changes us to the point that we want to go back to the Father’s house where love abides. The grace of God is never without willing obedience.
The Father was waiting on the same road which the son had traveled when he left. The Father’s character is perfect in forgiveness. It does not wait on a trial period. It forgives immediately and it welcomes us back to the place of safety and fullness of joy. In repentance, the son asked only for the right to return, but the Father wanted a son not a servant. “But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry” (Luke 15:22-24).
This story must have been given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ to give us a revelation of His Father. The six traits of His Divine characteristics as it relates to this revelation are indeed divine:
He has given to all a choice.
He pours out blessings on the just and unjust.
He is chasing us only in His love.
He waits with a heavy heart while sin works its sorrow.
He welcomes home with perfect forgiveness.
He returns the repentant soul to full fellowship.
Our Heavenly Father is faithful and full of forgiveness. His holiness is perfect and it is His joy to welcome us into the purity and righteousness that grace has freely provided. The Father’s house is truly a house of plenty.